The University of the South Pacific Council commenced its 96th meeting session on Monday, 27 November 2023 and concluded today, Tuesday, 28 November 2023, with the reappointment of Professor Pal Ahluwalia as Vice-Chancellor and President.
The meeting was chaired by the Acting Pro-Chancellor and Chair of Council and Government of New Zealand representative, Emeritus Professor Pat Walsh, in place of the Pro-Chancellor and Chair of Council, Honourable Dr Hilda Heine, who is away from university business.
Professor Walsh welcomed the reappointment of the Vice-Chancellor and expressed his and Council’s endorsement of Professor Ahluwalia’s performance. Professor Ahluwalia thanked Council for their continued support and looks forward to serving the University and the region.
The Council noted reports from the Pro-Chancellor and the Vice-Chancellor and President on activities undertaken since their last report to Council.
The Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Pal Ahluwalia said the University was delivering its priorities successfully against the backdrop of declining enrolment numbers and financial constraints.
The Council was updated on the finances of the University and noted the ongoing challenges the University continue to face. Council also heard from staff representatives and urged the unions and management to work collaboratively in the interest of the University.
The Council adopted the Proposed Annual Plan for 2024 and noted the financial strategies for the coming year. It also approved the Financial Plan for 2024 and adopted the Audited Financial Statements for the half-year ended 30 June 2023. The Council further noted the impact and risks associated with the financial challenges being faced by the University largely due to the decline in student numbers. Management outlined its strategies for mitigating the challenges ahead.
Council approved a report by the University Senate and instituted new programmes in Pacific TAFE.
In addition, the Council endorsed a proposed a scoping study to establish a Pacific Centre of Excellence for Deep Ocean Science and a report will be presented at the next Council meeting to be held in Vanuatu in 2024.