The new Vice Chancellor and President of the University of the South Pacific Professor Pal Ahluwalia, visited Labasa Campus on the 23rd of January 2019. Accompanying him on his first visit to Labasa, was Chair of Council, Pro Chancellor Mr. Winston Thompson, and Vice President Regional Campuses Dr. Giulio Masasso Paunga.
In welcoming the Vice Chancellor, Campus Director Dr. Bogitini highlighted Labasa Campus enthusiasm in meeting the new VCP, as the Campus is in full preparation for the delivery of academic programmes in the Northern Division this semester. The Chair of Council, Pro Chancellor Mr. Winston Thompson introduced the new VCP, and the staff were briefed on the recruitment process undertaken on the appointment of the VC and President.
The VCP in his address to the staff thanked the staff for their hard work especially in maintaining and protecting the USP unique brand. The VCP commended the Campus staff for their contributions to the overall success of USP over the years and their perseverance to continue to maintain the University standard, work culture and integrity. The VCP also mentioned that the university is ranked amongst top 8 percent of the top universities in the world.
Staff at Labasa Campus, were motivated, inspired and have been prepared to embrace the scope and added vision that the new Vice Chancellor will bring to the university especially in the area of research and innovation.
There has to be a renewed engagement and vison, new strategies in community engagements in terms of providing the skills, initiative, and knowledge so that the Northern community has the capacity to improve, sustain and progress in years to come. There has to be no barrier between the University and the Northern Community and people can frequently access the Campus for advice, consultation and motivation.
To embrace a new culture of community partnership in the North, Professor Ahluwalia, mentioned the importance of having more academics based on campuses around the region to strengthen research, enhance greater public participation in the activities of the university. With that in mind, the university will embrace a sense of commitment, dedication and there will always be opportunity for students in Vanualevu to be able to gain firsthand a learning experience that is innovative, contextualized and prepares them for a robust job market.
VP Regional Campuses Dr Paunaga, reiterated to the staff and prompted them to start the new academic year with vigor, commitment, excitement and a new drive to be agents of change for progress here in Vanualevu for both the students and the community at large. He also mentioned the need to begin preparations for the Campuses 20th Anniversary in 2020. There is also plans to have the Campus 20th anniversary celebration coincide with the May Council Meeting here in Labasa in 2020, and hopefully witnessing the ground breaking ceremony of the new Labasa Campus.
Following the staff meeting the VC Professor Ahluwalia and Team embarked on a site visit of USP’s Labasa Campus, PacTafe Centre Labasa, and they also had a site visit to the proposed land for the new Labasa Campus. Several other meetings were convened before the Vice Chancellor and Pro Chancellor, left Labasa for Suva again.