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Sir Dennis Byron – headed the investigating team into UWI

The operation of the University of the West Indies has come under scrutiny by a high-powered committee that was set up to review its performance over the years.

Headed by former President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Sir Dennis Byron of St. Kitts, the committee has submitted its detailed report which pointed in the direction of several major weaknesses in the structure of the institution.

The report is now attracting attention throughout the region as its contents have found its way into the hands of the media.

Today, THE NEW TODAY focuses on some of the governing bodies with UWI:

Officers of the University
The University’s legal instruments place on its principal office-holders the responsibility of governing the institution through the prescribed governance structures.

Mandated appointments under the Charter are:

(a) the Chancellor (designated as the Head of the University and President of the Council and also of the Guild of Graduates);

(b) the Vice-Chancellor (designated as the executive and academic Head), and Pro Vice- Chancellors to be appointed by the Council in such numbers as the Council thinks fit.

Under statute, these office-holders, together with the Chairs of the Campus Councils, the Campus Principals, Deputy Campus Principals, Deans of the Faculties, University Registrar, University Bursar and University Librarian are “officers” of the University. Specific statutory provisions govern the appointment and functions of each officer.

University Standing Committees and Statutory Boards

(a) Finance and General Purposes Committee

Established by Ordinance, the Finance and General Purposes Committee is a Standing Committee of the Council. Its purpose is to exercise the powers of Council in between Council meetings, in respect of matters relating to the receipt and expenditure of money (in accordance with the Financial Code) and also in all other matters in respect of which the powers the Council are not otherwise specifically delegated.

(b) The University Strategy and Planning Committee

The University Strategy and Planning Committee is a Standing Committee of both the Council and the Senate. Its purpose is to undertake planning functions in relation to the University’s operations. In particular, it is required to provide guidance and advice on the Strategic Plan, including its budgetary requirements, monitor the implementation of the Plan and ensure its periodic review.

The Council, Senate and Campus Councils have delegated to this Committee the power to prescribe which units of learning or research and which subjects of study must form part or be the responsibility of each Faculty.

Further, by statutory delegation, the Committee is required to discharge the responsibility of the Senate to submit to the Council estimates of expenditure required to carry out the work of the University.

(c) The Committee of Deans

The Committee of Deans is established by Ordinance as a Standing Committee of the Council and the Senate and comprises the Deans of the Faculties across the University. The Vice-Chancellor, by virtue of office, has the right of attendance at the meetings of the Committee.

The primary purpose of the Committee is to serve as a forum for the co-ordination of inter-campus discussions among Deans and to hold consultative and advisory meetings with the Vice-Chancellor on major and important matters in the University.

(d) The Board for Undergraduate Studies

The Board for Undergraduate Studies is a statutory Board assigned responsibility for managing and accessing the process of quality assurance of programmes for first degrees, certificates and diplomas, other than diplomas designated as advanced diplomas.

Most of the Senate’s functions relating to undergraduate studies have been delegated to the Board. Its functions are exercisable over the University as a whole.

(e) Board for Graduate Studies and Research

The Board for Graduate Studies and Research is a statutory Board that is empowered to appoint Internal and External Examiners after receiving reports from the Boards of the respective Faculties.

It is also authorised to exercise, by delegation from the Senate, almost all of the Senate’s functions as they relate to graduate studies and research.

By Ordinance made in 2018 the Council formally enlarged the statutory functions of the Board by strengthening its policy-making function and its authority over the management of the academic and administrative aspects of postgraduate studies and research, and explicitly assigning to it the duty to advise the Council and the Senate on matters relating to graduate studies and research.

To facilitate the work of the Board, the Ordinances provide for the establishment, on each campus, of a Campus Committee for Graduate Studies and Research.

In respect of its research function, the Board is also assisted by a Research Advisory Committee.

Campus Finance and General Purposes Committee
The Ordinances mandate that, except in the case of the Open Campus, there must be for each campus a Campus Finance and General Purposes Committee as a Standing Committee of the Campus Council.

The purpose of the Committee is to exercise the powers of its Campus Council in all matters, except where the powers of its Campus Council are otherwise specifically delegated.

The Committee is enjoined to comply with the Financial Code in respect of matters connected with the receipt and expenditure of money.

(a) Academic Board

Under statute each campus is required to have an Academic Board which is a Standing Committee of the Senate. Acting on Senate’s behalf, the Academic Board of a campus has wide powers, including the power to require a student to withdraw from the University on academic grounds and, in accordance with disciplinary regulations, to dismiss any student, subject to a right of appeal to the Appeal Committee of the Senate.

It may also exercise such other powers as may be conferred by the Ordinances or delegated by the Senate.

(b) Faculty Board

Every Faculty has a Faculty Board which is chaired by the Dean. The primary function of the Faculty Board is to manage and control, within the general academic policy determined by the Senate, all matters relating to the education, teaching, and research in the subjects of study assigned to the Faculty, including curricula, syllabuses and examinations, and to advise and report to the Senate on these matters.

Other functions include the making of recommendations on the appointment of examiners and the award of Degrees (other than Honorary Degrees) Diplomas, Certificates, Fellowships, Bursaries, studentships and prizes within the Faculty.

Campuses, Faculties, Departments and other Units

Within the University’s legal framework:

(a) Campuses are established by decision of the Council in pursuance of the object of the University to “provide a place or places of education, learning and research”.

(b) The power to create (and abolish) Faculties is vested in the Council but is exercisable only on the recommendation of the Senate and after consultation with the appropriate Campus Council(s).

Each Faculty on a campus is prescribed by Statute and details of the subjects assigned to a Faculty are set out in an Ordinance. Each Faculty is managed by a Dean who is appointed by the Council, acting on the recommendation of the Campus Principal of the campus concerned, through the Vice-Chancellor, after the Campus Principal has conducted consultations within the Faculty.

(c) Departments, Schools, Institutes, Centres and other units of learning and research are created and abolished by the Council on the recommendation of the Senate, but subject to the consent of a Campus Council, where the action of the Council affects a unit designated as a unit of the campus of that Campus Council.

(d) With the consent of a Campus Council, the Council is also responsible for designating by Ordinance a Department, School, Institute, Centre or other unit of learning and research as falling under the purview of that Campus Council.

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