Professor Ahluwalia, who is in Vanuatu for the 88th Council meeting, thanked all staff for their contribution to the success of the University.
Staff were informed that apart from the revised New Strategic Plan (NSP) 2019-2024, he is seeking a revision of the vision, mission and value statements.
These he said, could be simplified for people to better understand it and also allow it to be uniquely Pacific, adding that education at USP should be more value-led.
Pending approval in the November 2019 Council meeting, the plan would be for 3 years initially and by which time he as Vice Chancellor & President would be more informed about the operation of the University. He added that following this, USP can then develop a 5-year strategic plan.
Professor Ahluwalia explained that there are 5 priority, as opposed to 8 in the past and these are focused on Learning and Teaching, Research and International, Regional Campuses, the unique position of USP as a CROP agency and finally a focus on enabling strategies. The latter priority area is to cover such areas as Good Governance, improved HR, IT and Estate and Infrastructure.
Professor Ahluwalia mentioned that what makes USP special is its regional nature and the NSP will elevate the status of regional campuses.
He commented it will make efforts to better address the needs of the countries they serve.
“As a CROP agency USP is recognised not only as a University but one with a broader mandate and to this extent Ministers have expressed the need for the University to have a focus not only on education but health also,” he said.
Professor Ahluwalia went on to stress the vision and commitment for USP to become a greater university globally and emphasised that “we need to lift USP to global ranking, the university having crossed the threshold in terms academic publications”.
With regards to the negotiation of the Emalus Campus Collective Agreement, he confirmed that it would be completed in June 2019.
Professor Ahluwalia also expressed concern over the term “Intermediate and Junior” (I&J) staff, saying the title is quite demeaning and that USP will consider options on naming staff categories, the preferred being academic and professional.
He further confirmed there will be more discussions between USP and staff on gratuity payments and that staff may elect to receive either gratuity or severance payment. The University he said, will consider how best to proceed with the changes.
On discussions about the establishment of another university by the government of Vanuatu, Professor Ahluwalia said “USP stands ready to assist in any way possible”. Noting that the proposed university will have a bilingual focus (English and French), he added that USP is able to do more in French as it has already made some progress in the area.
Professor Ahluwalia and Dr Paunga also had a meeting with students on Tuesday 14th May.