UG to release blueprint to guide 20 years of development, says new Vice Chancellor

—reveals plans for coming year

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, June 10, 2020

A 2040 blueprint that will dictate the transformative growth of the University of Guyana will shortly be released. Spearheading this new era of development for the tertiary institution is UG’s first female Vice-Chancellor (VC) and change strategist, Professor Paloma Mohamed-Martin.

In a Zoom interview with DPI, Professor Mohamed-Martin outlined the main areas of change that the UG will experience over the next year.

According to the Vice-Chancellor, one critical component is the strengthening of the institution’s financial systems.

“That work has already begun, in terms of digitising, modernising our software [and] finishing the audits that we’ve started,” the VC outlined. Retraining and hiring of staff with varying capacities have similarly bolstered this area of focus, she noted.

Additionally, the Vice-Chancellor highlighted a situation that has grasped her attention – one that she intends to change.

“My biggest peeve at the university since I got there was the low salaries that we pay, to not only our academic staff but other staff. This is a huge problem […] not because of the money only, but because of what it allows us to do and who it allows us to buy,” the she explained.

Professor Mohamed-Martin was adamant that if UG intends to pursue the course of being a science-driven university, the institution will need scholars with doctoral degrees. For this to be possible, the Vice-Chancellor maintained salaries must be raised.

Still, on the topic of the academic staff, the she noted those already in the system must be balanced with imported staff. The VC confirmed, “we have already begun to train 20 PhDs in the sciences and they will come out in the next 3 years.”

While staff are being trained, the university will continue with its research chair programme, Professor Mohamed-Martin noted.

This programme is one in which academics at UG would be groomed by visiting researchers. The UG-based academics would, in turn, lead their own research agenda after approximately 3 years.

Another area that will receive attention is the improvement of the university’s support system for students. The VC acknowledged the student support services along with the quality assurance for students have been limited, as the students’ association has reached its limit.

“We are putting some energy into expanding students’ services, student care, as well as tracking them all the way and supporting them all through alumni and the first years of their alumni.”

Further, the Vice -Chancellor assured that the security of the institution will be given more attention. This includes not only physical and cybersecurity but upgrades to sanitation as well. Already, a project to revamp Turkeyen’s campus sewage system is underway.

Professor Paloma Mohamed-Martin succeeds Professor Ivlaw Griffith whose tenure ended in 2019. The new Vice-Chacnellor served as chair of the university’s Transitional Management Committee and Deputy Vice-Chancellor responsible for Philanthropy, Alumni and Civic Engagement (PACE).

The VC was appointed on Tuesday  by Chancellor Edward Green.