Plenty to chew over at PASS Forum

09 August 2010

Dr Max Price talks at the PASS Forum Moving ahead: Staff listen intently while vice-chancellor Dr Max Price talks at the PASS Forum.

As chair, senior deputy vice-chancellor Professor Thandabantu Nhlapo is usually a stickler for time, but even he allowed the 22 July open meeting of the PASS Forum - where university executives address topics of concern with Professional, Administrative and Support Staff (PASS) - to run on a little longer, probably because of the gravity of some of the items, and the number of issues.

It being the quarterly gathering of the forum, to which all PASS staff regardless of payclass are invited, the vice-chancellor, Dr Max Price, had a packed report-back. He touched on the outcomes of the Higher Education Summit in April, the upcoming review of the funding formula for universities and the need for differentiation between institutions, research and graduation successes at UCT, new fundraising highs (see article on page 2), a long-term size-and-shape plan for UCT, senior appointments over past months, staff and student ratios, how the formation of the Academics' Union is changing the dynamics at UCT, and the university's revised strategic goals.

John Critien, executive director of the Properties and Services Department, spoke on the Special Rating Area (SRA) the university is setting up along the stretch from Anzio Road in Observatory right up to the breweries in Newlands. Critien noted that discussions have started regarding extending some of the SRA services into the surrounding residential neighbourhoods. He also updated staff on building work around campus.

The topic that drew perhaps the most interest was host Nhlapo's presentation on recent developments in the Human Resources department, notably the resignation of executive director Khotso Raphoto. Both Nhlapo and the vice-chancellor spoke on the reasons for Raphoto's departure, and how the university will move forward to appoint a successor and stabilise matters in the department. The next PASS Forum for payclass 10 and higher is scheduled for 12 August.

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