UB hunts for VC

SHARE   |   Saturday, 19 December 2015   |   By Ditiro Motlhabane
UB hunts for VC

The University of Botswana (UB) will soon launch a search for a new Vice Chancellor (VC) when the incumbent, Professor Thabo Fako, leaves the position at the end of his the first contract that expires in March 2016, The Patriot on Sunday has learnt. Sources have informed this publication that Fako approached his employer – the Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MoESD) - in November 2015 and informed them that he will not exercise the option to seek an extension of his contract when it expires.

The Minister of Education and Skills Development, Dr. Unity Dow, confirmed on Friday afternoon that they - as the appointing authority - have been approached by Prof. Fako who informed them that he will not be seeking an extension of his contract for a second term, which remains available. She said although they were willing to consider an extension for the available term there is nothing they can do but to release the VC due to the reasons advanced. She, however, said Prof. Fako will not be lost to UB as he will continue working as a lecturer.

The VC and his three deputies constitute an executive management team which meets regularly to consider major policy issues to ensure sound management and fiscal control and the promotion of good order throughout the institution. The VC directs the Senior Management Team responsible for academic, finance and administration and student affairs functions of the University, and coordinates the activities of these divisions of the University. At the helm of each of the three divisions is a Deputy Vice Chancellor responsible for the respective work.

The VC sits on the University Council and presents the institution’s position and recommendations on various issues and problems. He prepares major policy initiatives for council approval. The Patriot on Sunday can reveal that UB Council has concluded interviews and will soon announce new appointments recently made for other executive management positions as the term for current holders expired at the end of 2015. The vacant positions are that of Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs), Deputy Vice Chancellor (Finance and Administration) and Deputy Vice Chancellor (Student Affairs) held by Professor Otlogetswe Totolo, Dawid Katzke and Professor Lydia Saleshando respectively.

Dr Dow denied that Professor Totolo has been appointed to replace the acting vice chancellor at Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) Professor John Cooke, as has been speculated. "A rigorous process for the search of the VC for BIUST has been ongoing since early this year when 56 Professors from around the world applied for the post. I have just received a report from the Search Party (Interviewing Panel) of the three shortlisted candidates and the next step will be to present it to cabinet for a final decision," she said, declining to state if the three are locals or foreigners.

However an impeccable source close to the developments told The Patriot on Sunday late Friday that Professor Totolo is among the three finalists, while the other two are foreigners. The source said Professor Totolo - who teaches Soil Science at UB - has a head start against his competitors having worked closely with the political administration, and having provided consultancy to government before rising through the ranks to executive management.

Office of Vice Chancellor
The VC is the academic and administrative leader of the institution. S/he establishes and implements a university strategic management plan for efficient use of its resources, human, fiscal, and capital, in compliance with the University of Botswana Act and Statutes. The VC therefore enables the realisation of the vision and mission of the University by coordinating the development of its policies, plans and programmes, based on the strategic overview of the University and its environment.