Dr. Ian Austin is a Barbadian who holds both a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies and a MBA in Finance from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virgina Tech). He also holds a Diploma of Education – Post Graduate (Teaching) and a BSc. Accounting from the UWI, Cave Hill Campus. His substantive position at the University of the West Indies, Open Campus is Deputy Director, Continuing and Professional Education.
His administrative, managerial and leadership competencies include strategic planning and policy development, budgeting and financial management, leading programme planning and coordination, leading programming review and evaluation, governance and managing external relations.
He has published and written on Governance of Higher Education, Managing and Administration of Adult and Continuing Education and made several presentations on matters relating to educational reform especially within the Caribbean context. He has served as a member of the National Advisory Commission on Education (NACE).
Happy New Year and welcome back to the Barbados Community College! As we begin 2017, I am wishing you a prosperous and productive year.
Higher and post-secondary education institutions have been facing very challenging financial times. Concurrently, the expectations from various stakeholders are at an all-time high. Colleges and universities are expected to fulfill myriad responsibilities and expectations that in some instances are conflicting. As a result, institutions have to find new and innovative ways to achieve their goals in order to satisfy the various stakeholders’ expectations. The Barbados Community College has had to confront these challenges and has been able to make exceptional progress in spite of the many environmental constraints.
As BCC enters into 2017, we will again have to attend to the ever present tension between revenue generation that relies on the pursuit of private market opportunities and the College’s social responsibility to Barbados. We believe though that with creativity and innovation, there will be no need to dispense with one over the other. Rather, there could be synergistic effects and outcomes to be derived from these competing forces. To attain this, we will have to rely on the extraordinary talents and human resources that reside in the BCC community. Your continued commitment to this College, specifically at this important time, will therefore be needed more than ever. It will be particularly critical as we pursue the transformation and renewal agenda and locate changes within the context of balancing social responsibilities with revenue-generating activities.
While the College’s management is seeking your continued commitment, we are ever cognizant of the criticality and centrality of the human element to the smooth functioning of the College and the ultimate realisation of BCC’s agenda. Hence, as we confront the challenges ahead and reposition the College, we will seek to continuously improve the employment conditions of the staff. In this regard, we plan to offer a suite of training programmes as a precursor to ensuring that individuals are ready to undertake new opportunities when they arise. We will also be revisiting and addressing some of the niggling and outstanding concerns of staff.
For the next six months, we have set an ambitious agenda of achievements as we pursue the College’s transformation and renewal agenda. I take this opportunity to share the major ones with you.
- Full operationalisation of the strategic plan.
- Completion of institutional accreditation requirements.
- Full implementation of UniTime scheduling system.
- Redesigning the website.
- Relocating the Office of Student Affairs and refining operating procedures in order to be better able to serve current and prospective students.
- Re-organisation of the finance department including strengthening the budgetary process within Divisions and improving accounting and control systems to enhance financial accountability and decision-making.
- Establishing of a Procurement Office.
- Setting up a special committee to assess and identify possible and viable revenue-generating initiatives and opportunities for BCC. This will include locating and identifying viable strategic funding and donor entities with which the College can partner.
- Amalgamation and/re-organisation of some Divisions and Departments to enhance efficiency of operations.
- Redesigning the College’s curriculum in order to create a hybrid model that is driven by the dual tenets of theory and competency-based education. This is central to the notion of the Distinctive BCC Graduate.
- Continued development of new bachelor degree programmes.
- Establishing of the Centre for Continuing Education, Workforce Development & Community Relations to develop and offer income generating programmes.
- Establishing of a Quality Assurance Office.
- Implementation of new governance mechanisms, including the creation of an External Institutional Advisory Committee.
- Strengthening external communication by determining and utilising the most productive/effective channels, media and strategies for improving overall public relations and external messaging.
- Revamping the performance management and also the rewards and recognition systems for faculty and staff.
- Improving physical work spaces for staff.
- Setting-up of a document centre.
- Refurbishment of bathrooms.
- Upgrade of the hotel and other physical spaces at the Hospitality Institute.
Of course, these are only the strategic activities that will be managed by the Principal’s Office. Other initiatives will be driven by respective Divisions and Departments. I recognise though that this may look like a very lengthy list of planned achievements. However, these are critical to the College’s transformation and renewal trajectory and I firmly believe we can attain all these goals working as a collaborative team and with your continued commitment. As always, my approach will be based on consultation, collaboration and consensus.
I very much wish you a rich and rewarding semester and year.
Office of the Principal
January 3, 2017