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Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, a comprehensive university with campuses in both George and Port Elizabeth, has realigned its governance system to strengthen the ties between George Campus and the various faculties located in Port Elizabeth.

Prof Derrick Swartz, NMMU’s Vice-ChancellorThe new governance arrangements were implemented earlier this year following a process of consultation and deliberation involving professional support staff, unions and academics from the various academic faculties and support units.

“The overarching aim with this strategic re-alignment is to ensure that NMMU is optimally positioned throughout the region to realise our growth objectives as set out in our strategic plan - Vision 2020” says Prof Derrick Swartz, NMMU’s Vice-Chancellor.

The new arrangements bind the relevant NMMU faculties and professional support units to ensure seamless and consistent rendering of services at all NMMU’s sites of delivery, including George Campus.

In practice this means that academic programmes and modules offered at the George Campus are now the primary responsibility of the relevant NMMU faculties, with academic staff located at George Campus (which was previously regarded as a separate “faculty”) now aligned “primarily and directly” to the respective faculties where they naturally reside.

The School of Natural Resource Management located at George slots in under the Faculty of Science in Port Elizabeth, led by Executive Dean, Prof Andrew Leitch. As Director of the School of Natural Resource Management (George), Prof Jos Louw now enjoys a direct line of reporting to Prof Leitch and access to relevant Faculty resources. The system of Programme Co-ordinators for the various programmes within the School remain unchanged.

Prof Pat Bean, Head of Programme BEd (FET) George, remains the Faculty of Education’s designated representative responsible for managing this programme for George Campus.

The Business-related programmes offered at George Campus have been directly linked to the Faculty of Business and Economic Sciences (headed up by Executive Dean, Prof Niekie Dorfling) and the relevant Schools where they naturally fit in – such as the School of Accounting; School of Economics, Development and Tourism; and the School of Management Sciences. Dr Marianne Doubell and Ms Jane Fountain are the Programme Co-ordinators at George Campus for the diploma programmes and the BCom programmes respectively.

The governance model for professional support staff functions on the principle that strategic decisions and accountability lies with the central NMMU leadership, with local implementation. It presupposes “adequate local structures and responsible people with clear mandates” to oversee daily implementation. In many cases a dual reporting structure exists where George-based managers report directly to the relevant functional units based in Port Elizabeth, but also enjoy working closely with locally-based institutional management for co-ordination and practical purposes.

A George Campus Management Committee (MANCO) meets quarterly in order to oversee the co-ordinated strategic management of the Campus. It consists of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic as an ex officio member, the George Campus Principal as chairperson; the Executive Deans or delegated representatives of the faculties that enjoy a substantial presence at George Campus (Faculty of Science; Faculty of Business and Economic Sciences; Faculty of Education); George Campus academic staff who fulfil a management role as Director of School, Head of Department or Programme Co-ordinator; the Director of Operations and Deputy Director of Student Development Services at George, as well as senior managers or managers of relevant functional units such as Student Affairs, Academic Administration, ICT Services and Marketing and Corporate Relations.

The George Campus MANCO is also responsible for coordinating academic planning and programme implementation at the George Campus.

The possibility of developing new trans-disciplinary, inter-faculty programmes for George Campus has been identified as a strategic matter which will be pursued by the George Campus Principal, Prof Christo Fabricius, in collaboration with the faculties. Prof Fabricius is currently on research leave (sabbatical) and his normal responsibilities are managed by Mr Martin Loubser, Director of Operations, George Campus. 

The design and development of a new 72 bed (minimum) student housing unit (principle approved by NMMU Council) and waste water treatment works are some of the short term priorities for George Campus. Plans are also underway to develop a long-term infrastructure plan for lecture venues, office and laboratory space and post-graduate accommodation in support of both the existing and envisioned new academic programmes at George Campus.

Photograph: Prof Derrick Swartz, Vice-Chancellor of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University