The UWI, Mona Campus_Annual Report 2021-2022

Amarakoon, who refused to accept this award as an individual one – he accepted on behalf of the Mona Information Technology Services, arguing that it was the collective work of the department which met the challenges of delivering teaching and examinations online. They were able to create administrative portals for harnessing student records, and linking these to the financial hub of the bursary. All of these processes were built with tight security measures. Pure creativity, innovativeness, and the agility to invent, all made a difference in terms of processes. Will we be able to maintain that? The UWI is positioning the Open Campus to become a Global Campus and this provides a vision and platform for the future. Currently we have termed our approach the Emergency Remote Response rather than a consciousness and decision that we are moving towards an online presence. We need to continue structuring our teaching, learning, administrative processes, and presence to accommodate the title of an online Campus. We cannot, however, lose sight of the need to continue to bring staff, students, and stakeholders together since face-to- face interactions are still, as I have argued, key to our educational delivery. We must take the best of what the COVID offered as a hybrid of where we are currently at 80/20, to increase this ratio of face-to- face to online. Human Resources Your human resource is the best resource you have. You could have the greatest buildings, the greatest digital platform. If you don’t have the right people in the right place, then it really does not function. If the Campus could keep running with the resources you have under periods of great difficulties, then when that difficulty is gone, they are even better at running the plant. – Dale Webber Investing in your human resources has many rewards for staff morale and for building loyalty to the institution. This carries with it, a commitment to productivity. The pledge to maintain staff during the pandemic years has led to a returned sense of greater commitment and willingness to engage from staff, which did not exist before. COVID presented an opportunity to learn flexibility and adaptability. Technology advances allowed staff to remain at home and work to enable distance.

However, the hybrid modes of working need to be rationalised with unions. For instance, some workers cannot work from home. Bathroom cleaners cannot clean bathrooms from a distance. What is required now is that flexibility when it is required, and the commitment to returning to desks when the need no longer exists. The give and take is necessary in departments and offices to allow greater productivity and efficiencies, and these are still dependent on the specificity of the position. This rationalisation can lead to greater work-life balance for those who have family demands on their time. We also however, need to be more proactive in creating a Mentoring and Succession Planning Programme/Process that allows our human resource to continuously think of us as mushrooms, that will always provide opportunities for people to grow to where their maximum potential will yield. We need to find a way to open every level of our structure so that there are not just outward possibilities, but opportunities for inward mobility, growth and succession planning. Financial Rationalisation There are some things that we have now that are a part of our history, and we hang on to them because they’re nice to have and they’ve served us well. But I don’t know how many people they have served and if they have done so lately. – Dale Webber The concept of Vacancy Monitoring was installed during COVID, whether the vacancy occurred by retirement, resignation, or death. A rigorous process was put in place to determine, ‘do you need to replace the person?’ ‘do you need to replace them now?’ ‘do you need to replace them at the same level?’ ‘do you need to replace them for the whole year or could a few months work?’. By doing this and ensuring that this did not burden existing staff workloads, expenditure on salaries was reduced by 250 million Jamaican dollars during the period under review. Certain entities that were making a loss had to be repositioned into other uses, among these The Centre for Hotel and Tourism Management in Bahamas and the Mona Visitor’s Lodge. Rebuilding the financial foundations for a post-COVID world, requires making harsh and sometimes very unpopular decisions. These may be temporary ones which can be re-evaluated on the basis of new

held our students’ hands and guided them on how to achieve their dreams and aspirations. Now we must retool and recognise that we need more investment in a customer service which you cannot do by handholding, but by email, phone, or internet. Improvements in digital transformation, must be measured with the fact that technology platforms allow us to change our business processes to provide better service and be better servants to those who need it. The Metaverse does of course provide platforms that can create greater efficiencies in the post- COVID world we are constructing. In order to shift processes online and virtually during COVID, staff were engaged in compiling administrative files to the point that they can be accessed anywhere you were located. Thus, if the person who runs the payroll for the University lives in Clarendon, he or she was able to run the payroll for 3000 staff with all the different categories and payments and deductions completely electronically from home. This was dreamed of during the challenges of COVID, and is now not only a possibility but is being done. This lends itself to other processes that can similarly be developed for virtual access. If for any reason the University physically had to close

down a range of its essential processes, work could continue unabated. As another example, the Library, the heart of the University, has already transformed most of its operations. So much has been placed online, that almost 80% of what you could have done in the Library can now be done from home. This works equally well for the professional librarian. For example, in doing thesis checks for our graduate students, the students would make a request, a process was created, and the librarians would then do a check; this was now being done a lot faster because they were doing it from home and without some interruptions that affect workflows. The throughput of graduate students during COVID actually increased due to our improved support processes. The quality improvement of systems that required IT innovation however, going back to the importance of one’s human resources and human capital, depends equally on customised software programmes and the innovativeness and creativity of your staff rather than a dependency on generic software packages. Another example confirms this. In giving out University Long Service Awards for 2021-2022, the award of COVID Champions was created. One of the COVID Champions was Kushan

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