Two new senior College posts appointed

 Two new and one already existing high-profile positions in the college have been filled over the summer months.

Two new and one already existing high-profile positions in the college have been filled over the summer months.

The two new positions were created as a result of the ongoing restructuring project within college. Mr Christopher Lyons was appointed Chief Operating Officer and has overall responsibility for the administration of the university, with a long-term goal of eliminating unnecessary adminstrative structures and committees. The advertisment for the position sought an individual who would “be responsible for overseeing all the College’s administrative and support functions.”

The office of Vice-Provost/Chief Academic Officer is repsonsible for coordination of academic work within the college, both in education and research. Professor Patrick Prendergast was appointed the new CAO – a role which has been combined with the pre-existing position of Vice Provost as the term ‘Chief Academic Officer’ is not recognised by the statutes.

The two new positions are designed to work in tandem with one another, being collectively responsible for “the delivery of college’s plans”, according to the minutes of the College Board. The college was unwiling to comment on the specific activities of either officer since their appointment over the summer. The third position was that of Senior Lecturer which was filled by Dr Aileen Douglas of the school of English. The Senior Lecturer’s role has been somewhat changed by the appointment of a Chief Academic Officer. Previously, the Senior Lecturer chaired the Heads of Schools, Deans, Library, Research and Student Services committees among others as well as being involved in chair appointments. The role involved strategic leadership of university academic policy and initiating new policies wihthin the college such as the proposed semesterisation of all courses. Now, some of the responsibilities of the Senior Lecturer have been given over to the CAO. According to one member of the university, this is in order ‘to make clearer lines of operations and reporting’ as leading officers in college will now have just one head officer to report to.

The creation of the position of COO was objected to by Dr Vij, fellow of the college, last year, on numerous grounds, including that it would eliminate the “academic overview” of the college’s finances, and that it would make the position of Bursar “untenable” due to cross-over of repsonsibilties between the positions. Dr Vij also believed the proposals to be “overly bureaucratic” and that the post of COO “was inappropriate for an academic institution.” Dr Vij sought to bring the matter to the College Visitors, the highest authority in the university, who have the power to nullify or amend the decisions of Board.

His appeal was heard by the Visitors in January, who determined that “The Board decision to approve the proposals was a policy decision which was clearly within its power to make and does not imply a decision to implement the proposals unless and until it is lawful to do so, other than by the appontment of a COO.” Considering the objections made specifically against the creation of the office of COO, the Visitors decided that “so far as that appointment is concerned, it is authorised… It does not appear to contain any provision which affects the statutory powers of any Officers of College or in any way offend the Statutes.”