STATEMENT: The Position of Executive Vice-President
3rd November 2020
The Union of Tertiary Educators of The Bahamas (UTEB) has expressed concerns about the University’s hiring of an Executive Vice President (EVP) in the midst of a pandemic and austerity measures.
It is imperative that our students, faculty, staff and the public are made aware of the facts. The position of EVP is mandated by the University of The Bahamas Act 2016, Article 6, as an Officer of the University:
6.3 There shall be an Executive Vice-President of the University.
6.4. The Executive Vice-President shall carry out such functions as are assigned by the President.
6.5. In the absence of the President, or during a vacancy in the office of the President, the Executive Vice-President shall be the most senior officer who shall, upon authorization of the Board, exercise and perform the functions and duties of the President.
Prior to interviewing for an EVP, the University had a Provost, a post last held by Dr. Linda Davis.
The committee appointed to lead the search for an EVP was headed by Dr. Ian Strachan, Vice-President of UB-North, and comprised seven additional members including representation from faculty, staff, students, UTEB, and the wider community. The committee held extensive interviews between late 2018 and early 2019. Applicants included several highly qualified Bahamians and non-Bahamians. The Search Committee, including UTEB, selected the top three candidates, based on both qualifications and years of experience in leadership roles at highly complex institutions of higher education. The President invited members of the Board of Trustees to join him in interviewing the top three candidates and those interviews were conducted in 2018.
The top candidate was Dr. Sarim Al-Zubaidy, a citizen of Australia, and then President of The University of Trinidad and Tobago. Before an offer was made, all senior administrators had the opportunity to meet the top candidate and engage in lengthy discussions. The candidate also met with executives of the three unions – UTEB, Public Managers Union (PMU) and Bahamas Public Service Union (BPSU). With the full support of the Search Committee and senior administrators, President Rodney D. Smith offered a contract to Dr. Al-Zubaidy in early 2019. This was long before the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a result of the pandemic, the University has been operating, administratively, without the benefit of an Executive Vice President. The President has been serving as both Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer. Dr. Al-Zubaidy has had to postpone his travel plans several times, due to travel restrictions. This post needs to be filled and the University, an institution operating within the global arena of higher education, cannot and should never discriminate on any basis.
The University is grateful that because of the support of the Government and the hard work of the Board of Trustees and senior administration, not one faculty or staff member has been laid off or lost a job. The University continues to maintain insurance coverage, and the well-being of faculty, staff, and students remains a top priority.
When the Executive Vice President assumes his post, the University community and the public are invited to welcome him and give their full support.
Office of University Relations
University of The Bahamas
2nd Floor, Michael H. Eldon Complex
Oakes Field Campus
P.O. Box N-4912
Nassau, The Bahamas
Tel: (242) 302-4355/4354/4365
Chartered on 10th November 2016, University of The Bahamas (UB) is a beacon for national transformation. Approximately 5,000 students are enrolled in the University of The Bahamas system which includes campuses and centres on New Providence, Grand Bahama, San Salvador and Abaco, as well as UB online education. UB’s diverse academic programmes, research engagements, athletics and leadership development experiences equip our students to become global citizens in a dynamic world. For more information, visit www.ub.edu.bs.