Deputy resigns from UCCI board

| 17/03/2015 | 14 Comments
Cayman News Service

Linford Pierson

(CNS): Linford Pierson has resigned from his post as the deputy chair of the UCCI board and will be stepping down at the end of the month. His resignation comes just one week after Sheree Ebanks, the former chair, also quit the university board. Ministry officials said they were “engaged in the work necessary to ensure that the posts of chair and deputy are filled” and would be issuing a statement “in due course” but made no comment about the two high-profile departures.

Pierson confirmed his resignation to CNS Tuesday and sent a copy of his resignation letter, which he said explained his reasons and he had nothing more to add. The letter indicated that he was stepping down some 18 months before the end of his appointment “due to personal commitments”.

The resignations from Pierson and Ebanks follows recent revelations that the board and faculty worked together on a review of the UCCI finances and pointed to a need to cut $560k from its operating budget. The report recommended cutting classes and reducing the faculty headcount, as well as increasing fees and other possible cost cutting measures in order to ensure the college remained viable, while at the same time offering relevant course and delivering the type of education and training that the government also requires to fulfill its education policies.

During a press briefing Ebanks had indicated that courses like the business associate degree in isolation were essentially meaningless and that the students had to take full degree programmes to compete in the modern job market. Some people had been disturbed by the comments and Ebanks had issued a clarifying statement. Shortly afterwards that she activated the resignation she said she had made last year due to other commitments and conflicts with her job at the Cayman Islands Society of Professional Accountants (CISPA).

Going through a period of change, the board of directors will be without anyone at the helm and there is no indication yet who will be appointed to the top two posts as the college embarks on the process of examining how the report can be implemented and the cuts made.

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Comments (14)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Your “word” has no weight any more and you are proving my point since you do not even know yourself the UCCI position and have to require an FOI to get to the bottom of the mess they have created. If you are at the helm and do not know, you really need to stop the game you are playing and stop being part of the problem.

    We are supposed to feel sorry for those at the helm who make more money but do not perform? Sounds like waxing poetically about “winds” proves that UCCI leadership is weak and unrealistically caught up in a fantasy world, and you want to drag down the whole institution with you. There has definitely been some “wind” coming from that leadership.

    Seems like you are part of UCCI talking about salaries so non-nonchalantly. My kid goes to UCCI, and I am sick of hearing all the complaints of over-paid people at the helm for the past several years, and when you look at UCCI and how they treat their faculty, who deal directly with the students, no changes.

    And stop trying to hush up people, the truth does not always come out in the end at UCCI, which is why we need more people like concerned parents like myself to let you know you will not get away with it this time. If you are trying to protect those at the helm because they have promised you a big office, you are the problem of why UCCI can not get the reputation it deserves from all the hard work from their faculty.

  2. Knows it all says:

    Dr. Tasha? What information can you share?

  3. Peda Gogue says:

    Very strange. What on earth is going on?

  4. Anonymous says:

    It is not quite correct to say or to imply that the report that was made public is a joint faculty and board report, as the faculty as a whole was only presented with the report after the board had finalized the report. Further, the faculty unfortunately did not have an opportunity to contribute to the report before the board went public.

    This was very unfortunate, as the report that was publicized did not have the benefit of the expertise, experience and ideas of those best positioned to evaluate what is really workable on the basis of solid educational principles.

    I hope that the new chair and deputy will provide the type of leadership which will be inclusive and in the best interests of those who will benefit — and suffer — most from any changes — the students, present and future — and the country as a whole.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The administration at UCCI brags about their professional business acumen, but any set of managers with their performance would have been fired years ago.

  6. Anonymous says:

    So sad, the real conflict is coming from the Deans and Department Heads who want increased powers and salaries with no accountability for how UCCI has been on a gentle decline for the past seven years to the point where half of UCCI students would be considered high school students in the USA… let the good times keep rolling while the faculty and students suffer.

    • Anonymous says:

      2:12 pm: you obviously have no clue as to what is happening at UCCI. These events have nothing to do with department heads who want “increased power and (heaven forbid ) salaries.” As to “no accountability” — you are even more clueless. These are not civil servants who have “career” jobs — none have what is refered to as “tenure” normal at universities but are all on short term contracts and can be terminated without cause with three months’ notice at the end of those contracts if they are deemed not to be performing. Faculty have no power at all — in fact that may be part of the problem.

      As to the comment about the “gentle decline,” some of the blame for that has to do with admission policies, the formulation of which are outside the purview of faculty. The responsibility for those policies lay with the Ministry, which saw UCCI as an easy option in the face of under-achieving and failing high schoolers, and a president who saw the move as a cash cow, in the absence of vision and drive to effect a positive growth path.

      And by the way, the resignations have, as well, to do with poor selection policies — the resignations are really about lack of capacity and fitness for the jobs. As usual, these boards appointments are rewards for the faithful with little regard to the awesome responsibilities that come with them.

      • Rick says:

        Very enlightening, but can you expand on ‘…and a president who saw the move as a cash cow?’

        • Anonymous says:

          Rick, at 12:20: the college has been paid for sometime now to take in students in a pre-college programme designed to make up within a year for lack of preparation over an entire high school experience. Of course, achievement benchmarks have been set, and they are required to meet those standards.

          While this does work in some cases, however, it is a challenging goal to mould unprepared material to fit university demands within so short a time. Here you have students with core academic deficiencies and — critically — behavioural and motivational issues.

          This type of make-up programme would be challenging for any institution accepting deficient mature entrants, but when you have an influx of ill-prepared teen entrants, you are bound to have output issues no matter how well managed and well intentioned the programme.

          The reason that this has been happening is that it seems the best option for these students — what do you do with this group that essentially has no where to go?

          This is not to detract, however, from the many mature and otherwise prepared entrants who have done well, having benefited enormously from their education at UCCI. However, inevitably, the programme has diluted the strength of the overall UCCI product.

          • Anonymous says:

            Rubbish, they failed as leaders and now the board is playing musical chairs and UCCI “leadership” is looking for a scape-goat, particularly those who call them out on their poor performance.

      • Anonymous says:

        Conflating faculty with Deans, Heads, and the President who all consider the faculty as inferior? The Deans, Heads and Presidents and their complicit and incompetent day to day operational decisions are the reason why the Board has had to plan drastic changes so UCCI does not sink. So why are we keeping the same people who want all the power and salary that caused this mess. Definition of insanity.

        • Anonymous says:

          Actually, the word within the institution is that UCCI is NOT, as is being alleged as the reason for the proposed cutback, on the verge of financial ruin but is actually quite healthy financially (not that it could not benefit from greater funding — it needs it to really function as a proper institution of higher learning).

          Someone should request the budget under FOI. And, by the way, the faculty as a body has actually drafted a response to the board report and has identified many areas in which to achieve greater, educationally founded viability.

          What seems to be the problem is the decision making at the helm of the institution where survival is the name of the game — we tend to be blown hither and yon by every breeze that blows.

          And, not surprisingly, as far as big salaries are concerned, there is really only one person at UCCI who can be guilty of that. Instructional staff are, as is the pattern, paid very poorly — ironically those that do the most work and that carry the burden for the outputs of the university and have least input in the operational decision making. That is where the insanity lies.

          Please don’t lay any more unfounded charges on their shoulders!

          • Anonymous says:

            Defending the current leaders so you get your bonus or office or renewal? You are the problem. I bet you are one of those who constantly adds to every one of your apologetic statements about UCCI leadership that “its all about the kids” ,when you could care less.

  7. Disgusted! says:

    Clearly something unusual is happening at UCCI. The resignations of the two most senior Board members within one week of each other is not normal. Wonder if the Pesident is next?

    Surely the Ministry of Education should issue a statement to the public to explain what is going on, rather than merely promising new appointments.

    Is this the transparency that PPM promised??!!

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