Issue No. 5,
27 JUNE 2000
REPORT OF 20 JUNE 2000 REFORM PROCESS COMMITTEE (RPC) MEETING
A. Review and Approval of the 13 June 2000 RPC Report
Members reviewed and approved the draft report of the 13 June 2000 RPC which will incorporate comments and suggestions made at the meeting.
B. Matters Arising from the 13 June 2000 Meeting
1. There was general consensus that both the immediate supervisor and concerned employee should be heard independently. The first meeting of the Staff Appeals Panel will be held on 28 June 2000 to look into two cases of non-contract renewal. Members were reminded that the RPC is not a body to discuss specific cases of staff and that such matters should be brought to the attention of the administration directly with the specific details.
2. The task force chaired by Professor John C Tang looking into an appropriate Group Medical Plan which covers all Staff and Faculty is expected to come up with a progress report by the end of July 2000. In line with the ongoing reform process, particularly on the issue of unifying the current local-hire staff and the international-hire staff categories into just one staff category, it is necessary to revisit the current medical coverage. In the beginning, the task force will focus on the Group Medical Insurance Plan currently available to Faculty and International Staff before embarking on the full issues of adequate medical coverage for all. Comments and suggestions are invited and can be sent to the secretary of the task force, Ms. Renedith Ariola at tel. 5030 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
3. The administration will prepare a concept paper on the establishment of an AIT Endowment Fund and also take into consideration the view and participation of the alumni.
C. Progress on the Reform Implementation Committee Meetings
Reports of the Reform Implementation Committee Meetings are provided to members of the Implementation Committee, and to the Chairs of the Reform Process and Steering Committees. As Chair of the Reform Implementation Committees, the Provost will provide general information on the outcome of the meetings at the RPC meetings.
1. Center for Language and Educational Technology (CLET)
Fruitful discussions were held with CLET on the objectives of the Action Plan and how they could be best achieved in the light of the principles discussed at RPC. CLET's services have both costed and uncosted components. CLET programs such as Bridging, Talkbase and Certificate in Educational Development do not receive moneys directly; rather, budgets are allocated from central funds. The uncosted services include entry-level language proficiency testing, English language courses for regular students, writing consultations, doctoral writing, editing of publications and promotional materials etc. On the financial arrangements there is the possibility of CLET operating as a Cost Center. The Schools would be free to choose whether they wish to avail of the services offered by CLET. Bridging Program operation is best handled by the Schools, with the language component subcontracted to CLET for delivery. It would be desirable for CLET to be competitive and sustainable. However, as a self-supporting unit, CLET would still render services for external clients. On confirmation of CLET being a cost and outreach center, new appointments will follow the titles adopted for those in the outreach stream, e.g. language specialist and the like. The titles of current faculty members will be handled on a case-by-case basis at the time of contract renewal / extension. The Reform Implementation Committee took note that those teaching Senate approved credit-bearing courses, especially for the Certficate in Educational Development, have expressed wish to continue using the faculty rank as befitting their qualifications, especially those with PhDs. CLET has been requested to report back on the proposed measures and to review their mission and rethink the name of the unit, which better reflects the new mission and organizational structure.
Comments from RPC Members
- The quality of CLET outreach activities needs to be reviewed.
- CLET needs to be more responsive to the needs of Schools.
2. Regional Computer Center (RCC)
Two years ago RCC was restructured following which the central fund budget for the Center was reduced from more than 20 mio Baht to approximately 13 mio Baht. A significant portion of RCC activities include outreach and there is potential for a further increase which would enable more staff to be shifted from central to project funds. Even the PC hardware support unit could be entrusted to generate its own funds. The Schools and other units on campus would be given the option to either avail of the services offered by RCC or to outsource them. The devolving of services to the Schools would however also entail certain problems and it is important to ascertain the preferences across the Institute. An internal report on the pros and cons of outsourcing the Internet services has been prepared. However, it is important that an independent external review on what is best for AIT should also be undertaken. An opinion on this matter would also be sought from the Reform Steering Committee. The AASU could be placed under the Office of the Provost and although centrally funded could still be administratively located at RCC. The reformed AASU would maintain its present functions but needs to also encompass Management Information Systems (MIS). RCC has been requested to report back on the proposed measures and to review their mission and rethink the name of the unit, which better reflects the new mission and organizational structure.
Comments from RPC Members
- While certain services of the RCC could be outsourced units such as the AASU and PCHSU should still remain an integral part of AIT since their services are essential to the administration.
- The quality of RCC outreach activities needs to be reviewed.
3. Continuing Education Center (CEC)
The main issue with CEC was one of finding ways to strengthen the relationship with the Schools through the conduct of joint activities. The Schools have been requested to identify areas where possible linkages may be forged with CEC. The other aspect is on the quality assurance mechanisms in the design, development and delivery of training programs and other related activities. Issues such as the long-term sustainability of the Center in view of a decline in revenue generation in recent years and its relationship with RCC and CLET were also discussed. CEC has been requested to come up with a concept paper on how it could be turned into an outreach unit of the Institute for all training related activities in real partnership with the School and with the assurance of quality.
Comments from RPC Members
- The Academic Senate Chair reported that the Senate would be glad to participate in the discussions entailing CEC since it has an academic bearing and is also closely linked to the Schools. There needs to be a mechanism in place to ensure the quality of the training programs, its resource persons and a proper control on the fee structure probably through the establishment of unit costs which fits into a certain framework. The Academic Senate Chair has been invited to attend the next meeting of the Reform Implementation Committee meeting on CEC.
D. Feedback from Constituencies / Questions / Other Comments
- The Reform Implementation Committee meetings serves as a good exercise in management audit since it covers administrative, financial, and human resource aspects of a particular unit and should be conducted regularly.
- The Provost clarified that the discussions with CLAIR have so far been focused on the library functions. The project component comprises mainly of the information centers which are in deficit in certain activities. The possibility of integrating them into the Schools is being considered.
- It is important to come up with a time frame for the implementation of the voluntary early retirement scheme as some of the concerned units are already including this as a consideration in their future planning. This is a matter, which will be looked at by the Reform Steering Committee.
- As a matter of principle, it was agreed that already discussed and agreed upon issues at RPC should not be revisited.
E. Next Meeting
The next meeting of RPC is scheduled for 27 June 2000 at 11:00 am, in the Board Room, Administration Building.