ANNUAL REPORT 1999 CHAIRPERSON’S OVERVIEW Early in 1999 it became apparent that the rapidly changing higher educational environment required FOTIM to re-evaluate its role and its capacity to meet new challenges. To this end a Vice-Chancellors’ Summit was held on 6 August 1999. This meeting confirmed the objectives of FOTIM as set out in its Constitution, and provided a clear direction and additional resources. The Vice-Chancellors’ Summit initiated a Regional Review Project in response to the request from the Department of Education that all regional consortia review and analyse the institutional plans of their members. FOTIM recognised the value of such a project to its own members as well as to the Department. The report produced by the project team should be useful as a basis for institutional planning and future regional co-operation. The increasing expectations of member institutions, the Department of Education, and donor organisations made it extremely difficult for members of the Executive to attend to the day-to-day running of FOTIM in addition to their normal duties. The Summit thus decided to strengthen the management infrastructure of FOTIM, by the appointment of a Director. This development had been anticipated when the FOTIM Constitution was approved some years ago. The appointment process is being conducted in an open and transparent manner, and the Selection Panel should be in a position to announce the name of the first Director of FOTIM shortly. At this juncture it is appropriate to acknowledge the considerable work done by various members of successive FOTIM Executive Committees and the generosity of their institutions in making these individuals available to serve the greater cause. Project ICT2000, which had originated at the Strategic Planning meeting of 1998, made notable progress during the year under the guidance of Professor Peter van Eldik. The initial investigation into the sub-project ICT2000: Human Resources was completed, with a comprehensive report being distributed to member institutions. ICT2000: National Connectivity involved ongoing negotiations between higher education institutions, international donors and TELKOM, whilst ICT for Flexible Learning was split further into three components, covering the establishment of an electronic Resource Inventory, an analysis of training needs at member institutions, and an investigation into the feasibility of Telecentres. GAELIC, FOTIM’s original project, entered its fourth successful year, under the leadership of Professor Heather Edwards, with the beginning of Phase 3 of Innopac implementation. GAELIC was instrumental in forming the Coalition of South African Library Consortia (COSALC), and made a valuable contribution to the implementation of the new National Union Catalogue at SABINET Online. FOTIM was represented at a number of meetings and conferences held by the Regional Higher Education Directors (RHEDs) and the Centre for Higher Education Transformation (CHET) during the course of the year. The Council for Higher Education (CHE) invited the RHEDs to its first Consultative Forum held at the end of November 1999. The Chairperson represented FOTIM at this meeting as we had not yet appointed a Director. Likewise, Professor June Sinclair participated in a conference on collaboration and consortia in Amherst in the United Stated at the invitation of the Ford Foundation. Important foundations were laid during this year, and these will enable FOTIM to intensify its activities in the pursuit of its objectives in years to come. The dedication of the Executive and the administrative staff, together with the support of our members, made this possible. 2. ROLE OF FOTIM At the Strategic Planning Workshop held in 1998, the vision of FOTIM was formulated as follows: FOTIM’s vision to 2005 is to facilitate opportunities for the benefit of higher education through collaborative projects. In following this vision, considerable emphasis was placed during the period under review on clarifying the role of regional consortia in Higher Education, and their relationship to the Department of Education, SAUVCA and CTP. The possibility of a major role for the consortia was raised after discussions at RHEDs meetings, which concentrated on the need for careful analysis of the three-year rolling plans that institutions had been required to submit to the Department of Education. Concern was expressed that unless these plans were carefully considered within each consortium, a lack of coherence for the various regions might result. The Department of Education wished to engage the consortia on questions of regional inter- institutional co-operation. Moreover, the Council on Higher Education would need the input of the consortia in order best to fulfil its responsibility of advising the Minister in terms of the Higher Education Act. The Department of Education circulated a document entitled Higher Education Institutional Plans: Guidelines for the Second Planning Phase – 2000/2002, to all institutions, calling for a review at regional level of institutional plans. In addition to this, it had become apparent that FOTIM required a more solid administrative structure if it were to take on additional projects. The FOTIM Executive Committee proposed that a summit be held to obtain clear direction from the FOTIM Board. 2.1 FOTIM SUMMIT: 6 August 1999 Vice-Chancellors and FOTIM Representatives attended this meeting, which focussed on the following four key questions: What is the future role of FOTIM? What should FOTIM do regarding current and future projects? How should the annual regional review of institutional plans be undertaken? What capacity and structures are required to enable FOTIM to carry out the above? The Summit resulted in unequivocal recommendations that: FOTIM’s identity should be more clearly defined and its visibility raised FOTIM’s capacity and structure should be strengthened FOTIM should continue as a single consortium FOTIM should continue to operate on a regional level FOTIM’s relationship with other bodies needed to be defined FOTIM should participate in reviews of regional plans FOTIM member institutions should continue to be committed to current projects 3. ADMINISTRATION 3.1 MANAGEMENT STRUCTURE AND ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT At the AGM in March 1999, the following office bearers were elected: Dr DM Moore Technikon SA Chairperson Prof L Patel Wits University Deputy Chairperson Prof P van Eldik Technikon Pretoria Treasurer Prof J Sinclair University of Pretoria Executive Committee Member Ms Jenny Taylor was appointed Administrative Officer from 1 May 1999. 3.2 MEMBERSHIP The University of the North was accepted as a member in May 1999. 3.3 FOTIM FINANCES The Extract from the Report of the Independent Auditors is appended. A Money Market Investment Account was opened up for both GAELIC and FOTIM and the existing investment accounts closed at the end of November 1999, in order to attract a higher rate of interest. As the third signatory on the accounts was no longer representing his institutions on the FOTIM Board, an alternative signatory, Professor Patel, was appointed. In line with the anticipated future role of FOTIM, three Budget scenarios had been presented at the FOTIM Summit. Institutions recognised that their current financial contributions would be inadequate to support the strengthening of FOTIM’s infrastructure. Scenario 3, specifying a fixed membership fee for 2000 and allowing for the appointment of a Director and increased operating costs for the three FOTIM projects, was adopted and the Budget 2000 was approved at the November Board meeting. The Executive Committee assured the Board that it was sensitive to maintaining a balance between utilising funds to the maximum whilst not spending indiscriminately. 4. PROJECTS 4.1 GAELIC PHASE 1: The six Phase 1 Libraries (Technikon Northern Gauteng, Technikon Pretoria, Technikon SA, Technikon Witwatersrand, Unisa and the University of the Witwatersrand) have fully implemented the Innopac system and are familiar with all aspects of its operation. Users have expressed satisfaction with the system, and several institutions have increased the number of user licences. The funds remaining in the Phase 1 grant will be spent during 2000 on additional modules currently being developed by III and hardware upgrades. PHASE 2: Phase 2 libraries (MEDUNSA, Potchefstroom University, Rand Afrikaans University, the University of Pretoria, Vista University and Vaal Triangle Technikon) had fully implemented Innopac by September 1999. Two Free State institutions (Technikon Free State and the University of Free State) participated in Phase 2. PHASE 3: A grant of $678 000 was awarded by the Mellon Foundation in March 1999 to the GAELIC Phase 3 libraries (Technikon North West, University of the North, the University of North West and the University of Venda). All hardware platforms were installed, and implementation meetings were held regularly. TestPac training was held in November. The lack if IT expertise at some sites is cause for concern, and has been brought to the attention of the FOTIM Board. THE NATIONAL UNION CATALOGUE The implementation of the new National Union Catalogue at SABINET Online has been of great interest to GAELIC as the NUC will form the basis of resource sharing in the region. GAELIC made a valuable contribution to the process, especially the drawing up of specifications. The installation and configuration of the hardware and implementation of the Innopac software took place during 1999. Existing catalogues were extracted and converted to USMarc. Clean-up and authorisation by OCLC and LTI was completed in August. The awarding of a grant by the Mellon Foundation to SABINET Online in December 1999 for the purchase and development of document supply/inter-library lending software will further advance the objective of GAELIC to share resources in the region and nationally. COSALC (Coalition of South African Library Consortia) Inaugurated on 1 July 1999, this group represents the first movement towards real co- operation amongst all South African library consortia. Its focus at present is the purchase of expensive electronic full-text journals for the tertiary sector nationally, and it will pay attention to the establishment of the South African Site Licensing Initiative (SASLI) during its pilot phase. FRELICO: A Memorandum of Understanding was drawn up between GAELIC and FRELICO in such a way that co-operation is formalised without impinging upon the autonomy of either partner. GAELIC STRUCTURE The management of GAELIC was restructured in 1999, with a Strategic Management Team leading four Focus Area Teams. The Strategic Management Team dealt with such matters as the structuring and expertise profiles of teams and workgroups, VAT exemption, GAELIC’s Budget 2000, the need for business plans and communication strategies for teams and projects, inter- consortial co-operation and links with overseas consortia, and membership issues. The Focus Area Teams: Business Management The Financial Guidelines, compiled by the Finance Workgroup, were accepted by the FOTIM Board. A document entitled Guidelines on the Selling of Products, Services and Expertise of GAELIC was drafted, and the Communication and Marketing Plan was revised. The Marketing Workgroup initiated the upgrading of the GAELIC web page. Human Resources Three training projects were held for the benefit of GAELIC members during the year, viz. Computer Literacy, Team Building and Copyright. Information Resources Negotiations took place with III regarding the additional products required by GAELIC Phases 1 and 2. Various training sessions were held to assist staff in GAELIC institutions. Information and Communication Technology Although there had been little activity in this team during 1999, it will in future investigate server requirements at member institutions, as well as the effect of electronic projects on local networks. 4.2PROJECT ICT2000 ICT2000: HUMAN RESOURCES Following the Strategic Planning Workshop of 1998, it had become evident that an urgent need existed for the identification of critical skills-shortage areas, sharing of expertise, joint training of staff and revision of compensation models. The need for the development of Regional IT Support Centres to ensure an adequate pool of resources that can provide the necessary back-up support was also identified. Early in 1999 the FOTIM Board agreed to engage a consultant to investigate alternative models for regional collaboration of IT departments of member institutions. Discussions were held with a delegation of the Northern Universities and Technikons IT Directors Group (referred to as the IT Directors Group). A Steering Committee consisting of two members of the IT Directors Group and two members of the FOTIM Board was formed, and resolved to use the funds budgeted for the launch of Project ICT2000 towards the appointment of a consultant. Dr Anthon Botha of TechnoScene undertook a study to identify current problems and possible solutions within IT in member institutions, and produced a report entitled An Assessment and a Business Plan on the Knowledge Base and Human Resource Requirements in Information and Communications Technology for FOTIM Members. The report will be examined at institutions and feedback forwarded to the Project Steering Committee for discussion at the AGM of March 2000. Both the Executive Committee and the Board expressed satisfaction at the relevance of the report. ICT2000: NATIONAL CONNECTIVITY FOTIM participated in a national connectivity initiative led by Dr Stuart Saunders and Dr Jim Leatt, which is negotiating broadband access for higher education at lower tariffs, and international donor funding. Mr Henry Watermeyer of the University of the Witwatersrand was requested to represent FOTIM at this initiative. A needs analysis and business plan was formulated, but the project has fallen behind schedule due to delays with TELKOM’s technical proposal. Negotiations are ongoing. ICT FOR FLEXIBLE LEARNING This project stems from the key objectives identified at the FOTIM ICT2000 Workshop of 1998: The development of appropriate ICT-based delivery systems for flexible learning and the sharing of resources. The joint training of staff and students as well as joint courseware development and learner support in order to optimise benefits and cost-effectiveness. FOTIM member institutions were invited to nominate a person to attend a Strategic Planning Workshop on the Utilisation of ICT in Flexible Learning held on 22 June 1999, at which three sub-projects emerged: Resource Inventory: to establish an electronic inventory of resources that can be shared by member institutions. The web- based database had been set up by the end of the year and awaited data input by member institutions. Training Needs Analysis: To investigate training opportunities in flexible learning. A workshop will be held in 2000 which will focus on clarifying terminology as well as being a training event itself. Training has been identified as one of the most pressing needs at all institutions. Telecentres: To investigate the feasibility of establishing telecentres in rural areas, or of linking with existing ones. 4.3 REGIONAL REVIEW OF INSTITUTIONAL PLANS This project was precipitated at the FOTIM Summit by the Department of Education’s request for a Regional Review Report. A team consisting of Dr Anthon Botha of TechnoScene, Professor Jos Grobbelaar and Professor Casper Schutte, had been selected from potential consultants. An Expert Group comprising Mr Adrian Hultquist of Technikon Southern Africa, Dr Jenny Pretorius of Vaal Triangle Technikon, Dr Glynn Nicholls of the University of the Witwatersrand, Mr Tito Khalo of Technikon North West, Professor Peter van Eldik of FOTIM, and Professor DR Thakhathi of the University of Venda, would test the ideas of the consultants, provide additional information and give input and feedback on the report in progress. TechnoScene would be accountable for the final report. The project was well under way in November, even though institutional plans were still awaited from certain institutions which had been granted extensions by the Department of Education. FOTIM itself, in turn, had had to request an extension from the Department to the end of January 2000. MEDUNSA had declined participation in the project. The FOTIM Chairperson stressed that even though the report was a requirement of the Department of Education, it would be primarily for the benefit of individual institutions, and for FOTIM to identify opportunities for collaboration. The cost of the project had already been included in the budget for 1999. 5. LIAISON WITH OTHER BODIES 5.1 RHEDs (Regional Higher Education Directors) Professor Sinclair, the Chairperson of FOTIM in 1998, had attended the 2nd FORCE (Forum for Regional Consortia in Education) Workshop at the end of 1998, where it was resolved that the directors of the various consortia should meet regularly to share information relating both to the activities of their consortia and to issues pertaining to tertiary education in general. The 3rd FORCE workshop held at the Fish River Sun in October 1999 was attended by Dr Moore and Professor Patel, who participated further in the discussion on national collaboration in higher education. Three additional meetings, one of which was a teleconference, were held during 1999. The salient issues dealt with were the Ford Foundation grant for regional higher education planning, and the Department of Education Planning Guidelines for 2000-2002, from which developed the FOTIM Regional Review Project funded by a grant from the Ford Foundation. Dr DM Moore and Professor JD Sinclair represented FOTIM at the RHEDS meetings. 5.2 FORD FOUNDATION At a meeting with the RHEDs and CHET early in June, Dr R Fehnel and Professor D Ekong of the Ford Foundation invited the RHEDs to submit a funding proposal for an inter-regional planning grant, and the regional consortia to submit their own proposals for grants or renewals of grants. FOTIM’s proposal for funding was accepted by the Ford Foundation and US$150 000 was allocated for the two-year period August 1999 to July 2001. The Ford Foundation also sponsored attendance at two conference in the United States. Professor Sinclair represented FOTIM at the Amherst Conference entitled Cultures of Co-operation: The Future Role of Consortia in Higher Education, organised and hosted by Five Colleges Incorporated. Advocate Labuschagne, representing COLISA but reporting back to FOTIM as well, attended the Washington Conference organised by the Association of Consortia Leadership. 5.3 ERNEST OPPENHEIMER MEMORIAL TRUST Towards the end of 1999, a letter and discussion document were received from the Trust, informing FOTIM that the Trustees had been considering proposals to significantly increase the value of the awards attached to the University Travelling Fellowships, the WD Wilson Visiting Fellowships and the GR Bozzoli Senior and Junior Fellowships to render them more competitive and thereby increase both the status and prestige attached to these awards. Mr RM Godsell, Chairman of the Trust, requested time to address the FOTIM Board early in 2000 about the proposed new configuration of the Fellowships. 6. THE YEAR AHEAD 2000 promises to be a busy year. The appointment of a Director will significantly increase the capacity of FOTIM to participate in and contribute towards regional and national initiatives, while the securing of funds from the Ford Foundation will enable current projects to be developed, and new projects to be conceived.