Although he said he was surprised by the news that University of The Bahamas (UB) President Dr. Rodney Smith is looking for opportunities elsewhere, Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd yesterday assured that the university has a plan and will not be significantly impacted by the upcoming leadership transition.
“It’s a bit of a surprise to, certainly, me, this turn of events,” Lloyd said outside Cabinet.
“The impact, naturally, is going to be whatever impact that we have whenever you’re transitioning from one administration to another.
“…But we will respond and the board is now exercising its requirement in terms of searching for a replacement.
“The University of The Bahamas has a plan. And that plan will be executed and administered irrespective of who the personality is in that particular position, although each personality has his or her strengths and weaknesses and amenities and other benefits. And we are proud of what Rodney has done for the university and we obviously wish him the best.”
In a statement released on Tuesday, UB’s Board of Trustees said Smith advised that he does not plan to renew his contract, which expires in August 2022. The announcement came after it was revealed through social media that Smith is a finalist in the West Virginia State University’s search for its 12th president.
The historically Black university, which is located in Institute, West Virginia, started its search for a new president in mid-January.
A decision is expected to be made by July 13.
Lloyd said that while Smith was an outstanding leader, the university will continue in the best interest of its students.
“Life is about changes,” he said.
“We are here today and gone tomorrow.
“…Dr. Smith came and provided outstanding leadership. Dr. Smith has decided that he is moving on. To God be the glory. We will carry on. The University of The Bahamas and the Commonwealth of The Bahamas is bigger than any of us.
“…And he has left an incredible legacy and we will carry on and do very well.”
Asked if Smith’s replacement will be a Bahamian, Lloyd said the decision will be purely merit-based.
“We will be replacing him with the most qualified candidate according to the board and the government of The Bahamas, the most qualified,” he said.