In order to provide foresight, oversight, insight, as well as steer SMMS towards a sustainable future, a new three-tier governance model has been adopted for the institution, replacing the Governing Council.
The three tiers are the SMMS Trust, the Non-Profit Company (NPC) and the Board of Directors.
The SMMS Trust owns and maintains the land on which SMMS is built and will not be involved in the operations of the SMMS NPC. The guiding principle is that the Trust is a stakeholder who has long term interest in the institution. The Trust appoints members of the NPC. The trustees who serve on the NPC must preferably be members of Conference.
The NPC, as a shareholder, appoints the Directors of the Board. The NPC is composed of seven members with a long term interest in the seminary. The MCSA is also represented in the NPC.
The SMMS Board of Directors will have a maximum of 16 Directors appointed by members of the NPC, nine ex officio by portfolio and seven elected to ensure that the board possesses relevant expertise and skills (fundraising, human resources, legal, academic development, etc.) for it to provide strategic direction to the institution through adopting sound, ethical, and legal governance and financial management policies, as well as making sure that the institution has adequate resources to execute its mandate.
Board Chairperson, Dr Phumla Mnganga gave the rationale for the adoption of a new governance structure: “A Governing Council is a model that is used in public universities which receive funding from government and operate under the Higher Education Act. We had a bit of a hybrid model in which we had a Governing Council while being a private institution. It was a model which looks similar to public universities but under a framework that is for private institutions. A private institution needs a private sector governance model which has a proper Board in terms of the Companies Act. There is a need to understand the clear separation of governance roles and decision-making between the MCSA and SMMS.”
She applauded the new model arguing that it is much more effective than its predecessor.
She said, “The Governing Council was just too big. I did not think that it was agile and flexible enough to take this institution into the future. I am one of the people who felt strongly that the governance model needed to change. We needed a proper board with strong committees.
“It is more appropriate for SMMS to remain anchored in the principles and policies of MCSA because it is primarily an institution of Methodist ministerial training, thus a child of the church, but to also be an institution that is financially sustainable on its own, and for the Board to have a fiduciary responsibility to SMMS, not to MCSA. The President should be appointed by the Board not by Conference.”