Email correspondence intercepted by this publication reveals a toxic working relationship between Deputy Executive Director at Botswana Accountancy College (BAC) Byron Brown and his subordinates.
On Monday July 30, 2018 at 9:30pm, BAC Compliance and Quality Assurance Manager Joseph Bukenya Lukoma wrote an email to Brown and copied to relevant academic members of staff, raising his concerns over a Student Feedback Report that was sanctioned by Brown with input from a University of Botswana (UB) lecturer, a known associate of Brown. The report covered among other student concerns, the best and worst lecturers and the impact of a high student/ lecturer ratio on lecturer performance.
In his email addressing the report, the Quality Assurance Manager hailed the findings as a ‘‘very good exception report as it highlights aspects for the benefit of senior management’’. Lukoma however angered Brown when he highlighted that the report does not address the objectives of student feedback, in providing feedback to the module lecturer who wants to know how well he is doing on each module he teaches and any issues he has to address to improve performance and programme delivery.
Lukoma listed five other components that he felt the report failed to cover. ‘‘It is also important to note that the report completely ignored the numerous comments, suggestions and observation made by the students in each of the four sections of the questionnaire’’ Lukoma pointed out, and going so far as to attach a sample of the Post Graduate Diploma in Advanced Taxation ‘‘for the team to appreciate the kind of detailed information that will be provided to avoid six shortcomings I have alluded to above’’.
Brown responded to Lukoma’s email on Wednesday 1st August seething with anger. ‘‘On a personal note, on the student feedback. I do not have time for grand standing. You seem to seek attention. Who are you to tell me what data I need, when and how? Also, what size you think the report would be?’’, Brown fired off his salvos at Lukoma, an officer who by virtue of his position as Quality Assurance Manager, is well placed to deliberate on matters of quality assurance within the institution.
Brown dressed down Lukoma in the email, that was copied to other colleagues and reminded him of his authority by stating, ‘‘ The report in its current form is one that I made an executive decision about in terms of what is suitable and appropriate as a first cut into the data. Also, show regard for authority structure. I do not expect you to write to me. Report your issues and concerns to your line manager, who here-forth and henceforth shall sit in our academic briefing’’
Continuing his rebuke of Lukoma, Brown wrote, ‘‘Take note of your own failure to generate a meaningful report over the years, despite claiming that you are in the role of QA. You have failed to generate a meaningful report on any of the issues you raised. You have no basis on which to write your email, as you (sic) incompetence in the analysis of student feedback data has laid bare for all to see over the years’’ This publication has ascertained that Lukoma has not been the subject of any disciplinary proceedings on allegations of incompetence.
This publication is in possession of the Detailed Student Feedback which Brown worked on with a UB lecturer (name known to this publication) and which some members of staff allege it was doctored to favour lecturers who are in Brown’s good books while discrediting those he allegedly does not favour or prefer.
This publication has also intercepted a letter of appointment written by Brown when he was still Director of School of Business and Leisure appointing a lecturer who has since parted ways with BAC on allegations of soliciting sex from students in lieu of favourable marks. Brown, who was headhunted from Jamaica by former BAC Executive Director Mike Lesolle, brought in the said lecturer and wrote him a letter congratulating him on his appointment and further advised him that he is ‘‘entitled to discuss this appointment and to seek advice on this position with the Director of the Unit (Brown) or the Executive Director of BAC, or with anyone else you trust’’. It is not clear why the appointment memo came from Brown and not from the Human Resource Manager.
BAC Marketing and Corporate Communications Manager Mpho Victoria Mokgosi informed this publication that the BAC recruitment process follows human resources best practices while Brown did not respond to enquiries sent to him.