The University of Hong Kong (HKU) yesterday unveiled a plan for the radical overhaul of its governance and management in response to last year's review of higher education by the University Grants Committee. A panel of independent advisers has recommended the university slash the number of members on its council - which decides the direction and financial control of the university - from 54 to 21. The vice-chancellor's role would change to focus on the strategic development and promotion of the university in the community - including fund-raising - rather than on day-to-day affairs. To run the institution, he should work with a professional team of full-time academic managers, including a deputy vice-chancellor, a new post; pro-vice-chancellors, faculty deans and heads of departments. All deans would be appointed by selection committees rather than elected by faculty members and the search should be conducted internationally. Two-thirds of the council should be lay members drawn from outside. The rest should be university staff and two students. Students would enjoy equal voting rights, including for appointing vice-chancellors. The senate, the principal academic authority, should be reduced to a maximum of 50, including three students, from the present 180. HKU commissioned two international educators - Neil Rudenstein, ex-president of Harvard University, and John Niland, former vice-chancellor of the University of New South Wales - with Chief Justice Andrew Li Kwok-nang to conduct the review, which began six months ago. The panel's convenor, Professor Niland, said HKU needed to respond to global changes. 'We are trying to take bureaucracy out of a large and complex organisation,' he said. The council will consider the review document, Fit for Purpose, when it meets next week.