The Malta Independent 17 October 2019, Thursday

University Council to meet today to discuss nominations for post of Rector

Rachel Attard and Neil Camilleri Friday, 12 February 2016, 07:38 Last update: about 5 years ago

The procedure for electing a new University Rector kick starts today as the Council of the University of Malta meets to discuss the candidates for the upcoming election.

Incumbent Juanito Camilleri’s (photo below) second five-year term expires towards the end of June. The election to replace him will be held on 18 March but the new Rector would only take office in July, after Professor Camilleri’s term expires. It is not clear whether the names of the candidates will be announced today.

Chemistry expert Professor Alfred Vella is considered to be the frontrunner in the race. The deans of all university faculties have reportedly agreed to back his nomination.

His main contender is Godfrey Baldacchino, professor of sociology and board chairman of the Centre for Labour Studies.

Associate professor Tanya Mifsud Bonnici, who is also the head of marketing at the Faculty of Economics, Management and Accountancy, dropped out of the race a while back.

Other names have been mentioned as possible contenders for the post. Several lecturers have informed this newsroom that Malta Enterprise Chairman Mario Vella, who teaches Political Economy and Sociology of Development and Economic Sociology at UoM, was considering throwing his hat into the ring. But Dr Vella told The Malta Independent that he had no intention of contesting for the post.

Other names being mentioned by university lecturers as possible candidates include visiting lecturer John P. Portelli and pharmacy lecturer Lilian Wismayer. Both had not replied to questions sent by this paper by the time of going to print.

University Rectors serve fiveyear terms. They are elected by the Council to serve as the principal academic and administrative officer of the University. According to the Education Act, “the election for the office of Rector shall take place three months before the end of the term of office of the Rector or, should there be a vacancy for any reason, not later than fifteen days after the vacancy occurs. The election shall take place at a meeting of Council called for the purpose. Every member of Council shall have the right to nominate a candidate to the office of Rector. If there are more than two candidates, each member shall show his preference by casting a single transferable vote. Prior to an election, the Council shall determine as required the procedural details relating to the method of election.”

A source explained that a draft protocol is expected to be adopted during today’s meeting. “Each of the 32 Council members can nominate a candidate for Rector. Nomination slips will be provided, and will need to be signed by the candidate confirming acceptance of the nomination. Nominations will be accepted until noon on 4 March. Each candidate shall be required to submit copies of his/her curriculum vitae and a statement of his/her vision for the University of Malta, including a five-year business plan, by noon on 11 March. Each candidate will have up to 30 minutes to make a pitch to Council on 18 March, before a vote is taken by secret ballot.”

The Council comprises 32 members, including the Rector, representatives of the Senate, members elected by academic staff, student representatives and 15 members “appointed by the Prime Minister to represent the general interest of the country.”


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