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'Much is being done' - Rector

Prof. Juanito Camilleri

Prof. Juanito Camilleri

The University is currently engaged in about 70 research projects, mostly funded externally through EU and other instruments, while the University is contributing €6.75 million. The projects mainly involve departments in the faculties of Engineering, Medicine, Science and ICT, besides in European and Mediterranean studies and other humanities. On the commercial front, the University is rebranding and rationalising its companies in a bid to make them more competitive, and with an eye to enhance their services to industry.

This was revealed by University rector, Juanito Camilleri at a lunch for members of the media this week at the Old University Building, Valletta, during which he provided an overview of the University's activities as a part of its celebrations to mark its Foundation Day. The University was created on November 22, 1769, when Grand Master Pinto issued a decree transforming the Jesuit-run Collegium Melitense, which used to operate the same building, into a public university.

While the University has strengthened its research collaboration it is also vetting EU and other collaborative projects from a legal, logistical and financial perspective prior to submission to ensure that administration is in a better position to support these projects down the line, if approved for funding.

The University has issued a tender for an integrated ICT system to streamline operations in its finance, human resources and logistics departments, and is creating an administrative unit to support the academic quality assurance of its programmes.

With the setting up of the new Faculty of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), a new Department of Artificial Intelligence and a Department of Microelectronics and Nanoelectronics were created, while the Faculty of Engineering is undergoing major restructuring.

The ICT faculty's creation saw a range of degree programmes emerge in the discipline, including a number of three-year undergraduate programmes on different aspects of ICT; an evening undergraduate programme in ICT; the expansion of a conversion Master's programme in ICT give graduates in other disciplines an entry point into ICT; and a means of combining ICT undergraduate programmes with entrepreneurship and linguistics, among others.

In the Faculty of Science, an Earth Systems Science Unit is being created to introduce multi-disciplinary approach within the faculty, dealing with a broad range of issues related to the environment. The faculty has also launched a degree programme in collaboration with the Faculty of Economics, Management and Accountancy, combining finance with operations research and statistics.

This year, the University has also set up a Department of Youth and Community Studies in the Faculty of Education, and a Department of History of Art and a Department of Translation and Interpreting Studies in the Faculty of Arts.

The degree programme in translation was subsequently launched as a day course, making it widely accessible.

The University has introduced a number of joint masters programmes with a number of prestigious European counterparts, most notably a European Masters in Performer Studies (EMA-PS); and the Masters in Early Childhood Education and Care.

To encourage students to enhance their employability and attain a more holistic formation, the University launched the Degreeplus scheme, and students are being encouraged to spend time studying abroad on exchange. Next year, the University will be launching the first two joint/dual international masters programmes in collaboration with American and European counterparts, one on Sustainable Environmental Resources Management, and another on Integrated Marketing Communications.

The rector concluded by saying that while much still needs to be done to strengthen and improve the University though he added that "much is being done with the resources in hand".

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