Magnificent? No, eternal… and the Bologna process?

Magnificent? No, eternal”, writes the Italian weekly Panorama (24.4.10) on Professor Giovanni Cannata, the Magnificent Rector of the University of Molise – or more modestly termed vice-chancellor in English.

Il Magnifico Rettore; Universita' degli Studi di Molise

He’s held the office for 15 years and wants another three, the longest serving Magnifico in the history of Italy.

He’ll certainly have read Machiavelli’s Prince, says Panorama noting that he has filled the university with his favourites, in many cases relatives.

His adviser, Valerio Barbieri, a former petrol pump attendant, after quickly graduating in economics became a top manager, hired his wife, the wife’s brother, the brother’s wife, the wife of the brother of the wife down to the cousins … creating also 300 places for contract professors from every walk of life, lawyers, journalists, politicians, judges as well as an ex-footballer from the local team.

Valerio Barbieri

Between 2000 and 2008 full professors increased by 153% while associate professors rose by 186%. Meanwhile the student population has risen by merely 19% while 16% drop out in their first year and only 14% graduate on time.

I wonder how all this sits with the much vaunted Bologna process aimed at standardising degrees and practices within Europe.

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6 Responses to Magnificent? No, eternal… and the Bologna process?

  1. Paul R Hyde says:

    The Magnificent One

    It is well known that the rectors of Italian universities are men of extraordinary abilities, of penetrating intellectual powers, and above all of diamantine moral integrity. Quite understandably these luminaries enjoy enormous prestige in the academic world not only in Italy but in far-off universities like Oxford, Yale, Moscow and East Salford.

    The English scientist Rupert Sheldrake upset many in the scientific world with his provocative theory of morphic resonance which might be considered a kind of telepathy occurring both in nature and in the human sphere. Sheldrake’s theory is intended to explain how information is shared unintentionally between living creatures. The theory is unproven and it is difficult to create tests which might verify the claims made for it.

    But in southern Italy at the University of Molise the theory has already been tested, verified and proven beyond all reasonable doubt. The pioneer is 63 year-old Giovanni Cannata, rector of the university for the past fifteen years and shortly to be re-elected for a further three years making him the longest serving rector in any Italian university since the Big Bang. Single handed, Cannata has brought morphic resonance out of the realms of science fiction and has made of it a visible and tangible reality. Cannata is a man of very exceptional talent.

    Cannata is not a scientist in the usual sense of the term; his area is economics and he is currently professor of economics and agrarian theory. But he is like all Italian rectors an ‘illuminated one’ and his magnificence consists in his ability to transmit his own genius to others. Here is Cannata’s practical application of morphic resonance. This is the story of his right hand man, Valerio Barbieri, the top manager at the University of Molise. It is a story of rags to riches and it is a living proof of morphic resonance. Twenty years ago our top manager was a lowly petrol pump attendant in the provinces. Then he became a janitor at the university, a post often reserved for those with learning difficulties. Quite soon after he was promoted to department secretary responsible for dosing out research funds to the professors. Lo! Signor Barbieri became Dottor Barbieri. This was high-speed learning and the speed has been measured at 186,000 miles per second which corresponds to the speed of information transmission in morphic resonance.
    Having been illuminated by Cannata, Barbieri was at once able by virtue of morphic resonance to illuminate others: his wife and his wife’s brother followed by the wife of his wife’s brother. That was only a start because his cousins followed like bees to the honeypot.

    But the rector, the magnificent Cannata, was not sitting about idly leaving his protégé with the task of illuminating his family into university jobs. If anything, Cannata was working overtime on morphic resonance and he certainly did get up to speed. In the last few years he has illuminated over 300 others including judges, journalists, TV directors, doctors, magistrates, politicians, police, and a nurse and a footballer all of whom are now contract professors.

    All of this has made the University of Molise a beacon of light and learning with an increase in professors of 186% over eight years, (yes, 186 again!) showing the power of morphic resonance and leaving the student population lagging far behind with a mere 19% increase.

  2. Robert Coates says:

    Dear Blog,

    While accepting that Professor Giovanni Cannata, the Magnificent Rector of the University of Molise, has indeed been in office for a long time, he remains far from being the longest serving Rettor in Italian History or even present rettore. That honours goes to Prof Preti of the university of Brescia who has been ‘Magnifico’ in Brescia University since the founding of the university in 1983 – 27 years! Furthermore he applied for an extension of this term which fortunately has been finally refused by the present minister for education, Gelmini – one of his ex students!

  3. Steve says:

    I find it unnerving that the Rettore was not able to find a posticino for his very own children. Vergogna!

  4. María José says:

    Minister Brunetta, where are you and your “transparency” for the public administration? I’m afraid that Mr professor Cannana, TI HA PROPRIO CANNATO => Mr Cannana has really cheated you.

  5. anne warren says:

    I could hardly believe that Sheldrake’s theory of morphic resonance has been tested, verified and proven beyond all reasonable doubt on the grounds of evidence provided by the vice chancellor of Molise University, the magnificent Giovanni Cannata. What a breakthrough! What a step forward in modernity and progress!
    Could this be mere anecdotal evidence? No, it appears to be a trend as the same occurs at Brescia University . The next step is to establish whether it is common practice in Italy and if so, the extent of its impact on academic life, as well as on Italian students and schools. Could this extraordinary phenomenon be linked to Italy coming close to the bottom in various rankings of universities and scholastic achievements? Could it possibly be associated with the widespread corruption that was recently documented in a Council of Europe report ? Only careful analysis of further data will provide the answers to these major questions but a report in Nature is not to be discounted should these hypotheses hold true!! What truly interesting times we live in!!

  6. G A Boyd says:

    La riconferma al vertice dell’Università degli Studi del Molise del Professor Cannata per un sesto mandato di durata triennale appare in netto contrasto con lo spirito, gli obiettivi e la disciplina del Disegno di legge di riforma delle Università all’esame del Senato». Lo ha dichiarato il Senatore Giuseppe Astore annunciando la presentazione di un’interpellanza urgente al Ministro dell’Istruzione, dell’Università e della Ricerca. «Il Disegno di Legge, in questione – afferma il parlamentare molisano – oltre ad introdurre sistemi di controllo ritenuti più efficienti, ad esempio, sul bilancio, sulla composizione e sull’operato del Consiglio di Amministrazione per garantire maggiore trasparenza e imparzialità dei diversi organismi accademici, dispone il limite inderogabile per la carica di Rettore, non rinnovabile per più di due mandati e, in ogni caso, per un massimo di otto anni. Alcuni articoli del testo evidenziano la volontà di improntare le nuove regole all’imparzialità e alla massima trasparenza nella gestione degli atenei. Con l’interpellanza, firmata anche dai senatori Franco, Serafini e Garavaglia, si chiede con urgenza al Ministro competente quali provvedimenti intenda adottare per garantire anche per l’Università del Molise, un’effettiva ed immediata efficacia degli indirizzi formulati nel nuovo testo che limita il mandato dei Rettori, norma più che condivisibile, considerando che alcuni di essi, nelle varie tornate elettorali, hanno ottenuto, con regolamenti e modifiche statutarie “ad personam”, di superare ampiamente il limite dei due mandati e degli otto anni. Mi auguro- conclude Astore – che prevalga la volontà di tutti ed in particolare delle Istituzioni di spronare tutti a dare il meglio e a non accontentarsi di un sistema universitario che ha luci e ombre, non rinviando scelte chiare e trasparenti circa l’organizzazione dell’ateneo molisano che ha bisogno di soluzioni efficaci e nuove logiche per essere competitivo anche a livello internazionale».

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