“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. http://rassegnastampa.unipi.it/rassegna/archivio/2010/04/16SIR5044.PDF
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.
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.