Two officials from Malta’s higher education regulator, the National Commission for Further and Higher Education (NCFHE), have been employed as lecturers by the American University of Malta.
Manuel Vella Rago was until recently Head of Quality Assurance at the NCFHE, while Audrey Abela was its Head of Accreditation, both key roles in the regulation of the AUM.
Abela has also previously worked within the Strategy and Implementation Department and the People and Standards Departments at the Office of the Prime Minister.
Both will start working at the Bormla campus as of the next scholastic year, with Vella Rago teaching philosophy, comparative religion and business ethics and Abela teaching psychology and managing the Teaching and Learning Centre.
The AUM, the brainchild of the Jordan-based Sadeen Group, was announced in 2015, promising an American-style private university education to students in the middle of the Mediterranean. The NCFHE accredited it as a university in 2016, subject to several conditions.
However, it has found itself mired in several controversies, most notably its plans to expand its current Cospicua campus to virgin land in Marsaskala. A low initial intake of students and a mass sacking of staff also saw the AUM accused by some of not being a legitimate university.
Yet it has since managed to improve its situation, completing infrastructural works on its campus, hiring a new group of staff and lecturers and attracting some 80 students as of last February.
AUM was officially launched in March, with Prime Minister Joseph Muscat expressing his confidence that it will fulfil its contract with the government. The contract requires the AUM to complete its entire project by 2025 and attract 4,000 students in the following four years.