Spanish rectors crave more power

September 24, 1999

Spanish rectors believe they should have more power, a survey has revealed.

The survey of Spanish rectors, council presidents and other senior higher education figures found that 95 per cent wanted changes to university governance, while 88 per cent believed the system by which professors were selected was inadequate.

Details of the survey, conducted on behalf of Spain's Council of Universities, were released at an international conference in Santander by education minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz.

He said that although rectors believe they should have more power, council presidents

disagree.

He added that opinion was virtually unanimous on the need for change in general. Rectors were also critical of the influence exerted on university affairs by students and the unions.

The question of how rectors should be appointed produced a diverse response. Asked who should nominate rectors to head the universities, 28 per cent said they should be elected directly, per cent suggested nomination by professors, and 19 per cent favoured appointment by the Council of Universities.

For academics who are not professors, however, the issue of how their rectors are appointed is largely irrelevant. Despite years inching their way to associate professor level, most are unlikely to take the final plunge.

"To get a job at the full professorial level is difficult," said one senior academic. "The professors are powerful and have a unique way of appointing their own."

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