The Prime Minister’s announcement to locate a university in the south led to speculation about the involvement of the Chicago-based DePaul University. Times of Malta is reproducing the points raised by the university in reply to its questions to set the record straight

• DePaul University is not establishing a branch campus and will not be issuing degrees in Malta.

• Sadeen Education Investment Ltd (SEI) is seeking approval to establish the American University of Malta (AUM). As part of this process, SEI contracted with DePaul to develop curriculum materials for 10 programs at AUM: five bachelor degrees, one MBA, and four doctoral programs.

De Paul has no involvement in relation to financial resources committed to the project

• Such curricula were developed in collaboration between DePaul and AUM, represented by SEI, in accordance with an agreement signed between mentioned parties. The aforesaid 10 programs, along with an application for University licence, were all submitted by SEI to the National Commission for Further and High Education (NCFHE) in Malta on May 4, 2015 in order to license the American University of Malta as a University.

• Furthermore, DePaul is willing to continue collaborating and cooperating with AUM by providing consultative academic support to the project (further programme development, policies, quality assurance, academic structure development and other issues as may be required).

• DePaul has no involvement in relation to financial resources committed to the project (meaning its land, buildings and the infrastructure).

• DePaul has not been involved in any negotiation between SEI and the Maltese government in relation to the American University of Malta project.

Aesthetics should be the emphasis – Sandro Chetcuti

Sandro ChetcutiSandro Chetcuti

Special attention should be given to the aesthetics and design of the proposed American university for it to blend with the natural surroundings, Malta Developers Association president Sandro Chetcuti said.

While wholly supporting the project, Mr Chetcuti argued that a genuine effort should be made to locate an alternative, less pristine site. However, if no other option was identified, architects had to exert the utmost caution to ensure that the building’s design integrated with the surrounding environment.

“I understand that the government had to resort to ODZ land as there are no such large expanses of land in established development zones. ODZ land is also cheaper. At least, this is a project of national interest – unlike that of Smart City, where the aim of creating 4,000 jobs was left unfulfilled. Smart City has become somewhat akin to real estate, with land being used to build villas and restaurants.”

The architects of the proposed university should place heavy emphasis on aesthetics, he stressed, ensuring that the skyline and the topography of the terrain was respected.

“We can’t afford massive buildings which ruin the skyline. The university shouldn’t be more than a storey and a half high, while a garden should decorate its roofs, for example. Water tanks should be placed in a basement.”

The Danish village, he added, was a good example of how buildings blended with the natural surroundings.

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