One of six ‘new’ lecturers hired by the beleaguered American University of Malta stepped down earlier this week after he was faced with reports of plagiarism,  Times of Malta has learnt.

Robert Cardullo, who was employed by the AUM a few weeks ago following a ‘due diligence’ exercise by the National Commission for Further and Higher Education, was asked to relinquish his post after information emerged on his “colourful” past.

When contacted, AUM provost John Ryder, who hired the American don to lecture in the department of humanities and social sciences, confirmed that Prof. Cardullo resigned this week. However, he would not say what led to the professor’s sudden departure saying that this was “a personal action that is confidential”.

Times of Malta is informed that, shortly after his recruitment, questions arose on how the professor could have been given the job since he was known within international university circuits for his “bad record”.

A search on the internet produces a raft of reports about Prof. Cardullo’s antics. Online reports indicate he was forced to resign from University of Michigan a few years ago due to plagiarism and that he had to leave the US to find academic employment elsewhere.

There is doubt that anything he has ever written is completely free of plagiarism or unacknowledged republished material- Griffin

“Among those who are familiar with his work, there is doubt that anything he has ever written is completely free of plagiarism or unacknowledged republished material,” Robert Griffin, a professor at the University of Vermont, said in a post.

The University of Cambridge, one of the most renowned tertiary education institutions in the world, had issued a statement, posted online, denouncing Prof. Cardullo’s plagiarism in articles appearing on The Cambridge Quarterly.

“The articles listed – all written by Bert Cardullo – have been retracted at the request of the editors with the support of the publisher owing to issues of plagiarism and duplicate publication”, Cambridge University said.

“This latest incident shows that whoever is managing the American University of Malta has no idea of how a university should be run,” sources close to the private university said.

“It shows the level of due diligence made by the Maltese regulators. How can something like this happen in a serious country,” another source wondered.

The AUM fired all its members of faculty in December following dismal results connected with the recruitment of students.

The AUM was originally planning an intake of about 300 students in the first semester but only managed to attract 15, most of them having been given scholarships by the University’s Jordanian owners, construction group Sadeen.

Read: AUM cuts student projections by half

All lecturers and most of the administration staff were sacked just before their six months’ probation period was up.

Read: Keep quiet, AUM tells dismissed lecturers

The NCHFE, which issued the controversial licence to the AUM said it was not happy with the dismissal of the faculty members. It pointed out that the new recruits, including Prof. Cardullo, “have been assessed and it is deemed that they meet the criteria required of academic staff to conduct the accredited programmes at the AUM”.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, who had described the AUM’s presence in Malta as a game changer in tertiary education, said last week that “like the University of Malta, the AUM was a brilliant institution”.


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