The Academic Board is responsible for the academic governance of the University. It supports the University’s commitment to academic excellence and the delivery of the highest quality education and research programmes and awards. The University’s benchmarks for robust internal academic quality management are informed by the UK Quality Assurance Agency; and its remit, summarised in its Terms of Reference, extends beyond regulating the academic work of the University to encompass issues such as research, scholarship, quality teaching and learning processes, curriculum enhancement and student learning experience. The Academic Board is the guardian of academic standards and plays a role in advising on matters relating to the academic components of the University’s Strategic Plan. It discharges certain of its responsibilities through standing sub-committees.

Professor Catherine Bachleda (Chair)

University of Gibraltar

Professor Catherine Bachleda is Vice-Chancellor at the University of Gibraltar. She is responsible for providing leadership, developing, implementing and monitoring the university’s academic policies and practices. She is committed to the concept of continuous improvement.

Over the past 30 years, Professor Bachleda has worked in North Africa, the Middle East, the USA, the United Kingdom and Australia in a variety of management, quality, and learning roles, in both academia and industry.

Her leadership positions include: Chief Executive Officer of a leading accredited corporation providing executive and continuing education; Director of a small corporate law firm; Assistant Vice-President for Academic Affairs in an accredited American-style university located in Morocco; and more recently Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Gibraltar. In these roles, she has provided leadership in strategic planning, quality assurance, staff performance management and development, programme design and implementation, resource allocation and statutory compliance. She also possesses extensive experience in establishing accreditation-compliant processes and in business development. Her main research interests lie in the fields of consumer behaviour and services marketing. She was awarded Outstanding Paper in the 2017 Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence.

Professor David Abulafia

University of Cambridge
External member

David Abulafia is Professor of Mediterranean History at the University of Cambridge, where he has spent his academic career. He is Papathomas Professorial Fellow at Gonville and Caius College, and has served as Chairman of the History Faculty, as well as spending more than four years on the governing Council of Cambridge University as an elected member.

He is a Fellow of the British Academy (where he has sat on a number of committees) and a Member of the Academia Europaea, and has been decorated by the President of Italy for his services to history. He won the Mountbatten Maritime Award and the British Academy Medal following the publication of his most recent book The Great Sea: a Human History of the Mediterranean, published by Penguin Books in 2011 and translated into eight languages, with more translations in preparation. His other books include a biography of Emperor Frederick II and The Discovery of Mankind: Atlantic Encounters in the Age of Columbus (Yale University Press, 2008).

Dr Keith Bensusan

Director Gibraltar Botanic Gardens
Chair of Research and Research Degrees Committee

Dr Keith Bensusan joins the Academic Board as Chair of the Research and Research Degrees Committee. He has been working at the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens since 2007 and became its Director in 2011.  His background is in the biological sciences and he has a broad knowledge of terrestrial natural history, most notably plants, insects and birds.  His PhD, which he obtained from the University of Leeds, is in avian ecology.

Keith’s key interests include migration ecology, the diversity, ecology and conservation of species and habitats in Gibraltar, and the succulent flora of Morocco.  In addition to his work at the Botanic Gardens, he is a member of four statutory bodies in Gibraltar: the Nature Conservancy Council, the CITES Scientific Authority, the Gibraltar Port Authority and the Development and Planning Commission. He also sits on the Gibraltar regional Committee for European Funding (JLAG) and is General Secretary of the Gibraltar Ornithological & Natural History Society (GONHS).

Dr Darren Fa

University of Gibraltar
Director of Academic Programmes and Research

Dr Darren Fa is the Director of Academic Programmes and Research at the University of Gibraltar. After obtaining his PhD in Biological Oceanography from the University of Southampton In 1998, he moved to the Gibraltar National Museum in 1999 as Education and Research Officer, where he also read for a Masters Degree in Museum Studies from the University of Leicester (2004).

He was principal investigator on a number of EU and EFCHED funded projects, and received several international awards as part of the Museum team.  He has published over 70 peer-reviewed articles in various international journals and book chapters both on ecological and archaeological subjects. As a qualified Scientific Diver he regularly carries out marine-related commissioned studies such as archaeological surveys and Environmental Impact Assessments. He is a director of the Gibraltar Museum’s Gibraltar Caves Project as well as member of the UNESCO WHS working group for the Gorham’s Cave Complex.

He has also acted as a consultant for the Gibraltar Government and for UNESCO on both heritage and natural-history matters, and has written several popular books and has been regularly consulted for international media articles and television documentaries, on subjects ranging from Neanderthals through marine life to the fortifications of the Rock. Darren is a member of HMGoG’s Nature Conservancy Council, as well as a Registered European Commission Expert on Environment and Higher Education and Elected Fellow of the Linnaean Society of London. He is married with three daughters and somehow finds time to dive and play music when he can.

Mr Albert Gonzalez

University of Gibraltar
Student member

Albert Gonzalez is a part-time student following the University’s MSc programme in Marine Science and Climate Change. Alongside this, he works (since 2016) at the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens as an information systems officer, contributing to the flora of Gibraltar website and using GIS to provide distribution maps of 691 individual species. He has a degree in physical geography from the University of Northampton, where he studied geomorphology, oceanography and various aspects of environmental science. Currently he is involved with identifying the lichens of Gibraltar in association with Gibraltar Ornithological and Natural History Society and the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens. His key interests are the diverse terrestrial and marine habitats of Gibraltar, with a primary focus on the marine aspect.

Dr Martin Hale

University of Gibraltar
Academic Staff Representative

Martin Hale was an exploration geologist in Africa and a mineral economist in London before embarking on an academic career at Imperial College.  He went on to become Professor of Mineral Exploration at the Netherlands International Institute for  Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation (a faculty of the University of Twente), adjunct Professor of Geochemistry at Delft University of Technology and adjunct Professor of Economic Geology at Utrecht University.

His research group pioneered GIS-based mineral prospectivity mapping and he numbers amongst his PhD graduates the Minister of Mines of Cameroon and professors of economic geology at leading universities in India and South Africa.  He was the founding editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation and editor of Elsevier’s book series Handbook of Exploration and Environmental Geochemistry. His parallel academic management and administration experience led to appointments as Director of Research and Deputy Rector of the International Institute for Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation and, most recently, as Academic Administrator of the University of Gibraltar.

Professor John White

Higher Education Consultant
External member

Professor John White was born in Dundee, Scotland. He was educated at the University of Edinburgh where he took a Bachelor’s degree in Law and Politics. There he was awarded the Simon Gray Prize. He then attended the University of Cambridge where he studied Criminology at Master’s level. After Cambridge he returned to Scotland and to the University of Edinburgh where he completed his doctoral thesis in the Faculty of Law. During seven years in Edinburgh, he taught at Edinburgh Napier University, the University of Edinburgh, Queen Margaret University and the Scottish Police College. He then moved to Hong Kong and taught law for three years at Hong Kong Polytechnic University and the University of Hong Kong.

He returned to the UK to teach Law and Criminology full-time at the University of Leeds with some part-time teaching at Leeds Beckett University. He then spent twenty years as Dean/Head of Law at Anglia Ruskin University (where he was appointed a full professor) before becoming Head of Human Sciences and Law at Bucks New University. He has also taught at the University of Newcastle, in Malaysia and on sabbatical as Distinguished Visiting Professor at a university in North Carolina. During the last few years he has acted as a higher education consultant and occupied positions as Principal, President and Advisor at various private international colleges. He is a Senior Member of Wolfson College, University of Cambridge. He organises programmes in Sports Law in Cambridge on behalf of ISDE, Madrid and is developing similar programmes in Oxford. His principal academic interest is in Sports Criminology. He has been a secondary school governor, a member of the governing body of a prison and a monitor of the treatment of prisoners in custody areas.