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.
  • Prof David Abulafia

    Beacon Professor

    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 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).

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  • Professor Catherine Bachleda (Chair)


    Professor Catherine Bachleda is Vice-Chancellor of the University of Gibraltar. She has over a decade of experience working in the tertiary environment, underpinned by almost 25 years of experience in the service industries of health, law, and education. Over the course of her career she has held leadership positions that include: Chief Executive Officer of an accredited corporation providing executive and continuing education; Director of a small corporate law firm; Assistant Vice-President for Academic Affairs at an accredited American Liberal Arts University located in Morocco and 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.

    Catherine holds a Doctorate in Business Administration, a Juris Doctor, and a Master of Business Administration. She has worked in academia and/or industry in North Africa, the Middle East, the USA, the United Kingdom and Australia. 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.

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  • Dr Keith Bensusan

    Academic Board Member

    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.

    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. Keith’s key interests include migration ecology, the diversity, ecology and conservation of species and habitats in Gibraltar, and the succulent flora of Morocco. He also sits on the Gibraltar regional Committee for European Funding (JLAG) and is General Secretary of the Gibraltar Ornithological & Natural History Society (GONHS).

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  • Dr Darren Fa

    Director of Academic Programmes & Research

    After obtaining a first-class honours degree in Education with QTS in 1990, Darren taught for ten years during which he read for and completed his PhD in Biological Oceanography at the University of Southampton. He then moved to the Gibraltar Museum in 1999 during which time he also read for a Masters Degree in Museum Studies from the University of Leicester. Darren was then chosen to be seconded as part of the team that developed and implemented the roadmap for the creation of the University of Gibraltar, eventually joining its team as Director of Academic Programmes and Research in 2014.

    As well as authoring several popular books, Darren has published over 70 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters mainly on ecological and archaeological subjects, and has been principal investigator on a number of EU and EFCHED funded projects, several of which received international awards. His primary research areas are in marine species ecology and conservation, palaeoecology, and human evolution and behaviour, especially the relationship between people and the sea in the past.
    He is responsible for all the academic research that takes place under the aegis of the University, and is a member of the University’s Research and Research Degrees Committee as well as its Academic Board. He is also directly responsible for the development and delivery of a number of its academic programmes, having personally written the specifications for the MSc in Marine Science and Climate Change and the University’s flagship PhD programme.

    Amongst other things, Darren is a member of HMGoG’s statutory Nature Conservancy Council, a director of the Gibraltar Museum’s Gibraltar Caves Project as well as member of the UNESCO WHS Gorham’s Cave Complex Action Forum, a registered Scientific Diver and European Commission Expert on Environment and Higher Education, a Chartered Biologist by the Royal Society of Biology and Elected Fellow of the Linnaean Society of London. He is married with three daughters and somehow finds time to dive, ride and play music when he can.

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  • Mr Albert Gonzalez

    Academic Board Student Representative

    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

    Academic Administrator

    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.

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  • Ms Elaine Lima

    Head of School (Education)

    Elaine read History at the University of Kent and continued her studies with a Postgraduate Certificate in Education at Canterbury Christ Church University.  A teacher for over twenty years, she has experience across the full range of Key Stages having taught pupils from Reception age to Year 13 students.

    Currently undertaking a PhD, Elaine’s research considers the successes and failures of induction programmes for newly qualified teachers and assesses their weaknesses and their strengths.  On the basis of this assessment, an induction programme, based on the concept of peer group mentoring and drawing on the principles and procedures of action research, will be designed, aiming to meet the professional needs and concerns of beginning teachers in Gibraltar. A Case Study of the programme will be conducted in order to provide a research basis for assessing whether this aim achieved.

    Elaine holds the post of Head of School (Education) at the University and is responsible for overseeing the delivery of the PGCE as well as lecturing within the programme.

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  • Mrs Aine Panter

    Head of School (Business)

    Áine Panter is the head of the School of Business, and as such, manages the undergraduate and postgraduate programme provisions of the School.

    She holds a postgraduate certificate in education and taught in a higher education setting for a number of years. In addition to being a qualified educator, Áine is also a chartered accountant. Prior to entering full-time education, she worked in private practice for many years where she managed a wide portfolio of clients and gained a wealth of experience across many types of industries. She also holds a BSc (Honours) in Accounting, a Master in Business Studies (both from University College Cork, Ireland) and is a fellow of Chartered Accountants Ireland.

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  • Prof John White

    Adjunct Professor

    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 Law & Business School, 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.

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