The University of Gibraltar celebrates Professor Daniella Tilbury

DT Inauguration Speach3

The University of Gibraltar is delighted for Professor Tilbury as she takes on her new role as Commissioner for Sustainable Development at HMGoG. During her time as Vice-Chancellor and CEO of The University of Gibraltar, her experienced academic leadership has transformed the education landscape here in Gibraltar, securing key funding, developing local and international links and empowering the University to hit strategic milestones.

Professor Daniella Tilbury served as the inaugural Vice-Chancellor and founding CEO of the University of Gibraltar. She was involved in the establishment of the University in late 2013 when she was asked by HM Government of Gibraltar to conduct a feasibility study into the viability of higher education provision on the Rock. She laid the foundation stones for the University’s academic pathways and developed its research provision, playing a key role in setting up its PhD flagship programme which continues to deliver with impact.

By September 2015, when the University enrolled its first cohort of students, the University had formally established academic partnerships and named four Associate Campuses: the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens, the Gibraltar Museum, the Gibraltar Garrison Library and Gibraltar Health Authority. She deeply believed in the power of partnerships and in connecting the University with Gibraltar’s academic roots. She created the Beacon Professorships to recognise academic excellence in the fields of core interest to the University.

Under her leadership, the University also established Key Advisory Groups that gave a voice to local professional, government and community stakeholders in the development of provision especially for the newly established Institute of Professional Development. From the start, she recognised the importance of engaging the local community in the work of the University – especially the over 60s who had not had an opportunity to experience University in the days when access to higher education was limited. This led to the popular Gibraltar History Lecture Series.

With the support of the Board of Governors, she brokered international partnerships with esteemed universities that are recognised globally for their academic excellence and entered into formal partnerships with various sporting, business and community organisations.  She worked closely with her UniGib team to establish that the academic tuition and student support systems that over time will ensure that graduates received awards that meet international standards and were tailored to personal ambitions and career paths. She believed in investing in staff development and supported staff education and travel programmes. She conceived the establishment of the Gibraltar Repository and Libraries Forum.

Supported by the Chancellor, Lord Luce, she established a Gibraltar Commonwealth Scholarship Programme and hosted the University’s first Commonwealth International Seminar. Key to her strategic vision was the embedding of work placements for all undergraduate degree students and for each year of study.  She was committed to preparing graduates for the future and who could have a competitive edge in the employment market.

Prof Tilbury was engaged in a process led by the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority that proposed regulatory mechanisms for the University and the extensive consultation which led to the University’s first strategic plan. She established financially sustainable pathways confirming the viability of strategic lines in research, education as well as in community and professional engagement. The University has attracted significant external funding from Alwani Trust, Parasol Foundation, and donations from the Friends of Gibraltar, Ms Donna Serruya and other generous individuals.

Professor Tilbury’s commitment and leadership have driven the University forward, building momentum on our mission to achieve academic excellence. It is important to note that we are still just at the start of the journey to establish our provision and grow further. In the last twelve months alone the University has made some major gains with regards to international student visas with new legislation coming into force before the end of this year. January 2018 saw us launch the School of Sport and associated programmes as well has enabled us to accelerate the development of our own business degrees which start this September.