In my major post about Joseph Mifsud I put “professor” in inverted commas. That was before I knew the extent of Mr Mifsud’s activities, but now having looked into it, it seems to me that this Professor title Mifsud has been using is highly questionable.
To be clear from the outset: that he has a PhD is not in question. It is from Queens Belfast in 1995, and the record of it in Queens library can be found here.
So how, and when, did Mifsud go from being a lecturer with a PhD to being a Professor?
Mifsud’s first connection to a university was in Malta. Maltese Blogger Manuel Delia has looked into this here. The relevant part:
The international press is referring to Joe Mifsud as the “mystery professor” given how slippery he appears to be. One of the mysterious things about him is how actually he got his “professorship”. Malta’s University has now confirmed it is not to blame. “We are not aware that Dr Mifsud has acquired a professorship but can confirm that it was not the University which awarded him such title. In fact, as a member of the academic staff, Dr Mifsud was a Senior Lecturer when he resigned in December 2007”.
So where did Mifsud go next? He was at the Maltese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the period 2006-2008, but academically he next ends up at EMUNI, the Euro-Mediterranean University in Piran, Slovenia.
1 December 2008 is the date of the EMUNI news story (in Slovene and English) confirming his appointment. Here is the quote from it (my emphasis):
On 26 November 2008, the General Assembly of the Euro-Mediterranean University convened at its constitutive session, where the university statute was adopted and the institutional bodies were elected. Prof. Dr. Joseph Mifsud from Malta was unanimously elected as the President of EMUNI University.
Note that EMUNI was only being set up at this stage, and had no students. EMUNI only adopted its own rules for granting academic titles, and confirming those from elsewhere, in 2014.
Mifsud crops up at two other organisations in early 2009. One is Link Campus University in Rome, where the earliest mention of him is this 22 April 2009 piece about his appointment to run a course, without Professor title. The first reference to him there as Prof I can find is this in 2016. The other is Consorzio Universitario di Agrigento, where an April 2009 press release confirms his appointment, calling him Prof (note: professore in Italian has a wider meaning – can also apply to school teachers).
Mifsud is then regularly referred to as Prof Joseph Mifsud when working for the London Academy of Diplomacy that was first accredited by the University of East Anglia in 2011*. Here is a PDF from a 2013 UEA hosted event that lists him thus:
Professor Joseph Mifsud, Director of International Strategic Development of London Academy of Diplomacy, UEA London
London Academy of Diplomacy was then accredited by the University of Stirling in 2015, before then being rolled into that University. Mifsud is still now listed by Stirling as “Professor Joseph Mifsud – Professorial Teaching Fellow”.
But we still do not know how Mifsud became a Professor. EMUNI, and then UEA and Stirling better have some good explanations!
[UPDATE 14.11.17, 1405]
* – the original blog entry listed 2012/2013 here. The correct date is 2011, as explained here.
Readers probably know this, but in American English almost any university teacher is referred to as a professor, so US sources are bound to use “London professor” (the alliteratively appealing “London lecturer” wouldn’t occur to them).
In the UK, “professor” is a job title rather than a rank. So if Stirling says he is one (and their website suggests that), then he is. Compare Laura Kuenssberg: she may not be an editor in the same way that Ian Katz is (boss of a newspaper or broadcast), but as long as she holds her current post, she’s quite entitled to call herself an editor. Lots of mystery remains about Mr Mitsud, but this seems trivial.
You actually perfectly point out in your comment why it is NOT trivial. Mifsud has the title of Professor at the University of Stirling, a UK university. As you point out this means something in the UK system, and we cannot trace how he gained that title.
Universities are autonomous so can, and do, appoint anyone they like to be a professor. It’s not the how he gained the title that is puzzling but the why.