By: Mohammad Aburumman

The Next Jordan University President

The leaked list of candidates for presidency of the Jordan University does not premise tranquillity or omen well among many regarding who is expected to head the University next.

This is not to belittle the names nominated, while some of the candidates may actually be well suited, but the general impression however, is that none of the names listed bear exquisite university administration resumes. Many of them lack the charismatic leadership attributes needed to head the Jordan University; a position with juristic, prestigious weight. No to mention, that the appropriate candidate, given the general and particular circumstance, is required to envision a project; to save the University from the myopic and regressive implications of the past period of decay, before it start to recover again, to achieve goals that were attained in Dr Khleif Tarawneh’s term, in spite of the financial situation.

Not to go back to Dr Tarawneh’s non-renewal, which caused widespread controversy just weeks ago, and had a lot to do with the situation between the Prime Minister and Lower House President; giving rise to fundamental doubts over the real criterion by which university presidents are chosen and evaluated, after the JU Board of Trustees report on Dr Tarawneh came in positive.

I am not qualified to evaluate the JU former President’s work, and I have much respect for institutionalism within the dynamics of the Higher Education ministry, but the process, regardless, was neither clear, transparent, nor modular. Fact is that indications shows that the Jordan University was about to overcome its financial crises, into a clearer phase for the future, controlling university violence, and more importantly, considerably more autonomy and independence in terms of University administrative decisions and institutional visions.

Yet, while the non-renewal is now a fact in effect, as spectators and monitors, we demand of the Minister of Higher Education and respective bodies to put out a convincing, logical selection, suitable to stead in Tarawneh’s. Accordingly, I personally hoped for the list to contain some known names amongst the Jordanian academia, like doctors Mohammad Adnan Bakhit, Kamel Ajlouni, Walid Maani, Walid Abul Hai, and Mohammad Abu Qais; names known to bear projects and visions, backed by successful administrative expertise, with the emblematic juristic figure in academic and political communities, befitting of the Jordan University’s history, its reputation, and its approach for the coming phase.

We are not passing prejudgments on listed candidates, because we do not want to be unfair towards them. Some have a good academic, administrative resume, while the thought of some of the others making it to office is catastrophic!

Still, paramount to all this, is a rising fear of that recurrent replacement and substitution of JU presidents will cause a halt or setback in the proposed strategic agendas of the University.

Evident of past experiences with consecutive presidents of the Jordan University, is the disparity amongst them, in plans and priorities; how each lead the University down the path each thought best, which would have been fine had there been a rooted institutionalised dynamic in management or had the position been purely juristic or administrative. But in reality, it is totally different; the Jordan University needs to reconstruct their administrative process and function as much as they need stability and consistency in Office for as long as possible. Principal driving values have to be instilled, deeply. And until then, the University needs a President with real expertise, a reputation, and a vision.

People in high places are pleased of what the Hashemite University President has accomplished, Kamal Al Din Bani Hani. And according to spectators, Bani Hani indeed did overcome the financial crises, exquisitely, through the allocation of grants and partnering up with regional companies, leading into the rising, which is good. Hence, we want to know, beforehand getting stuck with a new President, whether or not they carry a convincing project, beneficial to the University’s future, and a thorough vision to overcome current challenges!

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