Bethlehem University “Board of Regents” meets in Rome
ROME – Twenty-eight members who make up the “International Board of Regents of Bethlehem University” (IBOR) met in the General House of the Brothers of the Christian Schools in Rome on January 29 and 30 for their biannual meeting. It was an occasion to appraise the university and its 3,000-plus students.
The University is a vast and complex reality based on an administrative hierarchy whose top echelon is the “Board of Regents” which oversees the top governance at BU (Bethlehem University). The IBOR is divided into four main committees: Academic, Financial, Development, and Appointments. A fifth, Committee for Resources, has just been created. The IBOR meets twice a year, in January and June, with a two-day program of meetings, interspersed with moments of prayer.
Nine members are ex officio, while the other fifteen are appointed for a three-year renewable term so that each year one third of the foreign membership changes ensuring a young and active dynamic structure. The current Chair of the Board is Professor Bart McGettrick, Scotland, and former Rector of the University of Liverpool, who is also a member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre. The weighty and meticulous preparation for the meeting rests on the shoulders of the Vice Chancellor, Br. Peter Bray, and the heads of committees. The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem is an ex officio member, as president of the ACOHL and is usually represented by Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, Patriarchal Vicar, who also teaches Christian Arabic Literature at BU.
The main theme of this meeting was the revision of the Statutes of the University that had not been reviewed and approved since its inception. Other issues discussed were: the modern vision of the Catholic and Lasallian University – with contributions from Br. Robert Shlieler and Mr. Sami Al-Yussef; the assessment of the situation of the BU (number of students, qualification of teachers, religion, gender and origin, etc.); the development of a Master Plan for the Hill of David (BU’s new project development); and finally the new library. Prof. McGettrick made a general presentation on the new American University of Madaba (Jordan), which, in some ways, must be considered a competitor to BU.
Resolutions were adopted, while others require deeper reflection, and further discussion will be included in the June 2015 session. Every two years the January meeting of the IBOR takes place in Bethlehem and also a meeting with the local ‘Board of Trustees’.
BU currently has 3254 students (26% Christian, 23% men, 48.6% of Bethlehem, 41% of Jerusalem); 400 employees; 172 teachers (77 part time, and 40% doctoral level). The busiest departments are, adopting BU’s American terminology: Education (23.5%, of which 19.5% are Christians), Business (21.5%), Arts (20.8%), Science (14.4%), Nursing and Health Service (12.4%, of which 16.7% are Christians), Hotel management and Tourism (6.7%) and Continuing Education (0.7%). Up to 2014, BU has conferred degrees to 14,978 students. An effort will be made to encourage the enrollment of students in Christian Education, Healthcare and Social Service.
Members generally find that, in its 40 Jubilee Year celebrating its foundation, BU is in good shape, with its mission and purpose intact. Some, who have the experience at other universities, do not hesitate to affirm that BU is a “miracle.”
Text from our correspondent in Rome. Photos by L. S.