Malawi: University Council refuses to recognize president’s professor title
In last year’s May, East China Normal University’s chancellor Zhang Jishun and president Yu Lizhong welcomed a Malawian delegation lead by Malawi’s current president Bingu wa Mutharika. In the course of that visit Zhang conferred the honorary professor certificate in economics to Mutharika. On November 2, University Council of Malawi University (Unima) issued a policy guideline according to which only university staff members that attained the rank of professor should be allowed to use such an academic title. As a result the council now refused to recognize the president as professor in academic terms.
The council argues that it is not acceptable to call its Chancellor a professor only because a certain Chinese university conferred an honorary professorship to him. According to malawidemocrat.com the guideline says:
Promotion to the professorial rank is reserved for Associate Professors who have demonstrated evidence of exceptional scholarship, leadership and teaching experience and who must have comprehensive knowledge of their fields of specialization
The council’s guideline actually only represents what is common in an academic field when it comes to professorial chair and its academic legitimacy.