TSU rectorship – once again on testing scales
25 July, 2013
TSU rectorship – once again on testing scales
Yesterday, July the 24th the Tbilisi State University main concert hall hosted one more public meeting, dedicated to the pre-election campaigning for the rectorship of the University. The lime-light this time fell on Professor Inness Merabishvili. It feels like the time of great University leaders – famed scholars, intelligent organizers, attractive personalities, and outstanding public figures – is returning to Georgia. The most massively recognized school of the country is giving a new chance to the better among the best
to head one of the biggest universities of the world. There are fourteen candidates aspiring to the prestigious post of its rector and all of them seem to be deserving the honor, but only very few of them would probably be capable of putting the Georgian people’s adored shrine of knowledge into its previously recognized niche of the Nation’s wisdom and conscience.
Professor Merabishvili has become our target because of her long-standing cooperation with this newspaper and her particular professional interest in linguistics and translation, saying nothing about her personal qualities which has made us think that she might be the fittest among her honorable colleagues who have ventured, together with her, to aspire to this highly placed academic opening of the day.
Actually, there was time in Georgia when the rectorship of Tbilisi State University was the most (the most!) respectable job in the country. Why not to have it back in the same highly regarded spot! If pursuing this goal really makes sense, compatible with the most exigent nation-wide objectives, then my thoughts embrace the possibility of giving the TSU a leader with all the characteristics of the doer of the job – somebody who feels and knows the University, its faculty, its student body and its administration inside out – no details missed, nothing unnoticed, nobody ignored!
If not born within the walls of her beloved alma mater, Inness Merabishvili grew up there. Literally! She started with a major in the English linguistic and literature and covered the thorny academic distance all the way to her current doctoral and professorial obligations. She has never ever left the University in the last 45 years.
Why are we promoting Inness? Nothing personal – it is just the desire to see a capable and truly dedicated manager at the head of Tbilisi state University. She has impressed us with her ability to build and then to maintain what she has built with great difficulty. She has reached the utmost heights of scientific research. She has given Lord Byron to her people in the light it has never seen the great Englishman. She presented the genius of poesy Galaktion Tabidze to the world by translating his brilliant poems from Georgian into English. Actually, what we the Georgians lack mostly is our inability to promote our great national culture worldwide. Innes has done this. For real! She created a modern theory of translation and the text-books thereof, directly working on Georgia’s spiritual and economic life. She has given us a perfect example of successful management. She has reared a wonderful family, having given to the world the kids who are tirelessly working to the benefit of their motherland anywhere they are sent to labor. Innes is a free soul, a tolerant friend, brilliant scholar, talented trilingual translator, perfect manager and a great mom. Is there anything else she needs to have for making a competitive rector of the University? Giving her a chance means giving an opportunity to education in Georgia. If Georgian wisdom and talent burgeons, the nation may relax and aspire to the future, which has always been in dreams but not in reality. I have seen with my own eyes how the acquired knowledge is turning into wellbeing in the hands of Professor Merabishvili. Isn’t this what we demand from education? Bringing happiness and good life to people! Innes is a very serious theoretician of linguistics and translation, but she is even a better practitioner. She theorizes in translation, but she also translates in reality. This is exactly what she is doing with her knowledge in actual life – she is putting it in practice. Always! As a rule! Let her handle the TSU and we will all see what happens with it like magic! She will kill herself and do the job if the job needs to be done. And she will do this honestly and with unfeigned integrity. I call this part of her metallic character a positive ambition. I can tell you frankly and responsibly – the University needs her more than she needs that back-breaking and complicated job of its future rector.
Let us now have a look at the Merabishvili’s plan in case she wins the rectorship. This is what she told the attentively listening audience yesterday. Her concept is clear and pragmatic, deliberately calculated and worked out in details. The main focus in her plan is placed on juridical correctness of the academic process while she will be in charge, which means that the staff and students of the University are guaranteed to be legally protected in every possible respect. Merabishvili’s plan is based on the concept of a tenure system by Professor Gia Dvali, which was meant as basis for introducing the new reform into the University. The concept purports that the professorial staff that was kicked out of the University several years ago quite arbitrarily will have to be re-invited to the University, certainly according to their compatibility with the currently running programs. Also, the new academic human resource has to be brought in for refreshing the academic process, and maintenance of the incumbent staff will be on the agenda too. Periodic involvement of foreign professors according to the ongoing programs will be put in practice as well. According to Merabishvili’s plan, the University campus needs to be taken care of, in the first place building the new and well-equipped dorms. The old chair system deserves to be restored too. And finally, the most important part of her concept – the students! This is what we are there for, she says. Our students and graduates will have to be studying and working in compliance with modern standards and internationally tested and approved directions.
The discussion went in a thoughtful and balanced atmosphere. Final results of upcoming elections at Tbilisi state University depend on how well we as a nation can think of our future and plan it accordingly. 
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