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DCU President's Office

April 2018 E-zine


This week will see the staging of Anam, a two-day festival of music, poetry, drama, film and workshops hosted across all three DCU campuses. Curated and produced by Philip King and the South Wind Blows team (of Other Voices fame), Anam brings together some of our most talented students and staff, along with leading Irish artists, musicians and writers, including Soulé, Lankum, Wyvern Lingo, Colm Mac Con Iomaire, Lisa O'Neill and more. Anam will take place on Wednesday and Thursday and all events, bar one (the Other Voices concert in the Helix), are free although registration is advised as some events are alreadybooked out! As highlighted in our Strategic Plan, Anam represents the first step in DCU’s plans to play a key role in establishing a North Dublin Cultural Quarter. A copy of the full programme for Anam is available on the Anam website at:

 Talent Garden at DCU Alpha

Europe’s largest co-working network, Talent Garden, will create a major, new base in DCU’s Innovation Campus, DCU Alpha, this autumn. Founded six years ago, Talent Garden is now the largest European co-working and digital innovation network, hosting hundreds of start up companies and working with large corporates, including the likes of BMW, Google and Electrolux, in 23 campuses across eight European countries. Talent Garden will create a new hub for digital innovation that will provide flexible work space for freelancers, tech start-ups and corporate innovation labs, with capacity for 350 people. Talent Garden will provide exciting opportunities for DCU students and staff as well as creating another forum for engagement with innovative companies. The co-working building will also feature Talent Garden’s Innovation School, a digital skills ‘bootcamp’ education platform, which will work in partnership with DCU Business School to upskill entrepreneurs and assist corporates on their ‘digital transformation’ journeys.

 The World’s First Autism-Friendly University

On March 22, DCU was designated as an Autism-Friendly University by AsIAm, the autism advocacy charity. DCU is the first university in the world to adopt a ‘whole of university’ approach to the issue of creating a welcoming and supportive environment for students with autism. The announcement was made at a ceremony on DCU’s St Patrick’s Campus that was attended by President of Ireland Michael D Higgins, Patron of AsIAm. The designation marks the conclusion of an 18- month research project, led by Dr. Mary Rose Sweeney in collaboration with Prof. Teresa Burke (School of Nursing and Human Sciences) along with AsIAm and Specialisterne Ireland, a specialist recruitment and support agency for people with autism. A summary of the research findings and the practical commitments made by DCU to merit the designation can be found in a booklet that can be downloaded here.

 Recognising Philanthropic Giving

It was my great pleasure to present the renowned philanthropist, Chuck Feeney, with the DCU Educational Trust ‘Transformation through Philanthropy’ medal at a recent Ireland Funds event in San Francisco. The medal recognized the transformative impact of support given to DCU by Chuck and his foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies (AP). Since our establishment as a university in 1989, we have received close to €130 million in support from AP for both research and student facilities, including the NCSR, the Chemical and Biological Sciences building, the Computer Applications building, the John and Aileen O’Reilly Library and The Helix. Such investments have transformed the physical landscape of DCU and the opportunities available to our students and staff. At the same event, DCU alumna, Lorraine Twohill, Senior Vice President of Marketing at technology giant, Google, was recognized with an award for Distinguished Leadership. During her acceptance speech, Lorraine announced a gift to DCU of an endowed scholarship to support female students from disadvantaged backgrounds in accessing a university education. Lorraine graduated from DCU with a degree in International Marketing & Languages and is currently responsible for Google’s worldwide marketing function. The scholarship will be named after Lorraine’s mother, Teresa Twohill, who passed away 20 years ago. It is impossible to overstate the transformative effect of these generous donations and the university is immensely grateful to both Chuck and Lorraine for their deep sense of altruism.

 Sporting Successes

The last month has seen great success for DCU’s sportswomen. The O’Connor Cup was claimed by DCU Ladies Gaelic Football team for the first time in 7 years in a nail-biting final against the University of Limerick. Meanwhile, in the basketball arena, DCU Ladies basketball team achieved an impressive double, winning the All-Ireland Division A League, capping an unbeaten campaign with a resounding victory over Ulster University, and beating the same opposition in the final to win the inter-varsities championship hosted last weekend in UL.

Student Accommodation

The last week has seen some disturbing headlines regarding escalating and uncontrolled pricing in the private student housing sector. Recent increases of more than 25% on private student accommodation in the vicinity of DCU are placing serious financial burdens on students and their families. Such uncontrolled increases will inevitably create a family-income-based barrier for entry into Higher and Further Education. This runs counter to DCU’s ethos of access to education for all. For these reasons, DCU supported the protests coordinated by DCUSU last week and also called on government to introduce regulations that will create a sustainable solution to providing affordable accommodation for all students. For our part, we are continuing to invest in our on-campus accommodation and this will see, in the first instance, the construction of an additional 850 bed spaces across the Glasnevin and All Hallows campuses.

Chancellor’s Medals Awarded at Graduation Ceremony

Congratulations to two outstanding graduates who were each presented with a Chancellor’s Medal at our conferring ceremonies on March 29. The Chancellor’s Medal is awarded to graduates who combine excellence in both academic and extracurricular activities. Aoife McNicholl (BSc in Psychology), who received the medal in the undergraduate category, was recognised not only for achieving the highest overall final year grade in her class but also for her outstanding sporting achievements in representing Ireland as part of the Powerchair National Football Squad. Aoife has also played a vital role in the social life of the University through the set-up of DCU Storm, the university’s powerchair soccer team. In the postgraduate category, Claire O’Connell (PhD in Physics) was honoured for academic excellence, which has seen her receive numerous awards (e.g. Outstanding Graduate Researcher Award) and scholarships (Beaufort and Naughton). Her passion for science outreach was reflected in her involvement in Physics Busking and her successes in Tell It Straight, InspireFest and SFI Thesis in Three competitions.

ISSE Survey

I am delighted to let you know that a record number of DCU students (1st year, final year, PGT) participated in the 2018 Irish Survey for Student Engagement (ISSE) in mid March. The survey, which closed on March 30, showed an overall DCU response rate of 34% (3,107 participants), which is an increase of 8% from the 2017 survey. The partnership approach to the fieldwork this year brought staff and student representatives together to encourage eligible student cohorts to engage in the survey at faculty level and this resulted in an increase in participation rates across all five faculties. Thank you to all involved in achieving this high level of engagement. ISSE is an important tool for students through which they can provide feedback relating to their student experience. The final data from i-Graduate will be received in late May and will be disseminated to colleagues in due course.

National Award recognises DCU’s Diversity Strategy

Congratulations to Marian Burns, Sandra Healy and the Human Resources team on winning the Best Workplace Diversity Strategy award at the recent HR Leadership & Management Awards. These national Awards recognise excellence in various aspects of HR.