The severe weather conditions of last week posed major challenges for students, staff and the University as a whole. I hope you will agree that the communications and management of the crisis were carried out very professionally. I want to thank everyone involved across the University and the DCU Commercial group of companies for their contributions and cooperation throughout the ‘snow period’. I want to make special mention of the great work of the Emergency Management Team, including the Estates Office, Security and Health & Safety teams. The photograph above of Vlad from Trispace Catering captures the resilience of the University community very well!
The Government’s recently launched initiative, Project Ireland 2040, has laid out a multi-billion euro national planning framework for the country. There is much in the associated documents that will be of interest to the DCU community. It is very pleasing to note the commitment to the construction of Metro Link, a much needed addition to public transport infrastructure in North Dublin. There will be a number of Metro stations adjacent to DCU campuses, although not in the locations indicated over recent years. The three most relevant stations will be at Crossguns Bridge, Griffith Park West, and at the junction of Ballymun Road and Collins’ Avenue
In addition, exchequer funding of €2.2 billion will be provided in support of Higher Education infrastructure priorities alongside continued investment in human capital through research funding. We look forward to playing our part in the roll-out of this ambitious plan for our country and our region.
Click here to read the plan in full.
On February 14, we recognised three colleagues who have made outstanding contributions to research at DCU. Professor Liam Barry of the School of Electronic Engineering was acknowledged for his work in the area of optical communications. Dr Eoin O’Malley of the School of Law & Government was honoured for his extensive work on cabinet government and public policy. Also from the School of Law & Government, Dr Paola Rivetti was presented with the inaugural President’s Early Stage Research Award for her body of work on peace-making and building in the Middle East. Congratulations to all three on their well-deserved recognition.
We are very proud that DCU has been presented with a Green Flag for Environmental Education, Management and Action for a second time in recognition of the university’s ongoing commitment to continuous environmental improvement. This renewal includes, for the first time, our St. Patricks Campus. This award recognises a broad range of sustainability initiatives across our campuses and, in patiular, the work of our Green Committee and Sustainability Manger, Samantha Fahey. Congrats to all involved
Good news for DCU in the latest subject rankings from QS. We have maintained our strong positions across a number of disciplines. Our Communications and Media Studies activity is ranked in the top 150 in the world, with Politics and International Studies in the top 200, Modern Languages and Computer Science in the top 250, closely followed by Business, English and Law in the top 300. Well done to all our staff involved in those disciplinary areas.
A new strategic partnership involving DCU and Shelbourne FC will see the university add a new element to its spectrum of sporting engagements. DCU has become the main sponsor for the team for the coming 12 months and is developing a range of initiatives within the partnership framework. Scholarships will be made available to gifted soccer players wishing to develop their sporting talents while accessing a DCU education. Click here to read more.
In other sport news, GAA Dóchas Éireann hurling team achieved a historic first when they qualified for the final the Fitzgibbon Cup. Unfortunately, despite valiant efforts, the team did not claim victory this time but the future certainly looks bright for hurling at DCU.
In partnership with Allied Irish Bank, the university has established a Chair in Data Analytics. I am delighted to announce that Professor Tomás Ward has been appointed to the position. Tomás brings a wealth of experience which includes academic research in the application of neurotechnology for neurorehabilitation, particularly in stroke victims, and in the broader area of signal processing for connected health.
The annual DCU Alumni Awards will celebrate the wonderful achievements of our alumni across the globe in a gala ceremony on Friday 20th April. With ten awardees to be added to the Alumni Wall and five special awards for outstanding contribution, we are looking forward to a wonderful night of celebration, entertainment and recognition. To register your attendance, email email@example.com.
I am pleased to announce the appointment of Mandy Johnston as DCU's new Director of Communications. Mandy will have full responsibility for the development and execution of internal and external communications for the university across all platforms. A former Special Advisor (Northern Ireland Affairs) in the Department of An Taoiseach, Irish Government Press Secretary and Press Director at the Department of Finance, Mandy has over twenty years’ experience across the public and private sector. Mandy will act as key advisor to me and will play a central role in advancing the profile of DCU both nationally and globally.
I am delighted to celebrate the inclusion of the DCU journal, Studia Hibernica, in the Scopus database of journals and I wish to offer my special congratulation to its editors, James Kelly and Uáitéar MacGearailt. Studia Hibernica is a peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary journal devoted to the publication of research in Irish Studies - specifically history, geography, music, folklore, language and literature in Irish and in English. Significantly, the journal is published bilingually. Established in 1961, by Donal Cregan CM, president of St Patrick's College and after whom the library on that campus is named, the journal is published by Liverpool University Press. The editorial committee is chaired by the Deputy President and includes colleagues from the Schools of Fiontar agus Gaeilge, and History and Geography, and English.
The first step in DCU’s plan to contribute to the establishment of a North Dublin Cultural Quarter will be a 2-day event (Anam) on April 11 and 12. Anam will comprise music, poetry, drama, film, workshops and discussions across all three of our campuses. The event will showcase some of DCU’s most talented staff and students together with leading Irish artists, musicians and writers from the North Dublin region. The highlight of Anam will be a flagship concert in The Helix on the evening of Wednesday, April 11.
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: www.dcu.ie/anam
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As mentioned in my last Newsletter, DCU has been designated as an Autism-Friendly University (the world’s first!). This designation is based on our commitment to deliver on a range of specific actions aimed at creating a supportive environment for students with autism. Arising from this, we have received philanthropic support to fund a full-time coordinator to drive the project forward over the next 3 years.
Dr Cat Hughes has been appointed to the position. She already has great experience in working with the autism community and has spent many years researching autism. She set up a support group for autistic women and is on the board of autism charity, Aspire Ireland. She received an autism diagnosis herself while she was in university, and she is an active advocate within the community. Prior to arriving in DCU, Cat worked as Research Manager in Pieta House, where she developed an award-winning education programme, adapted services for marginalised groups and created an Autism-Friendly service.
If you would like to get involved in the Autism-Friendly University project, please contact Cat at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Friday April 20, the 2018 DCU Alumni Awards Gala was held in the Helix. The event was a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge the invaluable contributions of our alumni to an array of professions nationally and internationally. Seeing so many of our talented alumni in attendance and hearing of the significant role that DCU has played in shaping their lives made for a truly memorable evening. DCU can be proud of the transformative impact that our talented graduates continue to make across a wide range of sectors.
On the night, we presented five Outstanding Alumni Achievement Awards and we added ten new names to the University Alumni Wall.
The recipients of the Outstanding Alumni Achievement Awards were:
Civic Engagement: Minister of State for European Affairs Helen McEntee TD for her work across a range of areas of importance to Irish society including ageing, mental health and most recently Brexit
Sport: Recently retired Irish and Leinster rugby legend Jamie Heaslip
Leadership: Former GAA President Aogán O’Fearghaíl
Diversity & Inclusion: Accenture MD Michelle Cullen for her pioneering work in this area
Innovation and Technology: Former EY Entrepreneur of the Year and co-founder of Openet Joe Hogan
Each of DCU’s five faculties also honoured two successful alumni for recognition on the University’s Alumni Wall. We are delighted to place the biographies and photographs of our new additions on the wall in each of our two main libraries. These serve to showcase superb role models and provide inspiration to our current students.
Alumni Wall Awardees 2018:
DCU Business School
Bronwyn Brophy - Vice President Early Technologies at Medtronic
Mark Redmond - Chief Executive of the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland
DCU Institute of Education
James Spillane - Prof. in Learning and Organisational Change Northwestern University
Ann Power Forde - Presiding Judge, Constitutional Court Chamber, KSC, The Hague
Faculty of Engineering and Computing
Lisa Ainsworth - CEO and co-founder of NuWave
Gavin Gollogley - Head of Digital, Asia at Sun Life Financial (Hong Kong)
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
John Devitt - Chief Executive and founder of Transparency International’s Chapter in Ireland
Sarah McInerney - Journalist and Broadcaster
Faculty of Science and Health
Sinead McCluskey - Director of Commercial Innovation at PEI
Lisa Cusack - Pilot at Aer Lingus
On April 11 and 12 our three campuses came alive with a host of creative activities as we hosted our first ever cultural showcase, Anam, produced and curated by the superb Philip King of South Wind Blows (and Other Voices fame)
It was a truly wonderful event comprising poetry, song, drama, film, dance, spoken word and music performed by staff, students and renowned Irish artists, mainly from our neighbouring regions. As a first step in demonstrating our commitment to creating a North Dublin Cultural Quarter (as highlighted in our Strategic Plan), it was a tremendous success. It undoubtedly showcased the rich creative and cultural talents within the university community and the surrounding North Dublin neighbourhoods.
There were many highlights but I have to give a special mention to the ‘Heart of the Rowl’, a wonderful celebration of traditional Irish music, in all its diversity, made all the more evocative, when set against the stunning backdrop of the All Hallows chapel. The curtain has come down on DCU’s first arts and culture event but plans are already shaping up for Anam 2019 - watch this space!
This last week brought the wonderful news that the DCU Institute for Future Media and Journalism (FuJo) will lead a €3.9M EU project harnessing digital and data technologies for journalism.
Led by Dr Jane Suiter, Director of FuJo, the JOLT (Journalism and Leadership Transformation) project is very timely and comes at a critical juncture as journalism faces myriad challenges in contemporary society. DCU has always played a leading role in journalism education and this announcement reflects our unwavering commitment to remain at the forefront of one of the pillars of our democracy.
Specifically, JOLT is a European Training Network (ETN) funded under the European Commission’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions to provide structured training and excellent supervision to a cluster of 15 PhDs. The JOLT Network includes nine university and industry partners from six countries: Dublin City University, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, University of Amsterdam, University of Navarra, University of Toulouse III, BBC, European Journalism Centre, The Irish Times, and Samsa.fr.
The 15 PhD projects draw on expertise from multiple disciplines including journalism, data science, computer engineering, and social science. Data science projects will develop new protocols and storytelling forms for video, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality and will also be supported by the Insight Centre for Data Analytics, the SFI Research Centre that has a strong base at DCU. Data based projects will explore algorithms in news, mining online multimedia data, audience analytics, data mining and data visualisation.
DCU was among the winners at the recent Knowledge Transfer Impact Awards (KTI), collecting the honours in the Licence2Market Impact category.
The award was in recognition of the licensing which enabled DCU spin-out Iconic Translation Machine to launch the world’s first patent specific translator. The company is now one of the world’s leading language software companies.
KTI plays a crucial role in connecting businesses to the research base across Ireland and this accolade is a strong endorsement of our commitment to transformative research and engagement.
DCU Alpha, our Innovation Campus, also received a special recognition award.
Congratulations to Professor James Kelly, Head of the School of History and Geography at DCU and Editor of one of the 4 Volumes comprising the Cambridge History of Ireland, a truly impressive publication that was launched at Dublin Castle on April 30 by President of Ireland Michael D Higgins. DCU colleague Dr Daithí Ó’Corráin was also a contributing author.
The Cambridge History of Ireland presents the Irish story from the year 600 to the present day and places our history within broader Atlantic, European, imperial and global contexts. Along with James, the co-editors are Thomas Bartlett, (recently retired from University of Aberdeen), Brendan Smith (University of Bristol) and Jane Ohlmeyer (Trinity College, Dublin).
James (Jimmy) edited Volume 3, which spans the period 1730-1800 and presents accounts of the economy, society, population, emigration, religion, language, state formation, culture, art and architecture and the Irish abroad in 28 chapters.
DCU was announced as the overall winner in a very competitive Coaching & Mentoring Category at the Irish Institute of Training & Development (IITD) National Training Awards on Friday April 20th. The IITD National Training Awards promotes excellence, best practice and innovation in training, learning and development.
Founded in 2003, the Mentoring Programme pairs DCU students with alumni of DCU. It is a joint initiative delivered by the Careers Service within Student Support & Development and the Alumni Office. Since 2013, over 600 students have been mentored by hundreds of DCU Alumni. The Programme runs for six-months between October and March and pairs second-year students with graduate mentors for the purposes of personal and professional development. It is an opportunity for students to gain insights into the world of work, develop key workplace skills, and explore career areas of interest.
The Mentoring Programme greatly assists the University in meeting its strategic goals of providing a transformative student experience by pursuing active engagement with our Alumni and Employer communities.
On May 11, I was delighted to join with many students and staff members, including outgoing Students’ Union President Niall Behan, for a tour of some parts of the impressive, new DCU Student Centre, which is due for completion this August. This building project is a key element of DCU’s comprehensive, five-year €240 million Campus Development Plan.
The Student Centre project, which commenced in February 2016, will provide modern, purpose-built space over three storeys for a broad range of student activities but with a particular emphasis on leadership and life-skills, innovation and entrepreneurship, arts and culture, and global engagement.
Once complete, the Student Centre will be capable of holding over 3,500 users at maximum capacity.
Some of the key features of this flagship building include:
- An innovation and entrepreneurship area for students’ work space, three meeting rooms and three quiet offices
- An amphi-theatre with capacity for over 450 guests
- Seven hi-spec meeting rooms for DCU Clubs, Societies and Students Union (SU) as well as dedicated working space for use by DCU Clubs and Societies
- Four multipurpose rooms for over 350 users at max capacity
- A dedicated student venue called “The Hive”, with maximum capacity of over 500 guests
- A purpose-built radio station suite
The upcoming completion of the Student Centre is an exciting milestone and we are also looking forward to the development of new sports facilities, additional on-campus accommodation and state-of-the-art learning spaces.
In a very exciting development for the University, UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, has agreed to establish a Chair at DCU aimed at tackling the growing phenomenon of bullying in schools and cyberspace.
The UNESCO Chair on Tackling Bullying in Schools and Cyberspace will run for four years, in the first instance, and will involve researchers and academics in Ireland and across the globe working together to tackle the serious impact of both face-to-face and online bullying.
The work of the new Chair will include measuring the international extent of bullying and the development of a set of measures aimed at preventing bullying and providing teachers, educationalists and parents with guidelines and training on how to intervene to prevent harmful practices arising in the school environment. It will also deliver a range of reports on bullying and associated recommendations over the four years of the initiative.
The Chair will facilitate high-level collaboration between internationally-recognised researchers and academics across the world, enabling the development of a comprehensive body of research, including the identification of ‘best practice’ interventions.
The establishment of this Chair is very much a reflection of the DCU mission and values whereby we aim to make a transformative impact on lives and societies through research and engagement.
We are pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Tomás Ward as AIB Chair in Data Analytics in DCU’s School of Computing. This new Chair position, the first of its kind in Ireland, has been made possible through the support of AIB and reflects the growing importance of data analytics in enabling both private and public sector organisations to gain valuable insights from the large volumes of data that they collect. The creation of this Chair represents another success in DCUET’s fundraising campaign ‘Shaping the Future’.
As AIB Chair in Data Analytics, Professor Ward will focus his research on customer behaviour and how data analytics can support decision-making in business and healthcare.
Professor Ward is an internationally-renowned scholar in the field of data analytics as applied to human behaviour monitoring. He is best known for neuroscience research that uses data from sensing technologies to explain individual thoughts and behaviours.
The position is based in DCU’s School of Computing. The School is strongly research-active and staff members play a key role in a number of Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research Centres, including the Insight Centre for Data Analytics (www.insight-centre.org), Ireland’s largest ever research initiative.
We are delighted to announce the visit of Madame Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to Dublin City University on Tuesday, June 26th.
Following a tour of DCU Alpha, our innovation campus, Madame Lagarde will come to the Helix (11.30am) for an on-stage discussion with me on the themes of education, innovation, inclusion and diversity in front of an audience. This will be followed by a Town Hall Q&A. The choice of DCU for this important event is highly significant and reflects an international recognition of the key role we play in the Higher Education and Innovation ecosystem.
On Thursday, June 21st, a DCU Honorary Doctorate will be conferred upon Dr Amal Al Qubaisi, President and Speaker of the Federal National Council, United Arab Emirates (UAE). Dr Amal Al Qubaisi was the first woman in the Arab World to be elected to the National Council in 2006, representing Abu Dhabi. She created further history in 2015 by being the first woman elected as the Speaker of the Federal National Council. The award of an Honorary Doctorate by DCU recognizes the outstanding commitment and contributions of Dr Amal Al Qubaisi to diversity and inclusion.
The annual President’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching and Learning took place in the Helix on Wednesday May 9th, with worthy recipients from various schools and units acknowledged for their contributions.
The overall winner in the Academic category was Dr Aisling De Paor from DCU’s School of Law and Government. Dr De Paor was commended for her dedication, enthusiasm and passion towards her students, both in and out of the lecture hall.
The full list of award-winners is as follows:
Teaching Support Category: Willie O’Sullivan, Information Systems & Services.
Team Award: Next Generation Management (NGM) Team, DCUBS - Maura McAdam, Grace Fox, Terry O’Brien, Gerry Conyngham, Jennifer Farrell and Jona Kalemi.
- Distinctive Approaches to Teaching: Dr Ciarán Dunne, School of Applied Languages & Intercultural Studies.
- Distinctive Approaches to Assessment & Feedback: Dr Justin Rami, School of Policy & Practice
- Distinctive Innovation in Teaching: Dr Dónal O’Brien, DCUBS
- New Lecturer/Tutor Category: Dr Jules Gaspard, School of Law & Government
We recently hosted a visit from His Excellency Dr Ahmed Al Eisa, Minister of Education, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to DCU St Patrick’s Campus.
The visit from the Saudi delegation focused primarily on Higher Education and Teacher Education and aimed to build on our well-established links with Princess Nourah Bint Abdul Rahman University (PNU) in Riyadh.
Our partnership at PNU has enabled a deepening of educational ties between both universities and a sharing of knowledge and expertise across a range of degree programmes delivered by DCU Business School, the Faculty of Engineering and Computing, and the Faculty of Science and Health.
The Dean of the Institute of Education, Dr Anne Looney, and the Dean of DCU Business School, Dr Anne Sinnott, played a key role in the discussions with the Saudi Minister.
Earlier this month, DCU launched the Centre for e-Integrated Care, which will combine health and social care research findings with advances in digital technology to deliver enhanced, connected healthcare.
It will be led by Dr Pamela Hussey from our School of Nursing and Human Sciences and the Centre’s aim is to advance continuity of care to improve the health and well-being of citizens in Ireland.
Based at DCU’s School of Nursing and Human Sciences, the Centre will bring together academic and research expertise from a number of schools including Nursing & Human Sciences, Business and Computing. The centre is currently engaged with a number of key stakeholders including the Health Service Executive, Health Research Board, Department of Health, Adapt Centre and Horizon 2020.
On May 31st, a team of DCU students from our Enactus Society won the Enactus Ireland national competition for Social Entrepreneurship for the third year in a row. The students will go forward to represent Ireland at the Enactus World Cup in Silicon Valley later this year. Runner-up teams included those from NUI Galway, Trinity College Dublin and University of Limerick.
I would like to acknowledge the key role played by academic staff members who have mentored the students – these include Dr Ciarán Dunne (SALIS), Dr Róisín Lyons (DCUBS) and Dr Emer Ní Bhrádaigh (Fiontar agus Scoil na Gaeilge).
One of the social entrepreneurship projects established by our students over the past year is ‘Second Scoop’, a pop-up ice cream vendor which targets corporate and social events. This involved training and mentoring asylum seekers in the business and giving them the tools to develop new livelihoods.
In another project, ‘Threads’, our students set up a clothing company that helps provide asylum seekers with the skills and opportunities to upcycle old and unwanted jeans.
Finally, for staff who have family members or relatives sitting their Leaving Certificate this summer, we are pleased to launch our Supporting Leaving Certificate Study Scheme, providing access to the O’Reilly Library (DCU Glasnevin Campus) and the Cregan Library (St Patrick’s Campus).
The Leaving Certificate Study scheme is available to students up to June 22nd.
The Irish Universities Association (IUA) is the representative body for Ireland’s seven universities. The primary focus of the IUA is on developing strategy and influencing policy in order to advance third and fourth level education and research in Ireland. Following a restructuring earlier this year, a new position of IUA Director General was created and Mr. Jim Miley was appointed to the position. You may have seen or heard Jim on various media channels in recent weeks. This is a reflection of an increased emphasis on IUA communications and, in particular, on making sure that the University sectoral perspective is understood clearly. One recent example of this was the publicity surrounding the release of the IUA pre-budget submission in early July. You may be interested in reading that submission, which can be found here. In the coming months, a new IUA Charter will be released and a new communications campaign on the value of universities to Irish society will be initiated.
On June 26th, we were delighted to welcome Madame Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, to both DCU Alpha and to the Helix where she engaged in a conversation on global and national issues, including education, innovation and inclusion.
At DCU Alpha, Madame Lagarde was greeted by Campus Director, Ronan Furlong, and engaged with a number of companies located onsite, including Siemens, FIRE1, Robotify, Novaerus, Shimmer and Talent Garden, Europe’s largest digital innovation co-working platform, which is due to open on the DCU Alpha campus in September.
Tweeting about her visit to DCU, Madame Lagarde stated “I had the opportunity to meet with faculty, students, innovators and social entrepreneurs...I am inspired and energized by their projects and ideas for the future!”.
Following the DCU Alpha visit, I had the pleasure of having a conversation with Madame Lagarde before an audience of nearly 800 in the Helix. From start to finish, Madame Lagarde blended insight with empathy, warmth and humour, providing a personal account of the people and events that influenced her through her life and career to date.
As with any such major event, a large number of individuals across many parts of the University made significant contributions. Thank you to everyone who played a role in making the day so successful!
You can watch the conversation with Madame Lagarde in full here.
On June 21st, a DCU Honorary Doctorate was conferred upon H.E. Dr Amal Al Qubaisi, Chairperson and Speaker of the Federal National Council (FNC - the United Arab Emirates Parliament).
In 2015, Dr Amal made history when she was elected Speaker of the FNC, becoming the first woman in the Arab world to be elected to such a key political position. The Honorary Doctorate was in recognition of Dr. Amal’s international leadership as an advocate for women’s and societal issues and values.
June 21st was an important day at DCU as we launched Ireland's first Centre of Excellence for Diversity and Inclusion.
The Centre will focus on diversity and inclusion research and practice for industry, higher education and Government. The Centre aims to help organisations to build cultures of inclusion by providing access to the very latest in academic research, insights and tools for diversity and inclusion. It will Forge alliances and collaborate with industry and other partners on implementing best practice. It will also facilitate knowledge exchange and workshops on key issues, such as policy development.
Among the special guests participating in the launch event were former President of Ireland, Dr Mary McAleese; social entrepreneur and autism advocate, Adam Harris; social justice advocate, Michael Barron; Employer Disability Information HR & Disability Project Manager, Seonaid O'Murchadha; founder of Empower The Family, Deborah Somorin; and Group Business Editor of Independent News & Media, Dearbhail McDonald.
DCU was well represented at InspireFest 2018 in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatres recently (June 21-22). A unique, two-day international festival that combines technology, science, design and the arts with an ethos of diversity and inclusion, InspireFest featured over 60 speakers and 3,000 attendees from almost 40 countries - with women accounting for 64% of speakers. Leaders, professionals, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, investors, coders, academics, students, decision-makers and influencers all gathered to share ideas and opinions at what was a fascinating melting pot of talent and fresh thinking.
Two very important DCU contributions came respectively from InspireFest panelist and Accounting & Finance student, Nikita Nazz Siddique, who spoke eloquently and passionately on the topic of ‘Next Generation: The Future is Now’ and from Keynote Speaker Dr Anne Looney, Executive Dean, DCU Institute of Education, who delivered a thought-provoking address on the evolving role of the teacher (which you can watch back here).
I’d like also to thank the teams at DCU Water Institute, the School of Health & Human Performance, DCU ADAPT and Director of Alumni Relations, Ross Munnelly, who showcased some of the scientific research and alumni initiatives being undertaken at DCU.
A DCU study launched on June 20th has found that primary schools are dealing with very young children with serious mental health difficulties and that the absence of a nationwide, dedicated primary schools counselling service is placing huge pressure on teachers ill-equipped to respond to students in distress.
The research, entitled ‘Primary Schools Counselling Study: Demand and provision of school based counselling in Ireland’, was led by Dr Rosaleen McElvaney, School of Nursing and Human Sciences (pictured) who collaborated with colleagues Dr Evelyn Gordon and Deirdre Judge. The report found that primary school children are experiencing significant psychological difficulties and are in need of professional help.
Funded by St Patrick’s Mental Health Services and launched by the Ombudsman for Children, Dr Niall Muldoon, the report recommends the urgent establishment of a nationwide primary schools’ counselling service.
The study was conducted among primary school principals and counsellors dealing with children from 4-13 years of age throughout Ireland between August 2016 and November 2017. Up to 3,256 primary school principals were invited to complete an online questionnaire, with 1,282 school principals (39.4%) responding. In addition, 10 counsellors who are currently providing counselling to primary school children were interviewed.
Family issues and relationship breakdowns were cited as the most common underlying cause for distress in children. Up to a quarter of school principals also reported the occurrence of a “critical” incident in their school, varying from a bomb scare to suicide to murder.
You can find out more about the research here.
DCU and FutureLearn, a global leader in online learning, recently announced 30 refugee scholarships.
Marking World Refugee Day (June 20th), the co-sponsorship is part of a joint DCU / FutureLearn scholarship initiative that will enable refugees and asylum seekers to pursue certificates of completion from a wide range of courses offered on FutureLearn’s online platform.
FutureLearn boasts 8 million learners globally and partners with almost 150 universities, institutions, professional bodies and businesses around the world.
Among the courses offered on the FutureLearn platform is DCU’s ‘Irish 101’, a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) launched earlier this year, and one of the first of its kind to offer Irish language learning globally. ‘Irish 101’ is co-funded by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht as part of the 20-year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010-2030, supported by the National Lottery.
Announcing the 30 new scholarships, Mark Lester, Director of Partnerships Development at FutureLearn, said: “DCU has long been a champion of online education in Europe, and we are proud to be hosting its ‘Irish Language and Culture’ and ‘High Performance Computing in the Cloud’ courses. We are delighted to be building upon our partnership with DCU in providing 30 scholarships for refugees and asylum seekers in Ireland, who will have an opportunity to access hundreds of flexible learning options.”
More information is available here.
We have recently announced a new agreement that will see AIB and PwC extend their support for our Centre for Family Business to 2021. Developed with the assistance of DCU Educational Trust, this new agreement will enable the Centre to expand its work to support Irish family businesses through research, events, publications and a new Connectivity Project, a peer-to-peer mentoring programme that will enable family business leaders to engage and share personal experience and learnings on specific issues of interest to family business.
Since its establishment in 2013, DCU’s Centre for Family Business has established a reputation as a hub of expertise and advice, helping Irish family firms to address issues such as generational succession, integration of family and non-family talent, inheritance and estate planning, growth and exports, and the role of entrepreneurship and innovation in family business success. The Centre has engaged with over 1,500 family firms through three national conferences and other events and has participated in the worldwide Successful Transgenerational Entrepreneurial Practices (STEP) project, enabling Irish family firms to draw on international research and practice insights.
The support of AIB and PwC since 2015 has been vital in enabling the Centre to provide a platform to enhance the competitiveness of Irish family firms, to offer insights into international best practice of family firm management and to shape future policy in relation to this thriving sector.
Along with University Librarian, Mr Christopher Pressler, I had the pleasure of launching DCU’s new exhibition gallery on Tuesday, 19 June at the O’Reilly library on our Glasnevin campus.
The gallery showcases an inaugural exhibition featuring 750 years of the Library’s historic materials, including manuscripts, early printed books and pamphlets, and more contemporary private papers of leading actors in media and politics, as well as photographic collections.
Exhibition highlights include a 13th century manuscript bible, a volume of Martin Luther’s works, a Shakespeare folio, and a Bedell bible, the first published in the Irish language. Our archives bear witness to historic Irish and international events, including the protracted turmoil of the Irish revolutionary period, the unfolding of events in Danzig prior to World War II from the perspective of leading Irish diplomat, Sean Lester, key correspondence between former Taoiseach, Charles J. Haughey and international leaders, and the ground-breaking media work of Mary Raftery.
This and a wealth of other materials in DCU Library’s collections will provide invaluable sources for researchers across humanities, and social, natural and applied sciences for generations to come. I would strongly encourage you to take the opportunity of viewing the new exhibition gallery.
DCU’s collections have benefited hugely from generous donations, not least in the fields of media, politics, literature and education. The University also acknowledges the legacy of collections which have come into our care since the incorporation of the Church of Ireland College of Education, the Mater Dei Institute of Education and St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra into the University.
I want to wish the very best of luck to the 16 DCU students who are currently preparing to compete as part of team Éirloop at the upcoming SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Championship in California later in July.
Dubbed the ‘Olympics of Engineering’, the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod competition consists of 20 student-led teams from top institutions across the world designing and building hyperloop prototypes to travel at the highest possible speed down a one-mile vacuum tube at the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California. The 20 teams were selected from over 700 globally.
This year marks the first time that a team from Ireland will be taking part in this prestigious competition.
On June 26th, DCU students, including Bartlomiej Bara (captain Team Éirloop), Akhil Voorakkara (Head of Electronics for Team Éirloop) and Nina Kanti (Lead Software Architect for Team Éirloop), joined other team members to unveil the Hyperloop pod to an audience at DCU, including Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation and Research and Development, John Halligan TD.
Prof. Lisa Looney, Executive Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Computing, who hosted the launch event, said:
“The Éirloop team has illustrated what can be achieved when the analytical thinking and the expansive creativity which we strongly associate with engineers, are combined with people, teamwork and communication skills and, most importantly, with a deliberate growth mindset. The future of Irish technological innovation is in safe hands.”
With end-of-year examination results published in recent weeks, I want to take the opportunity to thank all academic and administrative staff in DCU for their unwavering commitment in preparing, administering and correcting examinations and in processing examination results.
At the start of June, we learned with great sadness of the passing of Prof John Coolahan.
John was a colossus in Irish education for more than five decades, with a broad international reputation for his scholarly output. Moreover, he was a friend to many in DCU, particularly to those who joined the University through the Incorporation process that was completed in 2016.
John was formerly Chair of the Governing Body of both St. Patrick’s College Drumcondra and the Mater Dei Institute of Education. In September 2017, he was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate by DCU in recognition of his immense contribution to education in Ireland.
Among the Education community, John Coolahan was accorded universal respect. That respect was based not only on his scholarly achievements but also, more significantly, on the deep regard for his values, his humanity, and his integrity.
John was a giant of education reform and a true friend of DCU. Ní fheicfear a leithêid arís.
You can read DCU’s tribute to John Coolahan in full here.