Annual Report 2001 - foreword

annual report 2001


Taking up my appointment as President of Dublin City University in July 2000 meant that my first year almost coincides with the period covered by this annual report.

Following extensive consultation and consideration, we set out a five year strategic plan - Leading Change - to define our purpose and focus our attention on areas in which we can play a significant role in society. This strategic focus is framed around a small number of cross-disciplinary themes. Leading Change will involve a rethink on how we organise our internal academic and administrative structures as we as our external relationships with Government, the education sector and industry. Its implementation will ensure that DCU continues to be the most innovative university in Ireland.

We took the opportunity presented by the strategic plan to revitalise our corporate identity. DCU is at a new stage of development and the corporate identity portrays the university's distinguishing features. It has movement as well as being modern, uncluttered and strong.

For the new academic year we introduced a number of new postgraduate programmes in nursing, information technology, mechanical engineering, and plasma and vacuum technology. At undergraduate level, we added a degree in digital media engineering but also introduced a common entry option into electronic engineering, reflecting a concern that secondary level students may not be able to choose areas of specialism before they commence their university studies. The needs of students are constantly changing and we recognise that we must actively adapt our teaching approach in order to provide the best learning environment for them.

Balancing the teaching aspect, we continue to encourage and acknowledge excellence in research. This year's President's Research Awards went to Dr Jenny Williams for her outstanding body of work in the area of translation studies, second-hand language acquisition and German studies, which included an exemplary biography of the German writer Hans Fallada and to Professor Brian MacCraith for his significant contributions to international optical sensor research and to the development of the overall scientific research effort of this university.

The physical structure of the campus continues to expand. This year we were honoured by the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, who officially opened the new Oscail building and by the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, who opened the Hub, the new student centre. The Tanaiste, Mary Harney opened Invent, the incubation centre for students, staff and graduates.

Dublin City University is the embodiment of the vision of a number of people and I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the enormous contribution of Dr Danny O'Hare, my predecessor, who had the foresight, the energy and the commitment to make this a fine university. During my role of office I intend to build on his foundation and to steer DCU towards continued success.

This year we also saw the retirement of Dr Tom Hardiman as Chancellor to the University. Tom brought a great deal of experience and external insight to us and we are deeply grateful to him for his service. The Governing Authority appointed the Honourable Ms Justice Mella Carroll as Chancellor and Chair.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank staff for your enthusiasm and participation in the running of the university. This university has a strong sense of passion, which comes from staff who care about students as much as they care about their own academic research and progress. We have a great mix of people, administrative and academic, who have been part of the extraordinary growth of DCU. I hope that you will continue to support the efforts of the university in the coming year and enjoy yourselves as you do so.

Ferdinand von Prondzynski
Dublin City University