Transitions

It’s been one of those days on which the sheer pace of activities stops you from thinking too much about what is going on and what it all means for you. As I mentioned in my last post, on Thursday the Governing Authority of DCU appointed Professor Brian MacCraith to be the new President of DCU, from July 14 next year. Since I made the earlier announcement, here and on Twitter and elsewhere, I have been completely inundated with emails, tweets, handwritten notes shoved through the door, phone calls and every possible form of communication – and I have appreciated every one of them (with just one surprising complaint that I was handing out ‘totally irrelevant information’).

So let me first of all explain to some who have asked this: under Irish law (the Universities Act 1997), all university presidents hold office for 10 years. I was appointed in early 2000, and my term of office began in July of that year. I am in fact a committed believer in fixed terms for such posts, not least because after a while everyone, no matter how good they might be, becomes less fresh, and a new person at the top can inject some new life and energy. So I think it’s a good principle. And I am genuinely delighted with the choice of my successor (in which I played no part): Brian MacCraith is a truly wonderful research leader, but also a civilised and inspiring man who has a wide breadth of interests and a lively curiosity. DCU will be very well led by him.

But I am not quite finished yet. I have another seven months (or nearly that) in the post, and some interesting issues will be up for decision during that time; and I intend to stay wholly active right up to the last minute.

Some readers of this blog know DCU very well, others perhaps less so. But let me assure all of you that it is an extraordinarily wonderful institution. Its successes and its excellence stem from the collective work of the entire university community, both staff and students over the years. I have no doubt that it will go on to achieve new heights and will set the standard in so many ways for quality and initiative in higher education. And I would like to think that when we get it wrong, as of course we sometimes do, we learn quickly.

And as for me? I have not yet taken any final decision on what I shall do next. But I am not going to retire! And as long as I don’t run out of things to say, this blog certainly will continue.

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7 Comments on “Transitions”

  1. Aoife Citizen Says:

    A great choice but Brian will have big boots to fill!

  2. Perry Share Says:

    Ferdinand – do you think that under the aegis of your blog, it might be interesting to organise some sort of event that looks at the future of third level education in Ireland – to be held in DCU prior to your departure? I’m sure that the contributors to the discussions here would be willing to participate – indeed it would be fascinating to see some of them in the flesh (as it were!).


  3. Glad to hear the blog will continue. Just don’t forget to insert “former” in the title before “university president”! 😉


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