The next phase

As some readers of this blog may already have heard, I have been appointed to the post of Principal of the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, Scotland. I shall be taking up the appointment in March 2011. For those who may not have visited it, Aberdeen is an extraordinarily beautiful city in North-East Scotland, and the university has established a magnificent reputation, indeed having just won the accolade of Sunday Times Scottish University of the Year. So as coincidence would have it, I am moving from this year’s Irish University of the Year, to the Scottish one. While of course I shall miss DCU, I am looking forward to the challenge and excitement of RGU, and to working with some extremely talented colleagues.

Judging from yesterday’s traffic on this blog, I suspect that we have already acquired some new Scottish readers, who are most welcome. During the months ahead, I shall continue to publish posts on higher education in Ireland and elsewhere, but you may find a Scottish angle emerging in some of these posts. I do however intend to keep at least some of the focus of this blog on Ireland – in equal measure with Scotland eventually  – and I may in due course seek a co-editor  from Ireland so that the Irish items remain accurate and up-to-date.

Some of you have already emailed me in the course of yesterday, but to all of you, whether from Ireland, Scotland or elsewhere, I would like to convey my thanks for your support and for your interest in this blog.

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25 Comments on “The next phase”

  1. Vincent Says:

    Looking at the web site it is a similar type of place to DCU.

  2. Al Says:

    Phasers on stun!

  3. iainmacl Says:

    Good luck…now don’t join up with that baying bunch of principals who are trying to get the (enlightened) scottish government to implement fees….show solidarity with the fine tradition of free education for all and the nurturing of the Democratic Intellect (G. Davie, 1961)… 😉

    ps wrap up well, it’s freezing there!

  4. Aidan Says:

    Congratulations on your new post.

  5. Great news! Congratulations and the very best of luck in your new post.

  6. Jilly Says:

    Many congratulations, I hope you enjoy your time there. I’ve only visited Aberdeen once, but I’d second Iainmacl’s suggestion about wrapping up well, it is a very very cold city! The other thing I really remember about it is the vodka bar in a converted church, with the pews used as seats…

  7. Emma Henderson Says:

    Congratulations Ferdinand from all at NCI! We have been wondering what your next move might be. As an Ayrshire native living in Dublin I find myself quite conflicted – Ireland’s loss is clearly Scotland’s gain.

    And this is the first time I’ve ever heard Aberdeen referred to as ‘an extraordinarily beautiful city’!

    Look forward to reading all about your new adventures.

  8. Congrats on the appointment!

  9. Copernicus Says:

    Congratulations! But Robert Gordon University RGU), is in the shadow of its big brother University Of Aberdeen. A few years ago there was a talk of RGU and U of Aberdeen merging but the RGU unions I guess scuppered it. RGU boasts itself as this , that and other but then outside Scotland, it is unheard off. It gets students from India these days through agents, but these students are those who could not find places in their country and are usually not upto scratch. It will help if RGU does less boasting more in the form of training skills that Scotland requires- not degrees, but HNDs, certificates etc.. which it was doing became it opted to name itself as RGU. RGU should recruit less students and concentrate on areas that U of Aberdeen does not offer, instead of competing with it with courses. The world knows about U of Aberdeen and not RGU. RGU needs a new direction, creatimg its own niche and not saying that it has achieved so much in terms of its location in UK universities’ league table. That is for the Russlell Group top 20 universities.

    • Vincent Says:

      You have little idea of whom you deal. Himself and his predecessor did in 30 what took 150 years elsewhere. This within a class ridden and sectarian city community.
      And the Scottish Universities are about to receive a masterclass.

  10. colummccaffery Says:

    Congratulations and best wishes.

  11. Tony Clarke Says:

    Congratulations Ferdinand on your new position – I worked in UCD and studied part time in DCU and noticed a vast difference in atmosphere and attitudes. DCU is much friendlier and encouraging environment where academic and support staffs are extremely helpful, approachable and courteous. Well done on making DCU a friendly and excellent learning environment, especially with all the cut backs in recent times and I was impressed that DCU didn’t suffer from the same budget problems that UCD and other universities have in the last few years.

    Thanks for all your work.


  12. Copernicus Says:

    RGU has one thing that U of Aberdeen does not have. It is proximity to the Union Street, the only main street in Aberdeen. The proximity is good because the Union Street shops close at 5:30PM, much like we see in Germany! It is a very expensive city, and the property prices are highly inflated. After a time one gets a kind of claustrophobic there as it takes over 2 hours to travel to Edinburgh by train. Very difficult to move from RGU once in as it provides a very narrow experience. Best to serve not more than 2 years.

  13. Many thanks to all of you for your kind thoughts.

  14. Lyndsay Says:

    Hi Ferdinand, im going into my second year of my undergraduate degree and I think I was fortunate to have you as my university president for, at least, one year. I have thoroughly enjoyed your columns in the Irish times past and present and ofcourse the DCU mag:-). Its great to see a bright kooky academic devoted to his job and a belief and ear for our youth. I will definitely be a regular reader of your blog. I hope Aberdeen’s youth will keep you on your toes as much as those did of DCU! 🙂

  15. Grainne Says:

    Congrats and good luck!

  16. Emma Moulden Says:

    Congratulations! I am going to work at RGU myself in October, looking forward to hopefully meeting you one day.

  17. Paul Doran Says:

    Our Family have just paid out over 400 euro for rental of school books for another year, In a School of over 225 pupils that is 25,000 in One year. Over an eight year cycle that is gross 200.000.This is quite a farce and yet Our Government has no interest in putting a stop to this. The Unions in the education sector look after their members and no one givesa a flying curse about the parent who is trying to survive in this Country where Greed is the main focus.

    One can mutiply this figure over so many hundreds of thousands of pupils going to School this year and why are Vested Interests letting this go on.

  18. Clare Says:

    Congratulations on the new gig, Ferdinand. I hope you’ll continue blogging as I’ve grown to enjoy your columns.

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