New Irish university president

NUI Maynooth yesterday announced the appointment of its third president, Professor Philip Nolan. He is currently Deputy President and Registrar of University College Dublin, and he has been a key member of the management team assembled there by President Hugh Brady. Another member of that team. Professor Des Fitzgerald, is a candidate in the election for Provost of Trinity College Dublin.

NUI Maynooth has been a major success story in recent Irish higher education, having in particular built up a very smart framework of student recruitment that increased its size exponentially; but it also faces a number of challenges, not excluding the challenge of explaining what its distinctive role is within the country’s university system. It also has to deal with the complexities of sharing a site with the Pontifical University (St Patrick’s College), of which it was once a component. It is currently involved in partnership discussions with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and Dublin City University – discussions I helped to initiate while I was President of DCU.

Philip Nolan himself brings into his new role lots of experience of the university system. He was one of the key movers in the establishment of the Dublin Region Higher Education Alliance (DRHEA), about which I shall be writing more later. I wish him well in his new role.

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5 Comments on “New Irish university president”

  1. Ernie Ball Says:

    It’s metastasising.

  2. Al Says:

    Is that a fair comment?
    Your comparing this man to a disease….

  3. Cardinal Newman Says:

    With Philip Nolan’s departure to Maynooth and Des “moneybags” Fitzgerald running for the top job in Trinity, is this the end of the Brady-Nolan-Fitzgerald dream team in UCD?

    Far more interesting is how these recent movements will play out in the race to succeed Hugh Brady in 3 years time, which is likely to be the next big vacancy in the the Irish university sector. Both Nolan and Fitzgerald are known to have harboured ambitions to succeed Brady, but these seem to have been thwarted, hence the desire of both to leave Belfield to fulfil their dreams (Nolan was in the running for the DCU job last year). It would seem highly unlikely that with less than three years under his belt in Maynooth by the time the UCD job becomes vacant, Nolan would put himself forward as a candidate. As for Des Fitzgerald, he is hardly registering on the TCD provost election radar. A poor showing will hardly do him any favours. One wonders why he chose this particular position as the one to declare his presidential ambitions.

    All eyes are now on who will be selected to fill Nolan’s role as Registrar and Deputy President in UCD. Will it be another from the golden boys and girls in Science/Medicine, or will it be an opportunity for Hugh Brady to extend an olive branch to the wider university by picking someone from Humanities, Engineering or Business?

    • Ernie Ball Says:

      Who says he gets to pick? I can assure you there will be strong resistance to any such move on his part.

      • Cardinal Newman Says:

        Seems from Statute 6, Chapter 11 “Appointment of a Registrar” (Statutes of UCD/NUI Dublin) that an acting registrar can be nominated by the president subject to ratification by the governing authority, but that a formal search and selection committee must be established and the post advertised internationally for a permanent replacement. An opportunity perhaps for internal and external candidates to signal their intent and go through a 3 year probation as Registrar/Deputy President before trying to succeed Hugh Brady?


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