Posted tagged ‘New Year’


January 9, 2017

Just over a year ago I offered some thoughts about what might make 2016 a satisfactory twelvemonth in my life. To be totally frank, looking back at that post I marvel at the banality of what I wrote, a little cocktail of the technical and the trivial at the beginning of a year; a year that had rather more ambition than that and was going to upset many of the expectations and hopes and assumptions of the circles I tend to move in. 2016 certainly did not bring success for Newcastle United, nor did it bury the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). It did however bring Brexit and President Trump, two developments that I didn’t at that point predict and which have eclipsed the more prosaic concerns I listed.

Maybe I belong to those who have indulged in what Boris Johnson has called a ‘whinge-o-rama’ as our preferences and aspirations were apparently shredded by popular vote. But these are moments when it is appropriate to explore again what we stand for, and why, and how we can work for success in what is now an undoubtedly different setting. Every watershed change in politics is in fact an invitation to explore ideas and to re-emphasise principle and clarity of thought, not expediency, as the driver of action.

So my hope for 2017 is that we, in the universities, can offer an effective forum for such an exploration, where all views can be aired and analysed and where the values of tolerance and rigour of debate can co-exist successfully.


Here’s what I’m hoping at the start of 2016

January 5, 2016

It is the human condition to hope that everything will be better in this year compared with the last. Tennyson expressed it well:

‘Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.’

So, in that spirit, here are my hopes (I shall not say expectations) for 2016. They may or may not be in order of importance.

  • Newcastle United will shine in the English premiership. OK, won’t be relegated.
  • Ireland will win the European football championships. OK, won’t be eliminated in the group stage.
  • There won’t be a Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) in Scotland. (I don’t think it should be adopted anywhere, but let’s stick with Scotland).
  • There will be a real drive to remove bureaucratisation from higher education.
  • Daniel Craig will agree to play James Bond one more time.
  • Aberdeen City and Shire will succeed in the bid for a City Region Deal.
  • The Eurovision Song Context will be the most enjoyable ever, and avoid geopolitics.

A very happy New Year to all readers of this blog. May 2016 bring you health, and prosperity, and intellectual curiosity and satisfaction.

Ring out the old, ring in the new

January 1, 2013

So how was 2012 for you? Most people I talk to say they won’t miss it. I’m not sure, myself. 2012 saw the publication of the review of higher education governance in Scotland (that I chaired); the Olympics and Paralympics; Newcastle United ending the season at number 5 in the Premiership. I discovered the amazingly wonderful TV comedy series Modern Family (if you don’t know this, you really must watch it).

Then again, 2012 was the year of that so-called summer. Newcastle United ended the year at number 15 and falling. We all still seem to be in or near recession. Dallas returned to our televisions.

Who knows, maybe it was good, maybe it was bad. But here we are now, at the start of the new year. May 2013 be all that you want it to be.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year

January 1, 2012

A very happy New Year to all readers of this blog. May all your dreams come true in 2012.


January 1, 2010

I would like to wish all readers of this blog a very happy New Year! May all your hopes come to fruition, and may this year be one of economic recovery and social and cultural regeneration.

I hope also that you may find something in this blog during 2010 that will interest, stimulate or at least irritate you!

My very best wishes to you all,


PS. And by the way, it’s ‘twenty-ten’ rather than ‘two thousand and ten’…

My hopes for 2009

December 31, 2008

What did I make of 2008? It was without doubt the most interesting year in a long time, with a wholly unpredictable environment, a gallery of villains, rogues and heroes, major achievements in DCU and extraordinary calamities in public life. In my own life, I will remember 2008 very fondly, but it was also a year in which everything changed, for everyone. And I suspect that for many who have moved quite suddenly from personal prosperity and security to something much less reassuring, and for those throughout the world whose experience of this year was one of war, famine or oppression, it may seem right to follow the poem by Tennyson and let 2008 go, and hope for something better in 2009:

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

From the perspective of Dublin City University, these are some of my hopes for the coming year.

• I hope that circumstances do not force us (and all the universities and colleges) to scale down our access programmes that support people from disadvantaged backgrounds. I hope that we will be able to become still more inclusive and move decisively towards a higher education system that is fair and socially aware.
• I hope that the universities will succeed in presenting a much better public image that emphasises the role we play in overcoming economic downturns and in securing a stable and just society.
• I hope that we get a good working relationship with government with a much higher level of mutual trust.
• I hope that DCU’s reputation as a radical educational innovator is enhanced by our new strategic plan (to be adopted in February) and by the energetic implementation of our Academic Framework for Innovation.
• I hope that DCU’s vibrant research performance – which has allowed us to out-perform much larger and older institutions in securing major research grants and contracts – will continue.
• I hope that we can persuade the government and its agencies that high levels of regulatory bureaucracy will not improve anyone’s performance.

    But overall, I hope that contrary to all expectations 2009 will be a good year for this country and for the world. May the hope and optimism that has been generated by the election of Barack Obama take root and be reflected in similar optimism everywhere.

    I hope that 2009 will be a good year for you, wherever you are and whatever you do!

    Happy New Year!