Speaker Biographies

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Speaker 1 – Dr. Patrick Prendergast, Provost, Trinity College Dublin and Chair of the Irish Universities Association

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Patrick Prendergast was elected by academic staff and student representatives as the 44th Provost of Trinity College Dublin coming into office on August 1st, 2011, after having served as the Vice-Provost & Chief Academic Officer (2008-2011) and Dean of Graduate Studies (2004-2007).

Dr Prendergast first came to Trinity in 1983 as an undergraduate student. After post-doctoral positions in Bologna, Italy and Nijmegen, The Netherlands, he was appointed to the engineering faculty in Trinity College Dublin in 1995, ultimately becoming Professor of Bioengineering, and Director of the Trinity Centre for Bioengineering. During this period he published several hundred articles related to implant design and tissue mechanobiology, and supervised 40 graduate students.

He has held Visiting Professorships at the Institute of Fundamental Technological Research, Poland; Erasmus University Rotterdam; The Technical University of Delft; and, in 2008, at University Politicnic of Catalonia (UPC), Barcelona. He served on the board of several companies, most recently ClearStream Technologies plc, and has served on the board of Tallaght Hospital, a large academic hospital in Dublin. He was appointed by the European Commission to the Governing Board of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) in 2012.

Dr Prendergast holds a BA, BAI, PhD, and ScD degrees, all from Trinity College Dublin. He is a Member of the Royal Irish Academy (MRIA), a Fellow of the Irish Academy of Engineering (FIAE) and in 2013 was elected an International Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng) in the UK.



Speaker 2 – Prof Stephanie Fahey, Lead Partner Education Oceania, Ernst and Young Australia

Fahey_Stephanie_BWStephanie joined EY (Ernst & Young) 18 months ago after more than 25 years experience in the Australian higher education sector having worked as both an academic and a senior executive.  She has worked in universities, dual sector institutions and has chaired a board of a very successful Registered Training Organisation.

Her domestic and international experience covers all aspects of strategic planning, management, administration and teaching including: research, education, domestic and international marketing and student recruitment, transnational education and student services. She has advised on projects in Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Vietnam, Malaysia, China, Cambodia, Myanmar, India, South Africa, UAE, Saudi Arabia, UK, Italy, Russia, Hawaii and Chile.

Stephanie has an impressive track record in higher education transformation both domestically and internationally. Her extensive international experience in training and education equips her to bring a global best practice perspective to performance improvement in the education sector.

Since joining EY she has worked closely with a number of Australian and non-Australian universities, and global education firms to assist them in transformation of their functional services, learning strategies, domestic and international  marketing and recruitment strategies, course demand,  governance framework and cultural change. Her recent pro bono work was to develop a ‘revitalisation strategy’ for Yangon University in Myanmar on behalf of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Prior to joining EY Stephanie was the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Global Engagement) at Monash University in Melbourne for seven years and lead a research institute at the University of Sydney. She is currently the Vice President of the Europe Australia Business Council and the Vice Chairman of the Australia China Council. In the past she has also served as a board member of the Australia China Business Council, the Australia Korea Foundation and the Foreign Affairs Council. She is also a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


Speaker 3 – Mr Gerry Collins, Senior Executive, Pharmaceutical Industry

Gerry Collins 2Having commenced his career as a Marine Engineer Gerry joined Aughinish Alumina in 1984 and held various roles within that organisation.   In 1994 Gerry joined Janssen Pharmaceutical in Cork holding  various operations roles before transferring to the US as General Manager of Noramco Inc.

In 2009 Gerry was part of an integration team which consolidated all of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing sites within one global organisation. Thereafter he was appointed as General Manager for Janssen Biologics (Large Molecule) and Janssen Pharmaceutical (Small Molecule) located in Cork with the objective of integrating the two operations to form one organisation. Having spent a number of years as General Manager for a variety of Small Molecule and Fill Finish sites Gerry is now responsible for the Large Molecule Platform within J&J Globally.


Speaker 4 – Mr Aims McGuinness, Senior Associate, National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, Colorado


Aims McGuinness is a Senior Associate with the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS), a private nonprofit policy center in Boulder, Colorado. At NCHEMS, he specializes in state governance and coordination of higher education; strategic planning and restructuring higher education systems; roles and responsibilities of public institutional and multi-campus system governing boards; and international comparison of education reform.  Over the past thirty-five years, McGuinness has advised many of the states that have conducted major studies of their higher education systems and undertaken higher education reforms. McGuinness is author of several publications on state higher education policy, university systems and governance. He initiated the State Postsecondary Education Structures Sourcebook, a basic reference guide to state coordination and governance in the United States.

McGuinness is active at the international level in conducting policy reviews and advising governments on education policy, primarily through the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the World Bank, including projects in Australia, the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Greece, India, Israel, Ireland, Kazakhstan, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Malaysia, the Russian Federation, and Turkey.  He chaired the international task force leading to the 2011 OECD report, Strong Performers and Successful Reforms: Education Policy Advice to Greece.  He served OECD team for the 2004 review of Higher Education in Ireland and on the International Panel of Experts for the National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030 (2011).

McGuinness earned his undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Pennsylvania, an MBA from The George Washington University, and a Ph.D. in social science from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University.


Speaker 5 – Mr Thomas Estermann,  Director, Governance, Funding and Public Policy Development , European University Association (EUA)

Thomas EstermannThomas Estermann is Director for Governance, Funding and Public Policy Development with responsibilities for EUA’s work aimed at strengthening universities’ autonomy, governance, management and their financial sustainability.

Before joining EUA in July 2007, Thomas Estermann was Deputy Head of Strategic Development and Deputy Head of Administration at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna, a member of the universities’ senate and involved in the last two reforms in higher education in Austria. Before entering the University in 1997, he pursued a career as a lawyer.

Thomas Estermann was previously member of the Executive Committee of HUMANE (Heads of University Management & Administration Network in Europe) and founding chairman of WSAN, a network of senior university managers in Europe. He is also a member of the editorial board of the UK-based journal ‘Perspectives’, which focuses on policy and practice in Higher Education. He holds a Master’s degree in law from the University of Vienna.



Speaker 6 – Patricia Mangeol, OECD Education Directorate

Patricia Mangeol

Patricia Mangeol joined the OECD’s Directorate for Education and Skills in 2013 as a policy analyst specialising on higher education and skills.

Prior to joining the OECD, Ms. Mangeol worked in the Ontario government, Canada, as a senior policy advisor in the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. In this role, Ms. Mangeol provided analysis and advice to support the reform of the higher education system, including issues related to the governance and funding of the system, and strategies to better leverage online learning in the province. She also led policy files related to labour market policy, including the improvement and integration across multiple ministries of Ontario’s suite of employment and training programmes. Previously, Patricia was a policy advisor for the Office of the Fairness Commissioner (OFC), a regulatory agency of the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration. At the OFC, she worked on the implementation of new legislation to improve access to regulated professions for internationally-trained individuals. This role included conducting research on economic trends impacting immigrants and leading extensive stakeholders consultations to build consensus on the interpretation of the Act among all parties involved.

Ms. Mangeol is a dual French-Canadian citizen. She holds graduate degrees in public affairs from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences-Po) and international relations from the University of Toronto, Canada.


Speaker 7 – Mr Art Hauptman, Independent Public Policy Consultant on Education, Washington DC.


Arthur M. Hauptman has been an independent public policy consultant since 1981 specializing in higher education finance issues. He has consulted and written extensively on policies regarding student financial aid, fee-setting, and the public funding of higher education in countries around the world.  A consistent theme of his work is that public policies in higher education are more effective when these three key elements of financing are linked systematically.

In the U.S., he has consulted with many federal and state agencies as well as higher education associations and institutions. He has helped develop the rationale for a number of federal programs including direct loans, income contingent loan repayment, and tuition tax credits.  For states, he has argued for developing counter-cyclical policies, tying public sector tuition levels to general income measures, and creating funding formulas that reward institutions based of their performance and efficiency.  Internationally, he has consulted with governments or funding bodies in more than two dozen industrialized and developing countries to develop financing strategies for tertiary education. He earned a BA in Economics from Swarthmore College and a MBA from Stanford University.


Speaker 8 – Ms Liesl Elder, Director of Development, The University of Oxford and Chair of Ross Group

(c) John CairnsLiesl Elder became Oxford’s new Director of Development in September 2011. She joined Oxford from the University of Edinburgh, where she managed the fundraising and alumni relations team during the university’s £350m Enlightenment Campaign.

Ms Elder has worked in educational fundraising since 1993, beginning her career at the US liberal arts colleges Carleton College and Oberlin College before serving as Campaign Director for Santa Clara University in California. She moved to the UK in 2004 to become Director of Development and Communications at Durham University and managed Durham’s 175th Anniversary Campaign before joining the University of Edinburgh in 2008.



MC: John Bowman

Panel Members:

_DSC4639 Hi Res Pic SG Nov 2013Sean O’Foghlu – Secretary General, Dept of Education and Skills
Seán Ó Foghlú has been the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Skills since February 2012. From 2008 until 2012 he was an Assistant Secretary General in the Department of Education and Skills. He had responsibility for the Planning and Building Unit in Tullamore from 2010 to 2012 and prior to that he had responsibility for school transport, social inclusion, payroll and pensions. From 2001 to 2008 he led the establishment of the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland and was the Authority’s first chief executive.   In this role he led the development and implementation of the National Framework of Qualifications. He joined the Department of Education in 1992 and worked there on policy areas including the 1995 White Paper on Education, universities and qualifications legislation in 1997 and 1999 and as Secretary to the Commission on the Points System.  He was Head of Policy and Planning for two years from 1999 in the Higher Education Authority.

Laura HarmonLaura Harmon  – President, Union of Students of Ireland

Laura Harmon is the President of the Union of Students in Ireland and represents over 350,000 students across the island. Laura was previously a two-term Vice-President for Equality and Citizenship with USI. She is a graduate of University College Cork.



N14078Danny McCoy – CEO, Irish Business and Employers’ Confederation (IBEC)
Danny McCoy is CEO at Ibec. Prior to joining Ibec he was a Senior Research Officer at the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) and an economist in the Central Bank of Ireland. He has held lecturing posts at Dublin City University, University College London, University of Oxford and Trinity College Dublin. He was a research associate at the Centre for Social and Economic Research on the Global Environment (CSERGE) in London. He has been a visiting lecturer at the IMD Business School in Switzerland and Harvard University in the US. He was Manager of the European Forecasting Network comprising ten European research institutes in a joint project for the European Commission. He is a regular contributor in the print and broadcast media and has written columns for the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times and the Irish Times among other international newspapers. The Irish Times recently described Danny as one of the ‘50 people who runs Ireland’.

Mary CanningDr. Mary Canning – Former Lead Education Specialist, World Bank
As a former Lead Education Specialist for the World Bank, Mary Canning worked on education policy in a wide range of countries in Europe and Central Asia.  Since 2007, she has served as a member of the Higher Education Authority, Ireland.  In 2009, she was appointed to the National Strategic Review of Higher Education in Ireland.  From 2010 to 2012, she was a member of the Governing Authority of NUI, Maynooth.   In 2010, she was elected to the Royal Irish Academy.  Dr. Canning continues to write extensively on higher education systems and has contributed to numerous World Bank and OECD publications.


DSC_8146Paul Hannigan – President of Letterkenny IT and Chair of IOTi
Paul Hannigan has been President of Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT) since January 1998.  Having graduated from UCD with a Bachelor of Commerce and Masters of Business Studies, specialising in Human Resources Management, Paul began work as a lecturer in Economics and Human Resource Management in Dundalk IT, and in 1992 he took on the position of Head of Department of Business Studies in Dundalk, until his appointment to Letterkenny. Paul is a former member of the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and is currently a Board member of the Central Applications Office (CAO) and Chairman of its Audit Committee.  He is active on a number of national committees of the Institutes of Technology Ireland and is currently Chairman of this group.  Paul serves on the Donegal Local Development Committee (DLDC), the North West Regional Executive of IBEC, and Fáilte North West (the regional forum of Fáilte Ireland).  He is also a member of the Council of Eurashe, the European Association for Technological Higher Education Institutions. In 2007, he completed an MSc in Management Practice at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) through the Irish Management Institute (IMI), and in January 2008 was appointed as President of LYIT for a further ten years.


A J DeeksProf. Andrew Deeks – President of University College Dublin
On 1 January 2014, Professor Andrew J Deeks took up the presidency of University College Dublin, becoming the first Australian to lead an Irish university, and only the second person from outside Ireland to lead the University since its founding rector, John Henry Newman. Previously, Professor Deeks joined Durham University in 2009 as Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Science, where he led the development of the university’s global presence strategy and extensive international partnerships, particularly in China and Brazil. He also championed Durham University’s strategic partnership with IBM and contributed to strategic partnerships with Procter & Gamble and BG Brasil. Professor Deeks was instrumental in the creation of Durham University’s Institute of Advanced Research Computing (iARC), which uses computer-supported modelling and simulation as a third pillar of discovery, alongside theory and experimentation, across all domains of science as well as in social science and the arts and humanities.