Brian MacCraith is Inaugurated as President of DCU

Newly inaugurated DCU President Brian MacCraith (centre)

DCU Press Release

Vision based on transformation, enterprise, translation and engagement Enterprise Advisory Board, Early Stage Seed Fund, Nobel Laureate lecture series announced

“Shrinking budgets and increased demands threaten quality of education – we must be agile, distinctive and relevant, and we must find diversified income”

Dublin City University will be a modern, dynamic ‘University of Enterprise’ delivering significant value to the nation and graduating students who can lead the next successful era in Ireland’s history according to Prof. Brian MacCraith the new President of DCU in his inaugural speech today (Tuesday 13 July 2010).

“We are not, and should not seek to be, a conventional, traditional university. Our mission derives from our past record, our evolved values and the original rationale for DCU’s establishment which is to play a pivotal role in accelerating economic activity and delivering Ireland’s future well-being, especially in our region.”

Prof. MacCraith, who is DCU’s third president since its foundation as NIHE Dublin in 1980 was addressing an audience of 1,200 staff, students, donors, industry, government and regional representatives in the Mahony Hall at The Helix on the DCU campus.

In remarks addressed directly to his audience as parents, Prof. MacCraith said “DCU is a university that is inclusive and committed to supporting our students, your children, along their journey of learning and personal development.  Let me assure you that DCU will broaden their horizons and develop strong positive values in an environment where they can realise their potential and not only survive but prosper”.

In his script Prof. MacCraith outlined a vision for the future of DCU as a distinctive and innovative force in Higher Education based on four principles;

  • enabling the transformative impact that a university education can have on people and  on the economic and social environment in which they live,
  • creating an environment that stimulates and rewards Entrepreneurship & Innovation at all levels thus enabling an enterprising mindset in graduates,
  • a commitment to the successful translation of research results into real societal benefits with a priority on issues of societal concern –  health, the environment, and energy needs,
  • a commitment to continual  engagement with enterprise, with the region that it serves, the community that it lives in and global forces of change.

As tangible initiatives towards delivering on those principles, Prof. MacCraith announced the establishment of;

  • the DCU Enterprise Advisory Board with global and national input to provide advice on

enterprise needs from education. Prof. MacCraith also announced that Dr Craig Barrett will join that board.

  • the DCU Nobel Laureate Lecture Series, an annual event whereby Nobel Laureate from

one of the 6 prize areas (Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature, Economics and Peace) will come to DCU to deliver a public lecture.

  • an early-stage Accelerator seed venture fund of €1million to help fund early stage technology start-up companies concept to product. The fund will be managed by the DCU Ryan Academy for Entrepreneurship which is based in CityWest.
  • a new BSc programme in Aviation Management with Pilot Studies that reflects the growing engagement with Dublin airport and aviation sector interests there. It will admit its first intake of students this autumn.

Prof. MacCraith warned however of the challenges and difficulties faced by the Higher Education sector; “The mission of Higher Education has never been more important to this country but shrinking budgets, coupled with increasing student numbers and the anticipated scale of future demand are placing unsustainable pressures on Universities. As a result the quality of the education that we can provide is under severe threat.”

The university sector he noted will need to be agile and responsive at a number of levels “It is clear given the critical state of the nation’s finances, that our sources of income will require diversification beyond a simple reliance on exchequer funding. We must also recognise the need to continually work hard at being distinctive and ahead of the curve to hold our place in the global market. Our graduates will have to compete both in terms of skills requirements and in having an international dimension to their capability. We will need to provide more flexible teaching and learning techniques to enable students in that context and continually shape the currency and relevance of the university experience.

Concluding his address, Prof. MacCraith addressed the DCU community “I am humbled by the privilege of leading this institution about which I am passionate. I am both immensely grateful for the legacy of my predecessors and inspired by the challenges ahead of me. I am equally very confident that, with the wonderful DCU community behind me, we will not only overcome those challenges but continue to excel in those areas that are at the core of this institution: teaching & learning, research and innovation and have a transformative impact on this region and this country in the decade ahead.”

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