The College Tribune has obtained the summary minutes of the University Management Team for 2016, the UMT is the key decision making authority in UCD. The minutes dating from January to May were gained through the Freedom of Information Act.
Out of 87 noted summary points of discussions from the top-level management team in UCD student issues were brought up just four times.
Student topics that were raised at the top level of the college management included a discussion on the allocation of reserved on-campus residency places for international students in February. As well as three report presentations from the Student Experience Group in February and in March. Apart from those four points there was no recorded mention of issues affecting students brought up in the 87 summary points, over the nine meetings of the UMT.
Instead the group, which is led by the UCD President Andrew Deeks, primarily focused on UCD’s global engagement strategy, the university’s relationship with its staff, and new courses the college will look to offer.
“The group primarily focused on UCD’s global engagement strategy”
The UMT meetings focused heavily on increasing UCD’s academic research output, as part of the recent orientation away from teaching and towards becoming a research intensive college. In this vein, the UMT approved a change in how schools receive funding, to switch to a system that ties funding and supports to faculty “based on their research outputs.”
The other main talking point of the top level meetings related to UCD’s relationship with its staff. Strict public-sector legislation brought in after the 2008 recession limits UCD’s ability to hire new staff. Due to this in May 2016 the UMT agreed that the heads of any schools in UCD must obtain approval from their college principal and college financial manager for “any proposed start-up package to new hires.” The UMT also regularly debated issues regarding the pay and titles of academic staff in UCD, and the process for promotions in the college.
Several new courses were agreed to be offered by UCD in the coming years. This will include a MA in Theatre Practice, a minor in Data Science, and a Computer Science course with Data Science. As well as a new course in Law with Irish, a higher diploma in Mental Health Nursing, and a new joint Food Science course with the South Chinese Agricultural University.
UCD management it can be revealed are looking into setting up an Irish Humanitarian Innovation Hub, that would look to engage with the “humanitarian and development fields in UCD.” The Hub would be planned as a wider part of the college’s global strategy to raise UCD’s international profile.
The UMT heard reports from various committees in UCD. The most frequent group to report to the UMT was the Global Engagement Group of UCD. The college administration has for the last number of years prioritised global engagement and spreading the international image of UCD. This effort is part of UCD’s strategy to attract more international students, as they provide a key source of funding due to the high fees (of between €17,000-25,000 a year) that they pay.
The other main business of the Management Team is to sign off on key strategy documents, like the recent campus development plan 2016-2026, and the UCD financial budget for the 2016/2017.
The summary points of each UMT meeting between January 12th and May 24th can be seen below.
Jack Power | Editor