Two vacant spots on UCD’s Governing Authority were filled after by-elections were held on Friday, 19th March. Professor Patrick Guiry, Director of the UCD Centre for Synthesis and Chemical Biology, was voted in by the professorial academic staff by a margin of 73-52 over Philosophy colleague Professor Gerard Casey. Thomond Coogan was the sole candidate nominated to take up the non-academic staff vacancy, and was deemed to be elected unopposed.
Both positions had become vacant following the retirement of previous Governing Authority members. Professor Guiry will take up the professorial post left vacant by the retirement of Professor Maurice Boland of the UCD Institute of Food and Health, while Coogan – an Access Coordinator at the Adult Education Centre – succeeds Mary Buckley.
Professor Guiry expressed his satisfaction with the election result, saying he “very much appreciated the opportunity this afforded me to discuss a range of issues with my colleagues, and I look forward to keeping in contact with them in the future.”
In seeking support for the election, Professor Guiry explained that he had spent time emailing, phoning, and meeting with fellow professors explaining his reasons for running and requesting their support.
Coogan told The University Observer she had experience with many committees – albeit “none as big as this one” – but that she is confident that her connections and history within the university will help ensure that the democratic sphere of the University continues into the future.
When asked about what particular developments she would like to see brought about, Coogan said she “would like to see widening participation and matters of equality moved further up the agenda. We should be thinking in terms of knowledge as exchange and innovation in terms of public scholarship.”
Professor Guiry has worked in several similar capacities before, both within UCD and abroad, and adds that “the maintenance of high academic standards and scholarly excellence is crucial for UCD and Ireland.”
The Governing Authority is composed of 40 people and was formed in 1997, evolving out of the Governing Body established under the Charter of UCD in 1908. Its membership is comprised of professors, academic personnel, non-academic staff and members of external organisations such as the National University of Ireland. There are also four student reps on the body, including three Students’ Union reps and one postgraduate student. The current members are finishing the remainder of a five-year term ending on 31st January 2014.
The primary duty of Governing Authority is to manage the strategic direction of the university. Its specific responsibilities include appointing and working with the President to oversee policy, monitoring the performance of the university’s management, and handling the administration of all lands and properties of the university.