Lessons for Lecturers? Commerce faculty in discussions with Carr Communications

Originally published in Volume I, Issue 8 on 16th February 1995 by Pat Leahy. Carr Communications, the PR company and image consultants, may be on its way to Belfield, the University Observer has learned. The firm, who are also employed by many politicians, both as speech writers and general presentation consultants, are currently engaged in discussions with the Faculty of Commerce regarding training courses to assist lecturers with their communication skills. The Faculty of Commerce is engaged in drawing up a comprehensive programme to improve the performance of their staff and their service to students. According to Martin Bradley, a lecturer in Management Information Systems and director of the programme, it includes the lecturing environment, the use of visual aids as well as improving the presentational skills of the lecturer. It is in this area that the help of Carr Communications is being sought. Mr Bradley was anxious to play down the involvement of Carr with the Commerce Faculty. “It’s only a part of a much wider set of proposals that we are considering this idea. We have run training programmes for staff to try and provide a better service to our students, and this must be taken in that context.” “We’re only talking to them very tentatively - there’s nothing settled yet.” However, Carr Communications representative Michelle Thomas told the University Observer, “we are currently engaged in hard-core discussions with the Commerce Faculty in UCD. We would be working with lecturers, and improving the manner in which they impart information.” Ms Thomas also confirmed that Tom Savage, head of Carr Communications, had sat in on some undergraduate commerce lectures as part of his preparation for the work with the faculty, something that Martin Bradley had denied. Mr Savage was one of Albert Reynolds closest advisers during the last government . Professor Aidan Kelly, Dean of the Faculty of Commerce, commented, “there has been no formalised arrangement yet. Improving our standards of lecturing in the Faculty of Commerce has been on the agenda for years due to the difficulty of lecturing in large theatre.” There has been no indication from either Carr Communications of the Faculty of Commerce as to when any business arrangement might be entered into. Martin Bradley claimed that any such speculation was premature, while Carr would only say that discussion were “at a serious stage”. Students’ Union President Aisling Ni Bhriain, said, “I’d welcome any move on behalf of any faculty to improve lecturing standards, it shows that there is a problem. However, i’d like to know where the money is coming from. Carr Communications are expensive, and with budgetary constraints so tight in many areas. I’d like to know just how much they cost.”