UCD is set to carry out its first major review of how it provides administrative and professional support to students in 12 years. The new survey will be the first one since the introduction of modularisation and semesterisation several years ago. UCD President Andrew Deeks announced to staff that the review would begin shortly in a recent Presidential Bulletin.

Deeks said it would cover ‘how we provide administrative and professional support to students and faculty, focusing on the front-line services that support our academic programmes.’ The review will allow UCD to ‘ensure that we deliver excellent programme supports to students, faculty and staff, that we do this with the best use of our resources and experience to enable sustainable growth.’

UCD’s overall position in the area is set out in the UCD Strategy 2015-2020 – Student and Academic Services. The university aims to ‘deliver excellent programme supports to students, faculty and staff, harnessing the best of our resources and expertise. In support of this goal, UCD will embark upon a phased programme of review of some of our key support activities and how they are delivered.’ The Student and Academic Services Review Steering Group was established under the University Management Team for this specific purpose.

The Steering Group will carry out the review. Chaired by Professor Mark Rogers, UCD Deputy President and Registrar, it contains eleven members in total, but can co-opt others if needed. Other leading members include Associate Professor Barbara Dooley, Deputy Registrar and Dean of Graduate Studies, and Professor Sarah Prescott, College Principal of the College of Arts of Humanities.

UCD currently has four levels from which administrative support is provided; at the College level, between the College level and the Schools, between central supports (mainly Registry) and Colleges and Schools, and directly by central supports to students and faculty.

The Group will review and make recommendations on ‘local’ supports in the Colleges (or a School where programme is located in a School) for ‘streamlining the structure and functions of the College, Programme and Graduate School Offices to best deliver these supports.’ It will also review ‘central’ supports and their relationship to ‘local’ support, and recommend ‘how to maximise the value of ‘central’ supports and structure their integration with ‘local’ supports in delivering the overall student and academic supports.’

The overall review will be based on the experiences of smaller reviews carried out in UCD HR and the School of Medicine in 2015. UCD will also hire external consultants, to be appointed during this semester, to help the Group. Deeks confirmed the Steering Group would present its report to the UMT in March 2018.

The recommendations from the report are to be put in place for the 2018/2019 academic year. Changes can either be implemented on a phased or university-wide basis. It is an ‘absolute requirement’ that any changes do not increase the ‘total cost of delivery of support.’ While the review is university-wide, the recommendations of the Group should especially ‘provide effective and efficient support’ to the changing structures of the Colleges of Arts and Humanities, and Social Sciences and Law, for September 2018.

Cian Carton – Editor