Dr Jim Browne will be succeeded as President of NUI Galway (NUIG) by Prof Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh. Browne will bequeath his successor the responsibility of moving the university beyond disputes around gender inequality – an issue the college is still grappling with.
Ó hÓgartaigh, a graduate of NUIG, is currently the Dean of Business in University College Dublin. A professor of accounting, he has held the role of Dean of Business since 2011, leading the college’s various business schools across Dublin. He also has experience of educational internationally. A former Fulbright scholar, he spent time working Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, as well as in Dublin City University (DCU).
In a press statement, Ó hÓgartaigh said he was “honoured” to be appointed president. “Given its unique heritage and hinterland, the quality of its people, and the strength and depth of its research and student experience, NUI Galway is exceptionally well-placed to further enhance its reputation and reach both nationally and internationally”, he said.
Browne leaves a mixed legacy behind. After 10 years in charge, the college is in a healthy position in world university rankings, but is still associated with gender inequality – an issue that brought with it national headlines and a Higher Education Authority (HEA)-initiated taskforce to look into the issue.
However, Browne also led the college to divestment from fossil fuels, adding NUI Galway’s influence to a growing movement sweeping Irish universities.
Browne, in a press statement, said that “Ó hÓgartaigh brings a wealth of academic leadership experience as well as a proven track record in internationalisation”.
Justice Catherine McGuinness, Chair of NUI Galway’s Governing Authority, said in a press statement: “With a track record of leadership and achievement nationally and internationally, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh brings both the necessary experience and vision to this role and I look forward to working with him as we chart the next stage in the University’s journey.”
Ó hÓgartaigh, who will return to the university at which he graduated with a first-class degree, said: “I look forward to coming home to the ‘town and gown’ which shaped me and to working together with my new colleagues in the best interests of our students and our society.”
As president, he will be charged with implementing HEA recommendations to combat gender inequality, as well as leading the university through the challenges and opportunities of Brexit – an issue many other universities are trying to capitalise on.