University of Limerick president promises changes for 'unresolved issues'

Maria Flannery

Reporter:

Maria Flannery

UL reacts to critical HEA report: “It is important to all of us that UL’s standard of governance matches its strong academic and research reputation,” wrote Dr Fitzgerald in an email to alumni

UL reacts to critical HEA report: “It is important to all of us that UL’s standard of governance matches its strong academic and research reputation,” wrote Dr Fitzgerald in an email to alumni

THE president of University of Limerick has moved to assure the college community that he plans to act immediately on the findings of a HEA report into UL’s controversies.

The report, by former Sligo IT president Dr Richard Thorn, delves into issues surrounding finance, HR and governance at UL, and is strongly critical of the use of disciplinary procedures against a number of staff members.

In a personal email to alumni just 24 hours after the report’s release, Dr Des Fitzgerald announced a number of changes, including a restructuring at the university’s senior management level.

“Having called for this independent external review and supported it over the past six months, I wish to assure you that I, with the university’s new senior management team and Governing Authority, am acting on its findings,” wrote Dr Fitzgerald, who succeeded Don Barry as the university’s president earlier this year.

“With its publication, I am encouraged that issues that had remained unresolved for far too long have now been thoroughly examined by the Higher Education Authority and Department of Education and Skills and I hope it further helps to bring a positive resolution to these matters.

“Since May, a major restructuring has been undertaken at senior management level within UL. A new senior position of Chief Operations Officer/Registrar has been created and appointed and brings a new tier of oversight to all operations, including HR and Finance,” wrote Dr Fitzgerald.

A new vice-president for Academic Affairs and Student Engagement, a new director of Strategic Projects and Transformation and Special Advisors in Governance, Diversity and Equality, and European Policy have all also been appointed, said the president.

The UL Governing Authority, which can seat up to 40 people, is being reduced to 29 — “making it one of the most streamlined of the university boards”.

All of these changes are due to be implemented this month, and the new UL Governing Authority is scheduled to be elected in December. Dr Fitzgerald encouraged alumni to vote in the election.