University Widening Participation (UWP)

The role of the UCD Widening Participation (UWP) Committee is to provide the formal mechanism to oversee, monitor and promote the University’s achievement of a diverse and inclusive scholarly student community, characterised as a ‘University for All’. The UCD Strategy 2020-2024: Rising to the Future anchors the work of UCD's Widening Participation Committee, and it plays a key role in supporting the University to recognise, promote and value diversity, foster the spirit of inclusion, appreciate the breadth of talent, experience and contribution of all students, and strive to remove the barriers to access, participation and success.

The Committee is chaired by Professor Grace Mulcahy, and reports to the UMT Education Group (UMTEG). Membership is drawn from all Academic Programme Boards, Policy and Support Services, in addition to Student Access Leaders and the UCD Student Union.

The Committee is provided with policy advice, expertise and operational support by UCD Access & Lifelong Learning (ALL).

The Committee has a three-year term and meeting five times per year.

Launch of 2018/19 Report

On 1st July 2020 UCD ALL hosted the virtual launch of the 2018/19 Widening Participation Committee Annual Report. The Report was officially launched by UCD's President Professor Andrew Deeks. 

We were deligithed to welcome over 100 participants to the webinar. The report can be downloaded, along with reports from previous years, below.


UCD Widening Participation Committee Members


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Prof Grace Mulcahy‌‌

‌‌Professor Grace Mulcahy

Chair | University Widening Participation Committee 

Professor Mulcahy is Full Professor of Veterinary Microbiology and Parasitology at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin. From January 2007 to September 2016 she was Dean of Veterinary Medicine, and during this time worked to ensure the current position of the school as a leading international player in veterinary education and research. She leads an active research group with interests in helminth immunobiology, she is the current Chair of the University Widening Participation Committee, and very much enjoys contributing to the advancement of student diversity, and to working to ensure UCD's work in widening participation is mainstreamed throughout the University community.



 ‌Olaf Schmidt

Professor Olaf Schmidt 

Agriculture, Food, Environmental Sciences Associate 

Professor Olaf Schmidt represents the Agriculture and Food Science Programme Board. He is Head of Subject of Agri-Environmental Science, Professor at the UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science where he teaches entomology and soil science, and a member of the Executive of the UCD Earth Institute.  Outside UCD, Olaf is Secretary of Global Action Plan (GAP) Ireland, a charity based in Ballymun that focuses on behaviour change to promote environmental sustainability in communities.
 Brendan Williams

Associate Professor Brendan Williams

Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy 

Brendan Williams is an Associate Professor and lectures in Urban Development, Urban Economics and Comparative Planning systems at the School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy, University College Dublin. His principal research themes are urban development and policy frameworks in Ireland and internationally and applied research on the role of property markets in economic development. He has served as Head of Subject and Programme Director and as Deputy Head of school. At school level he is currently Director of international programmes and Directs the Urban Environment Research Project at University College Dublin. He has taught and researched at a number of universities in North America and Europe for over 20 years. Dr Williams is also Affiliate Professor to the National Center for Smart Growth at University of Maryland U.S. since February 2015.
Mary Farrelly

Dr Mary Farrelly

Arts and Humanities

Mary Farrelly is an Assistant Professor teaching Spanish language and culture in the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics. She has previously worked as a Widening Participation Fellow at the University of Manchester where she completed her PhD in 2017.
 ‌Darren Baker

Dr Darren Baker


Dr Darren Thomas Baker is Assistant Professor / Lecturer of Business in Society at University College Dublin (UCD). He is also currently Adjunct Fellow at University Technology Sydney Business School and has previously been a Visiting Fellow at Macquarie University Faculty of Business and Economics, Cranfield University School of Management and the Open University of Catalonia. Darren has taught at King’s Business School and Queen Mary University, London. He read for an MA at the University of Oxford and holds a PhD from King’s College London. Darren draws on psychoanalysis for ontological, epistemological and methodological inspiration to explore how subjectivities are forged at the intersection of class and gender, as well as broader ethical considerations, including capacities to care, in precarious and ‘elite’ banking and finance professions in the UK, US and Australia.
 Mark Flanagan

Associate Professor Mark Flanagan


Mark Flanagan is an Associate Professor in the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and represents Engineering on the UCD Widening Participation Committee. He leads the UCD Communications and Signal Processing research group and has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed papers in international journals and conferences. In 2014, he was a Visiting Senior Scientist with the Institute of Communications and Navigation, German Aerospace Center, under a DLR-DAAD Fellowship. He is currently serving as TPC Co-Chair for the IEEE International Conference on Communications (ICC) 2020, and he is also serving as
an Executive Editor for the journal IEEE Communications Letters.
 Máire Ní Shúilleabháin

Dr Máire Ní Shúilleabháin


Dr Máire Ní Shúilleabháin is a lecturer at the UCD Sutherland School of Law and a specialist in private international law (the regulation of cross-border transactions and relationships). She has previously served as Programme Coordinator for undergraduate law programmes within the Law School, as Director of Tutorials and as Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programmes. She is now the Access Officer for the School.
Suzanne Donnelly 

Associate Professor Suzanne Donnelly


Associate Professor Suzanne Donnelly is UCD Director of Clinical Education and consultant rheumatologist at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital.  In January 2017, she was appointed Associate Dean for Programmes & Educational Innovation.
 Phil Halligan

Dr Phil Halligan

Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems

Dr Phil Halligan has been a lecturer in UCD Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems since 2004. Teaching involves Leadership, Management and Quality Improvement. Specialist interest in supporting students who have a disability on work placements and cofounder of the dedicated SNMHS Disability Liaison Team in 2011.
 Caitriona Cunningham

Associate Professor Caitriona Cunningham

Physiotherapy, Public Health and Sports Science

Caitriona Cunningham is an Associate Professor at UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science and represents her school on UCD’s Widening Participation Committee. Her research and teaching focuses on Musculoskeletal health, related health services and promotion of physical activity and exercise for all. She has a strong commitment to facilitating the translation of evidence into practice, with active involvement in national and international research, professional and community networks.In 2015, she cofounded the innovative UCD Physio Hub to facilitate the delivery of Physiotherapy-led exercise and health promotion programmes to a wider community and provide ‘real world’ learning and research opportunities. She is Chairperson of UCD’s Widening Participation Outreach Coordinating Network.
 Siobhán McClean

Associate Professor Siobhán McClean


Dr Siobhán McClean is an Associate Professor in the School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Sciences and the Head of Biochemistry. She is the College of Science Associate Dean for Widening Participation. Siobhán is committed to widening participation at UCD and will strive to contribute to a supportive and inclusive environment of all students at UCD. She welcomes the diversification of the University population and the opportunities that the University has given to students via a variety of non-traditional access routes.
 Aideen Quilty

Dr Aideen Quilty

Social Science

Dr Aideen Quilty is a lecturer in the School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice UCD and is Director of the Women and Gender Studies Community/University Outreach Programme. Throughout her academic career, she has championed the rights of traditionally under-represented and disenfranchised groups within higher education. Aideen locates her undergraduate and graduate teaching as a form of critical civic practice.  Her research is interdisciplinary drawing on feminist, educational and spatial theories. Her recent work has focused on developing a distinct pedagogy for community-based higher education and she is currently researching pedagogic imaginaries within higher education.
 Arun Kumar

Dr Arun Kumar

Veterinary Medicine and Veterinary Nursing

Clinician, Drug Discovery Scientist and Entrepreneur with over 15 years of research and teaching experience in pharmacology and regenerative medicine. Extensive international experience with over 100 peer-reviewed publications. I have attracted investments from several national and international organisations at various stages of my carrier. I have successfully directed several projects in preclinical/clinical pharmacology, specifically in cardiovascular pathophysiology, diabetic complications, medical devices, arthritis, and regenerative medicine, which has resulted in either patentable products and/or high impact publications.



Dr Anna Kelly

Dr Anna Kelly

Access & Lifelong Learning

Dr Anna Kelly, DipEd(HEc), MEd(SEN), MSc(Mgt), PhD (Inclusive Design) is Director, Access & Lifelong Learning at University College Dublin. Dr Kelly leads a team of access professionals who support the University to realise its strategic objective to become a diverse and inclusive scholarly community. She is Chair of the Steering Group for HEAR/DARE Alternative Admissions Routes to Higher Education and is Ireland's representative on the European Access Network. In addition, Dr Kelly has extensive experience of the further education sector, including St Michael's House, the National Rehabilitation Board, and FÁS.
 Dr Bairbre Fleming

Dr Bairbre Fleming

Academic Board of Studies

Dr Bairbre Fleming is Deputy of UCD Access & Lifelong Learning. She has extensive experience working with underrepresented students through the UCD Access programmes with particular emphasis on mature students and part-time programmes. Her PhD drew on a sociological analysis of the experiences of mature students in higher education. 
Jill O'Mahony 

Jill O'Mahony


Jill O'Mahony joined UCD in 2007 and currently works as Director of Admissions and Enrolment Planning. Jill's early student years were also spent in UCD in the Engineering and MBA programmes. Working with her colleagues in Admissions and other teams in UCD, Jill enjoys participating in all processes and reviews that influence the different cohorts of students, entering UCD. 
 Mary Staunton

Mary Staunton

Communication & Marketing

Mary Staunton is Communications Manager at UCD. With a background in financial services and working at UCD since 2007, Mary now works closely with the President's Office to ensure that the President's internal and external communications and speeches are consistent with the University's strategic messaging. She is protocol officer for the University, advising on and managing many key University events and produces the quarterly campus magazine, UCD Today. She is a firm believer in participation for all, in society as well as in education and is the representative of UCD University Relations on the committee.
Ms Avril Patterson

Avril Patterson


Avril Patterson is currently User Services Manager in UCD Library. Prior to taking up this position in March 2015, she held a number of positions across the UCD library service. She is committed to the development and provision of user-focussed services. She is a member of the Widening Participation Committee, with a strong personal interest in its agenda, as she
graduated as a mature student.
 Ms Anne-Marie Harvey

Anne-Marie Harvey


Anne-Marie Harvey is currently Director of Student Recruitment at University College Dublin a position she has held since 2007. The primary goal of the Director is to design, develop and deliver student-centred recruitment strategies to attract high calibre students, to increase student diversity and retention and to ensure UCD as the University of first choice. Anne-Marie was also responsible for the incubation of UCD’s Ad Astra Academy and the Scholarships programmes from 2011 to 2016. With long experience in UCD she also serves on the University Management Team (UMT) for Education, Global Engagement Group, Widening Participation and Ad Astra Academy committees. Previously she was Director of Continuing Professional Education at UCD, the first person to hold the position, focussed on delivering professional learning, via a choice of innovative delivery methods – remote, self-paced and with multiple entry and exits routes. Anne-Marie was instrumental in the origins of UCD Nova, a logical development from the UCD Industry programme, forging innovative industry education partnerships, with particular focus on health and safety education, mediation, Environmental Impact Assessment to industry professionals. Before joining UCD, Anne-Marie was at University of Sussex, Institute of Development Studies, where she carried responsibility for attracting international students from developing countries’ administration and government. She also managed their funding through the World Bank and other benefactors. Having graduated from UCD with BA English, and H.Dip Ed., she holds an MSc in Strategic Management and Planning.
 ‌Assoc Prof Terry Barrett

Associate Professor Terry Barrett

Teaching & Learning 

Dr Terry Barrett is Assistant Professor in Education Development at UCD Teaching and Learning where she is Programme Director for the accredited programmes in University Teaching and Learning. Her research and teaching interests include curriculum design, problem-based learning, creativity, academic writing and mindfulness and compassion in higher education.
Genevieve Dalton 

Genevieve Dalton

IT Services

Genevieve Dalton is currently the Director of Customer and Academic Services for UCD IT Services with responsibility for the delivery and support of IT solutions, services and applications in the areas of Customer Services, Educational Technology Services and Research IT.  Her previous roles in UCD IT Services include Head of Educational Technology Services and Head of Infrastructure. Prior to joining UCD Genevieve worked in the private sector in roles ranging from software developer to project manager, across a number of industries including the financial, Hi-Tec manufacturing, food, and software development
industries. Genevieve completed a M.Sc. in Cyberpsychology with IADT in 2011 and more recently in 2017 undertook a Diploma in Advanced Management Performance with UCD Smurfit.  Outside of her core IT role in UCD, Genevieve has contributed to the UCD community by being an active member on the  University EDI Committee for a number of years and also sitting on the organising committee for the University Community Choir.
David Foster 

Dr David Foster

Career Development and Skills

David is the UCD Director of Career Development and Skills and Director of UCD Careers Network. As such, David has both institutional and local responsibilities for the development, delivery and enhancement of strategic initiatives and operations that
enhance students’ personal, professional and career development. In addition to working with students at all levels, a range of professional and career development services are offered to Postdoctoral Researchers. In addition to UCD Careers Network, Belfield, David has line management responsibility for the UCD Careers Network, Blackrock. David has been an active member of professional associations and is currently a Director of the Association of Higher Education Careers Services and a member of the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services.
Andy Myler 

Andy Myler

Administrative Services

Andy Myler joined UCD in 2013 and is the Director of Administrative Services. Andy initially attended UCD on a soccer scholarship in 1994 before returning to work here and has 20 years’ experience in the Education sector having previously worked in Technological University Dublin (TUD). Working closely with colleagues in Administrative Services, UCD Registry and across UCD, Andy is involved in making student administration work for all cohorts and is the current Chair of the UCD Operations Group.
Aishling Kennedy-Dalton 

Aishling Kennedy-Dalton

Estate Services

Aishling has worked in a variety of roles in Campus Operations since 1993 and has engaged on behalf of her Unit with many community-based initiatives during that time.   Among her most recent responsibilities is the recruitment, training and support of 80 students as Residential Assistants (RAs). She is committed to fostering a supportive and inclusive community within the Residences and beyond.

Aisling O'Grady 

Aisling O'Grady

Student Advisory

Aisling O Grady, a graduate of UCD, has worked in student services for over twenty-five years in UCD and other third-level institutions across Ireland. Aisling was a UCD Student Adviser for sixteen years and has been Head of the UCD Student Advisory Service for the past three years, overseeing the development of the service and working on meeting the needs of an increasingly diverse student body.

Gráinne Keane 

Gráinne Keane


Gráinne Keane is Director of Finance and leads two finance teams with a focus on strategic and financial planning. Gráinne is a member of the Board of Directors of RCSI UCD Medical Campus in Malaysia (RUMC) and a member of the University due diligence team for two current bids for international Colleges in China. She is also a member of the Steering Group for the  UCD College of Health and Agricultural Sciences Student Support Fund. Gráinne is
Treasurer and Council Member for the Irish Federation of University Women, a national organisation of female graduates that supports educational initiatives for women.



Elizabeth Cosgrave ‌

Elizabeth Cosgrave

Elizabeth came to college through the DARE route. She is a 4th year studying general nursing. Elizabeth credits the Access Future You programme with giving her the confidence to apply for college. She joined the Widening Participation Committee to share her experience and to help continue the work to encourage student like herself to attend college.

Jaffer Abdulkarim 

Jaffer Abdulkarim

Jaffer is a third-year Science Student and Access Leader. As an Access Leader Jaffer has assisted with such events as the ALL Student Welcome and Registrar’s Coffee Morning. Jaffer is a Digital Ambassador in ALL.




 ‌Douglas Proctor

Dr Douglas Proctor

UCD Global

Dr Douglas Proctor is Director, UCD Global at University College Dublin (Ireland), where he has management responsibility for the international office and provides leadership to the broader university community on internationalisation, global engagement and international partnerships.

Dr Muireann Ní Raghallaigh 

Dr Muireann Ní Raghallaigh

Social Work at the School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice

Dr Muireann Ní Raghallaigh is an assistant professor of Social Work at the School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice, University College Dublin and was co-opted onto the Widening Participation committee because of her research on issues relating to refugees and asylum seekers. She previously worked as a social worker with separated asylum-seeking children and served on the board of directors of the Irish Refugee Council from 2011 to 2017. She is UCD's representative on the Universities of Sanctuary Ireland steering committee, which aims to foster a culture of welcome and inclusion for asylum seekers and refugees in universities, colleges and institutes throughout Ireland.

Joanna Siewierska 

Joanna Siewierska

Students' Union

Joanna has been involved in the student movement for over 5 years, having started off as Education Officer and Deputy President of the Irish Second-level Students' Union, and then working for 3 years as lead trainer of the National Student Engagement Programme. She has just finished her studies in Law and Social Justice in UCD. She has a passion for access to education and human rights, and strongly believes in empowering young people and marginalised groups and including them in decision making that affects them.




WP Committee Reports

UCD Widening Participation Committee | Annual Report 2017/18PDF|5.33 MB UCD Widening Participation Committee | Annual Report 2016/17PDF|0.97 MB



WP Outreach Coordinating Network