The UCD Community and the Covid-19 Crisis
In our Zoom for Thought on May 26th, 2020, UCD Discovery Directory Prof. Patricia Maguire spoke to Prof. Joe Carthy (pictured), College Principal and Dean of Science in University College Dublin about “The UCD Community and the Covid-19 Crisis”. In case you missed it, here are our top takeaway thoughts.
Bringing Community Together is Fun!
Along with teaching introductory modules and supervising PhDs, one of Joe’s favourite activities is working with UCD in the Community and the UCD Culture & Engagement committee. He praised UCD Discovery Director Patricia Maguire for founding the Community Choir and also mentioned the successful StrictlyUCD and Oscars events on campus. “These activities all bring people together so that’s great fun.”
Community is Key to Collaboration
A large organisation like UCD means it is “so easy” to be siloed in your own work. “When you bring people from across the campus together you have conversations. And these conversations lead to further conversations and future collaborations.”
Community is Interdisciplinary
Campus collaborations are often interdisciplinary. “You’ll see engineers speaking to health scientists, computer scientists speaking to historians - all kinds of collaborations that we wouldn’t have seen before.” He praised the Institute for Discovery for its “amazing work bringing these diverse groups together and coming up with new ideas”.
Zoom Vs. Real Life
Joe has been “fairly impressed with the quality of the meetings and how much you can actually get done” over Zoom. But he added: “We can’t forget that we are a campus-based university. We need to bring our students and staff together on our beautiful campus. I think the online work that we are doing will only be a small contribution to UCD’s long tradition as a great campus-based university.”
Students’ mental health is a priority. Student Advisors are “very actively involved in Zoom calls and emails with students. We’ve seen an increase in that”. UCD Sport and Fitness released online yoga and pilates classes and there was all the activities associated with the UCD Festival 2020, while the Community Choir continues online. “There is lots going on and probably more to be done too. I think this Covid crisis has hit us quickly and we’ll need to keep thinking about ways to keep helping people with their mental health.”
The pandemic will not permanently dent UCD’s finances and “won’t be anything as bad” as the financial crash of 2008-2011. “We have been successful at attracting international students to our graduate taught programmes, which is a good source of income for us. Obviously that’s going to take a hit in the current year, but long-term, the future is good.”
Though not compulsory, UCD employees can gain credits for involvement in the community. “You don’t have to give a huge commitment of time. Look at UCD in the Community website and see about ways of getting involved.” http://www.ucd.ie/ucdinthecommunity/
This article was brought to you by the UCD Institute for Discovery - fuelling interdisciplinary research collaborations in UCD.