Explore UCD

UCD Home >
Decorative illustration
overlay image

2021 VIA Awards

Recognising colleagues who bring the University’s values to life

Page updated 3 June 2022

Now in their fourth year, the Values in Action (VIA) awards celebrate individuals or teams/committees who act as ambassadors for the UCD Values through their daily work, volunteering or establishing initiatives that bring the UCD Values to life. The awards were established by the Employee Engagement Network.

For the 2021 awards, 38 submissions nominating 28 individuals or teams were received. To reflect the huge efforts of colleagues in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and elsewhere across the University,  the adjudication committee has awarded 10 UCD VIAs, out of a pool of high quality nominations that captured the diverse achievements of colleagues to bring our shared values of Collegiality, Creativity, Diversity, Engagement, Excellence and Integrity to life.

The Adjudication Committee was chaired by Prof. Joe Carthy, Chair, UCD Employee Engagement Network; Dr Deirdre O’Connor, previous VIA recipient, UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science; Elaine Quinn, previous VIA recipient, Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research; Rory Carey, Director Culture & Engagement; and Mark Simpson, Culture & Engagement

2021 VIA Awardees

All awards are awarded with equal merit.

Recipient:  Andrea Forde

Unit: UCD Research

Nominator: Triona McCormack, Professor Orla Feely

Andrea Forde is being recognised for doing the quiet work of the organisation, every day looking for ways to improve the work environment for her colleagues. When the pandemic hit, Andrea came into her own. As staff across the unit struggled with adapting to home working Andrea was available to them, providing practical support, a listening ear and a virtual coffee. She was the UCD Research nominee on the Covid Committee and in her ‘spare’ time contributed to the Contact Tracing Team in UCD.

As the pandemic progressed, researchers, in particular PhD students, became distressed and anxious about delays to their research. The HEA recognised the challenge and provided a Covid Extension Fund, with UCD receiving €8.26M from the fund which needed a fast and rigorous system to allocate.  In her role as General Manager of the unit, Andrea knew the stresses the pre and post awards team were already under and took on full responsibility for the design, development and implementation of the process. Without question of grade, or whose work it was, Andrea simply stepped in working with Finance, HR, IT and Graduate Studies to design an end-to-end online process that quickly, fairly and efficiently allocated the funds. She is a shining light of internal volunteerism – those who take on the responsibility of making the environment better for those around them. This is just one example of many.

Andrea is being recognised, among other values, for her collegiality through close collaboration with colleagues across UCD and engagement in actively seeking input from the research community.

Recipient:  Library COVID Response Team 

Unit: UCD Library

Team members:  Peter Hickey, Avril Patterson, Angela Fox, Brendan Stafford, Christine Cullen, Debra McCann, Nessa Collinge, Sue Daly, Vanessa Buckley, Aileen Brennan, Alison Jameson, Andrew Moynihan, Catherine Bailey, David Larkin, Elizabeth Garvey, Emily Doherty, Fanchea Rooney, Gerard Walsh, Gosia Pelikan, Jin Liang, Kathryn Milligan, Louise Whelan, Maolsheachlann O'Ceallaigh, Marie Campion, Mark Jenkins, Paul Carson, Brenda Byrne, Cathy Caplan, Pearl Murphy, Lorraine Galvin, Patricia Courtney, Seamus Murphy, Michael O Brien, Seamus Flynn, Patrick Harford, William Salmon, David Cullen, Cora Foster, Kieran Brennan.

Nominator:  Aoife Bracken- UCD SU, Lorna Dodd

The Library COVID Response Team are being recognised for their work to keep the Library open and accessible for UCD students and staff throughout the pandemic. This team ensured that all students who needed space to take classes, study, or just needed space away from home had a welcoming and safe place to come to. This helped students feel connected to the University and gave them some sense of campus life.

COVID-19 demonstrated just how reliant we are on technology. The pandemic also showed us that for many access to stable Wi-Fi and technology is not guaranteed. The Library, through providing space with reliable Wi-Fi and access to loan computers and laptops, helped ensure that students could continue to attend college and complete their studies.

In a recent SU survey on the Library, multiple students took the opportunity to thank the Library staff for all their hard work throughout COVID, ensuring students always had somewhere to go on campus. Many noted just how kind, welcoming, and helpful the Library staff are.

The team are being recognised for the values of engagement, how the Library, an important community hub on campus, had a major role in helping students remain engaged with the University throughout COVID; excellence,  by continuing to provide the excellent service they have always provided on top of the added difficulties of the pandemic; and diversity by providing a key support for students from all types of backgrounds throughout the pandemic.

Recipient: Prof. Judith Harford 

School: UCD School of Education

Nominator: Dr Joe McGrath

Judith Harford is being recognised for her efforts to support students in disadvantaged schools to access higher education as well as her work in the University around gender equality. In relation to supporting students she has secured funding in the last 18 months to the value of almost a million euros to support 700 pupils in designated disadvantaged schools nationally at senior cycle level. This programme, Power2Progress, which Judith runs voluntarily, will be a gamechanger in fostering equity and building educational resilience. In addition,  it is important for UCD’s reputation in the field of EDI, particularly in increasing the number of students from under-represented backgrounds.

Under the Power2Progress programme all 700 pupils have been given their own laptop and these laptops will remain with the schools in perpetuity. This will make a huge difference to these students, as the digital divide is quite staggering in DEIS schools, and this was exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic, where many of these students had no device whatsoever to engage in remote learning. The fact that the schools get to retain these laptops beyond the lifetime of the programme means that their digital infrastructure has been significantly transformed.

In order to promote gender equality Judith has engaged in informal mentoring to support women in the promotions process. This has taken considerable time and commitment. In addition, she has also organised a series of seminars to promote gender equality in the College.

Judith is being recognised for the values of collegiality, diversity and integrity.

Recipient: Assoc. Prof. Pat Gibbons

School: UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science

Nominator(s): Dr Sulagna Maitra

Prof. Pat Gibbons is being recognised for creating a multi-disciplinary, inclusive space and identity for humanitarian action as a subject area, which in turn has made UCD one of the leading institutions and a university of choice for humanitarian education and research. He is the main catalyst for the phenomenal growth of the subject area by providing thought leadership and strategic direction to curriculum design, student recruitment and progression, collaborative research, and community outreach.

In addition to taught programmes, Pat has led the growth of research in humanitarian action. He established the UCD Centre for Humanitarian Action in 2012 which has since served as a collegiate and social space to foster inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary research in humanitarian action. This has resulted in numerous prestigious research projects.

The humanitarian action taught programmes have more than 300 graduates successfully working within the humanitarian and development sectors. The strong relations that Pat builds with alumni lead to benefits for current students in the form of internships, research projects and occasional lectures.

Through constant engagement, he has established long-standing international networks who feel an ownership of the programmes he champions and by living the values of collegiality, diversity and integrity he brings people together and motivate them for a common cause. Through this approach Pat has encouraged many UCD colleagues to travel overseas and engage in projects that both benefit the local community and UCD’s efforts to promote humanitarian research and education.

Recipient: Dr Cliona Kelly

School: UCD Sutherland School of Law

Nominator: Assoc. Prof. Niamh Howlin

Dr Cliona Kelly is being recognised for her efforts to provide sexual wellbeing education for students. In recognition of the sexual violence problem in the Irish higher education sector, the Department of Education launched a framework in 2019 aimed at the creation of an institutional campus culture which is safe, respectful and supportive.

Acting on foot of the framework, and realising that institutional reactions can be slow compared with small-scale interventions, Cliona has been working to provide sexual wellbeing education for Law students. Her Consent Workshops are integrated into the curriculum on a core module for first year law students.

Conscious of the need for such initiatives to be student-led, she has supported the Students’ Union and Student Law Society in hosting and promoting an Image-Based Sexual Abuse workshop and an awareness-raising campaign. In addition Law students are also asked to read the Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Act as part of an exercise in ‘how to read legislation’ on the LAW10420 module. This integrates a discussion about Image-Based Sexual Abuse into the undergraduate Law curriculum.

Cliona has voluntarily put a lot of time and effort into developing these resources and supports. From 2020-2021 she undertook significant training in her own time, collaborating with relevant groups such as Active Consent. She voluntarily took the initiative to integrate aspects of the sexual wellbeing education into the curriculum, which has now embedded this important topic in the Law School curriculum for the future.

Among other values, Cliona is being recognised for her engagement, creativity and collegiality.

Recipient: UCD Student Health Service Team

Unit: Student Services and Facilities 

Team Members: Sharon Lane, Moira Ryan, Susan Trounce, Oisin O’Connor, Geraldine Mc Dermott, Patricia Brady, Ciara O’Dowd, Joe Conway, Fiona Thompson, Irene McDonnell, Eadaoin Lysaght, Sandra Tighe, Geoffrey O’Donohoe, Donal Kiernan

Nominator: Dominic O’Keefe

The UCD Student Health Service Team are being recognised for their outstanding response to the unprecedented situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, over the past 20 months. At a time of great fear and anxiety every member of the team worked beyond expectations on the front line and unvaccinated (initially) to ensure the best and safest care for the students of UCD. In those first few months of the pandemic the campus was a lonely and worrying place to be and the work this team performed could remain forever invisible if not acknowledged.

When the need was greatest the team displayed both collegiality, creativity, dedication and integrity by developing initiatives to support both Irish and international students. This work allowed the service to remain open to meet the healthcare needs of our students throughout the pandemic.

In 2020 the HSE approached the service to set up a health screening programme for the graduating UCD medical students, due to the HSE Occupational health departments being overwhelmed. In a matter of days, the team set up a complex system to review the medical data. Clinical assessment was required and paying meticulous attention to the latest scientific guidelines, clinical assessment stations were organised which enabled the team (all of whom were unvaccinated at this time) to see these newly qualified doctors and collate the required medical information. This project enabled 185 doctors to join the medical workforce on the frontline in the fight against COVID 19 in 2020.

Demonstrating great creativity, engagement and collegiality they worked closely with the SU to set up a Q&A via Instagram and other social media channels for students to ask questions relevant to COVID 19.

Recipient: Dr Niamh Pattwell

School: UCD School of English, Drama and Film

Nominator: Hilary Minch

Dr Niamh Pattwell is being recognised for her role as chair of UCD Volunteers Overseas. She has generously contributed her time and expertise to the charity in a voluntary capacity, dedicating herself to supporting UCDVO achieve the highest standards of responsible international volunteering and global citizenship education, that has had a profound impact on the lives of hundreds of students and those the charity works with. Niamh has provided outstanding stewardship to UCDVO in a period of transition and has led the organisation as it underwent its first independent external evaluation to learn from its journey so far, and chart the future direction of the charity. She helped the charity successfully navigate the COVID 19 pandemic, adapting its programmes effectively for remote delivery and embracing change.

Over 1,700 volunteers (students, staff, faculty and alumni) have taken part in the yearlong volunteering and global citizenship programme with UCDVO since its foundation in 2003. For many, the experience has been transformative and has influenced areas of study and career paths following their time in UCD.

Niamh dedicated enormous time and energy to the effective governance of UCDVO and implementation of the 2019-2021 Strategic Plan, including oversight of the board working groups; development of key policy documents; succession planning and ensuring UCDVO’s compliance with the Charity Regulator Governance Code. Through her tenure as chair of UCDVO, as well as her contribution as a board member over a six year period, Niamh has exemplified someone living UCD’s values, with collegiality, excellence and integrity to the forefront.

Recipient: Mairead Skinner

School: UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science

Nominators: Assoc. Prof. James Matthews, Prof. Anne Drummond, Assoc. Prof. Clare Corish, Assoc. Prof. Conor Buggy, Assoc. Prof. Catherine Doody, Prof. Catherine Blake, Assoc. Prof. Caitriona Cunningham , Dr Cliona O Sullivan, Assoc. Prof. Tara Cusack, Assoc. Prof. Brona Fullen, Assoc.Prof Deirdre Hurley Osing, Dr Olive Lennon, Dr Cailbhe  Doherty, Ulrik Mc Carthy Persson, Dr Sinead Mc Mahon, Denise O’Callaghan, Nessa Waters, Mary O’Mahony, Dr Grainne O Donoghue, Prof. Brian Caulfield, Ciaran Purcell, Dr Keith Smart, Anna Scully, Orla Flynn, Aileen Ward, Nina Ngo

Mairead Skinner, Programme and Operations Manager, UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science is being recognised for being a truly outstanding colleague, who has exemplified the core values of UCD in her daily work at UCD over a 20 year period.

Mairead’s unique ability to combine excellence in academic administration and unparalleled efficiency, with high level interpersonal skills, diplomacy and a personal, warm approach makes her a highly valued colleague and advisor to all our staff and students.  She is a commensurate professional and a true ambassador for both UCD and the Physiotherapy programmes she represents. The strong national and international reputation of UCD Physiotherapy is realised in no small part due to the excellence of Mairead’s support and empowerment of all staff and students to achieve their best.

Mairead goes well beyond her job description in all aspects of her work, driven by  the collective good, volunteering on multiple levels to  pre-empt and resolve issues. Her immediate response to COVID 19 was to volunteer as a contact tracer and be a constant presence for staff and students, both on campus and online. Mairead was the lead on the logistical challenge of rescheduling  and setting up safe on-campus teaching within public health guidelines, to ensure timely graduation of all our students.    

Mairead is recognised for bringing all UCD’s values to life.

Recipient: Assoc. Prof. Hilda Loughran

School: UCD School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice

Nominator: Theresa O’Leary

Prof. Hilda Loughran, is being recognised for her commitment and dedication to building long term community partnerships between UCD and community drug and alcohol services. When she started working in UCD, Hilda recognised that UCD was not really connected to the type of communities and the types of concerns that she was familiar with from her social work practice. In 1996, she became involved in a partnership with ‘Community Response’ - a community response to the drug and alcohol problem in the south inner city. Between 1998-2001, she developed a partnership with the then Adult Education in UCD, and Community Response and Merchant's Quay. Together they developed a Diploma in Community Drugs Work. This partnership also led to the Friars in Merchant's Quay giving UCD their valuable library of papers - which became the UCD Mícheál Ó Cléirigh Institute.

Over the following years Hilda developed partnerships with An Cosan in Tallaght and Ballymun Youth Action Project. In 2015, Hilda set up a partnership with the SAOL Project: an addiction service for women which focused on education. At present she is working with Coolmine Therapeutic Community developing a service-user-led exploration of the experiences of women with drug use issues and social work. She is also currently building a partnership with Ringsend and Irishtown Community Centre.

Hilda epitomises the values of engagement and diversity. She sees the benefit in community-university partnerships and understands that these collaborative partnerships bring the values of the university to life and realise UCD’s aim to increase engagement, locally and nationally. Through her commitment to welcoming community organisations from socially economically disadvantaged communities, Hilda has opened up the University and made UCD accessible to people and communities that may never have had the opportunity before.

Recipient: UCD Safety, Insurance, Operational Risk and Compliance (SIRC) Team 

Unit: UCD Human Resources, SIRC and Legal Affairs 

Nominator: Julian Bostridge

The UCD Safety, Insurance, Operational Risk and Compliance (SIRC) Team are being recognised for their hard work and commitment to help steer the University through the COVID-19 pandemic. The health, safety and wellbeing of all our employees, students and visitors is a critical priority for UCD and the work undertaken by the SIRC Team led by Dr Peter Coulahan has delivered this priority and helped sustain both UCD’s operations and reputation during the crisis.

On top of their normal duties the team has had to continually liaise with the HSE and other external and internal University bodies to develop and give advice. This involved reviewing, risk assessing and advising on, among many areas, face-to-face working, research activities, and teaching. They worked very closely with UCD Estate Services to ensure safety and compliance regimes across the campus were kept in line with the changing public health requirements.

In addition, the team had to research and compile procedures and policies, and continually update information for the many audiences within the UCD community. All of this work was completely unforeseen and in addition to the usual duties of the office.

The scope and detail of the work carried out demanded engagement with the entire University community, excellence in delivery and creativity in implementation of policies and processes where nobody knew where the horizon was and obligations that changed in real time. The team demonstrated true commitment, rising to UCD’s values, in every aspect of their work.

2021 VIA Nominees

2021 VIA Nominations

38 nominations were received. Some nominees were nominated by more than one nominator.

  • UCD Access & Lifelong Learning Team
  • Biomedical Facility Team
  • Assoc. Prof. Alfonso Blanco, Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research
  • Clinical Allocations Team, UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems
  • UCD College of Business Alumni Team
  • UCD Coombe Family Practice Team
  • Dr Alice Feldman, UCD School of Sociology
  • FLOURISH project team 
  • Andrea Ford, Research Administration
  • Assoc. Prof. Pat Gibbons, UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science
  • Prof. Judith Harford, UCD School of Education
  • HR Partnering, People and Organisation Development, UCD HR, SIRC & Legal Affairs
  • Inherited Blindness Summer School
  • Dr Cliona Kelly, UCD Sutherland School of Law
  • Sylvia Leatham, I-Form Research Centre, School of Mech and Materials Engineering
  • Library COVID Response Team
  • Assoc. Prof. Hilda Loughran, UCD School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice
  • Tina Lowe, UCD Access and Lifelong Learning
  • Dr Críostóir Mac Cárthaigh, The National Folklore Collection
  • Prof. Alistair Nichol, UCD School of Medicine
  • Dr Niamh Pattwell, UCD School of English, Drama and Film
  • “Peigí’s Adventures in Science” book team, UCD School of Education
  • Poetry in Lockdown Team, UCD Library
  • UCD Safety, Insurance, Operational Risk and Compliance (SIRC) Team, UCD HR, SIRC & Legal Affairs
  • Mairead Skinner, UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science
  • Smurfit School Office Team, UCD College of Business
  • UCD Student Health Service Team, Student Services and Facilities 
  • Dr Linda Hui Yang, UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School

Contact Culture & Engagement

Culture & Engagement, UCD HR 3rd Floor, Roebuck Offices University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
E: engage@ucd.ie | Location Map(opens in a new window)