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2022 VIA Awards

Recognising colleagues who bring the University’s values to life

Page updated 26 September 2022

Now in their fifth 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.

Now open for applications.

2022 VIA Awardees

All awards are awarded with equal merit.

Armand Durant

Recipient: Arnaud Disant 

Unit: UCD School of Mathematics and Statistics

Nominator: Prof. Frederic Dias

Arnaud Disant,  senior engineer with the HIGHWAVE ERC project, is being recognised for his work to bring UCD’s values to life for a local community in the West of Ireland where this project is based. 

The project necessitated Arnaud establishing a research station in Inishmann and a workshop in Rossaveel, Co. Galway. Over the past three years Arnaud has worked with an exemplary level of integrity and engagement with the local community. Through this UCD is now well known in the Gaeltacht, where the community sees what a scientific research project is and how beneficial it can be to society. This included involvement with the local island school to explain the project with the impact that three students took part in the 2021 BT Young Scientist & Technology Competition and won the Chemical, Physical and Mathematical Junior Group 2nd place for their project. A further six students participated in 2022. 

In promoting excellence, collegiality and creativity, Arnaud suggested instead of preparing a specific foreshore application for the HIGHWAVE project, that he would submit a 5-year application on an extended area off Inishmaan, having in mind that once the permit was obtained it would benefit other researchers from UCD. Arnaud spent more than 200 hours working on the expanded application. 

Arnaud is also involved on a personal level with the local community providing voluntary help that is not part of his day-to-day work. He may work far from UCD, but he is always maintaining close contact with the University in a broad sense, thinking how his work can benefit UCD as a whole and bring the values to life.

Dignity and Respect Support Colleagues

Recipient: Dignity & Respect Support Colleagues

Team Members: Conor Buggy, Cormac Taylor, Declan Fahie, Eoin Cummins, Joan Simon, Joanna Long, Katherine Fama, Katherine Mulfaul, Letizia Vettor, Marie-Louise Ryan, Ruth Harrison

Nominators: Catherine Tormey, Carla Gummerson

The Dignity & Respect (D&R) Support Colleagues are being recognised for their role to promote awareness of dignity and respect issues across the University and for the personal support they provide to employees.

The panel consists of academic, professional and technical employees who volunteer for the role in addition to their regular workload. The panel are appointed by the UCD President and undertake training to ensure they are equipped to support employees impacted by issues of bullying, harassment or sexual misconduct.

Panel Members are available to listen and provide independent, unbiased, non-judgemental support and information about sources of help. In addition, Dignity and Respect Support

Colleagues have an in-depth knowledge of the informal resolution options available and how to submit a formal complaint. They provide support for either the person reporting, the person being reported or any witnesses/bystanders.

The impact they have is daily. In some critical situations they are the first person that someone may disclose to, ensuring that the employee is supported from the moment they disclose a situation. Unfortunately, issues relating to dignity and respect will continue to impact the UCD community and this team is there to ensure that there is a listening ear and a safe space to talk when needed the most.

The Support Colleagues help promote UCD’s values of excellence, collegiality, integrity, engagement and diversity through their daily interactions to assist colleagues to work and study in an environment free from bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct. 

Estate Services

Recipient: Aishling Kennedy-Dalton, Daniel Earls, Jacinta Egan 

Unit: UCD Estate Services

Nominator: UCD Student Advisory Team (Aisling O’Grady, Niamh Nestor, Kathleen Kiely, Anna Scully, Nadia Clarkin, Julia Maher, Jacquline Levine, Eamonn McHugh, Kieran Moloney, Holly Dignam, Megan Kuster, Dani Findley, Letizia Vettor, Simon Gray, Emma Somers, Emmet Jordan-Kelly, David Delaney, Maeve McWilliams).

Aishling Kennedy-Dalton, Daniel Earls and Jacinta Egan are being recognised for the collegiality, excellence and creativity they demonstrate and instil in their teams, to support the UCD Student Advisers in dealing with accommodation queries they receive from students who live both on and off campus.

The type of work that the Student Advisers do necessities that they are able to depend on colleagues across the University as they work to resolve the multiple and complex queries presented by students to them. Aishling, Dan and Jacinta are exemplars of the compassion, flexibility, and care that this kind of work demands. They make the Student Advisers jobs easier on a daily basis to support UCD’s students. They are dependable and responsive, and answer each concern and query sensitively and with grace. They are fountains of knowledge, experience, reliability and competence.  

The nomination specifically mentions the kindness shown by Aishling, Dan and Jacinta. This is clearly visible in their work with students and is also felt by the colleagues they help. This collegiality enhances the Student Advisers work day and helps them to feel supported in the often difficult student cases they encounter.

Aishling, Dan and Jacinta go over and above in their support of the Student Advisers and in turn UCD’s students. Through their daily work they actively live the University’s values and directly contribute to the UCD strategy, in particular Objective 4 to attract and retain an excellent and diverse cohort of students, faculty and staff.

Rachel Farrell

Recipient:  Dr Rachel Farrell

Unit:  UCD School of Education

Nominator:  Niamh Byrne McKenna

Rachel Farrell is being recognised for the values of engagement, creativity, diversity and collegiality demonstrated through her work to support Ukrainian refugees. 

During the summer of 2022, Rachel helped empower Ukrainian refugees to have a voice through language acquisition support and development. She voluntarily gathered a team together to deliver English language classes three evenings each week on the Belfield Campus, accommodating some 350 people since May 2022.  

In addition, to help those Ukrainian families living on the UCD campus during the summer, she sourced funding and organised multiple day trips to places such as Powerscourt, Glendalough and Tayto Park. This was a very welcome distraction for those families who were struggling with having left members behind in Ukraine.

Rachel continued to demonstrate her creativity and collegiality by successfully applying to The Community Foundation for Ireland, receiving €20,000 to help fund activities, delivered with UCD in the Community, to include moving classes online to facilitate those who cannot travel to campus.

Rachel has worked continually to encourage and engage members of the UCD community to come together to help others in their time of need and in doing so building a more diverse UCD community.

Anne Griffin

Recipient:  Anne Griffin

Unit:  UCD Library Collection Services

Nominator:  Aoife O’Brien, Julia Christopher

Anne Griffin is being recognised for the values of creativity, engagement and collegiality demonstrated through her work on the recent curation project but also across her 20 years working in the collections team. 

In Spring 2021, working under COVID restrictions, Anne began a project to curate the 5.4km of print journals in the Newstead Store. This project showed great foresight, as it enabled further journal curation and the subsequent proposal to refurbish L3 of the James Joyce Library to a high quality student study space. L3 held an additional 3,500 journal titles covering 4.5km of shelf space. 

The timeline was extremely tight with only 5 months for prep work, decisions and the physical move of stock from the floor. A project of this scale within this timeline had not been undertaken in any other Irish institution and Anne as gatekeeper to the print journals was the only person who could deliver it. In delivering the project Anne showed great collegiality, paving the way for others to start their projects. 

In committing to deliver on time, Anne showed immense dedication to her work and to improving the student experience. Through creativity she came up with new and innovative ways to review and make accurate decisions about each item in the collection, to ensure valuable material was not lost. 

The impact of Anne’s work on this project with her team will be felt as soon as refurbishment is complete and will touch on many students who will use the new study spaces in future. Her work also guarantees the long-term protection and preservation of material that is of great value and was at risk of being damaged or lost. 

Library Team

Recipient:  Library Period Poverty Team

Team Members:   Vanessa Buckley, Lorna Dodd, Mark Jenkins, David Larkin, Fanchea Rooney, Catherine Bodey

Nominator:  Dr Sandra Collins, Carla Gummerson

The members of the Library Period Poverty Team are being recognised for their work to pilot the period poverty initiative and in doing so demonstrating the values of engagement, excellence, creativity and diversity.

The Library and UCD Students’ Union realised that there was potential overlap in the provision of period products on campus and with COVID restrictions that the traditional provision by the Students’ Union may not be sufficient.  

The Period Poverty initiative was initiated as a collaboration between the Library, the UCD Dean of Students, and UCD Students’ Union to provide free period products via dispensers in the James Joyce Library located in the women’s, men’s and unisex/wheelchair accessible toilets.

This voluntary team in the Library receives products weekly from the Students’ Union (provided at cost) and distributes them among the dispensers in the Library.  The initiative was promoted through inclusive communication materials that were developed by the Library for use onsite and online.

This initiative has been delivered operationally through the dedication and commitment of the Library team and the UCDSU, and has acted as a pilot project / proof of concept for a wider roll-out across the campus which would not have been possible without demonstrating the need through the Library. The Library is now committed to ongoing and long-term provision of free period products, as part of their suite of onsite service provision for all students and staff. The project also links with the UN SDGS including no poverty and health and wellbeing.

The voluntary work of the team is widely appreciated and recognised by the students and staff who avail of the service.

Locksley Messam

Recipient:  Dr Locksley Messam

Unit:  UCD School of Veterinary Medicine

Nominator:  Dr Ana Vale

Locksley Messam is being recognised for bringing the UCD values to life through the founding of the Self-Mentoring Group in June 2018. 

The aim of the group is to connect colleagues from across the University to share insights into teaching, research, and academic life, and to support each other in their career development. The group has grown over time and gone from strength to strength. Currently, 19 faculty members from the College of Health and Agricultural Sciences and the College of Social Sciences and Law meet monthly for 90 minutes (either online or in-person) to discuss preselected subjects.

Members have also paired up to provide peer feedback on each other’s RMS profiles and P4G forms. The meetings have led to a growing support and collegiality amongst the members. The group also became a lifeline during the COVID-19 pandemic. By attending online meetings and engaging in the peer mentoring scheme that Locksley established, members continued to feel connected, sharing coping strategies and research interests.  Additionally, by discussing promotion criteria, by cheerleading, and by building a sense of responsibility for one another, the group has supported members in applying for promotion.

The Self-Mentoring Group is a totally voluntary activity that Locksley chooses to engage in. It is not part of his job as lecturer and is run with zero budget and no resources beyond access to meeting rooms.

Over time Locksley has successfully grown a network of supportive colleagues. The group is a safe, inclusive environment, that welcomes contributions from members of all experiences, genders and sexual orientations, abilities/disabilities, socioeconomic backgrounds, and nationalities. Engagement is promoted by regular scheduling and by structuring meetings to ensure that they are focused, productive, and go beyond venting or complaining.

Paul Perry

Recipient:  Dr Paul Perry

Unit: UCD School of English, Drama and Film  

Nominator:  Kelly Michels (student) 

Paul Perry is being recognised as the driving force behind the Space Poetry Project and in doing so demonstrating collegiality, creativity, engagement, diversity and excellence. 

EIRSAT-1 (Educational Irish Research Satellite 1) is is Ireland’s first satellite and is being designed, built and run by a team of students and academic staff led by Prof. Lorraine Hanlon.

In 2020, Paul was approached by Lorraine to explore how a poem might be etched onto the satellite. Under his leadership, he developed a multivalent arts initiative which interfaced seamlessly with the most exciting science story in Irish history. This included students, staff and the UCD community, as well as the Museum of Literature Ireland and the JCSP Demonstration Library Project in the design and roll out of a workshop in poetry for students from around the country. In a very short space of time, the lines and poems of all involved were sifted through, redeployed, and curated as one co-authored poem, All Ways Home, which the UCD artist Emer O’Boyle then designed for etching onto the satellite. 

In all, over 200 people worked on the project who needed to be coordinated and kept informed of progress, with weekly meetings, workshops and performances. This was all managed by Paul voluntarily on top of his day job. The poem is a testament to Paul’s collaborative nature, creativity, engagement and empathy in working with diverse communities, including students from neurodiverse backgrounds and Deis schools.

Derek Reilly

Recipient: Derek Reilly

Unit: UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering

Nominator: Dr Kevin Nolan

Derek Reilly is being recognised for his outstanding contributions to the school by building a culture of health and safety, showing great collegiality, creativity and integrity.

He has taken a leading role in implementing new health and safety policies as the school’s safety officer, working with academics and technical staff to find solutions that allow research and teaching activities to thrive. A central pillar to this has been the development of a comprehensive Safety Management System (SMS) and its dissemination via innovative signage with QR codes. 

A second major pillar of Derek’s contribution is his leadership in conducting laboratory audits; a massive undertaking considering the scale and scope of research activities of the school. These audits help teams identify potential issues in their workspaces, allow individuals to voice concerns and ensure a commonality to our safety practices.

Derek has also undertaken an unenviable task to locate, identify, classify and facilitate disposal of all chemical waste that has accumulated in school laboratories over several decades — some of which predates the Belfield campus. This has been a herculean task, ensuring that both staff and students have a safe place to work, as such chemicals represent a danger to all lab users.

By developing the school’s safety culture and working with all stakeholders to continuously improve, to learn and respond to new challenges Derek has built an infrastructure and culture that will continue to grow, that puts a respect for the wellbeing of all at the forefront.

Eimear Ryan

Recipient: Eimear Ryan

Unit: Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research

Nominator: Elaine Quinn, Prof. Cormac Taylor, Dr Tracy Mullen, Emer Bonham, Philippa Kavanagh, Prof. Helen Roche, Sarah Kierans, Dr Kevin Nolan

Eimear Ryan is being recognised in her role as Chief Technical Officer for the voluntary actions she carries out to promote collegiality, creativity, and engagement within the Conway Institute.

In her role as CTO she excels managing the operation of the laboratories, including championing continuous technical improvements, setting standards and engendering flexibility within groups who share the same space but under different reporting structures. To do this she has developed a range of initiatives to build relationships among lab users.  Some examples include:

  • Establishing a ‘Viva’ kit – all the items needed to celebrate successful thesis defence including personalised congratulatory banner, balloons, room set-up.
  • Events such as the Christmas ornament competition (made from recycled laboratory consumables) and bake-off competitions, which create seasonal fun and good natured competitiveness among research groups. Eimear organises judging, prize-giving and engraved perpetual trophies. 
  • Gifting researchers leaving UCD with a branded luggage tag that includes a map of the lab with their seat highlighted on it - They bring a little bit of UCD with them on their future career journey. 

Éimear’s contributions to UCD life extend beyond her excellence as CTO. She had chaired the Conway Social Committee since 2015. With her committee (a group of PhD students from across the institute) she organises all-Institute social events, including parties at Christmas, summer, Oktoberfest to proactively encourage comradery, creativity, and inclusivity. These events have led to an enhanced level of collegiality within the Institute and has resulted in the establishment of numerous collaborations between colleagues arising from informal conversations sparked at such events.

The impact of the initiatives can be seen immediately between researchers, staff, and faculty in the Conway Institute. The comradery in such a diverse community is attributed in many ways to the work Éimear carries out.

2022 VIA Nominees

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

  • Prof. Conor Buggy, UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science
  • Michael Doherty, UCD School of Veterinary Medicine
  • Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering EDI Committee
  • Dignity and Respect Support Colleagues
  • Arnaud Disant, UCD School of Mathematics and Statistics
  • Aishling Kennedy-Dalton, Daniel Earls & Jacinta Egan, UCD Estate Services
  • Scott Evans, Student Centre
  • Rachel Farrell, UCD School of Education
  • Gary Greenan, UCD Human Resources
  • Anne Griffin, UCD Library
  • Rachel Howe, UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems
  • Invisible Spectrum Organising Committee, UCD School of Medicine
  • Library Period Poverty Team
  • Dr Locksley Messam, UCD School of Veterinary Medicine
  • Dr Peter Moran, UCD School of Music
  • Niamh Nestor, Student Advisers
  • Eimear O’Reilly, Culture & Engagement
  • Dr Paul Perry, UCD School of English, Drama and Film
  • Practice Placement Allocations Team, UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems
  • Derek Reilly, UCD School of Mathematics and Statistics
  • Eimear Ryan, Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research
  • SBI Operations Team, Systems Biology Ireland
  • Dr Fiona Thompson, UCD Student Health Service

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