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Our Enablers

Over the next five years we intend to recruit sufficient faculty to reduce our student-faculty ratio to 16:1. This planned growth in faculty numbers provides us with the opportunity to build our capacity in areas of opportunity and need. We will ensure that these additional faculty are excellent in both research and teaching, and we will expect them to contribute to the development of the University’s strategic themes.

Growth in faculty numbers will be achieved through two mechanisms. Firstly, we will retain a budget model which increases expenditure in schools as they grow income, ensuring supply of faculty follows demand of student numbers. Except in exceptional circumstances, additional faculty hired through this mode will be at the early career stage, facilitating our rolling faculty promotion system.

Secondly, we will continue to centrally recruit faculty with three streams: the first focusing on excellent early career academics, the second on those with a proven track record of excellence in international arenas, and the third on those working in areas identified as being of high potential. We plan to continue this initiative through the five years of this strategy.

Applicants in all three streams will be evaluated in the same way, and will include the track record and potential (research and teaching) of the applicant relative to the UCD Development Framework for Faculty and international norms for the level being sought; the student-faculty ratio in the relevant school relative to comparator group norms for the discipline; the alignment of the applicant with our strategic themes; and the contribution the employment of the applicant will make to equality, diversity and inclusion goals simultaneously at school level and university level.

Over the period of this strategy we aim to employ an additional 150 additional academics through the first mechanism and 370 academics through the second mechanism.

At the same time, as Ireland’s Global University, we are increasingly attractive to international students who wish to receive high quality higher education in an open, welcoming and English-speaking environment.

This increased demand for UCD education provides us with an opportunity to grow in size. There are a number of reasons why growing in size helps to enable the delivery of this strategy. One reason is that we have an opportunity to increase our supply of graduates in areas of high demand, contributing to the flourishing of Ireland and the world.

We also recognise the value to all our students of learning in a diverse multi-cultural environment where alternative perspectives and ways of working can be experienced, and where the intercultural competencies necessary to work successfully in our global society can be developed, and so recruiting more students from other countries and non-traditional groups and communities here in Ireland contributes to providing an student experience that defines international best practice.

In addition, larger student numbers allow us to benefit from economies of scale, delivering teaching and student support more efficiently and more effectively, and the additional fees provide us with the ability to fund state-of-the-art teaching and learning infrastructure.

Consequently, we aim to increase our total student numbers by 25% over the next 10 years, with this increase being through a blend of national and international students. We will focus these increases in areas of high student and employer demand.

We have developed a Strategic Campus Development Plan 2016-2021-2026 which defines three distinct character areas: the academic character area (housing our teaching, learning, research and innovation activities); the sports and student amenities character area (housing our sports pitches and halls, our student centre and our student clubs and societies; and our residential character area (containing our student residences together with retail spaces, dining facilities, meeting rooms and support facilities in a ‘village centre’).

We are developing master plans which will guide the future development of each of the three areas. Over the period of this strategy, these master plans will be finalised, and significant progress made towards their realisation.

In the academic character area we will deliver UCD Future Campus Phase 1 (the UCD Centre for Creativity and the UCD Centre for Future Learning); the UCD O’Brien Centre for Science Phase 3; significant enhancements to the Newman Building and the James Joyce Library; and planning of a further significant academic building to provide the capacity required for our forecast increases in student and employee numbers.

In the sports and student amenities character area we will complete the master planning and deliver a new running track, a multi-purpose hall, performance spaces, and re-orientation and re-surfacing of many of our sporting pitches, in partnership with our students.

In the residential character area we will complete Phases 1 and 2 of the residential master plan, providing the Village Centre and approximately 2200 additional bed spaces, and we will ensure that Phase 3, adding a further 800 bed spaces, is well under way.

We will ensure that our campus developments support the delivery of a student experience that defines international best practice, and that our strategic themes inform the development of a accessible, sustainable, healthy and digitally-enabled campus that also represents international best practice.

It is our ambition to become an international leader by 2024. This will require us to reassess how students register, to recreate how information is captured and accessed, and to reimagine how services are best structured to meet the needs of those who use them.

Over the course of this strategy we will develop a comprehensive and holistic roadmap for the digital transformation of our operations and an updating and streamlining of our services, and make significant progress on the implementation of this plan. In this way we will be able to effectively and efficiently respond to the increases in student and faculty numbers projected, together with the planned infrastructure developments.

This roadmap will help us plan change and shape the community and institutional development we create through that change. We will ensure that UCD becomes a model for digital transformation in a higher education environment in an Irish context and globally. Implementing this roadmap will mean significant changes to the way we conduct business and deploy staff.

We will focus on four sections of the UCD community – students and their journey, employees and their employment, managers and leaders and their routine managerial tasks, and academics in the routine tasks which enable their teaching and research.

In each case we will ensure that the appropriate digital systems are in place to simplify and reduce the need for staff time to be absorbed in routine tasks, releasing staff to provide higher level support and assistance, and to contribute to the four strategic themes of this strategy. In this way the experience of all members of the UCD community will be enhanced.

This enabler will contribute significantly to the strategic theme of Transforming through Digital Technology, making the campus a model of working in the digital age.

We will expand the development opportunities for all our employees, creating a culture in which optimum performance and development is supported. We will continue to embed and refine our ‘Performance for Growth’ framework, ensuring that each employee has the opportunity to grow and develop. We will put in place new development programmes to ensure each employee has the opportunity to build their knowledge and skills relevant to each of our strategic themes, ensuring that these themes permeate the teaching, learning, research and support services we provide.

With routine transactions and queries being handled by systems, and staff providing high level support and assistance, there will be greater scope for creativity, strategic and critical thinking, problem solving and communications. This will provide opportunities for staff to move away from routine tasks towards more exciting and creative roles, and will lead to development and career advancement opportunities for staff.

We will leverage the collective experience and skills of our faculty and staff by identifying examples of excellence and empowering individuals to share their skills and expertise with colleagues and to lead change. Where faculty and staff encounter challenges, we will promote a culture of collegiality and candour and develop feedback mechanisms so that challenges can be shared and solutions can be found.

In order to finance our ambitious increase in faculty numbers and our infrastructure programme, we will increase the amount of non-exchequer income we generate. By the end of the strategy period we will be generating an extra €25 million each year in non-exchequer income.

We will develop income generating activities which utilise our infrastructure after hours, at weekends and particularly over the summer trimester, increasing the utilisation of our teaching facilities over those periods of time and increasing the utilisation of our student accommodation over summer.

We will also build summer school and conference activity over summer, and undertake other activities to ensure that the accommodation, sporting facilities and associated student amenities are highly utilised and are generating income to support the core operation of the University. We will give priority to activities that support the core objectives of the strategy.

Through the UCD University Club, we will increase the utilisation of O’Reilly Hall and other university venues to provide one of Dublin’s premier meeting and conference facilities, generating further non-exchequer income through room hire and catering.

Universities around the world increasingly rely on the financial support of their alumni, corporate partners and other philanthropists. UCD is no exception. Over the period of this strategy we will work to continue to increase the amount of philanthropic support received by the University.

We will explore other opportunities to generate a financial return from the assets of UCD, while continuing to support the core operations of the University and uphold our values and our reputation.

UCD Strategy

University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 7777