News Archive

Mr Joseph Hallissey awarded a Honorary Degree of Master of Science

21 Jun 2012

Congratulations to Joe Hallissey who was awarded a Honorary Masters last Thursday June 14th.

Address from Professor Finbarr Allen

12.30pm Thursday 14th June 2012

 'President, Academic Colleagues, Graduates, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Joseph Hallissey has a long association with the Cork Dental School and Hospital and UCC.  A native of Cork, he trained as a Dental Technician in the old Dental Hospital in John Redmond Street from 1969-74.  He was awarded a Scholarship to spend time at the Turner Dental School in Manchester in 1971, and achieved first place in the Intermediate City and Guilds Dental Technology examination.  After a period as a production technician, he was appointed a trainee University Dental Instructor in 1977.  He received further training at the Royal Dental Hospital in London in 1978, and was appointed to his current position as University Dental Instructor in 1981.

He is one of the few remaining Instructor Technicians in Dental Technology in Western Europe.  At the time of his appointment, after many years of discussion, a plan was finally in progress to move the Dental Hospital to its current location in Wilton, and the current building opened in 1982.  Joe is one of the few remaining staff to have worked in both Dental Hospitals in Cork, and has been a part of the considerable transition in Cork Dental School and Hospital over the past 30 years.  It is of note that Joe actually taught many of the current teaching staff, including the current Head of School.  In that time, there have been seismic shifts in patterns of disease and attitudes to dental health, and this has been mirrored by major changes in educational and training requirements and standards.  The curriculum for students in 2012 bears little resemblance to that in place in 1980, and teaching staff have had to adapt and lead curriculum change over that time.  In addition to the dental specific education changes, there have also been major changes in student profile in UCC.  In 1981, a finely tuned ear might detect the odd Tipperary or Kerry accent among Cork city and county tones audible in UCC; however, as seen today, the Dental School now has students from all over the globe.  Coping with these changes over such a long period of time requires dedication and commitment to student teaching and an ability to adapt to the many different learning styles of our students.  Joe has managed this with good grace and a sense of wanting to do his very best by the students.  I think it is fair to say that Joe would not be slow to voice an opinion, and always wants students to thrive under his tutoring.  The term “instructor” is not redundant in his case, and the students receive interactive, “hand-on” teaching in Prosthetic Dentistry under his care.     

He has been a member of, and contributor to, the Society of University Dental Instructors of the UK and Ireland, which is a collective of university-based Dental Technicians in the UK and Ireland dedicated to the advancement of dental technology education.  At various points in his career, he has also been involved in the TEMPUS project for harmonisation of dental education standards in Europe, and published research into reasons for choosing dentistry as a career.  His main role has been in dental education, specifically in the area of Prosthetic Dentistry and Dental Technology.

One of the key challenges to dentists is to manage loss of teeth for our patients.  In a matter of days and weeks, we have to use technology to replace human tissues that have taken millions of years to evolve.  On the receiving end of our endeavours is a living human being, more anxious than ourselves at how accomplished we are at this task and wondering whether we can restore normal function and appearance to them.  It is a significant responsibility for an oral healthcare professional, and training for it commences at a very early stage in the BDS programme.  Our dental students have to develop competence in the design, manufacture and clinical procedures for providing dental prostheses, and Joe has played a significant role in this endeavour over the past 30 years.

During that time, over a 1,000 dental students have passed through his teaching laboratory and benefitted from his skills as an Instructor Technician.    He has also played a role in the training and education of dental technicians, including a period during which this training was provided from within Cork Dental School and Hospital.  Many students recall with gratitude the help he has provided them over the years in preparing for examinations.  It is now fairly standard to see his teaching laboratory packed to the rafters well into the evenings with students busily practicing their newly acquired skills.  He facilitates this every year without complaint, and it is greatly appreciated.

His interest in education and learning led to him enrolling for several humanities courses, and he has been awarded a variety of certificates and diplomas in areas as diverse as sociology and ancient Greek civilisation. This endeavour culminated in the award of a BA degree by UCC in 2004.

The significant teaching role that Joe has played over three decades at Cork Dental School and Hospital is honoured here by the award of an honorary Masters degree.  We thank him for his dedication to dental undergraduate teaching and for being such a loyal colleague over so many years.  We wish him and his wife Margaret who accompanies him today and their family every success into the future'.

Cork University Dental School & Hospital

Wilton, Cork, Ireland,