2004 Press Releases

15 Dec 2004

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Southern Health Board (SHB) Awarded Honorary Degree at University College Cork (UCC)

Seán Hurley, CEO, Southern Health Board and Sportsman, Dr Paddy Crowley were among those conferred at today's UCC Winter Conferrings when they were both conferred with an Honorary Master of Arts Degree.

In his citation Professor Michael Murphy, Dean, Faculty of Medicine & Heatlh, UCC said: "Seán Hurley, who graduated with a BComm from UCC in 1971 became Chief Executive Officer of the Southern Health Board in 1992. He has pioneered, in Ireland, an innovative approach to the interface between the Health Service and the University Sector in support of the clinical education of students in the health professions. He co-authored a memorandum of understanding with UCC on the roles and responsibilities of both organisations, committing the Southern Health Board to providing facilities and resources to undergraduate education and training. He imbued the staff in the local health service, with a commitment to education and training. He co-sponsored with UCC a comprehensive formal liaison process between the two sectors and provided funding for a permanent secretariat, based in UCC, to manage the relationship. This process and structure is unique in Ireland and is likely to be adopted as a national model" said Professor Murphy.

Referring to Dr Paddy Crowley, UCC President, Professor Gerard Wrixon said in his citation ?Born in Newcestown, Co Cork in the late 1940?s Dr Paddy Crowley joined his local club while still at primary school. By 1961 he had already begun to make his mark as an exceptional hurler when, at the tender age of fourteen, he starred as a midfielder on Newcestown?s minor team.

While in secondary school in St. Finbarr's College Farranferris Paddy was a member of an extremely talented 'Farna' team, which won both the Harty Cup and the All-Ireland College's Senior Hurling Championship in 1963. Moving on to University College Cork, Paddy's hurling career continued to blossom and once again he enjoyed great success when playing a starring role in winning the Fitzgibbon Cup with UCC. Paddy also has the distinction of being one of a small band of UCC hurlers who held Cork County Senior Hurling medals.

Newcestown enjoyed an era of unprecedented success from 1967 to 1980 with Paddy Crowley very much to the fore in helping his club to Cork County Junior Hurling honours in 1972 and 1980. Paddy's sporting prowess, however, was not just confined to the hurling arena as he also won Cork County Junior Football and Cork County Intermediate Football medals in 1967 and 1971 respectively.

Though Paddy's inter-county career was short-lived due to his medical studies, he still enjoyed success as a Cork hurler, winning National Hurling League and Munster Senior Hurling medals in 1972. Since retiring from his playing duties Paddy has given distinguished service to UCC Hurling Club as Manager of various teams and enjoyed great success in the 1990's in coaching UCC hurlers to Fitzgibbon Cup success on a number of occasions" said Professor Wrixon.

A total of 513 undergraduate and postgraduate students were conferred today with 94 from the Faculty of Commerce followed by 40 from the Faculty of Engineering. There were 45 from the Faculty of Food Science & Technology and 47 from the Faculty of Law with 68 from the Faculty of Science and 219 from the Faculty of Arts.

Conferring speeches were delivered by Mr Kevin O'Reilly, Barclay's Capital and Áine Hyland, Professor of Education and Vice-President, UCC (see below). Conferrings continue tomorrow Thursday (16 December) and conclude on Friday (17 December).

Conferring Address by Aine Hyland, Professor of Education and Vice-President, University College Cork
Keeping the Flame of Scholarship Alive

Dia Dhíbh go léir agus fáilte romhaibh go dtí bronnadh na niarchéimeanna seo. Is ócáid tábhachtach é seo duinn go léir, idir mhuintir an Choláiste agus sibhse, ár gcéimithe, agus tá súil agam go mbainfidh sibh taitneamh as an gceiliúradh seo agus as an lá ar fad.

Good morning and welcome to this conferring ceremony of post-graduate degrees in the Faculty of Arts. I am pleased and honoured to have the opportunity to address you and to congratulate you on this important milestone in your academic lives. For all of you, this is the culmination of a long journey, first embarked upon many years ago. It is an occasion of great pride and joy for each of you personally and for those who have supported you on the journey - parents, grandparents, partners, children, relatives, friends. It is also an occasion of pride for us, the staff of the university, who also accompanied you on your journey of scholarship and who hopefully gave you the necessary helping hand to overcome the obstacles which no doubt many of you met along the way.

The title of my address this morning is "Keeping the Flame of Scholarship Alive". The title is borrowed from a book written in 1990 by Ernest Boyer, then President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in the United States. In his book, Scholarship Reconsidered, Boyer offered a new paradigm for recognising the full range of scholarly activities within universities. He posited a more inclusive vision of scholarship than had previously been recognised - suggesting that that there are four forms of scholarship within universities - the scholarship of discovery, the scholarship of integration, the scholarship of application and the scholarship of teaching. As graduate students of UCC, you have all experienced the excitement of the scholarship of discovery - the discovery of new research findings - as you explored your own research topics and extended the boundaries of knowledge and understanding within your subject areas. Many of you also experienced the scholarship of integration, making connections within and between disciplines, as you sought to interpret, draw together and bring new insights to bear on original work. The scholarship of application engaged you with the issues of the day, especially in the social sciences area, and new intellectual understandings arose from the very act of application. In the scholarship of application, theory and practice interact. The scholarship of teaching provides the main link between academics and their students and initiates students into the best values of the universities. Good teachers enthuse and engage their students and seek to ensure that the flame of scholarship is kept alive from generation to generation. Today as you accept your Masters and Doctoral degrees, you carry with you the responsibility of keeping this flame alive, whether as researchers or teachers or practitioners in your chosen profession.

Some of you may be about to enter or have just entered the world of full-time work - now that you have completed this stage of your student life - and we wish you every success. Others have been working for many years and have taken time out either on a full-time or a part-time basis in the past few years to add this qualification to your portfolio of qualifications. We hope that for all of you, your experience in UCC was a positive and enjoyable one, and that you will regard this as one of many forays back into the education and training world as lifelong learners.

In recent years, UCC has been very successful in building up a national and international reputation as a centre of excellence in many disciplinary areas. Many of you, in your research, have helped to build this reputation. The increasing number of graduate students is a reflection of this and it is gratifying to see that the Faculty of Arts has sustained this growth in postgraduate numbers.

Some of you have completed a taught Masters course - others have followed a "research only" path. But whichever path you followed, you have added to a greater or lesser degree, to the development and enhancement of your discipline and you have helped to keep the flame of scholarship alive. Some of you have been recipients of Government of Ireland Humanities and Social Sciences Scholarships and UCC is proud of its record in obtaining more than its share of scholarships and awards under this scheme.

The recent OECD review of higher education in Ireland has drawn attention to the relatively small number of graduate students in Irish universities compared to other OECD countries and has stated that there will have to be a significant increase in these numbers if Ireland is to compete successfully in the global economy with other OECD countries. This point was also made by the Enterprise Strategy Group in July 2004 in its report 'Ahead of the Curve' where it was stated that "In a knowledge based economy, the requirements for higher education graduates and post-graduates will increase and if we are to compete effectively, the per capita proportions of graduates and postgraduates in Ireland should compare favourably with our competitor countries". The report goes on to state that "Our aim should be for Irish graduates to be among the best in the world and this will require that the quality of Irish educational awards be benchmarked internationally".

In light of the unanimous agreement of so many expert reviews and reports that the Irish government must make a greater investment in higher education, the recently published Book of Estimates and the Budget for 2005 were a source of major disappointment. The universities experienced an effective cut of 14% in their current budget in the last two years. If these cuts are not reversed soon by government, the quality of scholarship which universities can provide in this country will inevitably be eroded and the economy and society will suffer. UCC has indicated its willingness to undertake a reform agenda which will ensure that the university is responsive to and a leader of the change and innovation which Ireland requires. However we have yet to see evidence of support for such reform from government and its agencies. In the absence of tangible government support, a reform agenda becomes almost impossible to achieve and it will certainly not be possible for Ireland to meet the ambitious targets aspired to in the various reports and Government Plans.

While I know that today's graduands include some who have not studied Education as a discipline, I am sure I will be forgiven for paying special attention at this graduation to those on whom a Masters degree in Education, including the M. Ed. degree in Physical Sciences, has been awarded. The awarding of 70 M.Ed degrees in one day in one university is, to use an American expression, ?truly awesome? and is a reflection of the dedication and high calibre of so many members of the teaching profession in Munster. For this group, the scholarship of teaching has a special resonance - during the past two years, they have not alone been at the receiving end of teaching (as students in the University) - they have also been at the chalk-face in their classrooms on a day-to-day basis as teachers in schools throughout the province of Munster and further afield, while at the same time attending lectures in the evenings and on Saturdays. Many travelled long distances, coming from as far afield as Waterford, Limerick, Kerry, Tipperary, and the midlands, as well as from the far limits of West Cork.

I would like to pay tribute to each and every one of you today. Your commitment and dedication was an inspiration to all of us who shared our learning and our scholarship with you during the past two years, and speaking for myself, all I can say is that I thoroughly enjoyed my weekly two hour evening sessions with you and I learned more from you than you could ever learn from me. The teaching profession in Ireland is fortunate to have such an impressive and scholarly group of teachers among its ranks.

This is an example of the type of continuing professional education programme which UCC is committed to providing - programmes which take account of the changing professional world in which we live and which ensure that our teachers and other professionals continue to be at the cutting edge of their discipline. And within these programmes, the scholarship of discovery and the scholarship of application play an important part. For many of you, your classrooms, your schools and your communities were your research laboratories. As reflective practitioners, you applied the new knowledge and understandings of your discipline in your workplace. You developed new ways of teaching and learning and applied your skills of inquiry to interrogating the effectiveness of new approaches.

Finally I would like to wish you all well in the years ahead. It is important that we take control not only of our own personal destiny, but of that of our communities and our country. A quotation from Andy Hargreaves recent book Education for Change sums this up succinctly:

Our future is very much an open book. It can be one of triumphant innovation; of diverse and self-fulfilling yet environmentally sustainable lifestyles; of people living and working together in communities of difference. Or it can be a future of division and despair where the successful are seduced into a technologically glitzy world of superficial consumerism and lifestyle choices, while the unsuccessful are condemned to unemployment, underemployment or undemanding employment that offers them few real choices. The nature of our future depends on how we prepare the next generation who will live and make it.

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