Monday, 26 January 2015

2017 EGA Strategic Targets met by the start of 2015

We had the 2014 Annual General Meeting last Monday where we assessed progress on our Strategy 2013 - 2016 and appointed a new Hon Secretary and filled a vacancy on the Board. I was also re-elected as President for a further two year (and final) term.

In my President's Statement, I assessed our Progress under the four headings of the Strategy - Education, Membership, Finance and Marketing.

Our overall Strategy was to raise our Profile with major national events and thus to grow our Membership and Funding through Marketing of these events.

In Summary our Mission Statement reads:

‘Our principal aim is to support and assist UCD Engineering to be a world class centre for the teaching and learning of the art, science and practice of engineering. We support our graduates as they continue to drive national economic and sustainable development through enterprise, research and innovation.'

Under Education we have been closely following Second Level Curriculum Reform at Second Level including Reform of the Junior Certificate.  We invited the Chief Executive of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) Dr Anne Looney to one of our Board Meetings.  She was strong in her defence of curriculum reform to date including Projects Maths and the new Junior Cycle approach which is appropriately branded ‘Innovation and Identity’.  She invited the EGA to comment on NCCA proposals as they evolve.  Another major issue in which we concern ourselves as engineers is the inadequate gender balance in Engineering – 20% female in our Colleges falling to an average of 10% in the engineering profession.  We are working with Engineers Ireland and the Second Level Schools to address this issue.  We published an EGA Report “Towards Gender Balance in Engineering” under the chairmanship of EGA Past President Michael Loughnane last October.  We have also sent UCD EGA bilingual posters “We Need More Women in Engineering” to all second level Schools with QR (quick response) code.

In terms of profile and marketing we have held events with speeches and debates with leading national figures about very relevant public issues – Banking, Bailout, Manufacturing, Water, Regulation, Energy Policy, Food Security, Climate Change etc.

In terms of Finance, the introduction of Corporate Membership has provided a stable sustainable funding model resulting in a 6-fold increase in membership funding since last year’s AGM (see President’s Statement for details).

UCD Campus
We can therefore conclude that the financial targets for the EGA under the Strategy 2013-2017 had already been all handsomely met.  In fact they were achieved by the end of 2014 - 2 years ahead of programme giving the EGA its only sustainable funding model since it was founded in 1984.  Thanks in turn to the new Strategy, our Board and now thanks to our new Corporate Members.  In addition depending on the needs and events in any one particular year the funding mechanism is both dynamic to respond to emergency situations and has resilience into the medium term. 

Our challenge now will be to maintain close contact with our Corporate members and to grow new ones in 2015.   We agreed that our priorities for 2015 would be two fold

·       To further support UCD Strategy including accommodation needs of the College of Engineering          going forward as part of new College of Engineering Development Plan.

·       To implement the recommendations of our Gender Balance Report in close association with
        Engineers Ireland.

In a thoughtful contribution, EGA past President Dr Liam Connellan thanked the President and Board for the excellent progress made by the EGA over the past few years.  He recommended that to help broaden our reach, perhaps there might be one lecture every year shared with the RDS, another organisation which promotes science, mathematics and innovation.  Finally he mentioned the importance of globalisation which aligns fully with UCD President Deeks Strategy to see UCD as “Ireland Global University” particularly as Ireland emerges from recession.

We endorsed the appointment of EGA Board Member Dr Aisling Harkin, UCD Careers Office as the EGA link with Corporate and Individual Alumni.  We also welcomed Katie O'Neill as the new Marketing Manager for the College of Engineering and Architecture. Both Aisling and Katie recently joined the EGA Board.
Katie O'Neill
Dr Aisling Harkin

We thank retiring EGA Honorary Secretary Dr Ciarán McNally who served 2 three terms and welcome Dr Vincent Hargaden to the post of EGA Honorary Secretary.  Vincent is Director of the Master of Engineering Management (MEM) programme in UCD.

Dr Vincent Hargaden
We also elected Eoin O’Cathán, Senior Engineer in the Transportation sector of Roughan & O’Donovan (one of our Corporate Members) to the EGA Board.

Mr Eoin O'Catháin