The sense of community is something that I’ve always loved most about Trinity; it’s one of our greatest strengths and can’t be taken for granted. That’s why putting people first – and valuing you – is at the heart of my vision for Trinity.
I know from serving the Trinity community for over two decades that our success as a university is rooted in our people, our exceptional staff, our superb student body, and our talented alumni. As a community, we are ambitious about how we can excel, inspire, and make a difference.
Strengthening the bonds between the Provost and the College community is really important to me. Yet for many students and staff, the Provost is a figure beyond their reach. I believe the Provost should serve the University and its community, so it is vital that the next Provost actively creates opportunities for engagement with the wider College community. I will work with you to identify suitable forums, along with less formal occasions like coffee mornings, where everyone can contribute to discussions around major issues, express concerns and be listened to. I will make face-to-face interactions a hallmark of my Provostship.
From talking to colleagues, I know just how formidable the pressures are on us all to maintain excellence in an era of shrinking resources and growing demands on universities. I believe that academic values, not financial imperatives, must drive our activities. We must never lose sight of the unique role of the university to invest in knowledge, ideas, and practices that guide future generations. This will be a guiding principle of my Provostship.
We have all seen how the pandemic has exacerbated existing challenges and accentuated the need for a flexible and secure working environment that foregrounds health and wellbeing, recognition and respect, and enables our community to plan and excel.
That’s why, as Provost, I will prioritise a review of wellbeing supports for staff and students and the institution of a campus-wide mental health crisis prevention approach with supporting resources by the end of my first year in office.
I will ensure that Trinity is a university that promotes dignity and respect in the workplace and celebrates trust, openness, fairness, diversity, inclusivity, and equality. I will lead by listening and with integrity. I will improve working conditions by overhauling policies on work-life balance, disparity of workloads, increasing supports for child-care (for students as well as staff) and setting out concrete steps towards achieving best practice by 2025.
I will prioritise merit-based promotions, review internal practices on casual and fixed-term contracts, create more full-time academic research posts by increasing non-exchequer funding, and work with other Higher Education Institutions to lobby government to improve national practice for employment at third level.
I will review administrative and support services and introduce modes of governance that are more open, professional, transparent, and collegial, and include the Heads of School in the running of the College and formal decision-making structures.
I will prioritise small group activity and research-led education. Investment in student-centred College wide-integrated services and facilities will be a priority, including enhancing the tutor service and supports for tutors. I will review and overhaul our policies and supports for international, under-represented and vulnerable students to create a much more welcoming, supportive, inclusive and stimulating academic environment.
Following the publication of my manifesto, I was delighted to see that College has decided to increase from September 2021 the stipend for Trinity postgraduate students in line with the Irish Research Council rates. As Provost, I will address the teaching hours required by internal studentships and continue to lobby government for increased stipends for early career researchers. I will create much-needed common research and meeting spaces.
Of course, the Trinity experience is not just about what happens in the classroom, library or the laboratory. As Provost, I will recognise and celebrate this. I will work with the Central Societies Committee (CSC) to deliver on the promised Student Centre and ensure the 120+ clubs and societies that are an integral part of Trinity life thrive. I will reinvigorate traditions such as the Trinity races and establish new 21st century traditions, where we come together to celebrate our diversity and achievements.
And the Trinity experience does not end at graduation. We have 120,000 alumni in 140 countries around the world. Our inspiring alumni are powerful ambassadors, great mentors and generous funders. I have been bowled over by the support I have received from our alumni since the start of my campaign and will continue to champion our alumni as vital stakeholders. As Provost, I will build a global Trinity network that enhances existing links with our alumni and peer institutions worldwide, and I will ensure Trinity has the resources and the networks to lead national and international conversations as we enter into an era of uncertainty.
Trinity is also part of a wider community. From our teaching hospitals, to our student residences, our botanical gardens and our Lir Theatre, I am so proud of the links we have with Dublin and local communities. As Provost, I will strengthen these connections and build new bridges.
On the national stage, I will work with other key agencies and Higher Education Institutions to ensure that education and research are central to Ireland’s post-pandemic recovery, to minimise the risks associated with Brexit and the on-going Peace Process in Northern Ireland, and to ensure that research informs public policy. Despite Brexit, we will work to increase the numbers of students coming from Northern Ireland and ensure that Trinity is a university for talented students from across the island and beyond. Our North-South collaborations and our campus in Belfast are tremendous assets in helping to ensure that we build strong links across the island of Ireland and with colleagues in Great Britain.
I’m really enjoying the discussions we are having at the moment about how we can make College work for you and how we, as a community, can unlock Trinity’s full potential. If there was ever a time for a community to come together, it is now.
I would love to talk to you further, so please do get in touch: [email protected]
Read Jane’s manifesto here https://www.janeohlmeyer.ie/manifesto-2021-2031/