Dean’s roll of honour to be replaced after becoming ‘victim of its own success’

news1The dean of students’ roll of honour, an award recognising volunteering in College and further afield, will be replaced by three distinct categories of recognition for the coming year, Trinity News has learned.

College’s dean of students, Kevin O’Kelly, told Trinity News that the roll had become a “victim of its own success” after having had a “much higher level of participation than we expected.”

A working group was formed in October of last year to “review all aspects” of the roll. As well as O’Kelly, membership of the group included a representative from each of the SU, the Graduates Students’ Union (GSU), the Central Societies Committee (CSC), and the Dublin University Central Athletic Club (DUCAC). The working group presented its report to the student life committee earlier this week where it was approved.

The report cited the positives of the award, which was introduced in 2011, as being, “the very high level of interest (over 800 applicants last year),” that it encourages participation and may lead some to more substantial volunteering and that it “provides a formal recognition by Trinity that can be used for career development.” However, the report also noted “a perception that the [application process] is not discriminating enough,” given a ninety ninety percent success rate, the “perceived low threshold for eligibility (e.g. attendance at meetings can fulfill criteria)” and there being “no distinction between low and high level volunteers.”

With “unanimous agreement that the awards should recognise different levels of engagement and that each level should have different eligibility and evaluation criteria,” the group proposed that the roll be replaced by three categories of recognition: dean’s list for volunteering, dean’s leadership award for volunteering and Trinity legacy award for volunteering. The first category is explicitly to “encourage” while the second and third are to “recognise”.

The dean’s list is to be the least exclusive category and will, according to O’Kelly, be “inclusive of everyone volunteering” with there being no limit on the number included. Students will self-apply and be required to present “evidence of reflection on how they are different from before they volunteered.” There will be a requirement of a minimum of 60 hours of activity, three times that for the award. The report emphasises that it should be seen as “recognition rather than an award.” Those successful will receive a certificate by post.

The dean’s leadership award for volunteering will “acknowledge students who have contributed significantly to an organisation/individual.” They will have had a “clearly defined leadership role within the organisation that involves managing other people, being accountable for projects/initiatives, and motivating other students to volunteer.” Evaluation will be based on a self-assessment form submitted by the applicant and testimonials from people in the organisation above and below the person.”

With the Trinity legacy award for volunteering, College intends to “acknowledge exceptional students or graduates who, during their time in Trinity, have left a legacy based on their contribution.” A maximum of three such awards will be presented in any year and it is “not expected that it will be given every year.” Candidates must be nominated by a third party with evaluation based on a portfolio and interview.

Recipients of the leadership and legacy awards will be invited to “a formal awards reception” attended by the provost and other College officers. The ceremony is intended for Trinity Week, when a number of traditional events take place in College, including election of foundation scholars.