The Board of College met for the first time yesterday in its newly composed structure under the terms of the Higher Education Authority Act 2022.
Paul Farrell was appointed chairperson of the Board, the first in the history of the university to be an external member, the position having previously been held by incumbent provosts.
Farrell, a member of the Board since last October, retired as General Manager of IBM in May 2021, having previously been a consultant and partner with EY. Farrell served as an army officer for 15 years prior to this, and also holds a BSc in experimental physics, an MSc in computer science and an honorary PhD in information technology.
The Board welcomed a total of ten new members, six external, two staff and two student representatives, alongside 12 continuing members.
Provost Linda Doyle welcomed the new members, saying: “Their knowledge and experience will bring new perspectives and insights to the university.
“My thanks go to the members of the previous Board who have been so generous with their time and expertise, and particularly to those who have recently stepped down.”
Doyle will no longer serve as chair of the Board, as she has done for two years, as the HEA Act mandates that the chair be an external member, but will continue to be a member.
Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) President László Molnárfi and Welfare Officer Aoife Bennett attended the meeting as new members, with a third student representative due to be nominated by the union in the coming weeks.
Under the terms of the HEA Act, the number of student representatives on university governing bodies such as the Board was set at three. Previously, four student members served on Trinity’s Board, including the Education Officer and president of the Graduate Students’ Union (GSU).
It is likely, though not mandatory, that the third member appointed to the Board will be a postgraduate representative, though it is unclear who this will be due to the dissolution of the GSU in 2022.
Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris will also make two further nominations to the Board.
The Board is the central decision-making body of the university and includes members of the student body, professional and academic staff and external members.
Significant changes were made to its composition in order to be in compliance with the terms of the HEA Act, detailed in a supplemental charter passed by College prior to the commencement of the legislation.
The Act gives the Minister for Further and Higher Education the power to appoint three of the Boards external members.
Trinity was afforded special permission to include additional internal members in order to retain the membership of Fellows, a historically important part of its governance.