A message from the President of NCI

National College of Ireland is proud to announce that we have successfully achieved an Athena Swan Bronze Institution Award in recognition of our commitment to gender equality and an intersectionally inclusive environment.

The mission of National College of Ireland is ‘to change lives through education’. Delivery of that mission over the past 70 years has always required responsiveness to the changing needs of our staff and student body. NCI has always drawn on diverse perspective and talent to maintain relevance in education and build resilience. 

The College is proud of its unique position in Irish Higher Education, having a female president and a female Dean of the School of Business. However, as anyone who has studied here knows, NCI is not about optics, it is about truly being able to engage with a subject critically, and practically applying that knowledge to effect change. An Athena Swan Bronze Award is our badge, demonstrating our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion. 

National College of Ireland speaks to a ‘whole person’ approach to education, concerned not just with the academic progress of our students, but their wellbeing; concerned also for the wellbeing of staff, and providing strong support for every aspect of a person’s wellness. NCI draws on staff and students of all ages, from every income bracket, from many cultures, bringing different life experiences to the classroom, with a shared goal of attaining education and livelihood. To fully care for our staff and students, we know we must be aware of diversity, equal opportunity and inclusion, in the spirit of positive action and genuinely held values.

The Athena Swan Bronze award affirms that an institution: 

  • is aware of gender equality issues at an institutional level
  • understands that intersectional gender equality is critical 
  • has identified and embraced challenges 
  • has a clear and achievable plan for the future 

The cornerstone to NCI’s submission for the Athena Swan Bronze Award is the 2020–2024 Gender Equality Action Plan which outlines measurable and impactful actions the College. Our plan is wide-stretching and touches on the experiences of staff and students at every stage of their journey with NCI. This includes how we engage with prospective staff and students, through to training and development opportunities, as well as ongoing review of policies impacting gender diversity and broader inclusivity. 

NCI also welcome that the European Commission has re-affirmed its commitment to gender equality in research and innovation and sets gender equality as a cross-cutting priority in the Horizon Europe framework programme. The Horizon Europe and Gender Equality at National College of Ireland Statement demonstrates how the College meets these GEP requirements in Horizon Europe.

In addition to commitments made in our Gender Equality Action Plan, the College is also committed to critical work in the area of Racial Equality, Accessibility, and Ending Sexual Violence within the Higher Education Sector: our community should be safe and inclusive for all. 

The Athena Swan Charter Principles are a vital strand in our broader EDI strategy. We will demonstrate our commitment to equality in measurable ways, recognising and sharing good practice, and embedding Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in all we do. 

We continue to nurture a living value system, fit for an ever-evolving society, underpinned by the core mission of the College, ’to change lives through education’.

Gina Quin
President of National College of Ireland