A Message from NCI President Gina Quin
Foreword by the Chairman of the Governing Body Fr. Leonard Moloney, SJ
In July 2019, nothing could have prepared the board of management nor the Governing Body of NCI for how the world would look by Spring the following year. It is a testament to them and to our president, Gina Quin, that the College adapted so quickly in the face of catastrophe; and to the lecturers that absorbed so much demand on their resources, especially in those first weeks; to the staff in every department, who cooperated to keep everything moving positively forward; and to our students, whose resilience is a positive reflection on National College of Ireland. NCI is not a stranger to change. It began its life in 1951 as the Catholic Workers’ College, providing twice-weekly night classes in social and economic studies to trade union members. At the request of many employers, it moved quickly to also providing courses for managers, becoming, then, the College of Industrial Relations. This constructive responsiveness to change set the tone of a College that answers the contemporary needs of learners, workers and employers, and it was renamed the National College of Industrial Relations in 1983, before then moving to its home here in the IFSC as the National College of Ireland. This open and agile response to changing needs and emerging opportunities is in the spirit of what Ignatius Loyola described as “living with one foot raised”: being ever ready to take the next step forward to best fulfil a core mission. July 2019 saw NCI ready to fulfil its core mission, “to change lives through education”, by expanding its current campus, to increase its positive impact in the North East Inner City, where it is a meeting point for community groups and multinational corporations, for students and professional bodies, for future entrepreneurs and employees and the sectors in which they will ultimately work. Thriving financially, the College started this academic year by increasing access to education, partnering with the Irish Refugee Council to create new scholarships. Thriving academically, the College partnered with Maynooth University to offer co-supervision and delivery of doctorates. Thriving within the community, through ELI (Early Learning Initiative), through the NEWTON Project, through the NEIC work placement programme, NCI was well-established to do more. NCI’s goal of measured expansion is not driven by an empty desire to be ‘bigger’, but by a proportionate ambition to effect purposeful change. The values underpinning this goal will not change, even as the surrounding circumstances – in this case, a global pandemic – may significantly move the goal posts. “Living with one foot raised” means that we will not get stuck on *what* we do but focus on *why* we do it. National College of Ireland will hold fast to its mission and continue to adapt and change in considered response to the world we live in, regularly reassessing how and where the College can have the most positive impact, continuing to change lives through education. Fr. Leonard Moloney, SJ Chairman of the Governing Body
NCI at a glance
College News
President’s Awards 2019 This academic year saw the revalidation of c. 24 programmes as part of QASS programmatic review. Dr Corina Sheerin and Dr Caitriona Hughes won the European Journal of Training and Development Outstanding Paper 2019 award – Corina also won Emerald Literati Highly Commended Award along with CIT colleague Prof Margaret Linehan, which had previously received a BAM award. NCI’s School of Business hosted the 22nd Irish Academy of Management Conference in August. The first three cohorts on the Department of Social Protection programmes graduated in November 2019, with the Secretary General John McKeon, Assistant Secretary Paula Lyons and Principal Officer Mary Mc Sharry attending. The School of Business hosted our inaugural NCI MBA Women’s Network meeting in December. This initiative is aimed at creating a professional network for female MBA students and graduates of NCI. The first meeting was a great success with over 60% of our graduates and students in attendance. At the beginning of 2020, the School of Business successfully defended the new BA(Hons) in Recruitment Practice. This programme adds to our existing suite of professional apprenticeship programmes offered by the School. This programme which was developed in partnership with the National Recruitment Federation is a level 8 honours degree and is the first such degree not only in an Irish context but also the first recruitment specific degree programme in a European context.


Generation Apprenticeship competition launch


NCI MBA Women’s Network meeting
BA (Hons) Degree in Recruitment Practice has been developed by the NRF in partnership with the National College of Ireland.
In May 2020, BA(Hons) in Marketing Practice students presented their final capstone projects virtually. These projects are run in conjunction with Shopify, and the students are challenged with developing their own products, sourcing and marketing them in addition to the development of a Kickstarter video. The quality of the products and work produced was second to none. Here is just one example - Alphalyte, a portable blender! Funded as part of the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education Seminar Series, the following were convened by NCI’s Centre for Education and Lifelong Learning (CELL): - facilitated by David White, Head of Digital Learning at the University of Arts, London 'Developing Digital Graduate Attributes Within, Beyond and Across the Curriculum' was convened by Dr Yvonne Emmett in October 2019; - facilitated by Dr David Killick, Emeritus Fellow of Leeds Beckett University, ‘Developing Culturally Responsive Approaches to Assessment in Higher Education' was convened by Dr Sheena Hyland in March 2020. In January 2020, CELL hosted a Technology-Enhanced Learning Project Showcase in the Kelly Theatre and Atrium. The event, organised in association with SOLAS and NUI Galway, showcased the work of Further Education and Training practitioners from across the country, who had participated in the initial instances of NCI's new Certificate in Learning and Technology and Certificate in Technology launched in 2019. Dr Leo Casey and Dr Yvonne Emmett of the Centre for Education and Lifelong Learning hosted the workshop 'Contemporary Questions for Adult Educators' at NCI. The workshop for adult educators in Dublin's North East Inner City was organised in association with the Dublin Adult Learning Centre as part of the Aontas Adult Learner Festival 2020 in March. The School of Computing participated in the organisation and running of the prestigious International Conference on High Performance Computing & Simulation (HPCS 2019), and presented at the conference. NCI was recognised as a main patron/supporter along with other academic institutions (TCD, UCD, DCU, ICHEC) and commercial organisations (IBM, AMD, nVIDIA). Dr Anu Sahni won the Special Commendation Award at KTI (Knowledge Transfer Impact) Awards ceremony on 21 Nov 2019. The Knowledge Transfer Achiever award recognises the achievement of a staff member who has made significant contributions and impact. This is a big recognition for the college and also for the School of Computing Innovation strategy ably led by Dr Anu Sahni with the support of other colleagues. The School of Computing, with the collaboration of Careers, Marketing, IT and the Commercial Office, moved the final year Technology Transfer Project Showcase online for May 2020, to remarkable success. During 2019-20 the School of Computing participated in research projects worth €7 million, with €1 million in funding being directly received by NCI over the duration of these projects in addition to overheads. These funded projects are Newton (€5.6 million, 3 years, Dr Cristina Muntean, Dr Pramod Pathak), SPUMONI (€1.2 million, 3years, Dr Adriana Chis, Dr Horacio Gonzalez Velez), IPP Glantus project (€185k, 1 year, Dr Anu Sahni, Dr Pramod Pathak), SFI Discover (€50k, 1 year, Dr Pramod Pathak), EI Feasibility (€15,000, 3 months, Dr Anu Sahni, Dr Pramod Pathak). Some projects from the above list continue into the 2020-21 academic year. The European Commission review of the NEWTON project (€560 million, 3 years duration) was defended successfully on 22nd October 2019. The review panel praised the work of the Newton consortium and commended the work for the integration of gamification and Fablab (for 3D printing of prototypes). The project team met all the targets and published more than 200 research papers and 34 pilot implementations across Europe. A book has also been published summarising the project work. A paper entitled “EARTH COURSE Pilot: NEWTON Project Support for STEM Education”, by Dr Cristina Hava Muntean and team, was awarded Best Paper Award at The Thirteenth International Conference on Mobile Ubiquitous Computing, Systems, Services and Technologies (UBICOMM 2019)
Dr Anu Sahni won a Special Commendation Award at KTI
Wellness Week for NCI Staff , which was held in February 2020.
Irish Health Care Award for My Place to Play, a collaborative initiative with CYPSC, ABC North Dublin and Focus Ireland. 306 play mats distributed to babies living in emergency accommodation across Ireland. ParentChild+ (formerly the Parent Child Home Programme) now being delivered to 376 families in 9 sites across Ireland with a new site established in Louth and Clondalkin. Sláintecare Integration Fund Prevention is better than cure – The Community Mothers Programme Development Project, collaboration between the ten local CMP sites, the Katharine Howard Foundation, the HSE, Tusla and ELI with ELI the lead partner. ELI’s 2020-25 Strategic Plan ratified by Governing Body in December. Centre of Expertise, Research and Innovation (CERI) established in January as a focal point for knowledge management, capacity-building, communication and influencing in relation to educational disadvantage, access and ELI’s growing expertise in supporting other communities to deliver high quality Home Visiting programmes, in line with the Irish Government’s First 5 A Whole-of-Government Strategy for Babies, Young Children and their Families 2019-2028. Covid-19 Response 4,596 virtual home visits completed during lockdown 1,367 educational activity packs were distributed 100% reported that ELI had responded well to COVID-19 Programme Delivery 17,000 learning interactions with 969 families in Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Louth 1,520 families engaged in group parenting support e.g., baby massage, restorative practice, storytelling, Mam & Baby Fitness, creative play 2,819 children and their families took part in a literacy programme, including Early Numeracy Programme, Zoom Ahead with Books, Doodle Den, NCI Challenges, Robotic Coding Clubs, Language Cafés and Tuition Support 473 children and their families were involved in an educational guidance programme, including Love Education; A Day in the Life; Mentoring Circles; Restorative Practice Opening the Door; and Discover University 356 professionals engaged in training and mentoring in Home Visiting; My Place to Play; Digital Technology; Numeracy; STEM; Síolta and Aistear; Restorative Practice; Self-care and Emotional Literacy The team made 5 conference presentations and contributed 3 publications

ELI's Halloween Party was selected as an ‘image of the day’ by The Irish Times




NCI signed up to Sport 20x20, to increase the visibility and participation of women in sports.


Student Experience


National College of Ireland takes a ‘whole person’ approach to education, believing that it is not just academic success that is important, but health and well-being. 2019-2020 saw increased consultation with students as the College undertook more focused EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) work, including as part of the initiation of the Autism Friendly Campus Initiative. NCI has an award-winning Careers Service. Of the 797 full time degree and masters' graduates surveyed in November 2019, 90% responded – 21% of all full-time graduates had secured a role through the careers service, and 19% did so with a company that came on campus to participate in a careers’ initiative. Graduate Outcome Data · 81% were in employment · 9% further study, · 9% seeking employment · 1% unavailable for work In January 2020, Specialisterne in conjunction with the Disability Support Team and Careers Team began a series of workshops with Neurodiverse students to help them prepare for graduate interviews and roles. Student Support works closely with the Students Union, as well as with individual students: for example, in February 2020, the Disability Support Team and Counselling and Wellness Team received training from TENI on Transgender issues and how to support students who are transgender, and in May 2020, Student Support and NCISU collaborated to run a virtual Mental Health Awareness Week. NCISU represents the students of NCI and also participates at national level with the Union of Students of Ireland. In August 2019, NCI and NCISU hosted the Union of Students in Ireland’s NStEP training event for SU officers for the upcoming academic year. NCISU also advocated on behalf of students during the transition from normal college life to Covid-19 conditions.
Clubs and Socs: On the very same day that the Campus closed in March 2020, news broke that NCI had secured promotion to 1st Division College Football. NCI has a close relationship with Bohemians Football Club, including scholarships for young club players to attend NCI, announced in 2019. The College has also signed up to Sport 20x20, to increase the visibility and participation of women in sports. Excellence in all sport is encouraged with our Sports Scholarship - 12 High Performance level sports scholarships were awarded in 2019/20 Football, GAA, Kick Boxing, Boxing, Basketball, Karate, Show Jumping and Golf. Seven of these are the newly structured scholarships that will see successful Students retain their scholarship over 3 years - but there are many clubs and socs beyond sport. The Mental Health Association is responsible for NCI’s receipt of a Pieta House Amber flag. The Fashion Society is as internationally influenced as the International Society, bringing together colour, cut and form from many cultures. The Equality Society provides community to LGBT+, questioning students and allies. There are many societies across a range of interests, and always an opportunity to found a new club to represent a new interest. Clubs and Socs rose to the challenge presented by Covid-19 and continued to meet remotely, including online hosting of the Clubs and Socs Awards Covid-19 Response – the College transitioned to online delivery of all programmes, which was a steep learning curve for staff and students, even with NCI’s proven record of online education. Using Moodle, MS Teams and Adobe Connect, and with the combined efforts of multiple departments, including IT, Learning & Teach, QA, Registrar’s Office, and Timetabling, the move online has been a success. Alternative assessments were also implemented. Student specific resources were sent to all students (helplines, websites, blogs, apps). A Student Counselling Moodle page was created to support online. One to One Counselling Support was offered via Telephone and Microsoft Teams and provision was extended. All initiatives continued Online, Chillout, Wellness Workshops, Connect Café. The always busy and productive, award-winning Norma Smurfit Library quickly changed to provide services online, including HelpDesk. A significant investment was made in the library to increase access to e-books and journals.
National College of Ireland, Mayor Street, IFSC, Dublin 1
Web: www.ncirl.ie | Tel: 01 4498500 | email: info@ncirl.ie
Annual Report 2019-2020
As we entered the academic year 2019-2020, we had no idea of the challenge the College, and indeed the world, would face. Summer 2019 saw us all, staff, students and members of the public, sharing lunch together in the Kelly Theatre, as we attended the Partners In Business series. The College halls filled with our freshers for orientation, as Semester 1 brought us to full capacity again, with busy classrooms and an Atrium buzzing with student activities. November 2019 saw us increase the number of Graduation ceremonies to accommodate all our graduates and their families and friends, as we gathered together to celebrate their academic achievements. NCI commenced the 2019 year in a strong position academically and financially, further growing our reputation in a competitive international market, and looking towards expansion. This strong position was consolidated throughout the year of this report, whilst also taking on very challenging circumstances. Prudent management; innovative, academic excellence; and sincere commitment to the wellbeing of staff and students; together with our academic staff, our administrative teams, student support, facilities teams; and the expertise and commitment of our voluntary Governing Body members; all combined to make this possible. In response to Government direction to close the College on Thursday March 12th, in the light of the global pandemic, our crisis management plans kicked into motion. NCI used its already established innovation in blended learning to move quickly to remote delivery in conjunction with QQI and professional bodies, to ensure the continued validation of all qualifications. I must comment on the cohesion of our team, our pedagogic and technological excellence, which combined to help us face a global pandemic with great resilience. We all adapted, so very quickly. And we are continuing to help our students in their academic endeavours. As a college, we continue to deliver the world class education for which we are renowned, but also support, access to advice, pathways to well-being. In the midst of this incredible work, while coping with the implications of COVID-19, we also continue to achieve and to celebrate that achievement. Project Showcase moved online, allowing our computing graduates, entering a very uncertain world, to engage with recruiters and employers. Our Marketing Graduates similarly showcased their Shopify projects online to a relevant audience. We celebrated our Spring Graduation online. The very ethos of NCI has also moved online! We quickly moved to support NCI graduates, with innovative and customised Careers Services, focussed on adapting our Graduates to a changed labour market. We also planned the introduction of a Master’s Edge Scholarship to allow continued postgraduate study for our students, for the duration of this pandemic, providing the opportunity for later graduation with a higher qualification. We have intensified our online student support services, academic, recreational and health focused. We are supporting each other. And through all this, we do not forget the community around our Campus, as the Early Learning Initiative moved online its essential educational services for families and young children living in disadvantage. And we have collaborated with community groups and homeless hubs to provide services and distribute activity packs to children in the North East Inner City. Our resilience allows us to lift people around us, even in these unprecedented and difficult times. NCI is weathering the storm and considering how we build from the current experiences to reimagine our future. Throughout this, we can be certain of one thing: we will not fail in our mission to change lives through education. Gina Quin President, NCI
NCI Graduation, November 2019 at Dublin Convention Centre
Highlights of the Year
August 2019

NCI’s partnership with Nanchang Hangkong University in China is announced



November 2019

November 28th sees Winter Graduation, with the Graduation Ball on the 29th.


September 2019

The HR Department unrolls VHI’s Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) for staff.


Launch of NEIC TY/ALC Work Experience Initiative by NCI’s Careers Service, working directly with disadvantaged secondary schools in the neighbourhood and multiple business partnerships to provide high quality work experience.


December 2019

NCI hosts Simon Community Christmas Lunch


July 2019

First in the Partners in Business series: Lennon & Courtney – this series continues over the Summer, in partnership with The Irish Independent.


July saw the welcome return of the popular annual Computing Summer Camp for secondary school students.



January 2020

NCI attends the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition


October 2019

Maynooth University and NCI sign an agreement to co-deliver and co-supervise PhD/MLitt/MSc by Research students.


The Irish Independent do a feature piece on My Place to Play baby play mat, conceived of by ECEC final year degree student Marion Byrne, who also works in the Early Learning Initiative (ELI), and brought to reality through inter-agency funding and collaboration, including ELI.


As part of the launch of the Autism Friendly University Initiative, NCI hosts the Autism Experience Exhibition along with a suite of talks for staff, students and the public



March 2020

12th March: the day all schools and colleges are told to close by 6pm, to help restrict the spread of Covid-19


April 2020

Social media campaign where faculty record short videos of their experiences of working from home, in order to assure students that the challenges they face connecting and concentrating from home are understood and shared


May 2020

NCI awarded Pieta House Amber Flag

Gina Quin, President of NCI, is interviewed on Newstalk regarding the role education can play in the recovery of the economy post-Covid-19.

February 2020

Norma Smurfit Library wins Best Library Award at Education Awards


June 2020

Deferred Spring Graduations take place online on 24th June – our first fully online graduation ceremony.


Launch of the first NCI Irish Refugee Council scholarships.


NCI’s first online Staff Quiz, produced by Robert Ward, Director of Marketing, acts as a focal point for staff engagement during Covid-19, marking 3 months of ‘working from home’.




Dr Corina Sheerin, Programme Director for the MSc in Finance and lecturer with the School of Business, had an award-filled year

2019 saw EAP (VHI’s Employee Assistance Programme) introduced to NCI, which by year-end already showed strong staff engagement. September 2019 saw the roll-out of comprehensive bi-annual Induction Programmes for new staff. President Gina Quin opened each session with a reflection of NCI Mission and Values as well as a presentation of future plans for NCI. World Mental Health Day was marked in October through the “Let’s Talk Tea Break”, the first of many well-being initiatives introduced by HR in 2019/20. In November, HR began a programme of department meetings to learn how they can best assist staff moving forward. February 2020 saw HR hold the first ever Wellness Week for NCI Staff – including life coaching in areas such as Sleep Hygiene, Fitness, Nutrition and Stress Management. Working with the President’s Office, HR hosted an International Women’s Day panel discussion, led by President Gina Quin with internal female leaders in NCI and external speakers from industry and academia. As the disruption caused by Covid-19 became a significant issue for NCI, HR’s focus pivoted to supporting the move of staff to remote working. Issues dealt with included staff connection, assisting Managers, updating relevant policies, such as sick leave and annual leave, and moving all staff recruitment and induction online. The latter were particularly challenging, as some very senior positions were filled, and replicating the warmth of the new induction process online was only possible with the cooperation of all who gave their time to it, across the college. Specifically addressing the move to 'working from home', HR rolled out a large-scale training programme on Dignity at Work, with an emphasis on remote working. Over 170 staff participated in training and policy circulation. In May 2020, the Covid-19 Taskforce was established. The committee consists of a cross section of staff participants in NCI. Matters relating to Covid 19 protocols are discussed and viewpoints from staff are taken on board when deciding on policy and process decisions. May saw HR initiate the Shuffle Café, where staff met for virtual coffee breaks and chats with colleagues from around the College. Responding to the global Black Lives Matters movement, HR held Race Equality training for staff. In June, Pride Month was marked with staff LGBT+ allyship training. Throughout the year, while continuing with operational duties, the HR department has recognised the importance of communication and has ensured the visibility of HR for staff at a time when we no longer share a physical campus.
Early Learning Initiative
My Place to Play