Academics to still use TCD’s traditional name

Complaints about lack of consultation over new name for Trinity College Dublin

The college board approved a logo with the amended title which emphasises the word “university”, an important attraction for international students. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

The college board approved a logo with the amended title which emphasises the word “university”, an important attraction for international students. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Fri, Mar 28, 2014, 07:42

Staff and students at Trinity College Dublin have complained about a lack of consultation over a decision by the university to rebrand itself under a new name for official communications.

However, academics welcomed a dispensation allowing them to continue using TCD rather than the new title, “Trinity College, the University of Dublin, ” in research publications.


Fellows
Dr Eoin O’Dell, chairman of the Trinity Fellows, the representative group for tenured academics, said their main concern was that they could continue to use “Trinity College Dublin” in their work irrespective of what title management chose to use.

In its decision on Wednesday, the college board approved a logo with the amended title which emphasises the word “university”, an important lure for international students. The college has pointed out that in Asia the word “college” can be construed as a secondary school or community institute.

The board also allowed for TCD’s traditional name to continue to be used in research publications in order not to harm its citation rate in international rankings.

Stressing the importance of searchability online, Dr O’Dell said: “The computer is stupid and it can’t deal with variations. The geometric argument is, given we have coalesced around a standard of ‘Trinity College Dublin’ in the last 10 years, anything to change that would be wasteful and dangerous.”

The university has yet to communicate a final decision on the matter, saying it wishes to engage in further consultation before an announcement in September. However, it is understood the new name will be used for marketing, press releases, fundraising and recruitment.

Dr O’Dell said there was “some ambiguity as to which will be the default name and which will be the exception”, adding that “until we get the official minutes or a communication from the provost we are a little in the dark”.

But “from my understanding our concerns have been addressed . . . If the provost is speaking in Brazil or China using ‘Trinity College, University of Dublin’ that is not going to change the people who are writing their academic papers using the formula they have always been using.”

Other academics were similarly relaxed about the move yesterday, with economist Prof Brian Lucey saying, “I have no sense of people one way or another exercised. I can think of 100 things more important than it.”

Given the importance of the college’s existing name in online searches, any academic who used the corporate name in published research “would be foolish”, he noted. As to whether the rebranding might be seen as part of a process of commercialisation of the college, Prof Lucey replied: “I think that would be reading an awful lot into a name change.”


Memo
While Dr O’Dell welcomed the college’s decision to reject a “one name fits all” solution, he said fellows were of the view that “the process is not really as open and consultative as it should have been” and last January they sent a memo to provost Dr Patrick Prendergast “because we did not think our views were being listened to”.