'Sometimes I wish I was a student again'
My Education Week:Dr Patrick Geoghegan Dean of undergraduate studies at Trinity College Dublin
The week begins with an early-morning train from Galway to Dublin.
On Sunday evenings I present Talking History on Newstalk, and this week we were broadcasting from the Hotel Meyrick, on Eyre Square.
Normally we debate an issue, anything from the legacy of Cicero to the second World War, but this show looked at the history of Galway through the centuries. It was recorded in front of a studio audience. Juggling a rotating panel of experts, a live choir and an enthusiastic audience was tricky but great fun, and a good way to kick-start the week.
As soon as I arrive back in Dublin I head to Trinity for the first of a series of meetings. This is my “real” job, as dean of undergraduate studies and a history lecturer at Trinity.
My first meeting is with the school of pharmacy. I am visiting all 24 of our schools as part of work we are doing to renew the Trinity undergraduate curriculum as we attempt to define, articulate and support the Trinity education and provide the very best education for our students.
In the afternoon I have a meeting with the provost about the forthcoming decade of commemorations, and we discuss some of the interesting ideas that are being developed in college.
I began working in Trinity in 1999, teaching history on the Trinity Access Programmes (TAP), one of our flagship initiatives for widening access and participation in Trinity of under-represented groups, never imagining that one day I would be the college officer with responsibility for its academic direction.
In the afternoon I pop into the TAP history class, now co-ordinated by my colleague Seán O’Reilly. The class is discussing the Act of Union, and we discuss some of the ballads about it, including the scurrilous lines about Lord Castlereagh that begin, “Posterity shall ne’er survey . . .” Since 1999 I have seen large numbers of students from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds show again and again that they have the academic ability and potential to thrive at university.
It continues to inspire me.
In the afternoon I give a two-hour seminar class on commemoration to our MPhil class in public history.
We begin by discussing the commemoration of 1798, but by the end we have moved on to 1916 and the decade of commemorations, and we debate how best to capture the complexity of the historical experience in a television documentary or multimedia exhibition.