All views and opinions expressed here are entirely my own and do not represent TU Dublin in any way.

Using the avatar Acuppa Tae I deliver an undergraduate module on the professional use of social media in Second Life.


Current role

As a Director of the newly formed Technological University Dublin I am a member of the senior leadership team which has overall responsibility for developing the University.

I am also Dean of the College of Arts and Tourism – comprising six schools and three research centres. With over 5,000 students and around 360 academic staff it is one of the largest colleges in Univeristy. In this capacity I sit on the Academic Council and chair a range of subcommittees. I also chair the College Leadership Team which has responsibility for the strategic and operational direction of the College; and the College Board which is a subcommittee of Academic Council.

My strategic focus is on three key issues: the implementation of the National Strategy for Higher Education by the HEA (Higher Education Authority in Ireland), the development of Ireland's first Technological University, TU Dublin and the new city centre campus at Grangegorman. These issues are, in large part, a response to the current imperative to provide a coherent response to the global crisis from the academic community and will shape the future of Irish Higher Education for the next generation. This provides an exciting opportunity to reimagine the sector and, in particular, to embed the cultural and creative sector at its heart.


Academic background

I joined the Univdersity (then Dublin Institute of Technology) in 1994 as Course Leader of the Diploma in Graphic Reproduction Technology and in 1998 I was appointed Senior Lecturer in Design and Head of the Dublin School of Creative Arts. I led the development of the only full time honours degree programme to be delivered on an offshore island in Ireland, the BA in Visual Art. Commencing with a pilot in 2000 there is now a biennial intake of new students boosting Sherkin's population of 120 outside the tourist season. In April 2010 President of Ireland Mary McAleese attended the conferring ceremony – the first ever visit of an Irish President to the island. The programme is offered in partnership with the Sherkin Island Development Society and with support from the Dept of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the West Cork Arts Centre. In September 2008 we launched a new Masters programme developed specifically for the Design Ireland Skillnets. Aimed at senior personnel in the Irish design sector its objective is to support the strategic development of the sector in Ireland.

One of the modules I developed and continue to teach, Virtual Environments: Is one life enough?, won the national Jennifer Burke Award for Innovation in Teaching and Learning in 2010. The module then won the Learning Without Frontiers Award in London in 2012.



I studied for my BDes in Visual Communication at the National College of Art & Design in Dublin in the early 1980s. This was followed by an MA by research, looking at the contemporary state of multimedia from a design perspective in 1993.


Design practice

After working at RTE, the national television station, and for a number of design and advertising companies in Ireland and the UK I established Information Design as a partnership in 1985. The company works with a range of national and international clients. During the 1980s and early 1990s I was Art Director of Film Ireland. During this period I was also actively involved with the representative bodies and was a founding member of the Graphic Design Business Association, now Design Business Ireland.



2015: Chair of international peer review team assessing design programmes in higher education institutions of Lithuania on behalf of the Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education.

2015: Board of Irish Design 2015.

2014–7: Board of the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland.

2013–2017: Governing Body of Uversity.

2009–10: International Advisory Group to the Shanghai Institute of Visual Art, Fudan University, China.

2009: Chair of international peer review team assessing design programmes in higher education institutions of Lithuania on behalf of the Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education.

2000–06: Assessor for the International Society of Typographic Designers Student Assessment project.

Frequent member of Quality Enhancement committees validating new programmes in the third level sector in Europe.

2004: Member of the Consumer Goods Advisory Group of the Enterprise Strategy Group which published ‘Ahead of the Curve: Ireland’s Place in the Global Economy’.


Professional Associations

Member of the Institute of Designers in Ireland (serving two terms on Council).

Founding member and Honorary Secretary of the Design Business Ireland (then the Graphic Design Business Association).

I represented the Irish Design Education sector on the board of Design Ireland, 2000 to 2009.

Founding Honorary Secretary of the Heads of Art & Design in Ireland.

Member of the International Society of Typographic Designers.


External Examiner

2008/9 to 2011/12: MA in Future Arts, Future Design and Digital Arts and Design at Teesside University

2007/8 to 22010/11: BDes in Design & Communication at the Ulster University


Acuppa Tae

In 2006 Acuppa Tae was developed as my online virtual presence in Second Life. The avatar has since taken on a life of his own teaching a class, writing a blog and with a facebook and twitter presence.