Apr 2, 2019

Chris Morash Steps Down as Vice-Provost

Provost Prendergast has proposed that Prof Jürgen Barkhoff’s replace Morash.

Eleanor O'MahonyEditor
Anna Moran for The University Times

Prof Chris Morash has stepped down from the role of Vice-Provost after three years in the role, the College announced today.

In a press statement, Tom Molloy, the Director of Public Affairs and Communications, said that Provost Patrick Prendergast is planning on putting Prof Jürgen Barkhoff’s name forward to the Board for consideration to replace Morash.

Morash has served as Vice-Provost since 2016 and oversaw the implementation of the Trinity Education Project. Throughout his term, Morash pushed for a more diverse range of assessment, the introduction of the Trinity Electives and the capstone research project that every student now takes in their final year.


After more than three years in the role, he will resume his role as the inaugural Seamus Heaney Professor of Irish Writing. Morash’s research will focus on the theatre of WB Yeats and Dublin as a city of literature.

In his role as Vice-Provost, Morash has chaired many of the university’s key committees, overseeing undergraduate and postgraduate education, quality and the student experience.

Morash rose rapidly through the ranks in Trinity. Joining the staff in 2014, he was appointed Head of the School of English just one year later. After two years in Trinity, he was appointed Vice-Provost, one of the most senior College officials.

In a press statement, Prof Morash said: “The past three years have been enormously rewarding for me. This has been an exciting and transformative period in the long history of the university, and I’m proud to have been a part of that. I’m now looking forward to being part of that in a different way, as a scholar and a teacher.”

During his term, Morash came under fire for his part in the introduction of a supplemental exam fee that sparked student protests and captured the attention of national media. The fee was introduced as part of a proposal to introduce modular billing, whereby students would be able to repeat just one or two modules instead of repeating the whole year. The €450 flat fee for repeating exams at supplemental season was necessary to fund this, College said at the time.

Students revolted, occupying the Dining Hall in protest against the fee. On RTÉ News, Morash appeared to suggest student anger was misguided. Explaining the decision at the time, Morash said: “This decision was made as part of a set of measures which will be of great benefit to students; the ability to pay per-module for repeating the year. It is worth noting that the decision was taken to make the system fairer rather than to generate money. In fact, this set of measures will cost the university around €200,000 every year.”

After days of protest, the College eventually caved and reversed the fee, setting up a Modular Billing Working Group to come up with alternative funding streams for the proposal.

Barkhoff is professor of German and previously served as registrar of the university from 2007 until 2011. He also served as the director of Trinity’s Long Room Hub and the Head of the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies. He is currently Vice-Chair of the Executive Board of the Coimbra Group of European Universities.

Barkhoff, who is currently on sabbatical, said in a press statement: “It is a great honour to be nominated to Board for the position of vice-provost and chief academic officer. I look forward, should the Board approve my nomination, to working with the Board and Council, the Provost and his team, the Heads of Schools and the whole college community during this exciting time when we are implementing the new curriculum structure developed in the Trinity Education Project.”

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