Jul 10, 2020

Trinity Appoints New Dean of Students and Dean of Graduate Studies

Catherine McCabe will take over as dean of students next week.

Cormac WatsonEditor
Sinéad Baker for The University Times

Dr Catherine McCabe will take over from Prof Kevin O’Kelly as dean of students next week, along with Prof Martine Smith who will replace Neville Cox as dean of graduate studies.

McCabe is an associate professor in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, and led the development of an interdisciplinary MSc in Community Health which commenced in 2016. She is also a module leader for an interdisciplinary online module in dementia care.

Smith is a Fellow and former head of clinical speech and language studies and head of the School of Linguistics, Speech and Communication Sciences.


The Dean of Students is responsible for services helping students throughout their time in college. Their remit covers many student services across campus including the Careers Advisory Service, the Student Counselling Service, the Disability Service and the Student Health Service.

Over the past few years, the dean of students has also overseen the development of Printing House Square, a €62 million complex which will house 250 students and the Disability Service. The development has been plagued with setbacks, however, and is unlikely to be finished before 2021.

The dean of graduate studies is responsible for the admission, progression and examination of postgraduates, and also chairs the Graduate Studies Committee as well as sitting on the University Council.

O’Kelly, who was appointed dean of students in 2014, is currently a lecturer in the School of Engineering. Cox, who was appointed dean of graduate studies in 2016, is currently a lecturer in the School of Law, and has served as the Law School’s director of postgraduate teaching and learning.

In an email to postgraduates sent today, Smith paid homage to Cox, saying: “His energy, kindness, wicked sense of humour and his commitment to students are legendary.”

“His ability to deal with complex and unanticipated challenges over his term as Dean while all the time keeping his focus on the importance of postgraduate students to the life of the university has made an enormous difference to so many people.”

“I look forward to working with you all as we navigate the strange new Covid-19 world in which we live and I am sure we will continue to benefit from Neville’s wisdom over the coming months”, she added.

In a statement to The University Times, Graduate Students’ Union President Gisèle Scanlon said: “Dean Neville Cox as the Dean of Graduate Studies was/is the beating heart of the postgraduate community and we were very lucky to have him as the Chair of Graduate Studies Committee where he helped us alongside his team Ewa Sadowska and Marie McPeak to secure a better academic future for the postgraduate community.”

“Likewise Kevin O’Kelly the Dean of Students who chaired Student Life Committee is a very wise and genuine man and I had so many positive meetings with Dean Kelly throughout my time as the Graduate Students’ Union Vice President and his ideas and enthusiasm for delivering impact through space development and improvement was hugely encouraging to me and he educated me to look at postgraduate education from so many new angles.”

“I look forward to working with their successors the new dean of Graduate Studies Martine Smith and the new Dean of Students Catherine McCabe on a range of postgraduate issues including COVID-19 and its impact on Trinity College students, the benefit of the new department of higher education, innovation, research and science, international students and social inclusion and making all students feel equal with full access to a thriving community in the year ahead”, she added.

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