FORMER Tánaiste and Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell, has begun lecturing at the School of Law on a part-time basis. Mr McDowell, who studied at UCD and was a former auditor of the Law Society, is teaching a specialised module in Law and Politics this semester.
Dean of Law, Prof. John Jackson, confirmed that Mr McDowell is lecturing as a member of an “adjunct faculty,” and believes that he will teach for “most of this semester.” According to Prof. Jackson, Mr McDowell is “very popular with the students” and “being a politician, [he] is a very, very good person to have.”
The School of Law have recently developed a strategy whereby they invite guest lecturers, who are prominent figures in either law or public life, to speak to students in specialised subjects. “We’re calling it a kind of adjunct faculty,” explained Prof. Jackson. “People who are not full-time members of the School of Law, but who come in to visit the school and lecture students.”
Describing the initiative as “very exciting”, Prof. Jackson stated that “we’ve always tried to do this and we’re continuing with it… trying to engage people from higher walks of life, connected with the law and politics, to come and talk to the students.”
Guest lecturers will be invited to give either once-off lectures or they may be assigned to a particular module. “They could be written in as Michael McDowell has done, into a specific law module programme”, explained Prof. Jackson.
When asked if there is apossibility that Mr McDowell might take up a full time lecturing position, Prof. Jackson admitted that this would be unlikely due to Mr McDowell’s busy schedule. “We don’t want to make too many demands on his time,” said Prof. Jackson.
“The same is true for the busy people that we’re talking about, that may be judges, barristers or solicitors… It’s a fairly big commitment from him and we’re very keen to build on that example.”
Prof. Jackson declared that the reason for introducing such figures was to give students an opportunity to engage and learn from them. Therefore, he feels that it isn’t essential that these figures lecture full-time as they would simply be coming in and engaging with the students.
Michael McDowell was a founding member of the Progressive Democrats in 1985 and is a Senior Counsel in the Bar Council of Ireland. He served as Minister for Justice, Equality and Law reform from 2002-2007 and as Tánaiste from 2006-2007. Mr McDowell retired from politics following the 2007 General Election when he then resumed his legal career.
In this issue: Zelda Cunningham examines the effect of effect of high profile lecturers in UCD – click here.