First-ever Woman President of an Irish University

Following an open competition, Professor Kerstin Mey has been appointed as the Interim President of the University of Limerick. 

Professor Kerstin Mey, the first ever Woman President of an Irish University.

Professor Kerstin Mey, the first-ever Woman President of an Irish University.

On Thursday, 9 July 2020, the UL Governing Authority ratified the appointment of Professor Mey, the first-ever woman president of an Irish university.

Professor Mey, current Vice President, Academic Affairs and Student Engagement at UL, will replace outgoing President Dr Des Fitzgerald, who announced last May his intention to retire.

Dr Fitzgerald will leave his position on 1 September 2020, at which point Professor Mey will take on the role on an interim basis. The Interim President will serve as Chief Officer of the University until the appointment of a new President through an open international recruitment process, which is expected to take up to 18 months once commenced.

Speaking about the appointment of Interim President Mey, UL Chancellor Mary Harney said:

“Interim President Mey is a great appointee and one in whom we have every faith to lead the University at this challenging time. She has already demonstrated her capacity for leadership in her role as Vice President.

“There has long been a significant gender imbalance at the senior leadership level in Irish universities and it is fitting that UL now has the first female President given our consistent leading position on gender equality in higher education in Ireland.”

Kerstin Mey was born and raised in (East) Berlin, Germany. She studied for an MA equivalent in Art, and German language and literature at Humboldt University in Berlin and completed a PhD in Art Theory and Aesthetics there. She held academic positions in universities in Germany and the UK.

Before Professor Mey joined the University of Limerick as Vice President Academic Affairs and Student Engagement and Professor of Visual Culture in April 2018, she held the role of Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the Westminster School of Media, Arts and Design, and Professor of Contemporary Art and Theory at the University of Westminster, London.

She was Director of CREST (Consortium for Research Excellence, Support and Training, GuildHE, UK); Vice-Chair of CHEAD (Council for Higher Education in Art and Design, UK), served on the Austrian Science Board (an Advisory for the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and the Economy). She was a member of the Supervisory Board of the European Foundation for Press and Media Freedom.

Professor Mey currently serves on the Board of the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, the IUA Campus Engage Steering Group. She is a member of ISEA (International Symposium of Electronic Arts) International Advisory Committee, the Board of Directors of the Irish Chamber Orchestra; Board of Directors of EVA; and the Board of Directors of the Irish Arial Creation Centre. She acts as a reviewer for international funding bodies, academic institutions and publishers.

Her own research is concerned with contemporary and 20th-century art and culture.

A First in Ireland for two female academics


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