Thursday 17 August 2017

Ferdinand Von Prondzynski

ROISIN BURKE

FORMER DCU president Ferdinand Von Prondzynski now runs a university in Scotland and heads a group looking at reforming Scottish universities that has caught Ruairi Quinn's attention.

Von Prondzynski came here from Germany with his family as a child in 1961. From an ancient Silesian military family, he was the first in a long line of males not to choose an army career, instead studying law at Trinity and Cambridge.

He became a lecturer in employment relations law at Trinity and later professor of law at the University of Hull.

In 2000 he got the €200,000-plus a year DCU president job. During his decade there both research income and DCU's placing on the university world rankings rose dramatically.

Though he is widely published on employment law, his tenure was marred by three high-profile wrangles with staff that led to rulings against the university.

He finished at DCU last year and in March became principal of Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen.

The Scottish government has appointed him to lead a body reporting on reform of universities in terms of transparency and governance, and Von Prondzynski has discussed the need for similar measures here with Education Minister Ruairi Quinn.

For the past 10 years he's been a non-executive director of the Nasdaq-listed e-learning giant Skillsoft. He's on the Irish Universities Quality Board and the board of Educate Together.

Photography, especially in the Scottish highlands, is a favourite hobby of his. A social media junkie, he blogs, tweets and posts on Facebook regularly as well as writing on education for the press.

He owns part of the large neo-gothic family pile, Knockadrin Castle, Co Westmeath, and is married to Trinity lecturer and novelist Heather Ingman, with whom he has two sons.

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