USM Project – Phase 3 update

By Eimear Kelly, USM Rollout Team

Phase 3 of the USM Project happened in a time of upheaval due to the global pandemic and the quick turnaround to remote working. For this reason, the project and related rollouts to new areas looked a little different over the past 18 months than previous phases. Let’s look over some of the highlights of Phase 3!

Areas rolled out to

This year we rolled out to

  • Global;
  • Access and Lifelong Learning;
  • Sports; and
  • The China Joint Colleges Office.

Getting to Know the Team Sessions

In Phases 1 and 2, the rollout to any new area started with a four hour Why statement workshop. When we moved to remote working, these were replaced with a one hour “Getting to Know the Team” workshop. These sessions allowed us, the USM Project Team, to get to know who we were rolling out to and for them to get to know us! We asked the team members about

  • the key supports and services they deliver;
  • how they are delivering these;
  • the interactions they have with other support staff across UCD; and
  • how they define and know what good looks like.

Using a combination of Zoom and Mural, we gathered the thoughts and ideas of the various teams. It was particularly exciting to hear teams celebrating their successes. These varied from getting university wide recognition for a new area; giving students “swagger” or the confidence to thrive in UCD; being a benchmark that other universities look up to; and being able to pivot activities creatively and successfully to virtual platforms. One particular mention of a team member who had become a GDPR “Queen” had one team beaming with pride!

We also listened to the teams on how the move to remote working had brought about changes and challenges both from the perspective of delivering support to students and life in general.

Hearing this information from the teams we rolled out to helped us to effectively line up their needs with the supports that the USM Project would deliver to them – namely the use of UniShare to join up staff responses to student queries; the use of Wufoo to help automate answers to frequently asked questions; and the introduction to a well established USM community to provide further support. Which leads me nicely to…

The Remote Working Group

This group was established in 2020 in order to bring together staff from various areas in the University to answer the question

 “how do I know what the best way to do this thing is now that I’m not in the office anymore?”

 Over the course of Phase 3 of the project, the Remote Working Group has grown to include members from areas outside of the USM rollout, such as IT Services and Room Allocations, new members such as those from Global, as well as long standing members of the USM Community such as Registry and School and College offices. The addition of new areas to the group is due to the needs of the group changing over time.

It now consists of a wonderful community of members, not only contributing information and sharing ideas but also creating a unique space in the remote working world of today where people can link in with their fellow colleagues for a brief period every week. Personally speaking, as someone who started their role entirely from home and with few contacts in UCD, this has helped me foster relationships with so many fantastic people across the university that I would not have met otherwise.

If you are interested in knowing more about the Remote Working Group, or becoming a member, you can see more on the USM website, or simply contact

New Project Manager

There were some changes to the USM Project Team during Phase 3. While Jeremy Britton moved on to Registry, the USM Team gained a new member in the form of Colin Burke, previously the Chief Technical Officer in the School of Psychology.

In a past life, Colin worked in various industries in the private sector, completed a Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering from the Institute of Technology Carlow and ran his own small IT business. In more recent times worked in IT in the USA and Ireland, before discovering the School of Psychology here at UCD. In 2007 he joined the School as a Psychology Laboratory IT Specialist, where he supported Undergraduate, Postgraduate and Staff with their research, T&L and all things IT. He completed a Master of Science in Management from Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School and moved into the role of Chief Technical Officer for the School in 2018. Colin’s experiences will help to build on the work of the USM to date, and help shape our services going forward.

Looking forward

With the project extended for another two years, the USM Project Team looks forward to building on the successes of Phase 3 and continuing to unify support for individuals, for teams, and for the university in the phases to come.