Plenary session details

WST 2017’s three plenary speakers

We have three great speakers for WST 2017 – the poet David Whyte, the Head of UCD’s School of Education, Dympna Devine, and tech guru Joe Drumgoole – providing the backbone WST 2017 on March 15.

Together, David, Dympna and Joe will help us stand back from our daily desks and look closer at the environments we inhabit and which are changing around us.

David Whyte - WST plenary speaker


David Whyte

Half A Shade Braver:
The Foundations of Conversational Leadership

10.10 to 11.10

One of the abiding dynamics of leadership, whether it is leading others in public or leading our personal lives with both private and public courage, is the necessity for visibility: the willingness to step into the clear air of commitment and articulation. We commit to others and to a direction we wish to take most effectively through making three invitations: firstly, by identifying the horizon to which we wish to go, secondly, by articulating the ground on which we now stand and lastly, by asking others to join us in the endeavour of getting from here to there. One of the most important qualities a leader must develop is the art and craft of shaping an identity that invites these real conversations and is ready to negotiate the difficult, rewarding steps along the way.

With his compelling blend of poetry, humour and insight, David will reframe your understanding of leadership and the way good work gets done, as well as the milestones and adventures that occur along the way when we make a real invitation – to ourselves, to others and to the future.

Dympna Devine - WST plenary speaker


Dympna Devine

New title:  ‘value’/ing education: what counts?’

12.15 to 13.00

Dympna has a new and not un-cryptic title, reflecting the evolution of her own engagement with opportunity to address colleagues from across the University’s spectrum.  Her session will draw our attention to some of the key shapes emerging from the mists of the looming educational landscape but the new title reflects, we think, a new perspective on the topic. Talk of the demographic wave of rising college age teenagers, due to peak in 2025, is familiar to us all as are the echoes we hear of arguments around Ireland’s second level system and how it must change. How the digital native generation engages with learning, how rankings now outrank rational analysis, how multiple cultures and identities are accommodated and welcomed, how values of what ‘counts’ in, and as, education are open to change. So what are some of the changes, some of the questions we should be paying attention to as we anticipate the next ten years of UCD students? As we look up from our desk tops and take a moment to consider what’s coming our way, just what are the shapes looming, what landscape we will be navigating?

Joe Drumgoole - WST plenary speaker

Joe Drumgoole

Living under blue skies

15.00 to 15.45

Joe draws the day to a close by showing us that the technological future we’re unsure of is probably already here. We sense an ever increasing rate of technological change – perhaps every generation does – with an almost sci fi world spoken of as taking shape around us. Things we take as givens now – coffee coming in pods, wearable phones, intelligent fridges, driverless cars, silent iChildren in the living room, Tweeting presidents – were, needless to say, far from our imagination ten years ago, yet most of the novel things we can take for granted now were around, in some form, there to be seen ten years ago. Technology enhances, disrupts, changes, creates new worlds. Having started in the personal, then looked at the looming educational landscape, Joe is going to explore the futures already here and just arriving.