Director of Human Rights, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Dr Marie Connolly was appointed as the Inaugural Director Human Rights – Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in March 2021. 

A proud Clare woman, and former graduate of UL Dr. Connolly has over 30 years’ experience in leading, driving and implementing key change initiatives within the Higher Education and Semi-State sectors in Ireland.  A UL Graduate Marie holds a Master’s Degree in Education (M.Ed)  from the University of Sheffield (1998 Distinction) and a Doctorate Degree in Business Administration (DBA) in Higher Education Management from the University of Bath (2018) where she was awarded the Richard and Shirley Mawdiff prize for outstanding performance.

Since joining UL in 2006 Dr. Connolly has held several key roles including leading the establishment of the Learning and Development function within the HR Division as a recognised critical resource and a Centre of Excellence in Learning and Development.

Dr. Connolly is seen as a leader in the field on gender equality at both a sectoral and national level and successfully led the University’s bid in achieving the prestigious Athena SWAN (AS) Bronze Institution Award in 2015, one of the first universities in Ireland to achieve the award and the institutions renewal to the AS Expanded Charter in 2018.

She represents the university on external bodies providing an authoritative voice in the development of the national agenda in the area of equality and diversity. These include the National Athena SWAN (AS) Committee, the National Advisory Committee (NAC) of the National Women’s Council, the IUA Vice Presidents Committee; the HEA Equality and Diversity Committee etc.  She held the position of chair of the National Athena SWAN Committee and led the establishment of the National Athena SWAN Practitioners Network where she previously also held the position of chairperson.

Marie is passionate about advancing the careers of women in Higher Education and to achieving gender equality for all across all disciplines. 

In her role as Director of Human Rights, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion she is committed to driving transformative, meaningful and sustainable change.

Dr Marie Connolly