Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Lucky 13

In November 2002 I became a part-time lecturer in the Associate Faculty at the National College of Ireland. Just a month earlier I had taken voluntary redundancy from the e-Learning company SmartForce, and even though I had a very generous redundancy package in my pocket I was at a loss at the age of 43 as to what I would do after thirteen years working for the same company. A former colleague (DK) in SmartForce who had just begun a new job in NCI and contacted me to see if I was interested in some part-time work. I will be forever grateful for this contact - thank you DK! In just 5 months time I will have been working longer in NCI than in SmartForce.

In the dot com boom of the late 1990s and very early 2000s, I had never thought of leaving SmartForce. I had often regretted that I had not followed up on an academic career after graduating from Trinity with a PhD in 1988, but the money was good in SmartForce and I was very happy there. Things changed dramatically in the summer of 2002 when SmartForce was taken over by Skillsoft - in a short space of time I went from being a loyal company man to wanting to be the first out the door when redundancies were announced. 

National College of Ireland.
Image source:
My first class in NCI was a guest lecture to 4th year BSc in Computing students - the topic was Groupware (I used Lotus Notes), and I remember preparing for it for several days beforehand. At the same time the College had just started a Diploma in e-Learning, and the opportunity presented itself for some part-time work. Bingo - I had my first classes. When a vacancy arose for an Assistant Lecturer position in the summer of 2003 I was successful in landing a permanent role. At last I had fulfilled an ambition for an academic career.

Today I had had dozens of "Likes" on my Linkedin profile - many thanks to the students and colleagues (past and present) who have "liked" my work anniversary. I have loved (almost) every minute of working in NCI. Today is Graduation Day at the College, and it is a very special day personally and professionally. My daughter Kate graduates along with the many students who have been in my classes over the past four years.

It has been a incredibly lucky 13 years for me.


  1. Congratulations Eugene on all fronts, some serious milestones there. It all comes down to your love of learning and your commitment to your learners which comes across in spades.

    1. Hi Donie,

      Many thanks for your kind comment!

      Yours in learning,