Joseph Ryan

Dr Joseph Ryan is Chief Executive Officer for the Technological Higher Education Association, the representative and advocacy organization for the 14 Institutes of Technology in Ireland. The technological higher education sector in Ireland comprises approximately 89,000 enrolments and almost 8,500 staff. The Institutes reflect current and emerging knowledge and practices and promote self-management, critical analysis, decision-making, and entrepreneurship. They foster graduates ready to undertake roles, responsibilities and challenges in business, industry, the professions, public services, and society. Dr Ryan formerly served as Vice President Academic and Registrar of Athlone Institute of Technology. A musician by training, he has taught at second level and in University College Dublin and Maynooth University. He also served in the Defence Forces where he was Executive Officer for the Music Service and where he held the position of senior conductor and director of the Army No.1 Band, the principal state band in Ireland. Dr Ryan has chaired or served on a wide range of education committees, including currently EduCampus, the provider of the management information service to much of the Irish higher education sector, on the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, and as inaugural chair of the Regional Skills Forum for the Midlands. In the context of the current Covid-19 pandemic, Dr Ryan sits on the National Steering Committee that supports the ongoing operations of further and higher education in Ireland and he chairs the POSITS Committee (Partnership of Stakeholders in the Technological Sector).

Richard Thorn

Richard is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin (he holds Bachelor and Doctorate degrees in science) and the Institute of Public Administration (MA in Public Management). He has published over 200 articles in subject areas as diverse as earth and environmental sciences, management and strategy, higher education policy and planning and travel. He has been variously President of the Institute of Technology, Sligo, Head of Campus of Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology at Castlebar and Project Manager for the first stage of the implementation of Ireland’s Higher Education Strategy to 2030. He has chaired or been on the board of many not-for-profit organisations and is a past President and past National Diving Officer of the Irish Underwater Council – the national governing body for underwater sports, including scuba diving – in Ireland. He is a member of the five-person State Examinations Commission which oversees all state examinations in Ireland. He is a non-executive Director of Dublin Business School – the largest private university level college in Ireland – and is Chairperson of the Board of the National College of Art and Design. He is currently chairing a review of training and development in An Garda Siochana (the Irish Police Service). He has recently written a biography of Ireland’s Regional Technical Colleges, the forerunners to the Institutes of Technology, which was published by the Institute of Public Administration.