Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT), Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT) and Institute of Technology, Sligo (IT Sligo) have formed a new strategic partnership, the Connacht-Ulster Alliance, with the aim of achieving Technological University status.
An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, TD, attended the formal signing of the agreement by the Chairs of the three Institutes’ Governing Bodies and their Presidents at GMIT Castlebar on Monday, July 9.
All three Institutes will work together on areas such as flexible learning delivery, research and innovation, bespoke delivery for industry, links to local Education and Training Boards, international student recruitment and staff development in order to meet the rigorous criteria required to achieve re-designation as a Technological University.
The three Institutes currently have a combined population of just over 16,000 students and offer a wide range of programmes from Level 6 to 10 of the National Framework of Qualifications. The new alliance focuses on delivering wider educational opportunities in addition to enhancing the economic and social development of the Connacht-Ulster region. The alliance will form part of a cluster of higher and further education providers in the region and include collaborations with cross-border institutions.
Speaking at the launch, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD said: “I am delighted to be here to witness the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding cementing the Connacht-Ulster Alliance between these three higher education institutions. The building of such partnerships is the key to the delivery of many of the most important objectives of the National Strategy for Higher Education. This partnership will allow networks to be built between individual institutions through shared undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. It will also facilitate the greater connection across borders to raise Ireland’s international profile.”
“I cannot overstate the importance of the benefits that institutes of technology have brought to their communities. I know that this alliance will reflect the needs of students, enterprise and the wider community in the Connacht-Ulster region,” he said.
The three Presidents, Michael Carmody (GMIT), Paul Hannigan (LYIT) and Professor Terri Scott (IT Sligo), said the agreement is an exciting development for the region and they look forward to working together towards achieving re-designation with Technology University status, which will benefit future students and the Connacht Ulster region as a whole.
Specific areas for collaboration between the three HE institutes include:
- Enhanced flexible learning delivery, including online and blended delivery, to provide greater access to programmes and specialist knowledge to those in full-time and part-time work. This will include a focus on bespoke deliver to meet the needs of industry.
- Greater collaboration on joint applied research, development and innovation activities between the three Institutes and other universities and institutes under a new common Research, Development and Innovation Strategy.
- Working with the new Local Education and Training Boards to provide enhanced access, transfer and progression opportunities from further to higher education.
- A common International Strategy for the Connacht Ulster region to drive international student recruitment.
- Targeted staff professional development.
Sligo County Council declare support for Connacht-Ulster Alliance
A motion supporting the establishment of an alliance by IT Sligo, GMIT and LYIT with a view to achieving Technological University Status was supported at the July meeting of Sligo County Council.
President of IT Sligo, Professor Terri Scott, attended the meeting to brief council members and officials about the launch of the ‘Connacht-Ulster Alliance’ and the importance of achieving Technological University status for Sligo and the wider region.
Cathaoirleach of the Council Councillor Veronica Cawley stated that all the members were aware of the significant impact IT Sligo has on the region. Indeed many of the members are former students of the IT and have children who have been and currently are enrolled in courses there. The members are fully supportive of this Connacht-Ulster alliance and also agreed to lobby all Oireachtas members in the region for the support in this initiative.
County Manager Hubert Kearns also stressed the importance of IT Sligo to the region agreeing with the sentiments expressed by the members. He added that the establishment of a Technological University in the region would be vital in attracting investment to the area and in providing a financial boost to the west and north west.
Professor Terri Scott said that the priority for IT Sligo and its alliance partners GMIT and LYIT is “to continue to provide access to higher education from Higher Certificate right up to PhD level ,and to ensure the quality and quantum of higher education provision and applied research in our region is maintained and enhanced.”
Re-designation with Technological University status will only be facilitated if higher education institutions meet rigorous criteria laid out by Government, explained Professor Scott, but the ambition of the Connacht-Ulster Alliance is to meet that criterion and to maintain an equality of access to higher education in the Connacht-Ulster region. The anticipated timeframe for the process as set out by Government in the National Strategy for Higher Education is up to five years.
See the official statement by Sligo County Council here.
- Image 1: An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, at Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT), Castlebar Campus for the formal signing of the Connacht-Ulster Alliance between GMIT Letterkenny IT and IT Sligo with Front row from left to right Paul Hannigan, LYIT President, Prof. Terri Scott, IT Sligo President, Michael Carmody, GMIT President, and back row from left to right, Henry McGarvey, Governing Body Chairman, LYIT, Ray MacSharry, Governing Body Chairman, IT Sligo, and Des Mahon, Governing Body Chairman, GMIT. Photo : Keith Heneghan / Phocus
- Image 2: Presidents of LYIT, IT Sligo and GMIT Paul Hannigan, Terri Scott and Michael Carmody with An Taoisech Enda Kenny TD.
- Image 3: President of IT Sligo, Professor Terri Scott pictured with An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD at the launch of the Connacht-Ulster Alliance.