Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, has formally approved the incorporation of St. Angela’s College into the Institute of Technology Sligo, and subsequently to become one of nine campuses of the new Technological University.
The new TU which Minister Harris announced will be named the Atlantic Technological University, and will be the newest TU in the country when it is designated in April 2022.
When incorporated, St Angela’s will become a campus of the Atlantic Technological University established by the Connacht-Ulster Alliance (CUA) consortium of Institutes of Technology comprising of GMIT, LYIT and IT Sligo.
St. Angela’s College has a strong reputation of third-level education in the North West and the announcement of joining IT Sligo means it becomes the second local campus in Sligo and ninth regional campus of the Atlantic TU in 2022. The College’s strong focus and expertise in the delivery of professionally accredited programmes of Home Economics, Teacher Education, Nursing and related disciplines will enhance the TU’s brand and portfolio in the region.
IT Sligo has a long history of delivering programmes of education from apprenticeship to PhD that meet with needs of the workforce, particularly of this region.
The Institute has worked closely with colleagues from GMIT and LYIT over the last 9 years to build up a strong culture of education and research collaboration across many disciplines. By incorporating St Angela’s College at this time, the Institute will enhance the portfolio on offer from the Sligo College of the new TU.
This incorporation will bring a wealth of benefits to students in terms of access to new facilities across a wide range of discipline areas, greatly enhancing the overall student experience, and for staff, this means a bright future in research, further course development and career progression.
Speaking at the last ever conferring ceremony as an Institute of Technology, President of IT Sligo, Dr Brendan McCormack said it was a historic day;
“For decades our two institutes have collaborated on many levels and now we look forward to formally welcoming St. Angela’s into the Institute of Technology Sligo. Through this incorporation, the higher education provision across the region will be enhanced and students and staff will benefit from sharing resources and knowledge across all campuses of the Atlantic TU. In April 2022 we will join together with GMIT and LYIT to become part of Irelands newest Technological University with over 20,000 students across nine campuses.”
Dr McCormack added; “This is an opportunity to unify the higher educational landscape of the west and northwest region – together attracting more students, research, innovation and investment to the region.”
Originally founded by the Ursuline Order, St. Angela’s College welcomed its first teacher education students back in 1952 in what is still considered to this day, a most idyllic and unique learning setting. Sr. Marianne O’Connor from the Sligo Ursulines expresses her thoughts on today’s announcement ‘As part of the Ursuline legacy in education, we want to continue our contribution to the development of third level education in Sligo particularly in the light of the development of a Technological University in the North West.’ The Merici Institute established in June 2021, will help to ensure the continuing legacy of the Ursulines in what will be a new education setting.
Acting President at St. Angela’s College, Dr Edel McSharry warmly welcomes Minister Harris’s news; “For seventy years, St. Angela’s has grown and developed beyond what was ever imagined, pioneering through challenges and embracing opportunities, and it’s through these opportunities that we can grow stronger and continue to deliver education at exceptional standards.” She continues “We look forward to sharing our ideas and our vision and intensifying our collaborative efforts to progress this incorporation into the Sligo campuses of the Atlantic TU, together making Sligo Ireland’s next University Town.”
IT Sligo together with St. Angela’s College and the Ursuline Union signed a Memorandum of Understanding and a Data Sharing Protocol back in May to enable a financial and legal due diligence process to commence. Following discussions with NUI Galway, the Higher Education Authority and the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, St. Angela’s College are now proceeding to agree the process by which it will be incorporated into IT Sligo, in the first instance, and subsequently become one of nine campuses recognised under this new TU.
Announcing the incorporation, Minister Harris said: “St. Angela’s College, Sligo has long been an important provider of initial teacher education and home economics, both in the West / North West and nationally. It provides higher education across a range of other disciplines, too, including Nursing, Health Science, Disability Studies, Food and Nutrition, Textiles, Fashion and Design, Science, Biology and Business.
“As such, It makes a lot of sense for the College to incorporate into the other higher education powerhouse emerging now in the West / North West in the form of the new TU which I granted TU status to only last month and which already has a strong Sligo presence in IT Sligo.
“My officials are working closely with both higher education institutions to advise and ensure that relevant issues around the legislative and other processes required for incorporation are observed. Of course, ultimately, incorporation into the new TU will be a matter for the university’s governing body upon establishment”.
Since the MOU was signed, both institutes have been meeting regularly to consider the business transfer arrangements and organisational structures.
Both institutions continue to work together to merge before IT Sligo becomes part of the new Atlantic Technological University in April 2022.