The chairmen of the Governing Bodies and the presidents of Institute of Technology Carlow (ITC) and Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) welcome the publication on 6th November of the report from the TU Research Network (TURN): Connectedness & Collaboration Enabled by Connectivity. The report was presented to the Department of Education and Skills by the TURN high level working group which membership included WIT President, Professor Willie Donnelly and ITC President, Dr. Patricia Mulcahy.
There are three main themes identified in the TURN report: reforming the policy and funding framework for TUs; investing in their digital infrastructure; and building and strengthening their research capacity. The new university sector will respond to government priorities, economic, societal and cultural challenges through further enhancing the graduate attributes achieved by learners and meeting the employment and skills needs of our regions and nation. The report states that the “TU concept is distinctive – a wide scope of levels of technological provision, rooted in regional connectedness, reaching out nationally and internationally through teaching, learning and research collaborations, and enabled by digital connectivity”.
President of Institute of Technology Carlow, Dr Patricia Mulcahy stated, “the TUSEI will build on our individual capacities and capabilities in building and enhancing our national and international collaborative networks. This includes partnering with the new technological universities and with other HEIs to address key system challenges and opportunities and to reinforce our role as drivers of regional development. We welcome the recommendation from the report authors to prioritise capital investment in the TUs in the allocation of the higher education budget.”
Professor Willie Donnelly, President of WIT said, “the commitment of Government funding will enable the TUSEI to build on its leadership in teaching, research and innovation to make the step change required to become a university of international standing. The scope of the educational delivery for the new university, which ranges from courses at level 6 up to PhD level education, together with a more flexible delivery framework for full- and part-time courses, is hugely challenging. The TURN funding will enable the new Technological University to build the state-of-the-art education delivery environment required to meet these challenges.”
Speaking at the event to launch the report at the Department of Education, Minister Mitchell O’Connor said: “We believe in the transformative potential of technological universities. Our objective is to have a Technological University presence in every region of the country. This will provide increased choices for students, an enhanced student experience and greater access for potential students tackling educational disadvantage.”
The report emphasises that Government must continue to support TUs both in their pathway to establishment and in their vital formative years. There are critical actions set out in the TURN report that must be taken to ensure this happens. The full report is available on education.ie