Concerns have been raised by Dundalk IT staff over the college’s goal to reach Technological University status in the near future, with almost all other Institutes of Technology already having formed TU consortiums.
The concerns have been raised as a fourth Technological University has been officially announced by the Department of Further and Higher Education in later October, leaving DkIT as only one of two remaining IoT’s.
Currently, DkIT and Dun Laoighaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT) are the only remaining IoT’s in Ireland with the forming of the Technological University for the West and North West.
It comes as Galway-Mayo, Sligo and Letterkenny IoT's were announced to have formed the Atlantic Technological University by Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris.
One DkIT staff member who spoke to the Democrat said that the college remains well behind other IoT’s in the process of reaching eligibility for TU status and that they should have started the process much earlier.
“We are on the right course, but we should have been on this course eight years ago,” said the staff member, saying that there is no immediate partner available for DkIT to form a TU consortium with.
The current criteria to reach TU status requires a specific amount of research students within the college, which is 4%. DkIT currently is at 2.79% and according to a spokesperson, are projected to reach the target next year.
DkIT has met the other two criteria for TU status, with 90% of staff having at least a Masters degree and 32% of students having a work placement within their course.
If unable to acquire a partner, the college will have to seek an existing consortium to let them in, which the staff member says is unlikely to happen in a short period of time. The only potential partner to form a new TU available at present is IADT.
“DkIT, therefore, is ready to seek a partner under section 38 and the Institute is making steady, coherent, and purposeful progress on our journey to become a Technological University,” said a spokesperson for DkIT on the current metrics.
The staff member told the Democrat that one of the main concerns they have is around the current college leadership, saying that President Michael Mulvey is exerting a significant amount of control over the process.
The Democrat put this to DkIT but did not receive a response to that query.
Currently, in DkIT, student numbers have dropped compared to last year, with the college saying this is due to the pandemic, while the staff member says it’s due to prospective students opting to study at a TU rather than an IoT.
However, the number of international students and mature students has increased in previous years, with the college adding that some courses are at maximum capacity.
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