AN international advisory panel of higher education experts is concluding its review of the Waterford IT (WIT)/IT Carlow (ITC) application for designation as a Technological University (TU) this afternoon.
Since Monday, July 5 (and over seven days in total) the advisory panel, appointed by Further Education Minister Simon Harris (FG) has held three different daily sessions for six of those days, extending to one hour each.
The opening session involved a presentation on the Technological Sector by Dr Joseph Ryan, the Chief Executive of the Technological Higher Education Association (THEA).
The panel schedule, described in a July 5 email to students by IT Presidents Professor Willie Donnelly and Dr Patricia Mulcahy as “very wide ranging”, saw the panel meet with the Presidents and both Governing Bodies.
In addition, the panel also met with the Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI), other staff representative bodies and Student Union representatives, along with stakeholders from education, culture, civic society, business and enterprise.
Other matters discussed during the process included talks with Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) and issues relevant to apprenticeships, Graduate Studies, research, development and innovation, as well as “regional responsiveness”.
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), internationalisation, student support, administration and technical matters were also on the panel’s agenda.
The closing session, held earlier this afternoon (Thursday, July 15), involved the panel, both IT Presidents and the Chairs of both WIT and ITC’s Governing Bodies.
In their July 5 email, both IT Presidents stated: “Following the review, the process is that the panel will report to the HEA, who in turn will report to the Minister. He will make his decision on the basis of these reports. Going into this review we have a high level of confidence of success, but are not complacent. Our teams to meet the panel are ready and we have a strong application document. All of this is on a base set by the contribution of so many of you in working groups and other fora. Again, we would like to express our appreciation. We will keep you informed as the process unfolds.”
As part of the TU review, a confidential email account was set up the HEA “to facilitate the sharing of views of staff, students, and relevant stakeholders with the Advisory Panel in relation to the application”. This email account remained live between Monday, July 5 and Tuesday, July 13.
In an email to students dated July 12, Presidents Donnelly and Mulcahy stressed the “strictly confidential” nature of the process. Staff in neither IT had access to either the account or the received submissions.
“Only a very limited number of HEA staff will have access to the email account,” the email stated. “The submissions will be shared with the Advisory Panel on an anonymised basis.”
Additional time to write a report based on the past week and half’s work has been factored into the panel’s schedule accounting for both today and tomorrow, Friday, July 16.