Technological Higher Education Association (THEA) holds first Colloquium in GMIT
Engagement with enterprise, policy, and civic & community are core themes of colloquium
Date Article Written:
Thursday, May 10, 2018
Minister for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, TD, opened the first annual Technological Higher Education Association (THEA) Colloquium in GMIT today (10 May). The three core themes for the day revolve around a central theme of ‘Engagement’ and it brings together students, agencies, enterprises, further education, policy makers, and the voluntary sector to explore the reality of the ‘Engaged Institution’ and how to meet the challenges ahead while working with industry, community, and policy-makers.
Speaking at the Colloquium, Dr Joseph Ryan, Chief Executive of THEA said “THEA is now one year in operation and it has been a dynamic time with many changes culminating in the passing into law of the Technological Universities Act 2018 which offers the promise of the creation of new Technological Universities in Ireland. These can have a profound and catalytic role in support of their regions and communities. As a sector, our members have already demonstrated the impact that an Institute of Technology can have on the lives of the community it serves, and on the sustainability and enhancement of the local economy. We are delighted to have a range of experienced speakers from industry, politics and academia, with various perspectives who share in a reflection on the contribution of the technological sector and help us shape how that can best be calibrated to meet future challenges.”
Speaking at the event, Dr Fergal Barry, President GMIT, stated “We are delighted to host the first annual Technological Higher Education Association (THEA) Colloquium. GMIT and the students and region we serve has been a major beneficiary of the reforms within higher education since our founding nearly 50 years ago. Our vision is to provide students with a transformative university experience, empowering our graduates to fully contribute to the social, economic and cultural betterment of society. We aim to invest in excellent applied learning, teaching and research environments reflecting the real needs of business, enterprise and the professions in our region. I want to welcome again the investments of €5M in GMIT’s iHub and €25M in a new Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) Building. GMIT student enrolments have increased considerably in recent years to over 7,000 enrolments. The ongoing reform of our Higher Education sector led by Ministers Mary Mitchell O’Connor and Richard Bruton, particularly the passing of the Technological Universities Act, will allow TU Consortia to deepen our engagement with industry and organisations for the people we serve across the region for many years into the future.”
Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor, TD, stated “Today’s Colloquium firmly positions the technological higher education sector as the champion of access, opportunity and engagement, forging links across diverse communities, geographies and socio-economic boundaries. Government’s commitment to and support of the sector was evidenced by the announcement of the €200m capital funding earlier in the year and it points to an exciting future for the sector as we look towards the establishment of the first technological universities. We look forward to continuing our engagement with THEA in civic dialogue around the transformative effect that higher education and engaged institutions have on entire communities.”
Back row, L to R, Prof Vincent Cunnane, President of LIT, Paul Gallagher, Secretary & Financial Controller, CIT, Dr Oliver Murphy, President of IT Tralee, Dr Michael Mulvey, President of DKIT, Dr Joseph Ryan, CEO THEA, Paul Hannigan, President of LYIT, Dr Fergal Barry, President of GMIT. Front row, L to R, Dr Brendan McCormack, President of IT Sligo, Thomas Stone, IT Sligo, the Minister for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, Dr Annie Doona, President of IADT, Dr Diarmuid O'Callaghan, President of ITB, Dr Willie Donnelly, President of WIT, and Prof Ciaran O'Cathain, President of AIT.