Now that all five planned Technological Universities in Ireland have been established, you’re likely going to be seeing some changes in CAO lists, course codes and the names of certain colleges. Is it confusing? Not if you have all of the facts.
Last week, we focused on the Technological University of the Shannon. This week, we travel southwest to Munster Technological University.
Munster Technological University (MTU) was formed in January, 2021, when IT Tralee and Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) came together.
As with our other technological universities, MTU was formed based on the recommendations of the National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030 to help meet the growing, evolving educational needs of the Southwest.
MTU president Maggie Cusack says their “legacy” institutions (CIT and IT Tralee) already had strong, meaningful roots in the Southwest – now, they aim to build on that foundation.
“A lot of the strengths that were there in the institutes of technology - the close working relationship with industry, links with the community - they’re points that we’re making sure we maintain, enhance and increase.”
These industrial relationships are extremely important as they help maintain a strong society, both socially and economically. Maggie says an additional benefit is a healthy source of work placements for learners.
“Most of our learners have work placements and they provide ideal opportunities to learn. It’s about making sure our graduates are work-ready.
“The other aspect with working with industry is co-creating courses to make sure our graduates have exactly the skills needed and to help ensure their current employees can upgrade and upskill,” she adds.
All of that said, Maggie also believes the real benefits of coming together to form MTU are from what she calls the “long ladder of opportunity.”
“The fact that we go from apprenticeships all the way up to Level 10 and PhD - there’s real flexibility in terms of the learner being able to join at whichever point is appropriate for them at their current life stage,” she explains. “[Our PhD offerings] are really important, too, because that impacts on the research we can do.”
Inclusion and diversity
Creating a safe, inclusive campus is important and understanding the realities around inclusion and diversity are necessary for any modern post-secondary institution. MTU has always taken this area seriously – their 2021 Code Red Campaign, for example, saw them become the first Irish university to provide free period products for all staff and students.
“The whole piece around EDI [equity, diversity and inclusion] – at MTU we’re really passionate about that and it’s not just about making small changes and patting ourselves on the back, it’s actually striving towards the full diversity of humanity because when that diversity is within your place of work or study, it’s a much healthier and more robust environment,” Maggie says.
MTU are taking an innovative approach to new courses which combine disciplines and skillsets. One such course, Smart Product Engineering, is a full-time, four-year programme based in Cork which includes a ten-week work placement. This course is designed for students who wish to combine technical ability with business skills.
Another innovative engineering programme is Kerry-based Mechanical Manufacturing Engineering. While this is a four-year BEng (Honours), the first two years are full-time on campus while the remaining two years are within paid work placement.
During work placement, students complete online modules relevant to their work experience.
“It’s a really different way of thinking about how a ‘learning journey’ can look,” Maggie says. “There’s a lot of ongoing innovation and ways to collaborate, and our programmes are really pushing the technological aspect to expand the offering.”
Agriculture and rural enrichment
Within the area of agriculture, MTU’s offering includes degree? programmes in agri-biosciences, agricultural science and agricultural engineering. An important thing to remember about MTU, and several other of our new technological universities, is the positive impact they have on rural development. Maggie says they are mindful of their responsibilities to the region.
“One of our strengths is we have the urban and the rural aspect across our six campuses in Kerry and Cork,” she explains. “What we have in mind is making sure people have a choice – if you live in Kerry, for example, and want to go to university in Kerry, there are options there for you to do your degree ??as opposed to automatically having to move to an urban environment. We’re really mindful of that.
“It’s a really exciting time for MTU,” she continues. “Our brand is being recognised and people understand what we’re about. We’ll be launching our strategic plan in September and our ambition is to become a truly great globally competitive technological university; sitting here in the Southwest of Ireland.”
To find out more vist www.mtu.ie
Which colleges combined to create this university?
Courses are offered in Engineering; Biological, Physical and Pharmaceutical Sciences; Computer Science; Business; Social Sciences; Healthcare; Hospitality; Maritime Studies; Sport; Art; Music and Drama at varying levels from Higher Certificate to Degree and Honours Degree level.
There is also an extensive range of postgraduate research and taught programmes at Masters and Doctoral level.
MTU does not offer on-campus accommodation but there are many options located near-campus.