Tuesday 28 March 2017

Plan for half UCD students to come from outside CAO

Pictured yesterday at the launch of UCD's strategic plan were students, from left, Rachael McKenna, Christine Lewis, Simon Makuvaza, Sihan Feng, Mark Langtry and Cong Xu
Pictured yesterday at the launch of UCD's strategic plan were students, from left, Rachael McKenna, Christine Lewis, Simon Makuvaza, Sihan Feng, Mark Langtry and Cong Xu

John Walshe Education Editor

Just half of UCD students will come through the CAO system in the future, the university believes.

The Dublin-based university plans to increase its intake of 'non-traditional' college goers -- such as mature and part-time students, those with disabilities, and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

Such students can also enter the college via the CAO. However, most gain places with lower points, or on the basis of other qualifications, or on a combination of their results with an interview process.

UCD aims to increase its intake of such students from 17pc to 25pc by 2014.

The university also plans to increase its proportion of international students from 17pc at present to 25pc by 2014 -- many of whom will be full fee-paying students from outside the European Union.

The proposed shift is revealed in the university's new strategic plan 'Forming Global Minds'. It promises "a new breed of creative, innovative graduates formed in an environment of research, discovery and entrepreneurship".

The document also envisages the end of the era of remote dons who avoid teaching first-year students. In future, it will be normal practice for professors to contribute to the teaching of such incoming students.

In addition, all newly appointed academic staff are to receive appropriate training in university teaching. Students will also be asked for more regular feedback on their lecturers through surveys on the quality of teaching.

Improvements in lecturing will be backed up by the establishment of a new Institute for Learning Innovation and Academic Discipline.

Changes to the faculty structure are also on the cards. The 11 faculties, and 110 departments and academic centres, will be streamlined into a much smaller number of schools and colleges.

The college's strategic plan also aims to get 80pc of its students involved in regular physical exercise.

History

Launching the plan, President Dr Hugh Brady said that over its 155-year history UCD had played an important role in the development of modern Ireland.

"Now, in a time of national and global difficulty, UCD is once again committing its intellectual resources to the rebirth of economic prosperity in Ireland."

The next few years will see significant expansion of UCD's fourth-level portfolio and international programmes, and the mainstreaming of innovation as the third pillar of activity alongside teaching and research in the context of the UCD-TCD Innovation Alliance.

The percentage of graduate students is to increase from 26pc to 33pc of the student body by 2014.

Irish Independent

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