independent

Friday 18 January 2019

IT Sligo gets top marks by quality review body

IT Sligo President, Brendan McCormack
IT Sligo President, Brendan McCormack

The Institute of Technology Sligo (IT Sligo) and Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT) have successfully completed a quality review conducted by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), the state agency responsible for the external quality assurance of further and higher education and training in Ireland.

Every seven years QQI carries out an external review of higher education institutions to check on the maintenance and improvement of quality. The review explores how the institution has improved its teaching, learning and research systems, and how well institutions have aligned with their own mission, quality indicators and benchmarks.

IT Sligo and LYIT are the first two institutions to undergo the process in the current CINNTE cycle, with reports on Dublin City University, Maynooth University and NUI Galway to follow in 2019.

Panels of national and international education experts conducted a comprehensive review of the effectiveness of the quality assurance procedures of each institution, delivering commendations on examples of good practice which were seen to deliver impact for students and staff, and making recommendations on areas for improvement in the coming years.

IT Sligo was commended on its:

  • Engagement with external stakeholders and the resulting impacts of this
  • National leadership role in online education, thus widening participation
  • Staff commitment to and ambition for the Institute and its students
  • Mechanisms to support quality enhancement
  • High regard amongst employers for 'job-ready' graduates
  • Areas identified in which IT Sligo could make improvements were:
  • Their processes for planning, managing and evaluating change
  • Current HR policy and culture
  • Continuing improvements within Quality Assurance delivery and processes
  • The balance between dynamic responsiveness and strategic direction
  • Keeping under review the new organisational structure

Padraig Walsh, CEO of QQI said: "We are delighted that the first two institutions to have come through this process and have shown evidence of significant impact on students, research and their regions."

Dr Brendan McCormack, President, IT Sligo said: "We welcome the QQI report and its findings, which we will use to help develop our institution even further. We are particularly pleased with the recognition of our online education to learners in work, which we have developed over the years to become the largest online campus in Ireland. The report also acknowledges our strength in engaging with all our external stakeholders. The Institute of Technology Sligo prides itself on our engagement with industries and developing courses around their needs and increasing our graduates' employability.

Staff at all levels of the institution are passionately committed to giving students a good experience and to the institution's mission and values. We thank the QQI for their review and will use the recommendations within it, to improve our Institution as we move towards a Technical University. At all levels of the institution, we could feel the passion and commitment to teaching, research and to giving students a learning experience that prepares them for the future. Quality is perceived as the overarching frame to this."

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