- First institutional reports in QQI's latest quality cycle released
- IT Sligo praised for its regional impact and leadership in online delivery
- Letterkenny IT commended for strong links with industry and employers
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 7 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
LYIT was commended on its:
Success in growing student numbers, programmes and resulting income streams
- Introduction of a Head of Research and Innovation, and a Research Office
- Strong links with industry and employers and their enhancement of their student experience
- Support of access, transfer and progression of students
Development of collaborations and partnerships
The expert panel recommended that LYIT focus on the following areas for improvement:
Reviewing governance systems
- Developing sub-strategies and operational plans to deliver on the institution's strategy
- Introducing course co-ordinators to better improve communications with students
- Institution-wide and cross-functional co-operation on key areas
Opening an Institutional Research Office
Padraig Walsh, CEO of QQI remarked,
"The QQI CINNTE reviews are a rigorous evaluation which give third-level students at Irish institutions confidence in the quality of the education they are receiving. We are delighted that the first two institutions to have come through this process have shown evidence of significant impact on students, research and their regions. Their engagement with this process and their commitment to improvements will set an agenda to deliver positive outcomes for their wide and varied communities."
INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY SLIGO
"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."
Dr Brendan McCormack, President, Institute of Technology Sligo
"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."
Professor (Mag) Eva Werner, Rector, University of Applied Sciences Krems
Chair of the IT Sligo Review Team
To read a summary of the report for Sligo IT, click here.
To read the Sligo IT report in full, click here.
LETTERKENNY INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
"Letterkenny IT was delighted to partake in this Cyclical Review. This was the culmination of a two-year cycle of School, Central Service and Programmatic Reviews in the Institute and we were very happy with the manner in which the review was conducted and the recommendations and commendations arising from the report. The QQI Cinnte Institutional Review Report concluded that LYIT: "has in place, and is implementing, an effective set of quality assurance procedure; has in place, and is implementing, effective procedures in the context of its awarding of qualifications up to and including research degrees at Level; has a quality assurance system in place that is leading to quality outcomes and is subject to oversight through its governance system; is actively seeking to improve the quality of the institution and to responsively address any concerns raised by its students; is effectively implementing access, transfer and progression processes."
Paul Hannigan, President, Letterkenny Institute of Technology
"I was extremely pleased to be asked to chair this review. Over the whole process myself and the rest of the review team were very impressed by the enthusiasm and openness with which all if the Institute's staff engaged with us, and with the manner in which the Institute embraced the spirit and purpose of this review model. Their commitment to LYIT and to its future success were also clearly evident. I hope that LYIT find the outcomes of the review helpful and constructive as they continue to progress their plans and strategies."
Professor Crichton Lang, Deputy Principal, University of the Highlands and Islands
Chair of the LYIT Review Team
To read a summary of the report for LYIT, click here.
To read the LYIT report in full, click here.