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Cork Independent


Looking back at a great year in CIT

Wednesday, 2nd January, 2019 4:54pm

As 2018 draws to close, Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) can look back with satisfaction on a very successful year in terms of our key mission of teaching, research, and community and industry engagement.

The demand for CIT graduates is stronger than ever, with a particularly high demand for our computer science graduates and a welcome boost for our engineers and quantity surveying graduates as the construction sector continues to grow. This linkage and leadership of CIT in terms of the development of Cork industry and enterprise is a long and proud tradition.

Michael Moynihan’s recent book 'Cork in the 80s, Crisis and Comeback' pays a clear and glowing tribute to CIT’s role in rebuilding the industrial base of Cork when the city was still reeling from the impact of the closures of the traditional industry giants of Fords, Dunlops, Verolme Dockyard etc.

The CIT tenets of relevant, profession-based education trace their roots back to the Royal Cork Institution (RCI) founded on the South Mall in the early 19th century. It continues to the present day providing the core leadership and technological skills to the food and bio-pharmaceutical, ICT, and cybersecurity, to give just a few topical examples.

As with the RCI, through our Cork School of Music (CSM) and Crawford College of Art & Design we continue to nurture and develop the creative and performing arts with our outstanding music and art graduates. 2019 will see the launch of a new degree at the CSM, an Honours degree in musical theatre, connecting once again with a great Cork tradition in this genre.

Collaboration (and relevance) continue to be the hallmarks of CIT’s activities across both teaching and research. The first Joint Award at PhD level with UCC was conferred in 2018, extending the category of joint CIT UCC awards which now cover biomedical science, architecture, art and design education, and industrial physics.

It is worth noting that no two other higher education institutes in the country offer joint awards. Our on-going partnership with the Irish Naval Service at CIT’s National Maritime College of Ireland at Ringaskiddy is another prime example of active collaboration in profession-focused teaching, research, and engagement. Our Nautical Science and Marine Engineering graduation classes record 100 per cent employment as standard.

CIT is firmly rooted in many community-based projects reaching into a broad cross-section of society. Significant Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) funding has been won, for example, to extend the extremely successful VexRobotics competition with collaboration with DellEMC. SciFest goes from strength to strength as we play our part to extend the uptake of Science in schools. The I Wish project is high on our agenda as we encourage more female students to follow the STEM pathway, science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Our School of Humanities is in its fourth year of a highly successful Advocacy programme with COPE Foundation.

The CIT community spirit

The great community spirit on which CIT thrives was exemplified in the way students and staff rallied to the support of first year engineering student, Jack O’Driscoll, when he sustained serious injury in a fall during the freak weather event labelled the Beast from the East. We wish Jack all the best for a speedy recovery.

Strictly CIT was another example of how the entire CIT community got together to support Cork Cancer Care Centre, and had a great time as well!

Sport at CIT

Sport at CIT pursues the twin objectives of participation and excellence. Thus, this year we have signed a MOU (memorandum of understanding) with Cork City Sports establishing CIT Sports Stadium as the home of Ireland’s premier international athletics meet. This event is rivalled only by Europe’s biggest participative outdoor athletics event, the Annual Cork Primary School Sports, now in its fourth highly successful year at CIT.

CIT were delighted to once again host Cork senior hurlers over the winter months and even more so to supply many of the successful panel to the Munster champions, superbly martialled all the way by our CIT colleague, John Meyler. CIT was also well represented on Cork’s senior camogie team who emerged as All-Ireland champions. We were equally proud of colleague Dr Cian O’Neill who led the Kildare football team on a high profile campaign through to the Super 8s.

In terms of individual performances, CIT PhD student, Yvonne O’Byrne, stands out as a member of the Irish ladies hockey team who claimed silver in the Hockey World Cup. Students Ross O’Connor and Rachel O’Mahony collected two gold medals each at the World Powerlifting Championships held in the US.


Looking forward to 2019, we will be breaking ground on our long-awaited new multi-purpose arena, as well as the new €22million Learning Resource Centre. We will be advancing the Munster Technological University (MTU) project, jointly with our colleagues in IT Tralee, in line with evolving technological university landscape.

Equality of access to education

On a more general note, a key priority for Irish higher education must be to finally address the seemingly perpetual inequality in terms of access to third level education. That is not to say that third level education is necessarily the only show in town, the final frontier in terms of education. Nevertheless, the opportunity to access state-funded education, or training, at no matter what level, should be equally available to all citizens.

Such access to education should be positively supported and properly resourced across the full education continuum, from early childhood through primary to post second level education. Many studies show that the inequality begins right back at primary school level. Various initiatives have been implemented, from designating schools as DEIS schools, to ‘free’ fees and third level grants at the other end of the spectrum. The statistics clearly show that, unfortunately, the combined effect of these initiatives is only scratching the surface, even taken with praiseworthy initiatives from the third level institutions, encouraged by the Higher Education Authority. Making education accessible across the community, first chance education to school leavers, second chance or lifelong learning opportunities to mature learners, in full-time or part-time mode, will continue to be a priority for CIT into 2019 and beyond.

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