Dr Ruaidhrí Neavyn, new President of Waterford Institute of Technology, outlines his future vision for the institute in a changing education landscape.
Dr Ruaidhrí Neavyn (right) is the newly appointed President of Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT). Dr Neavyn was the President of IT Carlow from 2004 to January 2012. Prior to that, he held several senior management positions at Limerick Institute of Technology, including Registrar and Head of Development. He graduated from DIT and TCD with a BSc in Applied Science, obtained a PhD in Physical Chemistry from UCD in 1993 and also performed post-doctoral research in the University of California, Irvine.
“I am delighted to have been appointed President of Waterford Institute of Technology and to have the opportunity to lead the Institute at a time of great challenges, and great opportunity, for the South East," Dr Neavyn said.
"This Institute has a tremendous record in terms of teaching and learning, research and international collaboration, and has developed very strong links with business and industry. Now is the time to build on WIT’s successes and take the Institute to the next level.
"For Ireland to succeed as it emerges from the current recession, our higher education system needs a diversity of institutions capable of meeting the needs of our economy and society. Modern economies are moving away from a purely two-tiered divide in Higher Education to a much more diverse model, with different institutes serving different needs and different learner populations. There is now a real need to develop Technological Universities with a very different focus from our current universities.
“The need has never been greater to deliver a university for the South East. The economic arguments have been well documented and a well structured and focused Higher Education system is essential.
“The proposed Technological University of the South-East will tackle the challenges of the region head on by focusing on the employability and flexibility of its graduates. It will take a practical and applied approach to education and research and will work very closely with its business and industry partners. This partnership approach is fundamental to the future growth and sustainability of the region.
“There is a brave new world emerging in Higher Education in Ireland. It’s a very challenging time for all Higher Education institutions given the financial constraints we face. However, the imperative is on us to deliver a better system of higher education for the learner. The National Strategy for Higher Education and the programme for government recommendation have clearly set out a path towards a better, more diverse education system and the onus is on us to deliver on that policy objective for the South-East," Dr Neavyn concluded.
A strategic planning group has been established by Waterford Institute of Technology and IT Carlow to lead and co-ordinate activities associated with the establishment of a Technological University. The group comprises the Presidents of both institutions and Chairpersons of both Governing Bodies, as well as Prof John Davies (Professor Emeritus of Anglia Ruskin), Michael McGrath (former CEO of the Irish Universities Association) and Prof Pat Fottrell (Professor Emeritus, NUIG), who chairs the group.