University College Cork has been named University of the Year for a record-breaking fifth time.
It is the first university to retain the top title for two consecutive years in the 15-year history of the Sunday Times award. Along with the current double, UCC also won the top award in 2003, 2005 and 2011.
UCC’s success is underpinned by making teaching as much of a priority as research, with 70% of its academic staff having a qualification in teaching and learning. The university is also the first in Ireland to develop an online programme in teaching staff in higher education.
UCC president Michael Murphy said the award recognised UCC was confident in its understanding of the role of a university. He said anyone appointed to UCC had to undergo training before being considered for a permanent post.
UCC has also seen a 15% growth in research funding over the past five years, generating the second-highest amount of research income in Ireland per head of academic staff — about €128,000.
It has the third best progression rate from first-year to second-year of all higher institutions nationally. Just 10% of students drop out.
It also has a large proportion of students from disadvantaged backgrounds, at 22%, and has made commendable efforts to help reduce the level of student debt.
Trinity College Dublin is the runner-up for the University of the Year award while Dublin Institute of Technology has been named Institute of Technology of the year.
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