Tralee and Cork ITs propose merger

Cork and Tralee institutes of technology plan to begin work on merging into a multi-campus college before applying for technological university (TU) status in a year’s time.

Tralee and Cork ITs propose merger

The updated plans follow last December’s withdrawal by Limerick Institute of Technology from a venture between all three to form a Munster Technological University (MTU).

In plans submitted to the Higher Education Authority (HEA), Cork Institute of Technology and Institute of Technology Tralee say they will submit an application for technological university status in Mar 2014. It is hoped to have the process successfully completed to merge under the MTU banner by Sept 2015.

However, work will begin in May on plans for a formal merger which the colleges expect to present to a joint meeting of their governing bodies in September or October.

“The implementation of the merger plan will see all the necessary legal, financial, academic, and structural underpinnings for the merger in place by the end of the 2014/15 academic year,” says the recent joint submission to the HEA.

“During this period, we also expect to complete the international panel assessment for phase two of the technological university designation process.”

Limerick IT was part of the original plans for an MTU announced by the three colleges in Jan 2012, but has said it will now focus on collaborations with neighbouring third-level institutions and IT Tralee.

IT Tralee and CIT told the HEA in the recent submission they are “fully committed to a shared vision of a technological university for Munster” and plan to continue working towards creating a merged institution that will seek and achieve TU status.

They said the MTU will be defined by an education, research, and innovation eco-system, offering career- focused education, responding to the broader needs of society and focusing on research in areas of strategic regional and national importance.

With plans for a split campus, they say ICT will be maximised and embedded in teaching, research, and other services to ensure effective working and cost benefits.

“The leadership and management roles will be based at the two main campuses,” it said.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that it could be the end of April before the outcome of an investigation of plagiarism claims against the IT Tralee governing body chairman, Flan Garvey, is known.

An external panel was appointed in December to examine allegations by a number of academics at the college in November.

Mr Garvey said he planned to defend his position when he handed over his duties as chairman to his deputy in December for the duration of the investigation. The claims relate to the dissertation on his local parish history for a masters degree at the college in 2008.

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