HEA report deems Mary Immaculate College as excellent
A recent report published by the Higher Education Authority shows Mary Immaculate College (MIC) as having made excellent progress against agreed objectives; demonstrating an excellent capacity to benchmark progress through robust self-evaluation reports and of possessing an excellent ability to learn from past successes and failures.
These observations were made following the submission of Mary Immaculate College’s Annual Performance Review to the HEA.
On foot of the recommendation of the Hunt Report (2011), that future funding for third level institutions should be related to performance, the HEA introduced an annual performance evaluation system, outlining what was expected from the higher education sector under key headings including meeting skills needs, equity of access and excellence in research, and knowledge exchange. In 2014 each institution entered into an agreement with the HEA regarding which of the national objectives they would focus on, given their strengths and mission with these agreements providing metrics to assess performance.
Each review was assessed in the first instance by the institution itself before being submitted to the HEA for review in addition to being assessed by an international panel of advisers including John Randall, the former chief executive of the UK’s quality assurance agency for higher education; Dr Andrée Sursock, senior adviser at the European University Association; and Dr John Hegarty, former provost of Trinity College Dublin.
Late last year the HEA, in dialogue with Mary Immaculate College, provided reflections on the College’s performance across the agreed domains namely: Regional Clusters; Participation; Equal Access and Lifelong Learning; Excellent Teaching and Learning and Quality of Student Experience; High Quality, Internationally Competitive Research and Innovation; Enhanced Engagement with Enterprise and the Community and Embedded Knowledge Exchange; and Enhanced Internationalisation and Institutional Consolidation.
Following the conclusion of the first round of performance reviews the assessment findings placed Mary Immaculate College in Category 1, prompting Tom Boland, CEO of the HEA to state that Mary Immaculate College was a “very high performing institution”.
According to Tom Boland, “This process [performance reviews] is designed to encourage higher-education institutions to act strategically, to prioritise and to differentiate their offer. In this way they are more likely to be in a position to respond to national needs in an uncertain future”.
He also noted that Ireland was among a small number of jurisdictions currently engaged in similar reforms and that “By any international benchmark Ireland is in the vanguard of this movement to ensure higher education and research is accessible, efficient, of the highest quality and relevant”.
Following the announcement Prof. Michael A Hayes, President of MIC, “Mary Immaculate College is delighted to be placed within the Excellent Progress Category. Following a period of extremely challenging times, with the sector witnessing significant cuts to funding and staffing levels, this assessment brings very welcome news. The College has emerged from what proved to be a most trying period in a stronger position than any it has enjoyed over its 117-year history. The future of MIC as an autonomous, independent institution within the higher education landscape is assured”.