IT Carlow receives quality stamp of approval

 

  • IT Carlow praised for transformation in its bid for technological university status
  • Report recommends better use of data, metrics and feedback to meet its strategic goals

IT Carlow has successfully completed a review as part of quality checks conducted by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), the state agency responsible for the external quality assurance of further and higher education and training in Ireland.

Through its CINNTE cycle of reviews, QQI assesses and reports on how effectively all 19 publicly regulated higher education institutions (HEIs) are maintaining and enhancing quality in education.  The reviews explore how institutions have improved their teaching, learning and research systems, and how well institutions have aligned with their own mission, quality indicators and benchmarks.

A panel of national and international experts conducted a comprehensive review of the effectiveness of IT Carlow’s quality assurance systems, highlighting examples of good practice which were seen to deliver positive benefits for students and staff, and making recommendations on areas for improvement in the coming years.

IT Carlow was praised for:

  • the transformation that has taken place in its institutional development and strategic direction since the last institutional review.
  • its strong financial discipline over an extended period of time resulting in substantial surpluses which have enabled extensive capital development of the campus in support of its pursuit of technological university status.
  • a strong commitment to a culture of quality across the organisation
  • a strong commitment to student support and engagement
  • the excellent support provided by IT Carlow to staff interested in engaging in research, demonstrating the institute’s deep commitment to the pursuit of technological university status

    The expert panel identified the following areas for improvement for the institute of technology:

  • IT Carlow should strengthen its Strategic Plan 2019-2023 by better defining the key performance indicators to drive it towards becoming a leading European technological university.
  • Development of an institutional data set that is fully understood and consistently used throughout the organisation to support evidence-based management decision-making that consistently measures progress against KPIs (key performance indicators).
  • Research and Innovation performance indicators should be distributed and owned across the institute, with progress monitored and reported annually to promote the emergence of a research culture across the institute.
  • Anonymous systematic collection of student feedback should be to collect information on course content, delivery, and assessment as part of the annual programme review cycle.
  • Exploration of opportunities for developing a systematic approach to workload management and staff development to facilitate the nurturing of a research culture across the institute.

Dr. Elsa Núñez, president of Eastern Connecticut State University in the United States, chaired the IT Carlow review team:

“I was pleased to have the opportunity to lead the review team for the recent QQI review of Institute of Technology Carlow.  During our initial visit in February and our virtual site visit this past summer, the team and I were impressed with the Institute’s commitment to student-centered education, as well as its strategic goals of increasing faculty research, expanding local industry partnerships, and participating in the development of the Technological University of South East Ireland.  We also noted — in the Institute’s documentation and in a variety of meetings and interviews with ITC faculty, administrators, staff and students — the collaborative nature of IT Carlow’s operations.  This commitment to working together in pursuit of educational excellence and student success was found throughout the organization — from the Governing Body to student groups. It is my hope that the review team’s assessment of IT Carlow’s progress will provide guidance as the Institute moves into the future.” 

 

President of IT Carlow, Dr Patricia Mulcahy, welcomed the opportunity to engage with the QQI CINNTE Review Team and the Review Team’s report:

“Institute of Technology Carlow welcomes the Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) CINNTE Review carried out by an international panel of experts and peers to evaluate the effectiveness of institutional quality assurance processes. The review process itself was searching but fair, the review report is representative and comprehensive, and the Institute highly values the additional perspectives, experience and advice facilitated by this review. The QQI CINNTE Institutional Review process provided the opportunity for institute-wide analyses and reflection, while capturing the strong commitment of all our staff, students, alumni and stakeholders to the future development of the Institute towards university designation. Institute of Technology Carlow sincerely thanks all members of the international panel for their expert engagement with the process and their highly constructive feedback and report.  The Institute gratefully acknowledges the work of the members of the Institutional Reviews Unit in QQI for guiding and supporting Institute of Technology Carlow in completing this review through virtual means in these unprecedented and extraordinary times.”

 

Dr Bryan Maguire, QQI Director of Quality Assurance highlighted the value of the CINNTE review process to the entire higher education system:

The pandemic has shown us just how important it is that higher education institutions can respond quickly to changing circumstances. In order to do so safely while serving students well and maintaining academic standards they must have robust internal quality assurance procedures. The panel’s findings in this CINNTE review confirms that IT Carlow has such procedures in place and they are working effectively. They rely on clear aims, clear governance and consultation structures, and a commitment to continuous improvement, equality and diversity.’ 

Read the IT Carlow CINNTE report in full.

Read the IT Carlow Summary Quality Profile.