GMIT signs agreement with two US institutions

GMIT has signed a new educational agreement with two third-level institutions in the US that will bring American students to GMIT’s Letterfrack campus to study furniture and wood products related programmes from next September.

The agreement with Virginia Tech University (VT ), a major innovative research university with more than 30,000 students, and Southern Virginia Higher Education Centre (SVHEC ), will facilitate the exchange of Irish and American students as well as staff in the three institutions.

It will include the development of new distance learning modes for the delivery of joint modules and programmes, and the future collaboration on research projects in marine science and natural resources and the built environment. GMIT Letterfrack graduates will also have the opportunity to study postgraduate programmes in Virginia Tech.

Delegates from VT and SVHEC visited the Letterfrack campus last week and formally signed an educational agreement in GMIT, Galway. In attendance were Dr Paul Winistorfer, Dean of the College of Natural Resources, VT, Dr Robert Bush, Dept of Wood Science and Forest Products, VT, Dr Betty Adams, Executive Director, SVHEC, GMIT president Marion Coy, and senior academics from the Letterfrack campus Dermot O’Donovan and Dr Paddy Tobin. VT offers both undergraduate and post-graduate research programmes in wood science, forestry and fisheries and wildlife eciences, in common with GMIT.

GMIT lecturer Dr Paddy Tobin, who has collaborated with several US institutions and wood products manufacturers over the past ten years, has also been invited by Virginia Tech University to become an Adjunct Professor, in an external advisory role. “Students and graduates from GMIT Letterfrack have had great success in America in recent years and the Galway-Virginia partnership will add exciting new options and opportunities in the coming years," he says.

Virginia Tech University is a comprehensive, innovative research university with the largest full-time student population in Virginia – more than 30,000 full-time students. The smaller Southern Virginia Higher Education Centre has partnerships with eleven public and private colleges and universities, offering over 75 degree programmes.

Dermot O’Donovan, Head of Dept, GMIT Letterfrack, says the US institutions are very impressed with the uniqueness of GMIT’s furniture programmes and its hands-on practical approach to technical aspects of wood programmes. “The opportunities for students and staff are significant. The new agreement meets several objectives of GMIT’s strategic plan, namely to further develop international collaborative research partnerships while promoting cultural diversity,” adds Mr O’Donovan.


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