An announcement is expected in the near future on the appointment of a new Vice President of GMIT Mayo, it was revealed this week.
Dr Richard Thorn, interim head of the Castlebar based third level institution, provided an update on the progress of the campus to the local media in Castlebar this week. Among the details revealed was that the process of appointing a new Vice President of GMIT Mayo to head up the campus is well underway, with interviews having taken place and a recommendation made to the GMIT governing body. The announcement of the new Vice President is expected to be made in the coming weeks.
Dr Thorn also outlined that a number of recommendations in the working group report Developing a Sustainable Plan for the Mayo campus have been implemented, including the development of a new academic plan, a marketing and promotion plan - and community and enterprise engagement.
The new five-year academic plan at GMIT Castlebar which will run from the 2018/19 term to 2022/23, notes that reliance on CAO-oriented programmes solely to build student numbers is not desirable and instead emphasises alternate modes of delivery (part-time, blended and online courses ) to non-standard target groups.
Consequently at GMIT Castlebar there will be a much greater focus on part-time and Level 9 programmes (up to and including 60 credits per annum ). Significant changes in government policy that are supportive of part time education (BTEA, Springboard Plus, RGAM ) in conjunction with a more targeted approach to meeting external stakeholder needs, justify this change in orientation.
There is an increasing multi-disciplinary approach (eg E-Health, Geography and Outdoor Education, Youth and Social Work, sustainability and community ). This is leading to a clearer academic focus on ‘Health, Technology and Environment’.
Some of the new programmes outlined in the new Academic Plan are: Level 9 masters developments in Outdoor Education together with a level 8 development in Geography and Outdoor Education. Level 9 masters in Digital Media and Marketing. Level 8 development in Accounting and Business with significant work placement, blended delivery and named exit award. Special purpose awards in Digital Marketing (30 credits ), Data Visualisation (10 ), GDPR (10 ).
Separate marketing budget for the college
A new marketing and promotion plan has been developed. GMIT has provided ring-fenced funding of €50,000 to support marketing programmes at the campus nationally and regionally, using both traditional and digital media. The new plan is being implemented with support from staff on the Galway campus.
Community and enterprise engagement
Dr Thorn added that meetings have been held with stakeholders including the local media and political parties to brief them on the implementation of the report. Meetings have been held with Mayo County Council on a number of issues to elicit support in marketing and promotion of the campus and town.
On the development at Lough Lannagh where a new swimming pool and other sporting facilities are being developed, he said that two meetings have taken place with Mayo County Council to determine how GMIT might be involved in Lough Lannagh. A proposition has been developed by the Outdoor Education staff and the Sports Officer and further discussion with Mayo County Council are to take place.
Another significant piece of work has been the development of a ‘Digital Academy' that involves the iHub located on the campus and academic staff. A concept document has been prepared. Capital funding is not required in the initial phase but will be needed to refurbish space for hot-desking and co-working. Meetings with the Local Enterprise Office (LEO ) have taken place to ensure congruity of proposals.
Dr Thorn added: "It has been a privilege working with GMIT and the staff of its Mayo Campus over the last few months and I am very confident that the full implementation of the Working Group Report will lead to a thriving campus."