Pictured signing the Memorandum of Understanding between the two third level institutions are President of St Patrick's College, Fr. Tom Fogarty, and UL President, Professor Don Barry.
Graduates of St. Patrick's College, Thurles, Co Tipperary will, from 2012, receive teaching degrees from the University of Limerick. The Third Level teacher education college announced an academic alliance with the University of Limerick (UL) today May 4th, 2011, marking an historic occasion for the College.
From September 2011, degree programmes at St. Patrick's College will be accredited by the University of Limerick. From 2012 graduates of the College will be awarded University of Limerick degrees.
The University of Limerick, with a student body of over 11,500 students, has an international reputation for innovation in education and excellence in research. President of UL, Professor Don Barry said, "This agreement recognises opportunities for delivery of an enhanced suite of education programmes in St Patrick's College that will be consistent with UL's expertise in teacher education. UL is the largest provider of post-primary teacher education in the State, with our Education students accounting for nearly one in ten students at UL, and consequently accounting for a significant part of the University's impact on the wider local, regional and national communities. We put a great deal of time and energy into pedagogy at UL and we have recognised a similar commitment in the education programmes at St Patrick's College. We are proud that our teacher education model at UL is well regarded nationally and internationally as a pioneering model for the future ".
St. Patrick's College, Thurles was established as a third level College of Education in 2004 and currently offers two concurrent teacher education programmes. Graduates of the College are registered with the Teaching Council and qualified to teach Business, Accounting, Religious Studies and Irish to honours Leaving Certificate level, depending on their programme choice.
The President of St Patrick's College, Fr. Tom Fogarty, said the alliance with the University of Limerick "truly marks the beginning of a new era for the College and the extension of University education beyond the major cities".
"This partnership brings huge value to St Patrick's College. The offer of University-level degrees strengthens our identity and will attract a wide cross-section of students to enrich our culture further. We provide a welcoming, inclusive and quality learning environment for students and strongly believe in a 'values led' education.," he added.
Last year a Governing Board was appointed to St. Patrick's College with responsibility for strategic development. Board members include; Chairperson Robbie Kelleher (Head of Global Investment Strategy at Davy Stockbrokers), Dr. Bernadette Flanagan (Director of Research at All Hallows College), Dr. Finbarr Bradley, (former professor at DCU, UCD and NUIM), Dr. Richard Thorn (Director of Flexible Learning, IOTI) and John Lonergan (former Governor of Mountjoy Prison).
Mr. Kelleher said that, against a backdrop of a decline in applications to the CAO this year, St. Patrick's College has again recorded double-digit increases in the number of applicants and first preference choices for its degree courses.
"This demonstrates the enduring appeal of pursuing a four year concurrent teacher education degree in order to develop a career as a highly specialised and effective post-primary teacher", he added
Note to Editors:
St Patrick's Teacher Education College is located in the former Seminary, also known as St Patrick's, that was established in 1837. The foundation stone of the Seminary was set down in the presence of Daniel O'Connell and the Synod of Thurles was held there in 1850.
St. Patrick's College has been synonymous with the education of young people since 1837. The College opened as an educational institution in September 1837, offering Second Level education in the humanities, with limited contribution to the sciences for students wishing to prepare for the priesthood as well as careers in business and other professions. In 1842 a philosophy department was added and by the middle of the 1860's the College had developed into a major seminary with the addition of a full theological faculty.
Described in 1850 during the Synod of Thurles as a "noble pile" the College witnessed much debate amongst the catholic clergy, the outcome of which significantly influenced the evolution of primary, secondary and university education in Ireland.
During its long history of service to education St. Patrick's College has contributed to society at both national and international level through the ministry of its graduates. Rich in history and steeped in tradition the College has constantly evolved and demonstrated its ability to respond innovatively to the changes in society. Tradition and innovation have been central to the development of the College as a teacher education institution. Its graduates have remained central to the ever evolving demands of modern education while still possessing the ethos of service that inspired its foundation in 1837.
A total of 220 students currently study at St Patrick's College. By 2014, up to 70 post-primary teachers will be graduating each year with degrees from the College which will be awarded by the University of Limerick.
Undergraduate degree programmes at St. Patrick's are covered under the Government free fees initiative. All student admissions to the College are processed through the Central Applications Office (CAO). The College welcomes enquiries from prospective applicants and will facilitate applicants who wish to visit the College.
For further information regarding programmes at St. Patrick's College visit www.stpats.ie.