Limerick Institute of Technology president takes up office as Chair of THEA board for 2020

Professor Vincent Cunnane, President of Limerick Institute of Technology. Picture Sean Curtin True Media.
Professor Vincent Cunnane, President of Limerick Institute of Technology. Picture Sean Curtin True Media.

President of Limerick Institute of Technology, Professor Vincent Cunnane, assumes the chair of THEA for the 50th anniversary year of Technological Higher Education in Ireland.

The Technological Higher Education Association is the representative advocacy body for Ireland’s technological higher education institutions, and professor Cunnane said he was “looking forward to my time in office as Chair of the THEA board for 2020”.

“2020 marks a significant and challenging milestone in the development of higher education in Ireland,” he said, noting, “It marks fifty years of technological higher education, since the first Regional Technical Colleges came into being in 1970.”

The LIT President said the “evolution” of the country’s technological education institutions “reflects the story of Ireland’s development.”

“In 1970, there were about 12,000 third-level students in Ireland.  Today, there are some 250,000, with the RTCs and Institutes of Technology being central in a dramatic rise in student numbers since their foundation. In fact, the socio-economic profile of students in institutes of technology reflects that of Irish society as a whole.”

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Professor Cunnane believes Ireland will see a further evolution of IT’s in 2020 as they “progress towards Technological University designation, bringing with it all the challenges and opportunities that such a major change entail”.

“It is our hope that 2020 will see a resolution of the sustainable funding issue for our institutions.  We expect that the report prepared for Government by Peter Cassells will finally be addressed and that a model of sustainable funding for higher education be agreed and put in place during my term of office as Chair of THEA.

Commenting on his appointment, Dr Joseph Ryan, CEO of THEA said, “I am delighted to welcome Prof Vincent Cunnane as Chairperson of the Board of THEA and we look forward to an engaging and busy year working with Dr Cunnane. We are very grateful to Dr Annie Doona, President of IADT for her term of office during 2019. We also wish Dr Doona well as she retires from the Institute of Art, Design, & Technology, Dun Laoghaire to embrace other challenges during the year ahead.”

Prof Cunnane’s term of office runs from 01 January 2020 to 31 December 2020.