UNIVERSITY of Limerick President Professor Kerstin Mey has called for urgent Government action on a new funding model for Irish universities.
Speaking at the first in-person conferring ceremony at UL for two years, Prof Mey said that the importance and resilience of the Higher Education sector has never been more evident.
In her first conferring address since being appointed President, she detailed the “swift and determined” response to the Covid-19 pandemic by UL and said there was an opportunity now to transform tertiary education based on the lessons learned.
Speaking to graduates in the first of five carefully planned ceremonies taking place this week, Professor Mey said: “The Coronavirus pandemic has catalysed a monumental shift to virtual and hybrid learning for the entire, global higher education sector.
“While this transition has come with challenges to established ways of developing, imparting and assessing knowledge and skills, it has opened up new opportunities to facilitate learning and engagement, to make accessible insights and a diversity of perspectives, for sharing expertise and experience across geographic and institutional boundaries.”
Prof Mey welcomed the establishment of the Technological University of the Shannon Midlands Midwest, but warned there was “little point in creating new universities without funding all higher education institutions sufficiently to enable them to act as societal change engines”.
She added that UL would continue to strive to be known as a destination for excellence in education, research and innovation.
“We will both develop and attract the highest-calibre staff and the best students from all sections of society, both in Ireland and abroad, and ensure that Limerick and the Mid West are recognised as great places to live, study and work.
“Our commitment to the region is steadfast. We are part of a local and international community –a community that we are committed to through our development plans for the UL City Centre Campus in the heart of Limerick and our ambitions to grow our campus and its environs.
Around 1,700 students are graduating from the faculties of Education and Health Sciences, Kemmy Business School, Science and Engineering and Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences in five ceremonies taking place this week.
Over 700 students are due to attend the live on-campus ceremonies, which have been carefully planned to minimise risk of possible infection.