Maynooth University today has launched its Strategic Plan 2023-2028, which embodies a collective vision for the future and charts an ambitious path forward for the institution – one centred on excellence, opportunity and impact.
At an event hosted at the Technology, Society and Innovation Building, Professor Eeva Leinonen, President of Maynooth University, announced a series of initiatives that will drive the University’s strategic direction for the next 5-10 years.
“Education is a powerful force that can truly be life-changing. We believe in the transformative effect of exploring new interests and cultivating new ideas. At Maynooth University, students have the opportunity to not only gain knowledge but also to discover their passions and unlock their potential. Maynooth University encourages students to seize these opportunities and to embrace the journey of self-discovery that education provides,” Professor Leinonen said.
At the heart of the strategy are four pillars: globally recognised research excellence, innovative programmes of student learning that reflect modern ways of learning, enhanced internationalisation, and strong external partnerships.
All students will graduate with future-focused skills including data and digital literacy and will have more opportunities for international study. There will be a focus on growing postgraduate student enrolment, building strategic international partnerships, and leveraging the University’s existing expertise to create a new National Centre of Excellence for Inclusive Higher Education. A new Partnerships Office will serve as a “front door,” facilitating engagement between the University and industry, enterprise and civil society.
A commitment to enhancing the student experience and advancing future-focussed educational opportunities will be enabled through:
- Further integration of ‘real-world’ opportunities into the student learning experience. All students will graduate with future-focused skills in data and digital literacy.
- Embedding international learning opportunities for all within the student experience, with a focus on students for whom international experiences have been difficult to access.
- Expanding support services, both on-campus and digitally, through the creation of a ‘One-Stop Shop’ for support services
- Greater support for student clubs and societies, and further development of sports and cultural facilities
- Investment in technology-enhanced and inclusive approaches to teaching, learning, and assessment
- Establishing the National Centre for Inclusive Higher Education -leveraging MU’s expertise in widening access to higher education to inform national policy.
- A more flexible curriculum and co-design opportunities to meet evolving student needs.
- Expanded academic programmes to support lifelong learning and regional and national workforce needs, such as the establishment of a School of Health and Medicine.
- A new Graduate Research Academy to support the current and next generation of researchers.
The President also announced that the University will establish a School of Health and Medicine, with plans to open a School of Nursing by 2025 already underway.
"Our plans to establish a School of Health and Medicine will leverage our current research expertise in the areas of sciences, digital health, and public policy to help address regional, national, and global shortages across the healthcare workforce. The new strategic plan also includes widening access to the professions for populations currently under-represented in certain fields, including health and medicine,” she said.
“As an initial step, plans are underway to establish a School of Nursing by 2025, with a particular focus on keeping more trainee nurses in Ireland and a curriculum that focuses on future healthcare skills, digital health, community care and access to nursing for students in the FET sector.”
Under the new strategy, Maynooth University will launch a new Graduate Research Academy designed to nurture the current and next generation of researchers with bespoke training for engagement and transferrable skills. Meanwhile, the University will focus its investment on new Interdisciplinary Futures Institutes to drive progress in priority research areas: Data and Digital Transformation; Health and Wellbeing; Heritage, Culture and Language; Society and Public Policy, and Sustainability and Climate Change.
The President said the strategy represents a vital next chapter for Maynooth University, which celebrated its 25th anniversary as an autonomous institution last year.
“Our strategic plan embodies our collective vision for the future of our university. It is bold, forward-looking in its aspirations, and reflects our distinctive strengths within the Irish higher education system. This new strategy builds upon our long history of academic excellence on this campus, while recognising the modern needs of today’s students, new ways of teaching and learning, and how, by adapting what we do as an institution, we can harness the potential of our community to imagine and create better futures for generations to come.”
Speaking from Washington DC, Ambassador of Ireland to the United States Geraldine Byrne Nason, welcomed the strategic direction of her alma mater and the opportunity to address staff and students at this important moment.
“As a Maynooth University alumna of over 40 years standing, I believe that I can say with some authority that Maynooth University is a place where authentic, lasting connections are made. I speak to you today as one who has carried those connections across the globe for over four decades and in whom a deep loyalty and pride in Maynooth still resides.”
Ambassador Byrne Nason, who is a two-time Maynooth alumna graduating with an MA English in 1981 and a BA Double Hons English and Irish in 1980, continued:
“Ireland is a global island. Today, there are no issues that are entirely domestic nor wholly foreign. We need to educate the next generation as the global Irish generation. This plan sets the bar high. Nothing less than to ‘imagine and create better futures for all.’”
Addressing the Strategic Plan launch, students Kaylee Bailey Bromely and Sarah Lindsay Swan highlighted the collaborative efforts between the student body and the University in shaping the Strategic Plan.
Sarah is studying for an MA in Comparative Criminology & Criminal Justice and a member of the MU Cancer Society. A recipient of the Platinum MUSE awards which recognises student contributions to extra- and co-curricular activity, she is also Chairperson of the Societies Management Committee.
Kaylee is in her final year of her BA in English and Media & Cultural Studies. A MAP student (PLC), 1916 bursary recipient and a Platinum MUSE award recipient, she is also President and Founder of the LEGO Society and is a member of the Societies Management Committee.
The Strategic Plan 2023-2028 can be read here.