I am honoured to be the 5th President of University of Limerick.
In its short history, UL has matured immensely and today boasts a campus community of 13,000 students and 1,300 staff. In achieving this growth, the university has overcome major challenges, including the development of a comprehensive range of accredited degrees and the establishment of a broad array of competitive research programmes. UL has created and nurtured extensive engagement activities, through the national research centres it has developed, the highly successful Cooperative Education programme and its cutting-edge performance arts and sports facilities. This engagement has been one of the defining attributes of UL and consequently the university has established itself as a regional powerhouse and possibly the most important institution in the Mid-West.
However, third-level education is also evolving - the technological, political and cultural context within which it exists is undergoing a period of change and disruption. Students are increasingly attracted to highly ranked universities. There is a growing demand for postgraduate education through a variety of delivery mechanisms. Moreover, attracting greater numbers of national and international students, for funding yes, but also for the enrichment of our academic programmes and learning experience, is a very necessary next step in UL's evolution.
To achieve these goals, my core focus, my stake in the ground if you like, is the academic reputation of UL. I want our students to have an extraordinary experience at UL while realising their ambitions. I want to continue building our community of outstanding academics and students. I want to grow our research through a continued investment in people, technology and facilities. I want to strengthen our engagement with our alumni, our industry partners, our teaching partners and the wider community. I want to streamline our administration and strengthen its engagement with our academic staff. I want to focus the organisation as a whole around UL's academic reputation.
Go raibh mile maith agaibh.
Dr Des Fitzgerald