By Teresa Gallagher
Limerick Institute of Technology’s (LIT) President, Dr Maria Hinfelaar, has revealed that the college aims to develop into a technological university over the next few years.
LIT’s student population is now over 7,000 following the integration of its fifth campus in Thurles, Tipperary this September. Its three campuses in Limerick City, two in Tipperary and outreach centres in Ennis and Croom employ over 550 staff.
Speaking at LIT’s graduation ceremonies last week she pointed to the hard work needed to grow and improve.
“We cannot rest on our laurels after the integration of Tipperary Institute, we will not get to Technological University status on our own and will have to work with partners… So if I am to stand here again in a few years time we may be called something else and be part of something bigger – that is how the landscape is being redrawn and LIT is at the forefront of this evolution.”
LIT spokesperson Mona Cann said the institute could not underestimate the challenges posed by having a campus spread over such a large area, “LIT is unique in that it is the first to integrate campuses from three different counties. We are still finding our feet as a larger institute and our primary mission is still to deliver excellence to learners, students and stakeholders.”
Student President Barry Maher said he did not think university status would attract more students but that it would improve the quality of services.
“I think the most benefit of becoming a university would be increased financial investment in services and facilities. But students don’t choose where to study just because it’s a university or IT; they look for the best course for what they want to do and LIT already has some of the best courses in the country. No matter what way you get your degree, whether you do a diploma first or get a university degree, it’s the same qualification at the end of the day.”