The ultimate aim of the ‘New DCU’ is the amalgamation between DCU, St. Pat’s, Mater Dei
and All Hallows College which according to President, Brian MacCraith will provide better choice and quality of student life to all students.
“This is an exciting and promising time for DCU, in a time where universities are suffering in
terms of Government funding, but we’ve had to be innovative and opportunistic,” MacCraith told The College View.
DCU is set for dramatic change in the next three years, as there will be new student accommodation, student centre, lecture halls and staff, all to begin this academic year.
The University has expanded and enhanced the faculties of humanities and social sciences.
This year in the Arts programme students can now choose from 17 subjects including history, music and philosophy. This growth in choice is due to the amalgamation of teachers, resources and students across all four campuses.
As the ‘New DCU’ should come to fruition by next June, according to MacCraith, new transport systems will have to be put in place. “We will have to get an electric bus around the campuses, as they’re all within two kilometres, including our Innovation Campus. We’re also working on new pedestrian and bicycle paths to accommodate the move of students. There will be dramatic changes,” said MacCraith.
There are two aspects to the cost of this new faculty. “It’s a stretch to bring four universities together that have different strengths, costs and legacies. Final costs will be in the millions but the Government has supported us every step of the way. The Government sees this as a major flagship in terms of what will be best for Irish education in terms of us coming together,” MacCraith explained.
With a massive investment like this, MacCraith ensures The College View that it hasn’t impacted on one euro on the budget for the students of DCU. “We couldn’t have taken on this project if it was to impact the costs for students,” he said.
Another aspect is the €50 million that was spent on capital infrastructure in St. Pat’s to build new lecture halls and student accommodation. A further €20 million was raised to accommodate the new students and lecturers in St. Pat’s.
While looking at the figures and hearing about the great plans for mainly St. Pat’s, MacCraith said that this has huge benefits for students in DCU too. A new student centre is being built in Glasnevin while a new health centre is being built in St. Pat’s. All students will get equal access to these services. While gym membership in DCU costs €195 for the academic year, the gym in St. Pat’s is free, but over time all services will be equal across the campuses, according to MacCraith.
DCU have secured a €14 million investment for the new student centre, and building will start this year. The student body agreed, in a referendum held by the SU last year, to pay a levy to raise funds for this new development. MacCraith told The College View that the university will also contribute and the building of the new student centre. “We have been taking everything and making the biggest and best student centre that we could. It will be fantastic,” said MacCraith.
“We will be the fastest growing university in Ireland. Five years ago we had 11,000 and next year we expect up to 16,000,” he said. Last week DCU welcomed almost 3,500 students, the largest intake of any year. Currently we have 13,000 according to MacCraith, but figures are expected to rise due to the amalgamation. “It’s about the quality that we can offer students, not just about the scale of students we have,” added MacCraith.
DCU also caters for over 130 different nationalities and over 1,000 access students. “We are a university that values social inclusion and puts value on that. We’re a hugely diverse campus which is one of the reasons why we’re rising on a global scale,” said MacCraith. Last week, DCU rose 13 places in this year’s QS World University Rankings, the highest increase of any other Irish university.