Over half of DCU students feel that the incorporation programme has had a negative impact on their college experience, according to a survey conducted by The College View.
Fifty-one per cent of students from DCU and its incorporating institutions reported dissatisfaction with the “New DCU”, while 29 per cent said they had experienced no change. Just 20 per cent of 148 respondents said that the incorporation had proved a positive venture.
St Patrick’s College, Mater Dei Institute and Church of Ireland College of Education have been officially incorporated under the DCU umbrella since September 2016. Teaching colleges, St. Pats, Mater Dei and CICE have amalgamated to form the DCU Institute of Education which, when combined with the DCU School of Education Studies, has over 4,000 students.
The changes caused by the incorporation have caused challenges for some students. When surveyed, 23 per cent said that the change in lecture location had been a significant disadvantage, with many students also concerned about timetables and course content.
One respondent said, “I have no security for my future. I do not know if I will be able to secure a job after college as my course content has been changed during the incorporation.”
“Whereas the course was once delivered on one campus, generally over four days, I now spend my time commuting between St Patrick’s and All Hallows’ campuses five days a week. I am also now being forced to take classes I will not benefit from and I would not have had to do had the incorporation not happened.”
While disorganisation, lack of communication and widespread confusion were reported as significant problems during the incorporation process, the majority of students cited loss of college atmosphere as the biggest disadvantage.
One respondent said “the incorporation has not been done to benefit students. The students on the Glasnevin campus have not been affected hugely, however, the students on the other campuses have experienced many disadvantages.”
“St Patrick’s College was fantastic before it became DCU, and it’s very disappointing to see the loss of atmosphere and representation for the college.”
Another stated that St Pat’s “identity, spirit, community, societies and clubs” had been lost.
The majority of respondents who were dissatisfied by the incorporation identified as legacy students from St. Patricks College and CICE. The majority of DCU students surveyed said they experienced little or no change, citing the main disadvantage as the requirement to attend certain lectures on different campuses.
When asked how the incorporation benefited students, respondents cited the opportunity to join more clubs and societies, the diversification of the student body and the stronger institutional position of the colleges in the higher education sector.
VP for Education and Placement, Manus Mc Loughlin, agreed that while it had not been all “sunshine and rainbows” for students, the amalgamation between several education-focused institutions has created a “hub for teachers of our future”, and affirmed that “the teaching culture and community that once existed is still present and thriving.”
Image Credit: Rebecca Lumley