New strategies to safeguard future of Mayo GMIT Campus are revealed

THE future of Mayo GMIT Campus is looking much brighter, according to the interim head of the college Dr. Richard Thorn.

Speaking to the local media today, he confirmed a number of recommendations in the Working Group Report ‘Developing a Sustainable Plan for the Mayo campus’ have been implemented, including the development of a new academic plan, marketing & promotion plan, and community and enterprise engagement.

Interviews have been held for the post of vice-president of GMIT Mayo and a recommendation has been made to the GMIT Governing Body.

An announcement is expected in the coming weeks.

The new academic plan for the period 2018/19 to 2022/23 recognises that a reliance on CAO-oriented programmes solely to build student numbers is not desirable and thus emphasises alternate modes of delivery like part-time, blended and online, to non-standard target groups.

Dr. Thorn said there is a much greater focus on part-time and Level 9 programmes, up to and including 60 credits per annum.

Significant changes in government policy, that are supportive of part time education (BTEA, Springboard Plus, RGAM) in conjunction with a more targeted approach to meeting external stakeholder needs, justify this change in orientation.

There is an increasing multi-disciplinary approach, for example E-Health, Geography and Outdoor Education, Youth and Social Work, sustainability and community. This is leading to a clearer academic focus on ‘Health, Technology and Environment’.

Some of the new programmes outlined in the new academic plan are Level 9 masters developments in Outdoor Education together with a level 8 development in Geography & Outdoor Education, Level 9 masters in Digital Media & Marketing, Level 8 development in Accounting and Business with significant work placement, blended delivery and named exit award, special purpose awards in Digital Marketing (30 credits), and Data Visualisation (10), GDPR (10).

Dr. Thorn confirmed a new marketing and promotion plan has been developed.

GMIT has provided ring-fenced funding of €50,000 to support the plan in marketing programmes and the campus nationally and regionally, using both traditional and digital media.

The new plan is being implemented with support from staff on the Galway campus.

On the issue of community and enterprise engagement, he said meetings have been held with stakeholders, including the local media and political parties, to brief them on the implementation of the report.

Meetings have been held with Mayo County Council on a number of issues to elicit support in marketing and promotion of the campus and town.

Regarding the sports development at Lough Lannagh, he said two meetings have taken place with Mayo County Council to determine how GMIT might be involved the swimming pool/sports project.

A proposition has been developed by the outdoor education staff and the sports officer and further discussions with Mayo County Council are to take place.

A significant development has been the work on a ‘Digital Academy’ that involves the iHub and academic staff.

A concept document has been prepared. Capital funding is not required in the initial phase but will be needed to refurbish space for hot-desking and co-working. Meetings with the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) have taken place to ensure congruity of proposals.

Dr Thorn added: “It has been a privilege working with GMIT and the staff of its Mayo Campus over the last few months and I am very confident that the full implementation of the Working Group Report will lead to a thriving campus.”