The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018, which is produced annually and ranks universities and ITs, has named Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT) as runner-up in The Sunday Times Institute of Technology of the Year Award for 2018. Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) has been named Institute of Technology of the Year and NUI Galway has been named The Sunday Times University of the Year 2018.
The Sunday Times Guide is one of the most comprehensive, independent guides to Irish undergraduate courses produced with each third-level institution in Ireland assessed under a number of criteria including new developments, facilities and links with industry and research. It is often used as a barometer for potential students and parents around the country in selecting third level institutions.
Speaking about the premier listing of LYIT in the guide, Paul Hannigan, President said, “It is timely that the Institute ranked so highly in the Sunday Times Guide as we emerge from the difficult years of the recession and look forward confidently to the future. The staff at LYIT have worked hard over the years to ensure the success of the Institute regardless of the external environment. Students continue to choose LYIT as their preferred location and this year 2017/18 sees record numbers of first years enrolled at the Institute.”
Continuing he said, “We are delighted to see our student engagement activities have been highlighted by the Sunday Times this year, as we believe this is what differentiates us from others. This is the third occasion that Letterkenny has featured so highly in the rankings.”
The Institute’s cross-border relationships with the North West Regional College and Ulster University boost regional access to higher education, innovation and job creation. Among other things, LYIT has significantly increased the number of students enrolled from Northern Ireland over the past three years.
The Institute offers an MA in Learning and Teaching reflecting the priority that LYIT places on this activity. Just over half of its academic staff has a pedagogical qualification, up from 30% three years ago. The broader education community in the region has also benefitted from this programme.
Dedication to improving the learning experience can also be seen in the work LYIT has put into learning from students. LYIT has enjoyed considerable success in the Irish Survey of Student Engagement (ISSE). The student response rate for the ISSE stands at 34% in 2016-17, against a national rate of just 27%. A total of 86% of students would choose Letterkenny again if they were starting their studies afresh, compared to 82% nationally, and 88% evaluated their student experience as excellent or good, compared to 83% nationally.
A student participation scheme for class representatives, first tried out in 2016, has resulted in a 66% increase in active contributions at class representative council meetings.
Commenting on the next phase of development for LYIT, Paul Hannigan explains, “The Institute is now entering a new strategic planning phase and this will chart the future of the Institute over the next five years. LYIT is ambitious for its future and looks forward confidently to achieving its objectives with the support of all staff, students and stakeholders.”