Minister Formally Approves Incorporation of St.Angela’s into IT Sligo

Nov 24 2021 Posted: 13:00 GMT

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, has formally approved the incorporation of St. Angela’s College into the Institute of Technology Sligo, and subsequently to become one of nine campuses of the new Atlantic Technological University designated in April 2022.   Minister Harris says “It makes a lot of sense for the College to incorporate into the other higher education powerhouse emerging now in the West / North West in the form of the new TU which I granted TU status to only last month and which already has a strong Sligo presence in IT Sligo.“

When incorporated, St. Angela’s will become a campus of the Atlantic TU that is being established by the Connacht-Ulster Alliance (CUA) consortium of Institutes of Technology comprising of GMIT, LYIT and IT Sligo. 

St. Angela’s College has a strong reputation of third-level education in the North West and the welcome announcement of joining IT Sligo means that it becomes the second local campus in Sligo and ninth regional campus of the Atlantic TU in 2022. The College’s strong focus and expertise in the delivery of professionally accredited programmes through its Academic Schools of Nursing, Health Sciences and Disability Studies; Home Economics; and Education. Undergraduate degrees offer a range of disciplines, equipping graduates with the knowledge and skills for careers in Nursing (General and Intellectual Disability), Home Economics Teacher Education (including additional disciplines in Biology, Religious Education and Irish) as well as within industry settings (Food Business, Textiles and Fashion). Developing alternative pathways to these undergraduate degrees has allowed for a sense of inclusivity and equality in our prospective students and the College now accept applicants through a number of routes including the Access Programme, HEAR, DARE, the Access to Post-Primary Teaching Project, QQI Awards and Mature applications - all valuably contributing to a diversity on campus. The College also offer an array of postgraduate and part-time programmes delivered via blended/online learning. The Centre for Special Educational Needs, Inclusion and Diversity at St. Angela’s College provides a range of Pre-Undergraduate, Undergraduate and Postgraduate programmes as well as shorter professional development courses and stand-alone blended-learning modules. In June 2021 the Merici Institute was established as a research hub for religious students together with the retention of the chapel and the provision of a chaplaincy service will help to ensure the continuing legacy of the Ursuline Order in what will be a new and exciting education setting. Another milestone in 2021 was the launch of the National Centre of Excellence for Home Economics, paying tribute to the decades of home economics education and passion for this very important subject which transfers skills for life to all its graduates and their future students.

Originally founded by the Ursuline Order, St. Angela’s College welcomed its first teacher education students back in 1952 in what is still considered to this day, a most idyllic and unique learning setting. Sr. Marianne O’Connor from the Sligo Ursulines expresses her thoughts on today’s announcement “As part of the Ursuline legacy in education, we want to continue our contribution to the development of third level education in Sligo particularly in the light of the development of a Technological University in the North West.”

Acting President at St. Angela’s College, Dr Edel McSharry warmly welcomes Minister Harris’s news; “For seventy years, St. Angela’s has grown and developed beyond what was ever imagined, pioneering through challenges and embracing opportunities, and it’s through these opportunities that we can grow stronger and continue to deliver education at exceptional standards.” This incorporation will bring a wealth of benefits to students in terms of access to new facilities, greatly enhancing the overall student experience, and for staff this means a bright future in research, course development and career progression. 

President of IT Sligo, Dr Brendan McCormack said it was an historic day; “For decades our two institutes have collaborated on many levels and now we look forward to formally welcoming St. Angela's into the Institute of Technology Sligo.  Through this incorporation, the higher education provision across the region will be enhanced and students and staff will benefit from sharing resources and knowledge across a  campuses of the Atlantic TU. . In April 2022 we will join together with GMIT and LYIT to become part of Irelands newest Technological University with over 20,000 students across nine campuses.”  Dr McCormack added; “This is an opportunity to revolutionise the educational landscape of the west and northwest region - Together attracting more students, research, innovation and investment to the region.” 

IT Sligo together with St. Angela’s College and the Ursuline Union signed a Memorandum of Understanding and a Data Sharing Protocol back in May to enable a financial and legal due diligence process to commence. Following discussions with NUI Galway, the Higher Education Authority and the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, St. Angela’s College are now proceeding to agree the process by which it will be incorporated into IT Sligo, in the first instance, and subsequently become one of nine campuses recognised under this new TU. 

Announcing the incorporation, Minister Harris said: “St. Angela’s College, Sligo has long been an important provider of initial teacher education and home economics, both in the West / North West and nationally. It provides higher education across a range of other disciplines, too, including Nursing, Health Science, Disability Studies, Food and Nutrition, Textiles, Fashion and Design, Science, Biology and Business.  

“As such, It makes a lot of sense for the College to incorporate into the other higher education powerhouse emerging now in the West / North West in the form of the new TU which I granted TU status to only last month and which already has a strong Sligo presence in IT Sligo. My officials are working closely with both higher education institutions to advise and ensure that relevant issues around the legislative and other processes required for incorporation are observed. Of course, ultimately, incorporation into the new TU will be a matter for the university’s governing body upon establishment”. 

Since the MOU was signed, both institutes have been meeting regularly to consider the business transfer arrangements and organisational structures.  

Dr McSharry concludes “We look forward to sharing our ideas and our vision and intensifying our collaborative efforts to progress this incorporation into the Sligo campuses of the Atlantic TU, together making Sligo Ireland’s next University Town.” 

Both institutions continue to work together to merge before the IT Sligo becomes the new Atlantic Technological University in April 2022.  

Pictured above: Dr. Edel McSharry, Acting President St. Angela's College and Dr. Brendan McCormack, President IT Sligo