Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Ireland - Monday

Dr. Faulkner is traveling with Vol State students and faculty in Ireland. Here is his latest report:

        Today was a good day with many opportunities for connecting with the colleges in the area.

        While most of the group traveled by motor coach from Dublin to Thurles, Penny Duncan, Wanda and I met with representatives of Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT).  Their President, Brian Norton, gave a presentation on the college past, present and future plans.  DIT is a comprehensive institution with about 20,000 students.  They award certificates and degrees all the way from certificates in welding and auto body to Ph.D. degrees.  Currently they are in  39 different locations in Dublin.  Each location represents a different discipline or program.  We met at Grangegorman which is a 75 acre site of a former mental institution.  Most of the old buildings have been demolished.  Their plan is to relocate the entire  campus to this site by 2017.

        They have an early -childhood bachelors and masters degree and Penny was able to have some important conversations about possible exchange opportunities.  We also talked about other student and faculty exchange opportunities to follow up on once we return to Vol State.

        Most interesting to me were the many things they are doing to retain students.  Some were similar to our own efforts.  They are anxious to improve their 75% graduation rate.

        After our meeting there we boarded a train to catch up with the group in Thurles.  A brief taxi ride from the train station brought us to the Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) in Thurles.  This would be analogous to our Livingston campus.  They have a beautiful, modern campus with a wide range of offerings.

        Student Erin Fezell presented to two classes about our Intro to Programming class's creation of the Donut Text mobile app for Android.  Our bluegrass ensemble gave an excellent and well received performance in the main entrance area that would be similar to our Ramer Great Hall.  It was well attended by student, staff and Faculty of LIT.  There were many opportunities for one-on-one interactions and we were warmly received.  Again Penny was able to talk with two faculty members from LIT that are heavily involved in teacher education.

        Back at the hotel, we had a brief organizational meeting and an opportunity to talk about the assignment on intercultural competency.  We had dinner together in the hotel restaurant and there was much conversation about the cultural differences and similarities that we are observing.
-Dr. Faulkner

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