Mary Immaculate College (MIC) yesterday (4 March) launched new Further Education (FE) Entry routes into two of its post-primary teaching degrees in MIC Thurles as well as a new direct entry route for the College’s BA in Contemporary and Applied Theatre Studies (CATS) at MIC Limerick. These new entry routes follow on from the success of MIC’s already established further education routes into both their BA Arts and BA in Early Childhood Care and Education programmes.
Speaking at the launch in Thurles Dr Finn Ó Murchú, Head of School of Education (Post-Primary), at MIC Thurles, said: "l sincerely welcome this initiative which, for the first time, opens up new pathways into the important and delightfully complex world of teaching. Direct entry from further education into higher education reflects MIC’s commitment to providing equity of access to higher education for all. Furthermore, the two new routes into MIC Thurles’ post-primary teaching programmes, demonstrates MIC’s responsiveness to the Higher Education Access Strategy 2015- 2019 and the Programme for Access to Higher Education (PATH) Strand 1 Equity of Access to Initial Teacher Education. We are delighted that eligible students can now apply via the CAO for MIC Thurles’ Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Education, Business Studies and Accounting and the BA in Education, Business Studies and Religious Studies and our popular BA CATS programme based at MIC Limerick."
Dr Ó Murchú went on to highlight the importance of the (PATH) Strand 1 Equity of Access to Initial Teacher Education programme as an important part of a suite of opportunities which are required to meet diverse pupil profiles. He added that “such opportunities are in keeping with MIC Thurles’ understanding that educational opportunities are fluid and involve growth rather than fixed mind-sets. Our attention to quality learning and a quality learning experience, which includes high levels of communication and care, place us in a position to make the most of the PATH programme. We are committed to ensuring all our student entrants’ needs are met and their potential revealed”.
Further evidence of the College’s commitment to supporting students from “non-traditional teaching backgrounds” in all programmes of Initial Teacher Education is MIC’s strategic involvement in the establishment of a national Centre of Teaching Excellence (NISE), along with its Shannon Consortium partners UL and LIT. NISE was set up in response to recommendations contained in a review of the structure of teacher education in Ireland by an internal team led by renowned Finnish academic, Pasi Sahlberg. NISE is developing innovative approaches to teacher education, research skills and professional development.
Also in attendance at the launch was Dr Geraldine Brosnan, Director of Student Life at MIC, who said: “The journey to, and through, college is unique to every individual student and here in MIC we aim to enhance student experiences while they are part of the MIC community. Our goal is to provide services, activities and resources that maintain the College’s education enterprise and excellence while also supporting a student to learn, grow and change while at MIC.”
Continuing she said: “Extensive academic supports are available through the MIC Academic Learning Centre and the MIC Access Office. Ongoing provision of one-to-one tutoring and subject-specific group support as well as high quality pastoral supports on both campuses aim to help students whenever they are in need. Testament to this commitment is our phenomenal Student Retention Rate which currently stands at 94% for our Level 8 programmes. We look forward to supporting FE entry route students on their journey.”
Carrie O’Halloran, currently studying on MIC’S BA in Early Childhood Care and Education Level 8 degree, is a mature student who initially completed a FETAC Level 5 and 6 in early childhood care and education. According to Carrie; “As a result of doing the level five and six courses I realised just how important the early years are in every child’s life which is why I wanted to continue with my studies. I am currently in second year in MIC and it has been amazing. When I initially started it was hard to get used to the jump in academic expectations from Level 6 to Level 8. But thankfully for me I was put in touch with MIC’s Access Office. The support and guidance I received was invaluable.”
Thurles Councillor Seamus Hanafin (FF) who also attended the event noted that he is delighted to see that MIC Thurles is going from strength to strength and every year it is growing its student numbers and the programmes on offer. He went on to say “MIC Thurles plays a key role in the ongoing development of the town and has proven to be a hugely important addition to Thurles. The PATH programme gives visible expression to the ambition of the campus and the emerging relationships between the local community and the college. I wish all well with this endeavour and look forward to further expansion of programme provision and of the campus itself”.
Dr Ó Murchú’s closing remarks included a word of congratulations to all of those in MIC involved in leading the way with the PATH initiative and concluded by saying that MIC would continue to explore further routes to teaching that acknowledge the high standards required to be an effective teacher and the high standards our children deserve.
Professor Eugene Wall, President of MIC, officially launched the new further education routes, along with a supporting booklet. Approximately 10% of places will be assigned annually for students wishing to progress from further education to higher education at MIC.
If you would like to find out more about Further Education Routes to MIC please click here to view our information booklet. If you would like to learn more about the range of student supports available at MIC please click here.
Main photo: (L-R, Back-Row): Elaine Griffin, NISE Path 1 Project Officer, MIC; Karina Ryan, NISE Path 1 Programme Manager, MIC and Paula Hourigan,Senior Academic Administrator, MIC Thurles. Front Row: Cllr Séamus Hanifan; Dr Finn Ó Murchú, Head of School of Education (Post-Primary), MIC Thurles; Prof. Eugene Wall, President of MIC; Prof. Niamh Hourihan, Vice-President Academic Affairs MIC and Dr Geraldine Brosnan, Director of Student Life, MIC.
Pictured below (L-R): Niamh Gaine, Cork College of Commerce; Anne-Marie Hannon and Lillian Monahan, Admissions Office MIC and Moira Maher, Guidance Counsellor, Coláiste Chiaráin, Croom, Co. Limerick.