Athlone: The Institute of Technology of the Year
Britain’s largest-selling national newspaper The Sunday Times has put together its annual list of the best schools. The Irish institute Athlone was selected the Institute of Technology of the Year 2018.
The Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) was founded in 1970 as a non-profit public higher education institution called the Athlone Regional Technical College. Its reputation has steadily grown over the years and has now culminated with the school being recognized in the Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018.
AIT was selected as the guide’s Institute of Technology of the Year, while Letterkenny IT was named the runner-up. AIT even beat the traditional educational order by overtaking Maynooth University, as only the second IT to do this.
President of AIT, Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin, says: “This award is an important inflection point in our nearly 50-year history as we continue to further solidify our status as an academic centre of excellence.”
“This award is a recognition towards the culture of innovation cultivated at AIT and a vindication of the hard work put in across the entire community,” he added.
Trevor Prendergast, Head of Department, Accounting & Business Computing at AIT says, "Being chosen as The Times Institute of Technology of the Year, 2018, is a strong endorsement of the student experience, the calibre of staff, the cutting-edge research and world class facilities at Athlone Institute of Technology. As a staff member, I am proud to work at an institution that puts the student at the core of everything we do, welcoming them from diverse backgrounds, from every corner of the world, ensuring that they get an education that will ensure their future success. The institute is continually growing, striving towards our goal of becoming a technological university and I welcome the opportunity to work with fellow academics, students and stakeholders in achieving this goal."
The editor of the Good University Guide, Alastair McCall, praised Athlone. He said that the school “makes an attractive offer to students nationally and plays a pivotal role regionally as a centre of excellence in everything from polymer engineering to smart manufacturing.”
The institution’s success has truly helped put the town of Athlone on the map. Located in County Westmeath in the midlands of Ireland, Athlone has a population of 21,000. The peaceful environment has proven to be ideal for AIT and its students to thrive.
A Cosy Study Environment
One of the main reasons why The Times selected AIT as the Institute of Technology of the Year is the great level of satisfaction among its students. The school is known for its friendly and caring atmosphere that helps students reach their goals.
This award is an important inflection point in our nearly 50-year history as we continue to further solidify our status as an academic centre of excellence.
- Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin, President of AIT
This is evident from AIT’s success in the most recent Irish Survey of Student Engagement (ISSE): in the nine measures that are assessed in the survey, AIT scored near or at the top in six of them.
What was particularly impressive for the team that compiles the Irish Times Good University Guide was that 61 percent of AIT’s student body answered the survey – more than double the national average of 27 percent.
McCall said that the high rate of student participation “speaks volumes” and thus Athlone’s win “is thoroughly deserved.”
In particular, the students gave AIT kudos for its supportive study environment, the quality of its student-faculty interactions and the effectiveness of the teaching practices, including collaborative learning and other strategies.
None of this is news to AIT’s President Ó Catháin, who said: “It is this sense of community that fuels the dynamism and energy you feel at AIT and what allows us to continuously match industry needs and consistently high student satisfaction so seamlessly.”
A Diverse Student Body
There are currently around 6,000 students at AIT, representing more than 60 different countries. International students are supported with a range of resources and services. Tuition costs for non-EU students range from 6,000-10,000 euro per year and are thus much lower than tuition fees in the US, Australia and the UK.
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AIT offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs. The institute has courses under four faculties, including engineering and informatics; science and health; business and hospitality; and the department of lifelong learning. Within these fields, engineering, gaming and software design are the most popular choices.
Athlone Institute of Technology is a wonderful experience for all students. If you are interested in finding out more about the school, click here!
About the Writer: Mirva Lempiäinen is a US-educated freelance journalist from Finland. After calling New York City home for about a decade, she now resides on the French-Caribbean island of Guadeloupe.