This is an opportune time to ask deep, probing questions about our contribution and our relevance.
This strategy is our invitation for you to engage with Maynooth University to imagine and create better futures for all.
Developing a strategic plan in the context of a world that is changing at an unprecedented pace requires a plan with inbuilt flexibility and adaptability.
The pandemic altered our ways of learning, teaching and working fundamentally. Technological advances, including artificial intelligence, challenges to our planet from climate change, our collective focus on living longer and better, continuing geopolitical instability and a myriad of other complex external factors impact universities and education. This is an opportune time to ask deep, probing questions about our contribution and our relevance.
What is the future of universities? What is our reason for being? How do we remain relevant in the modern world, building on over nine hundred years of history? How do we build on Maynooth’s strong foundations of academic excellence but also, how do we need to change and adapt in order to continue to teach our students well, carry out impactful research and add value to society?
We have asked such fundamental questions about ourselves and our place in society. We have scanned the horizon for future trends. We have reflected on the national and European policy landscape and the opportunities they present. We have considered our place, and the place of the Irish higher education sector more broadly, in the global context. We have adopted a data-informed approach as our starting point and we have focused our discussions on our foundational strengths as well as on the parts that no longer serve us well. We have thought hard about our inherent and future value to society and we have sought clarity for ourselves.
Our vision is to be a university of excellence, opportunity and impact, having a significant stake in all three.
We focus in on academic and professional excellence.
We provide life-changing opportunities for all who can benefit, irrespective of background.
We create a positive impact on society through educating our students, through our research and by building sustainable communities.
Our purpose is simple: to imagine and create better futures for all.
Our greatest contribution to society is through educating creative, inquisitive and critically engaged minds. Our graduates are highly employable critical thinkers. They are globally engaged and socially conscious citizens, committed to a better society and a more sustainable world. Our students and their future are at the heart of our being.
Our five-year strategic focus centres on advancing student learning, excelling in research and creating societal impact, expanding internationalisation, and fostering strong engagement and partnerships. Key enablers that are fundamental to the implementation of our strategy are our commitment to a people-first culture, robust governance, quality, operational excellence, equality, diversity and inclusion, financial strength, and sustainable infrastructure.
Within five years, we will attain a critical volume of research excellence in areas of national and international significance through our research beacons:
Data and Digital Transformation
Health and Wellbeing
Heritage, Culture and Language
Society and Public Policy
Sustainability and Climate Change
We will build on our existing strong research structures, establish interdisciplinary Futures Institutes and a Graduate Research Academy to support the current and next generation of researchers.
As a comprehensive university, we embrace a broad spectrum of academic disciplines, recognising the importance of diverse fields of study and promoting interdisciplinary collaboration.
We will establish a School of Health and Medicine to build on our current scientific and interdisciplinary excellence in health in order to respond to regional and national health workforce needs.
For an enhanced student experience, we will:
create a physical and digital ‘One-Stop Shop’ for our student support services
equip our graduates with future-focused competencies and skills
provide flexible learning opportunities to support lifelong learning
invest in a sustainable campus and student facilities
In line with our commitment to Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI), we will secure the Institutional Athena Swan Silver Award by 2026 and establish a National Centre for Inclusive Higher Education.
We will actively support and invest in our staff and strengthen leadership capabilities at all levels. Our processes will be improved through investment in technology-enhanced operations, increased data capacity and the diversification of funding streams. To leverage external engagements, we will establish a clear ‘front door’ to the University to facilitate meaningful partnerships.
Today’s challenges demand global cooperation and openness to new perspectives. We will strengthen our international engagement through global networks, staff and student mobility and embracing internationalisation across our campus.
Maynooth University is an anchor institution in our region, enhancing economic, social and cultural development and fostering innovation. Our unique location in a university town further enriches our interactions and collaborations with the community. Over the course of our Strategic Plan, we are committed to deepening our local engagement, reinforcing national connections, and maintaining global responsiveness, with overarching ambitions aimed at shaping the broader Irish and international higher education landscape.
Maynooth University is a special place for so many people. We have a strong reputation for providing an inclusive and collegial environment, for being a caring community that recognises individual strengths and values personal connections. Our values define who we are and underpin our future success.
We are building on a rich history of learning and scholarship that goes back to 1795, to the establishment of St Patrick’s College in Maynooth. We became an independent university through the Universities Act 1997, within the National University of Ireland (NUI) network. We embrace our long history of academic excellence and we now move forwards into an exciting future as a confident, modern 25 year old institution.
We are a highly respected research-intensive university with a broad disciplinary base and with a strong track record of enabling access to higher education for diverse student populations. We are a university of international standing, with a significant local, regional and national impact. We have grown significantly in the past years and are on a trajectory for further growth.
Our path forward is to be charted with clarity and focus. We cannot do everything and we cannot do nothing. This strategy is necessarily a high-level road map, which will be underpinned by detailed implementation plans and key performance indicators to monitor our progress.
It has been an honour to lead the development of our strategy. Our ongoing engagement with the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science and the Higher Education Authority have been invaluable. I am grateful to the Governing Authority of Maynooth University for their deep engagement and wise counsel throughout the development of this strategy. To the many external partners, alumni and community members I extend a heartfelt appreciation for giving their time and guidance so generously.
I express my deep appreciation to our students, who took the time to engage and consider the future implications this strategy will have for our campus, long after they have left. I am grateful to so many colleagues who engaged with the extensive and inclusive consultation process over the past year. My sincere hope is that they hear their voice and their ideas come through.
I am delighted to present to you the Maynooth University Strategic Plan 2023-28.