The University of Limerick today announced its plans to expand the university. The expansion will involve the intake of more than 4,000 extra students over the next four years, bringing the number of students to 20,000, as well as the recruitment of 330 new staff members, bringing the number of staff to 1,930.
The plan was launched by Dr Des Fitzgerald, president of UL, at the launch of [email protected], a strategic plan to guide the university’s development. The launch took place at the site of the proposed new UL city campus in the former Dunnes Stores site on Sarsfield bridge.
International architects will compete for the design of the new campus.
Commenting at the launch, Dr Fitzgerald said that the extra students would bring an extra revenue of €30 million to the city and the region, adding that recruitments will be mainly focused on postgraduate and international students.
Dr Fitzgerald said that improving the university’s national and international reputation through excellence in research and education is UL’s key priority. He also referred to the changing nature of education and UL’s desire to lead the transformation.
The university has begun to investigate funding options including government funding, philanthropic donations and its own sources of funding.
“We believe that the teaching model which has characterised universities for a hundred years is coming to an end. We want to put flexible learning spaces and tech-enhanced teaching models at the heart of our education and training. We will develop new curricula, new learning modes and a cross-disciplinary sharing and exchange approach with a particular focus on enterprise and entrepreneurship”.
The university also plans to strengthen its commitment to Limerick and the Mid-West region through a strong focus on enterprise and business.
The university will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2022. UL’s original incarnation, the National Institute for Higher Education (NIHE) was founded in 1972, and consisted of one building, 113 students and 7 academic staff members. UL Chancellor Mary Harney cited the upcoming anniversary as a factor in the ambition of the new development plan.
“By matching the ambition and drive of our founders, we will ensure that the university reaches its fullest potential over the coming years” she said.
A development plan for the 360 acre Castleroy campus, on the outskirts of the city, will be launched shortly.