The College plans to increase the number of students by 15% to 18 000. This is just one of the many aims the College has set themselves as laid out in the Strategic Plan 2009-2014.
The new plan will build upon the achievements of the previous plan which saw the College place 43rd in the Times Higher Education and make gains in research and graduate education. The previous plan also saw the historic restructuring of the College’s academic units and terms.
The new plan hopes to focus transforming graduate education, consolidate strengths in the areas of research and scholarship, and promote knowledge transfer. The plan also proposes several alliances which would be very exciting for the college’s future, and in obtaining recognition worldwide. Trinity says of the plan: “This strategic plan sets out how we will further strengthen the performance of Trinity College- how we will establish its position as one of the elite group of universities that shape our world.”
Under the plan the college hopes to increase student numbers by 15% to 18 000 while maintaining the college’s current student to staff ratio. Trinity also hopes to make improvements in the area of undergraduate education. This will involve the implementation of a new modularised course curriculum, allowing for greater choice for students. In addition the college hopes to increase access of underrepresented groups of students. In the area of graduate education, Trinity intends to make changes to facilitate a more “creative, innovative and entrepreneurial postgraduate”.
To meet the objectives outlined in the plan, the college will be developing three key collaborations. These will include the launch of the TCD-UCD Innovation Academy. This is a research partnership which the two universities have said has the potential to develop 300 companies and thousands of jobs. Taoiseach Brian Cowen said that the project would attract international interest and establish Ireland as a research base. Trinity also hopes to create an Academic Medical Centre together with the Adelaide and Meath Hospital Dublin. Furthermore the College intends to collaborate with other institutions to promote Dublin as an international city of learning, culture and innovation. Besides these collaboration projects Trinity aims to undergo several major development programmes “to underpin objectives for internationally competitive research and education”. These will include the Biosciences Institute, The Trinity Long Room Hub for the Humanities, and the Student Centre.
The College intends to take a “two-phased approach” to strategic planning- the new plan sets out the goals and targets for the university and a detailed implementation plan will follow, setting out the steps required to achieve these objectives.
In the current economic climate the targets of the strategic plan are sure to present certain challenges. To fund the goals and objectives laid out in the plan the college says it will need to expand its resource base. The Provost, Dr John Hegarty, said the college hoped increased philanthropy, more international students and greater commercial activity would fund the expansion. He commented that “it is critical that public investment in education, research and innovation is maintained, in order to sustain the phenomenal achievements of Ireland in these areas to date, and to drive future success and to ensure a medium to long term return.”