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Mary Rogers, GMIT

Mary Rogers, GMIT

Mary Rogers, Head of Department of Building and Civil Engineering, GMIT

Mary Rogers is the GMIT Head of Department of Building and Civil Engineering. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture, MA in Academic Practice and is a Fellow of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland.

Mary had an interest in buildings and design from an early stage and qualified as an Architect from UCD. Her early professional career was shaped by an economic recession where many graduates were forced to leave Ireland and travel abroad for work and experience.  Having spent time working in a Dublin Architectural practice, Mary took up employment as a Senior Architect in the Department of Education and Skills Building Unit in Tullamore.

In 2000, Mary set up an architectural company in Galway and also started lecturing part-time in GMIT. In 2007 she was appointed as a full-time lecturer on a new degree programme in Architectural Technology in the Department of Building and Civil Engineering GMIT. At this time, the Department was expanding to meet the demands of the Celtic Tiger for graduates in a rapidly growing construction sector. Unfortunately, a recession was looming large and, by the following year, the construction landscape had changed entirely.

“The impact of the recession was devastating. Student numbers applying for construction related programmes plummeted. Two key specialist programmes, Property Studies and Forestry, were cancelled.  It was a very challenging time for all staff and students in the department. We all felt the impact.” recalls Mary.

In 2011, Mary was appointed Head of Department of Building and Civil Engineering, overseeing five professionally-accredited undergraduate and postgraduate  programmes.

“Confidence in the construction sector as a career was at an all-time low. While the long-term resilience of the sector was never in doubt,  the phrase that one should “never waste a good recession” came to mind. This period presented an opportunity for our department to upskill and develop programmes in a new direction - towards sustainability and the digitalisation of the construction industry.

”We set about engaging our industry stakeholders to work with us towards a new future, based on research-informed developments in Sustainability and Digital Construction. Through collaboration with a variety of industry stakeholders we were rewarded with numerous national industry and educational awards. Building Information Modelling (BIM) education, from Undergraduate to Masters level, has become a core activity of the Department and is embedded in the curriculum of all disciplines. We have strong links with industry partners, the Construction IT Alliance (CitA) and the British Research Establishment (BRE) in the development and promotion of digital construction education in Ireland. We are currently involved in a HCI funded project, with Limerick IT and Athlone IT as academic partners, for a Digital Academy for the Sustainable Built Environment. 

"In the midst of the recession, Dr Martin Taggart, lecturer in Construction Management,  launched our first International Construction Management Conference (2011). During lean times, this annual conference was a vehicle for engagement with the construction sector and has grown to be the largest construction event outside Dublin, drawing construction companies and professionals from Ireland and internationally. In 2021 the challenge has been to take the conference online due to the impact of Covid-19 restrictions.

"As Head of Department of Building and Civil Engineering in GMIT, I feel privileged to have so many innovative and committed people on my team working to create a resilient future for the construction industry”.

Mary Rogers was an elected member of the GMIT Governing Body (2015-2020).

#IWDResilience #ChooseToChallenge

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