"I am very much looking forward to my time in office as Chair of the THEA board for 2020", stated Professor Cunnane. "2020 marks a significant and challenging milestone in the development of higher education in Ireland. It marks fifty years of technological higher education, since the first Regional Technical Colleges came into being in 1970.
”The story of this sector’s evolution reflects the story of Ireland’s development. In 1970, there were about 12,000 third-level students in Ireland. Today, there are some 250,000, with the RTCs and Institutes of Technology being central in a dramatic rise in student numbers since their foundation. In fact, the socioeconomic profile of students in institutes of technology reflects that of Irish society as a whole.
“2020 will see further evolution of this sector as Institutes of Technology progress towards Technological University designation, bringing with it all the challenges and opportunities that such a major change entail.
“It is our hope that 2020 will see a resolution of the sustainable funding issue for our institutions. We expect that the report prepared for Government by Peter Cassells will finally be addressed and that a model of sustainable funding for higher education be agreed and put in place during my term of office as Chair of THEA.
Commenting on his appointment, Dr Joseph Ryan, CEO of THEA said: “I am delighted to welcome Prof Vincent Cunnane as Chairperson of the Board of THEA and we look forward to an engaging and busy year working with Dr Cunnane. We are very grateful to Dr Annie Doona, President of IADT for her term of office during 2019. We also wish Dr Doona well as she retires from the Institute of Art, Design, & Technology, Dun Laoghaire to embrace other challenges during the year ahead.
Prof Cunnane’s term of office runs from 01 January 2020 to 31 December 2020.
Note to editors:
Professor Vincent Cunnane is president of LIT since 2016. Prior to leading LIT, he had been president of IT Sligo since 2014. He was formerly Chief Executive Officer of Shannon Development until its merger into the Shannon Airport Authority Group of Companies. Before that, he was Vice President of Research at the University Limerick, where he also lectured and researched.
Professor Cunnane is an internationally renowned researcher in the field of physical electrochemistry. He is Chair of the Governing Council of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, a member of the board of the Irish Business and Employers Conference, and a member of the board of the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research & Training.
He is married to Helena and has three adult sons, Eoghan, Connor and Ciaran.
The Technological Higher Education Association is the representative advocacy body for the technological higher education institutions in Ireland