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Retirement of Professor Anne O'Gara

It was with sad and heavy hearts that staff, students and colleagues bade farewell to Professor Anne O’Gara following her retirement as President of MIE on 14th May 2018. Anne had an enormous transformative effect on MIE during her 12-years leading the Institute. She identified very early in her tenure as President that the Institute had the potential to provide a singular focus on education, and with this in mind she set about modernising the campus to reflect this focus. As a result, today MIE boasts several bespoke ‘dedicated spaces’ in areas such as arts education and early childhood education.

Anne oversaw the growth of programmes MIE offers at undergraduate and postgraduate levels – with MIE now offering three undergraduate degree programmes in Primary Teaching, Education Studies and Early Childhood Education, and seven postgraduate programmes, including a Professional Master of Education (Primary Teaching) and a diverse suite of Master in Education Studies programmes addressing Intercultural Education, Early Childhood Education, Visual Arts, Inquiry-based Learning, and Leadership in Christian Education. Anne was also instrumental in bringing the Trinity International Foundation Programme to MIE.

Anne formalised a new research strategy for the Institute which has resulted in several national and European research projects being coordinated by MIE. During her tenure, the number of MIE staff who have earned their PhDs or have registered for PhD programmes has been significant.

The impact of Anne’s external-facing role on MIE’s behalf cannot be underestimated. Anne was appointed by the then Minister for Education and Skills to be a member of the Teaching Council in 2007, and has been a member of the board of the CAO since 2009. As an advocate, ambassador and champion of MIE and the values it represents, she helped the Institute to develop a new confidence and a new openness that has resulted in many important developments for MIE. Her presence on the education landscape in Ireland is impressive. Anne was - and still is - a significant proponent of the ‘Marino Way’, which can be summed up as a dedication to inclusion, the dignity and respect of all people, and ultimately the firmly held belief in education’s cherished role in our society as a means of personal development and social mobility.

During her final year in her position, Anne oversaw the achievement of three enormously  significant strategic milestones: firstly, MIE’s student numbers exceeded 1,000; secondly, Anne and her team concluded the purchase of the Westcourt MIE Student Accommodation, a development that will provide quality accommodation for MIE students and will contribute to the future growth and development of the campus; and finally, Anne led the submission of a tender to provide an Irish-medium B.Ed – a tendering process in which MIE was ultimately successful, resulting in the award of a contract of delivery of the programme from the Department of Education and Skills. The securing of this contract reflected many of Anne’s leadership abilities in action: vision, ambition, bravery, and the willingness to invest in and trust colleagues through the development of quality relationships.

Her guidance, advice, good humour and consideration will be sorely missed by all associated with MIE, as we thank her for her service and wish her the best of possible futures in this next phase of her life.

Scor an Ollaimh Anne O’Gara

Ba le croí trom a d'fhág an fhoireann, na mic léinn agus a comhghleacaithe slán leis an Ollamh Anne O’Gara tar éis di dul ar scor óna post mar Uachtarán IOM ar an 14 Bealtaine 2018. Ba ollmhór agus ba bhunaithreach an éifeacht a bhí ag Anne ar IOM le linn an 12 bhliain déag a chaith sí i gceannas ar an Institiúid. D'aithin sí go luath ina seal mar Uachtarán go raibh sé de chumas ar an Institiúid fócas ar leith ar an oideachas a chur ar fáil agus, ag smaoineamh air sin, thug sí faoin gcampas a nuachóiriú leis an bhfócas sin a léiriú. Mar thoradh ar an méid sin go léir, tá 'spásanna tiomnaithe' in IOM inniu i réimsí amhail oideachas ealaíon agus oideachas luath-óige.

Rinne Anne maoirseacht ar fhás na gclár a thairgeann IOM ag leibhéal bunchéime agus ag leibhéal iarchéime – agus anois tá trí chlár bunchéime á soláthar ag IOM sa Bhunmhúinteoireacht, sa Léann Oideachais agus san Oideachas Luath-Óige, agus seacht gclár iarchéime, lena n-áirítear Máistreacht Ghairmiúil san Oideachas (Bunmhúinteoireacht) agus sraith iléagsúil de chláir Máistreachta sa Léann Oideachais lena dtugtar aghaidh ar Oideachas Idirchultúrtha, Oideachas Luath-Óige, na hAmharcealaíona, Foghlaim ar Bhonn Fiosraithe, agus Ceannaireacht Chríostaí san Oideachas. Bhí páirt mhór ag Anne freisin ó thaobh Bonnchlár Idirnáisiúnta Choláiste na Tríonóide a thabhairt go IOM.

Rinne Anne straitéis nua taighde don Institiúid a chur ar bhonn foirmiúil, rud a d'fhág go bhfuil roinnt tionscadal náisiúnta agus Eorpach á gcomhordú ag IOM. Is suntasach líon na mball foirne in IOM a bhain dochtúireacht amach nó a chláraigh le clár PhD le linn a tréimhse oifige.

Ní féidir an iomarca tábhachta a chur le tionchar an róil a bhí ag Anne agus í ag déileáil leis an saol seachtrach thar ceann IOM. In 2007 cheap an tAire Oideachais Anne mar chomhalta den Chomhairle Mhúinteoireachta agus tá sí mar chomhalta de bhord an CAO ó bhí 2009 ann. Mar ionadaí, ambasadóir agus cosantóir IOM agus na luachanna dá seasann sí, chuidigh sí leis an Institiúid muinín nua agus oscailteacht nua a fhorbairt, as ar eascair cuid mhór nithe nua tábhachtacha do IOM. Is iontach an méid atá déanta aici i réimse an oideachais in Éirinn. Thacaigh Anne go mór, agus tacaíonn sí go fóill, le 'Bealach Marino', rud a chuimsíonn tiomantas don ionchuimsiú, do dhínit gach duine agus do mheas ar gach duine, agus don chreideamh diongbháilte i ról luachmhar an oideachais sa tsochaí mar bhealach chun forbairt phearsanta agus soghluaisteacht shóisialta a bhaint amach.

Le linn a bliana deiridh sa phost, rinne Anne maoirseacht ar ghnóthachtáil trí sprioc straitéiseacha a bhí thar a bheith tábhachtach: sa chéad dul síos, bhí níos mó ná 1,000 mac léinn cláraithe le IOM; sa dara dul síos, d'éirigh le Anne agus lena foireann Lóistín na Mac Léinn Chúirt an Fhaoitigh a cheannach, ar forbraíocht chónaithe é lena gcuirfear cóiríocht ar ardchaighdeán ar fáil do mhic léinn IOM agus a chuirfidh le fás agus forás an champais amach anseo; agus ar deireadh, faoi stiúir Anne rinneadh tairiscint chun Baitsiléir san Oideachas trí Ghaeilge a sholáthar – próiseas tairisceana inar éirigh le IOM, agus mar thoradh air bhronn an Roinn Oideachais agus Scileanna conradh ar an Institiúid leis an gclár a chur i gcrích. Le baint amach an chonartha sin léiríodh cuid mhór de chumas Anne mar cheannaire: fís, uaillmhian, crógacht, agus toilteanas infheistiú a dhéanamh i gcomhghleacaithe agus muinín a chur iontu trí chaidrimh ardchaighdeáin a fhorbairt.

Aireoidh gach duine a bhfuil baint aige le IOM uathu treoir, comhairle, greann agus tuiscint Anne, agus gabhaimid buíochas léi as a cuid seirbhíse agus guímid gach rath uirthi le cibé atá roimpi sa chéad chéim eile dá saol.