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MIE President's Annual Report 2021 - 2022

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As the President of MIE, I look back with immense pride and gratitude for all that we have achieved in our Institute in what has been a most challenging academic year. As we grappled with the second year of COVID-19, our return to campus has been full of caution but also delight. However, navigating the ever-changing nature of life over the last year has been stressful for everyone. When we thought we could move ahead with face-to-face activities, we were frequently stalled or had to revert to online media only. 

The changing nature of the year, the commitment to keeping everyone safe at work and study, and fear for our families and ourselves around catching COVID-19, added to everyone’s workload. The need to support schools and early childhood settings by enabling our senior students to work as substitutes during the months of January and February, significantly impacted on our placements and the academic calendar for all students and staff.  The pivotal contribution of our students to keeping schools and early childhood settings open during this period has been acknowledged by Minister Foley and the various agencies across the state.

The involvement of students as key front-line workers during the pandemic and their generous and professional engagement with settings throughout the Spring has been warmly welcomed.  The resulting revision to the academic calendar for these and other cohorts, in particular B. Ed/B.Oid 1 students, was significant and certainly reverberated throughout all departments within the Institute. So, while 2020/2021 threw up unprecedented challenges, so too did 2021/2022.  The pace and rate of challenge and change has been relentless.

Some initiatives involving MIE have seemed to me particularly well suited to help address and meet the challenges of these times. The MigrantTeacher Project, which provides such important resources and support for teachers moving to Ireland and becoming part of our education workforce, has gone from strength to strength in recent years, and in 2022 has been well poised to help teachers moving from Ukraine to Ireland to find their feet here and, crucially, to help the Irish education sector understand their needs.  I commend them on their work.

It was a particularly difficult year for our students, who engaged well despite the challenges, and it was clear that the needs of our one-year IFP and first-year students across the board were greater than ever before. It was fortunate that we had invested in extending the student supports at MIE in recent years with the addition of an Access Officer, Student Engagement Officer, a Chaplain, and the provision of in-house counselling supported by two counsellors. Meanwhile the Wellness Committee and all the student clubs and societies provided essential anchors for our students. We were delighted that MIE had the highest level of student engagement with the StudentSurvey.ie across the higher education landscape. Our results are consistently high and student satisfaction with the Institute is very gratifying.

We have seen many other inclusive and expansive initiatives at MIE continue to thrive during the year, including our access to higher education project TOBAR, our student research forum and conference STER, our commitment to development education within the DICE project and the International Foundation Programme (IFP) which continued despite the COVID-19-related travel restrictions and the geopolitical events of February 2022. We opened up our campus to local residents and neighbours, so that they could enjoy the beautiful landscape during periods when they were restricted from travelling outside their immediate environment. Some of the community-focused standouts from the year included our leadership of the Dublin City of Learning project, our involvement with local schools in the provision of summer le Chéile programmes for children, our students’ involvement with traditional lunchtime music sessions, and the commitment to get moving with the Walktober project.

We hosted the Educational Studies Association of Ireland (ESAI) conference on-line in March 2022 and were delighted to host the Association of Teacher Education in Europe (ATEE) conference face-to-face in May, welcoming some 100 international delegates to MIE. Both conferences were a great success and showcased the academic and organisational capacity of the Institute.

Looking back at 2021/2022, I wish to thank each member of staff for their unstinting commitment and generosity of spirit. Throughout the year, our staff continued to ensure that students were as fully engaged as possible in their academic work, and supported them to participate in all the cultural and sporting activities that make up the fabric of student life at university.

I thank everyone for their kindness and for their dedication to one another and to MIE.

Professor Teresa O’Doherty

President, MIE

Previous Reports:

MIE President's Annual Report 2021-2022

Tuarascáil Bhliantúil Uachtarán Institúid Oideachais Marino 2021-2022

MIE President's Annual Report 2020-2021

Tuarascáil Bhliantúil Uachtarán Institúid Oideachais Marino 2020-2021