University College Cork (UCC) has been selected as Ireland’s University of the Year by The Sunday Times. The award, for the third time, follows on the heels of UCC becoming the only Irish university to achieve the unique status of Ireland’s first five star university and improving its position in the QS World University Rankings. UCC President, Dr Michael Murphy expressing his immense pride at the announcement said: “This prestigious award reflects UCC's outstanding reputation as a centre of excellence for teaching and research, the highly successful Access Programme, the ability to attract international students and establish links overseas.” He added: “the high calibre of students choosing the university along with the outstanding quality of the student experience clearly places the university as a world-class education provider.”
The student body at the university now totals almost 20,000 with over 2,800 overseas students from all five continents making it one of the most international campuses on the island of Ireland. The university has over 120 degree and professional programmes given through some 60 departments.
The award is based on the fact that UCC’s overall performance outstripped the other universities in key areas. It was one of only two of Ireland’s universities to move up the QS world rankings this year – going from 184th to 181st despite heavy cutbacks in third-level funding. Its continued excellence in research saw two of its inventions selected as Ireland’s “Best Inventions” in 2011 - a device for treating lung cancer and a potentially revolutionary microchip technology.
University College Cork was further praised by The Sunday Times for a range of other achievements including:
The first Irish university campus to be awarded the Green Flag for an environmentally friendly campus in student-led innovation.
Introducing a programme to help Irish companies take advantage of opportunities in Asia with 23 students taking part in the programme run jointly with the Nanyang Business School in Singapore.
Winning an award for the operation and expansion of its Confucius Institute and its innovation in Irish education in Chinese language and culture teaching. Graduate employment rate at 93% is improving despite a poor jobs climate.
IGNITE programme is aimed specifically at graduates who wish to set up a new business. More work placement opportunities have been included in the university’s programmes and an increasing number of UCC students are studying abroad under the Erasmus Lifelong Learning Programme and other exchange partnerships.
UCC’s Access Programme has been an outstanding success story. In 2010/11, the Higher Education Authority (HEA) reported that UCC had the highest combined number of full-time mature students, students with a disability, traveller students and students from lower socio-economically backgrounds among the third level institutions in Ireland.
UCC previously won The Sunday Times University of the Year in 2003 and 2005.