By Nikki Murphy
President’s of DIT and ITB speak to The Edition about issues raised by DITs Heads of School in a letter to Tom Collins, the chair of DIT’s governing body after being left out of TU4D talks with IT Tallaght and IT Blanchardstown.
“I would like to confirm that Heads of School in DIT, ITT and ITB are entirely equal, and all must be involved equally in the development of the Technological University,” said DIT President Brian Norton.
The letter signed by 18 Heads of School was in response to the TU4D Steering Group meeting on the 19th October and comments made in relation to the roles of DIT’s Heads of School.
“Unanimous” in their “views”, the Heads of School involved in writing the letter said that “from the outset of this project the Heads of School in ITT and ITB have been ex officio members of the senior team discussing the shape and direction of the future Technological University. A reason offered for this was that a large number of DIT personnel would swamp the process. That would not however have prevented a representative group of DIT Heads of School from participating in their senior team discussion from the outset.”
The “seriously aggrieved” letter writers expressed concern that “this reality is now being expressed in significantly different terms. At least one director has stated the view publically that colleagues in ITB and ITT at Head of School level have a strategic role while DIT Heads of School cadre are merely operational managers.”
In his response to the letter, President Brian Norton of DIT thanked his colleagues for “sharing very honestly” their views and concerns. The number of issues raised in the letter would be reflected upon further with the President’s SLT colleagues and with the TU4D Steering Group.
Speaking to The Edition, President Norton said, “ As the largest of the three institutions, we have a very considerable contribution to make to its success and I look forward to progressing the design of the new institution and the development of an excellent application for designation.”
When asked about the concerns shared by Heads of School in DIT, President of ITB Diarmuid O’Callaghan added, “I am aware that this issue you refer to was mentioned in the letter to Tom Collins. This view is not supported by me or by the senior leadership team at ITB.”
He also went on to say, “ Heads of School in DIT, ITB and ITB are all on a standard contract of employment called an SLIII contract. This contract has been agreed between the Teachers Union of Ireland Trade Union and the Department of Education and Skills many years ago. Their terms and conditions of employment and pay scales are identical. Individuals then fill different required roles based on local circumstances.
“In some cases, schools are relatively large, some small, some have more research responsibilities, some external engagements or international responsibilities. In some Institutes, Heads of School report directly to the President and are part of the senior leadership team. In others they report via College Director and Dean, where the College Directors and Deans are part of the senior leadership team. Some Heads of School fill different central management roles. So the actual day to day job varies for Heads of School both within individual institutes and between institutes.”
Adrian Payne, Marketing and Communications Manager at ITT, said “with the creation of the Technological University in Dublin we will be in the position to offer students, as a combined entity,
a unique range of educational opportunities from Levels 6 to 10 including Apprenticeships. Embedded in Dublin’s City centre and also in the greater Dublin Region, our campuses in Grangegorman, Blanchardstown, and Tallaght will continue to provide access to students, industry and community so that they can benefit from all the opportunities that are available from this new enlarged entity. With this in mind, a Technological University in Dublin will be extremely beneficial, and as such, should be the primary focus of all decisions going forward.”
The Edition contacted many of the Heads of School here in DIT who signed the letter to Tom Collins to speak about the issue and of those who replied none of them wanted to speak on record to the Edition.