New president of DIT college has strong record in research


A new president is to be appointed at the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), the largest third-level college in the State.

Prof Brian Norton, dean of the faculty of engineering and the built environment in the University of Ulster, will take up the post in September.

Like the new president of UCD, Prof Norton has a strong track record in research. He has helped to secure over £7 million in research funding for the Jordanstown campus.

His appointment comes after a very expensive advertisement campaign for the post. With 21,000 students, DIT has more students than both UCD and Trinity. They study at 36 locations around the city but the college has ambitious plans to move all facilities to a new site at Grangegorman.

In a statement, DIT chairman Dr Patrick Fottrell said Prof Norton will bring "strong academic and research credentials but also wide experience of administration, public service and interaction with industry. There are some similarities between DIT and the University of Ulster, and Professor Norton's experience will be very valuable to the future development of the Institute."

Prof Norton will succeed Dr Brendan Goldsmith, who has steered the development of the DIT since its establishment in 1993. In addition to his academic record, Prof Norton has been a specialist adviser to government agencies, professional bodies and to industry.

Recent CAO figures show that DIT is retaining its position as one of the most popular third-level colleges. Despite this, the college faces problems on a number of fronts. Its long campaign to achieve university status has still to bear fruit.

Two years ago, a Labour Relations Commission (LRC) report said the college was facing a crisis of low morale, troubled industrial relations, bad management and poor internal communications.

The report - quoting staff - says morale at DIT has been undermined at virtually all levels by aloof management, politically-motivated agendas and lack of consultation between management and the college's several hundred staff.

Since then, the college has begun a process of reforms to address these problems.