How qualified is your lecturer?

 

Sir, – I found Grannie Faller’s article (“How qualified is your lecturer?”, Education Today, March 6th) quite misleading and rather pejorative. Essentially, the article was based on a simple listing of the academic qualifications of lecturing staff in the Irish universities and institutes of technology. However, such comparisons are problematic for several reasons.

First, many lecturers in the Institute of Technology (IoT) sector were recruited from industry in order to strengthen research links with industry and to ensure undergraduate courses retain a practical bent. Such lecturers may not have PhDs, but they bring important professional expertise to the classroom that complements the academic expertise of colleagues.

Second, while qualification to PhD level and beyond is the norm in traditional disciplines such as science and the humanities in any third-level college, this is not true in more applied disciplines such as engineering, computing and business studies – the very disciplines that the institutes have as their primary focus.

Finally, WIT has been very successful at attracting international funding for research that is strongly linked to industry – such applied research is deliberately pitched at MSc level at the behest of funding agencies and industry. – Yours, etc,

Dr CORMAC O’RAIFEARTAIGH,

Lecturer in Physics,

Waterford Institute of

Technology.