Waterford IT climbed one place to 10th of 22 in the Sunday Times annual league table of Irish Universities and Institutes of Technology, published last Sunday in the paper’s University Guide for 2008.

Although below Waterford in the league in 11th place, Limerick won the paper’s IT of the Year accolade, ahead of Blanchardstown in runner-up position. Limerick was a lowly 18th two years ago and its profile in the Guide makes reference to the “steady progress” it has made.

NUI Maynooth is declared University of the Year, with UCD the runner-up.

The league table is drawn up using a range of criteria, including average Leaving Cert points for entry, research funding per academic, graduate employment, the quality of degree results achieved, student/staff ratios and dropout rates.

Despite its mid table position, WIT’s profile is highly
complimentary. “Pioneering WIT”, it says, “has introduced the Republic’s first honours degrees in entertainment systems and another in airline transport operations this month, as well as one in quantity surveying.

“It starts a BSc (Hons) in culinary arts next year and has upgraded most of its courses to direct-entry degrees. This month it expanded further into the traditional domain of universities by offering an arts degree – the south east’s first.

“The main Cork Road site houses the library and a new €25m tourism
and leisure department. An architectural, engineering and science, business and student services building is due to open in 2010. The Institute has two other campuses, College Street and the 170-acre Carriganore West, which houses the ArcLab Research and Innovation Cenre.

“Carriganore is where Waterford will develop the south east’s premier sports complex to cater for many of the Institute’s 53 clubs and societies, which range from golf and horse riding through to debating and law.

“There are 623 college-owned rooms and about 40 pc of first-years live in. A further 1,877 privately-owned study bedrooms are also available.

“The Institute, which has a new business incubator unit, has the most developed research programme in its sector and is 10th best in Ireland in terms of the amount of research funding it attracts per academic. Its research budget almost doubled to €19m last year and it has a global reputation in the fields of telecommunications software and systems research”.

According to the Guide, the first impression of WIT is of a modern place boasting impressive facilities. Its worst feature is that “being located in the south east may deter students”.

As for its facilities, the Guide says it has good computer technology and a subsidised canteen. Also, the student bar, the Dome, provides both food and daily entertainment.

And its “deal clincher”? WIT is very student-centred and the city is both student-friendly and easily accessible.

And some more stats: WIT’s research income is €19.2m; average points for entry is 350; its students achieved 58.5 pc of firsts and 2:1s; student/staff ratio is 13.3:1; and the dropout rate is 15 pc.