Maynooth University has provided generations of students with an excellent university education, which has touched and changed the lives of each one and has enabled and empowered remarkable achievements. The quality of a Maynooth education springs from our deep commitment to teaching, which is driven by, and just as important as, our research.
Yet as we face the challenges of the 21st Century, we must continuously enhance the Maynooth experience to even better serve the needs of our students. There is no room for complacency, and so our ambitious goal is to offer students an “outstanding university education…which challenges and supports all students to achieve their full potential, and prepares them for life, work and citizenship, and for complexity, diversity and change.”
It is this question of complexity and change that inspires our new curriculum. Young people graduating today can expect to work until 2060 and beyond. It is hard to imagine what the world will be like towards the end of the present century, and our challenge is to prepare graduates for an uncertain future, replete with unknown opportunities and challenges. The best preparation is to concentrate throughout our undergraduate programmes on developing the ability to think clearly and critically, to adopt a broad perspective, to adapt to new situations, to tackle unfamiliar questions, and to frame innovative solutions.
We have critically examined every aspect of our student experience. We have listened to the views of students, parents, employers, guidance counsellors and teachers. We have looked around the world to gather the latest thinking and innovation in university education. The result is a university-wide transformation of our undergraduate curriculum which is intentionally bold, and comprehensive by design. We are building on our strengths, but adapting what we teach and how we teach to ensure our students graduate with the skills and qualities they need to flourish in a world where change is a given and adaptability is essential.
The central elements of our new model of undergraduate education are deep engagement with a student’s chosen disciplines; the ability to combine different subjects to create a more tailored educational experience and distinctive degree; time to broaden their perspective through electives, modern languages and multidisciplinary “Maynooth Modules”; and perhaps most fundamentally, the intellectual skills of analysis, reflection, critical thinking and clear communication that prepare students for today’s world of work.