Center for Irish Partnerships Expands Student Global Learning
By Karen Angelo
To further advance UMass Lowell’s Center for Irish Partnerships’ mission to provide students with global experiences, Chancellor Marty Meehan signed a collaborative agreement with the new president of Dublin City University in July.
The signing coincided with the inauguration of Dublin City University’s new president, Brian MacCraith, who was previously head of the Biomedical Diagnostics Institute at the University. Last fall, at the Irish-American Emerging Technologies Conference in Lowell, MacCraith promised to strengthen ties between the universities. He fulfilled that promise on his first full day on the job.
“We have been developing a deep relationship with UMass Lowell over the past 18 months and it’s very clear that we have the basis of a sustainable, synergistic relationship,” says MacCraith. “Through our discussions with colleagues in Lowell, it is clear that there is a wide range of areas of common focus in both teaching and research, such as biomedical science and engineering, biopharmaceuticals, bio process analysis, nursing, distance education, Irish studies and entrepreneurship.”
Meehan spoke at the signing ceremony about the importance of giving students global experiences, a requirement in today’s shrinking world.
“Going beyond what each university can do by itself will create a new generation of decision makers, entrepreneurs and leaders who can compete and collaborate with the best in the world,” said Meehan.
The UMass Lowell Center for Irish Partnerships was established in 2009 along with eight other centers
— African, Asian, Franco-American, European, Hellenic, Latin and South American, Middle East and Turkish
— and has made substantial progress developing joint projects with universities.
For example, as a result of the collaboration with Queen’s University Belfast, six UMass Lowell students, led by visiting archaeologists from Queen’s University, will investigate the site of an early 19th century Irish settlement at St. Patrick’s Church in Lowell beginning Aug. 16. They will excavate and catalog findings to uncover clues about life during the Irish Famine and then travel to Ireland next summer.
“This archaeological dig is a good example of how establishing formal working agreements with international universities can offer interesting projects for our students,” says Frank Talty, director of Academic Programs and co-director of the Center for Irish Partnerships.
“How exciting for our students to learn an important part of history by excavating the land here in Lowell and then in Ireland. They will gain a deeper understanding of the life of the Irish in Ireland before and after the great famine, and the role played by the Irish in the development of the United States in the 19th century.”