DCU is named The Sunday Times University of the Year
Recognised as a champion of social mobility, Dublin City University has been named The Sunday Times University of the Year for 2021.
It is the third time that DCU have been awarded this accolade, since the Sunday Times Good University Guide was first published in 2002, having previously won in 2004 and 2010.
The Sunday Times notes that DCU is famed for its diverse intake, a cornerstone of its ethos since it was founded 40 years ago in 1980 and it is now a university of 18,500 students, drawn from 55 countries across the world.
One in five students admitted to third level through the Higher Education Access Route last year are studying at DCU and the university’s access programme has supported more than 4,000 students over the past 30 years.
The university gains a place in this year’s Sunday Times third level rankings to stand in fifth position, having added more points to its overall total in the ranking than any other institution.
DCU scores especially well for low levels of graduate unemployment – just 3% of students are out of work nine months after leaving according to the latest figures, a rate bettered by just two other institutions. It has the second best progression rate in Ireland with 92% of students progressing from year one to year two of honours degree courses, and no university awards more top class degrees to its students, with 78.4% leaving with a first or 2:1.
DCU is the top ranked university for providing a supportive environment for students in the most recent results published in the annual studentsurvey.ie, which measures the student experience across nine distinct areas.
Covid-19 has presented challenges to DCU, as it has to all third level institutions, but DCU was quick to develop a package of educational, emotional and practical help for its students. Recognising the financial impacts of the pandemic, the university moved to a flexible accommodation system for its students, allowing them to book in by the night if necessary and reducing the need to make large-scale commitments. The university was quick to offer loans of laptops and technology, also setting up a hardship fund through its education trust, while many alumni volunteered to be mentors for the current generation of students whose education has been disrupted in the past months.
On a practical level to help the national fight against the pandemic, the university has created a research and innovation hub to link its experts to areas of national need. It has also trained frontline workers in a virus tracing centre in its nursing school, as well as making face coverings and goggles for healthcare workers using 3D printers.
Alastair McCall, Editor of The Sunday Times Good University Guide, said,
“DCU’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic for its students shows the emotional literacy you would expect from an institution that has championed social mobility throughout its entire 40-year history. Thoughtful and responsive, the university has tried to make the best of a difficult, evolving and immeasurably complex situation for its student population.
All of the metrics in our ranking also pointed firmly towards DCU being our University of the Year,” said McCall. “Students leave well qualified to take their place in the working world – where they are heavily in demand – and they are equipped to make a telling contribution when they get there. Dropout rates are low and student support is extensive. It is hard to think of a university that has done more to open up third level to the widest possible student audience and then ensure that their experience is focussed and fulfilling.”
Professor Daire Keogh, President of Dublin City University said the award was a validation of the university’s mission.
“I like to think that DCU is distinguished as a university for putting people first, in terms of respect, inclusivity and our vision and service ethos.
“People come to work here with the intention of transforming lives and society. That may sound romantic or idealistic but this award is an affirmation of our mission and dedication to it.”
The Sunday Times Good University guide contains Ireland’s only league table that measures the performance of all 19 multi-faculty third-level institutions. The full rankings will be revealed on Sunday (November 1st).