Villanova Signs an MOU with Ireland’s IT Sligo

Dr. Kelly and Kieran Tobin

Villanova University has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Institute of Technology (IT) Sligo, located in western Ireland. The MOU is allowing students enrolled in IT Sligo’s Master’s in Biopharmaceutical Science Program to take advantage of not only the College of Engineering’s distance-education capabilities but also its graduate Biochemical Engineering courses.

“It’s exciting to know that we attract students from other countries because of the quality of our courses and our delivery platform,” said Dr. William Kelly (on the right in photo), Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering, who taught the first cohort of Irish students in spring 2009 and who, along with IT Sligo faculty member Kieran Tobin (on the left), was instrumental in laying the foundation for the MOU signing. The two men met when Dr. Kelly, whose research is focused on biopharmaceutical processing, had traveled to Dublin in 2008 and 2009, respectively, to present biotechnology workshops.

Administrators at IT Sligo are equally enthusiastic about the growing relationship between the two schools. “Through the medium of distance education, this agreement affords our students access to world-class teaching in Biopharmaceutical Engineering at Villanova University,” said Dr. Jeremy Bird, Head of the School of Science. “To date, 10 Irish students from multinational biopharmaceutical companies have participated successfully in this program. We look forward to further collaboration with Villanova.”

One benefit of the partnership that Dr. Kelly has observed is that the Irish students are enriching the learning process by bringing a global perspective to the classroom. In addition, the partnership is creating closer ties between Villanova and Ireland’s significant pharmaceutical industry. Such connections may lead to research collaborations and job opportunities.

The success of this relationship testifies to the excellence of Villanova’s e-learning program. “With our recent broadcast of an entire course to IT Sligo, we have been able to show yet again that location of the student will not matter in the future of education,” said Sean O’Donnell CPE ’00, Director of E-learning and Graduate Marketing. Irish student Dave Riordan, who works for Lilly and who took the Biochemical Engineering course in the spring, noted that “the live lectures and recordings were very good quality and easy to work from.”