Fewer universities with one big brand leader known as the University of Ireland is in the wider national interest
The Irish Times – Fri, Feb 25, 2011
EDUCATION: IN THE COURSE of discussions on the University College Dublin-Trinity research alliance two years ago, the Taoiseach Brian Cowen and his advisers had a Very Big Idea. The secret discussions with the two universities had focused on how to build a world-class research capacity in our leading higher education colleges. But some of the Cowen team wanted to go further.
The logical step, they argued, was for a full merger of UCD and Trinity, pooling the best of both in a reshaped institution that would glide onto any list of the best universities in the world.
This is a terrible idea. It presupposes that it is worthwhile chasing international rankings. This quest is ephemeral at best. But even if it is worthwhile, Cowen’s strategy assumes that scrapping a very strong brand (TCD) and an emerging brand (UCD) and replacing them with an entirely new one is the way to do it. And that cannot be right.