University of Limerick Institutional Repository

University of Limerick Oral History Project

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University of Limerick Oral History Project

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The University of Limerick Oral History Project (ULOHP) aims to create and archive an oral history of the University of Limerick (UL). From its foundation in 1972 as the National Institute for Higher Education (NIHE) with an initial cohort of one hundred students at Plassey House, the University has led the way in pioneering and innovative third-level educational development. It has combined exemplary teaching and research programmes with a tradition of dedication to the wider economic and social needs of both Limerick and the national community. The purpose of the Project is to create a digital archive recording the personal contribution and memories of those who were part of the foundation and development of the NIHE and, from 1989, the University of Limerick.

These personal narratives in audio and written format, present a rich portrait of the place and people which made up UL. Driven by an energetic enthusiasm for this dynamic ‘new’ third-level institution, founding academics and administrative staff, together with local and national public figures, revisit in their own words, memories of their own contribution and personal milestones in the history of UL. These important oral histories will be available for consultation to present and future students of the University as well as the wider community.

Project Methodology.

The ULOHP was initiated on 1 September 2008 by the office of the Vice President Academic & Registrar, Professor Paul McCutcheon, in preparation for the celebration of the fortieth anniversary of the foundation of the NIHE in 2012. The Project is overseen by a steering committee consisting of Professor McCutcheon and Professor Bernadette Whelan, Department of History, UL. The work of Project Officer, Dr. Catherine O’ Connor includes the identification and contact of interviewees, questionnaire design, the conduct and transcription of recorded interviews and the digitisation of material to archival standard.

Interviewees are invited to discuss their personal contribution and memories of UL in a semi-structured interview format. In accordance with best practice oral history ethical standards, each interviewee is afforded the opportunity to fully review and if necessary, amend the interview transcript before it is deposited to the ULOHP Archive at the Digital Library, UL. The unamended interview audio recording is deposited to Special Collections at the Library under a moratorium of twenty years, again, only with the full (signed) consent of participants. Each interviewee is invited to add a personal biography to the collection.

The following themes have been addressed in the Project interviews to date:

  • The demand for a University in Limerick prior to 1970.
  • The appointment of the Director and Planning Board, 1970.
  • Opening of the NIHE, 1972.
  • Appointment of the first Governing Body, 1975.
  • First Graduations, 1977.
  • Institutional development.
  • Curriculum/educational mission.
  • Physical development.
  • Cultural and sporting activity.
  • University status 1989 and subsequent amalgamation with Thomond College of Education.
  • Continued expansion and development.

The Project is an ongoing one, facilitating the archival of much future personal and institutional history.

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