Maynooth Access Programme Launchpad Panel

Launchpad banner outside the Science Building last week

As I mentioned a while ago, one of the reasons I had to come back from Armagh before the end of INAM2019 was an event I had to attend on Friday to do with Launchpad.

Launchpad is the Maynooth University Access Programme (MAP) orientation designed to support and ease the transition to third level for students who are coming to Maynooth University through entry routes supported by MAP. These groups include under-represented school leavers, mature students, students with disabilities and members of the Irish Traveller community. Incoming students supported by MAP can get to know fellow first years, ask questions and find out advice from existing student ambassadors on how to navigate the University before starting a new course at Maynooth.

It’s worth mentioning one specific initiative related to mature students, namely the Certificate in Science, which is a programme for mature students who wish to undertake a foundation year in preparation for degree studies in Science or Engineering. In this one year, full-time programme of study, students undertake modules on Mathematics, Engineering Science, Computer Science, Experimental Physics, Mathematical Physics, Biology and Chemistry. Students who do well can progress from this course into one of the science or engineering degree courses on offer at Maynooth.

Anyway, the event I took part in on Friday was a panel discussion involving the MAP advisors from each of the Departments in the Faculty of Science and Engineering and a lecture room full of students just about to start their courses at Maynooth. There were similar panel discussions for the other Faculties. I have assumed the responsibility as MAP advisor for Theoretical Physics this year, as I think it’s important that as Head of Department I make it clear that this programme has a high priority for the Department. Because I haven’t attended any such events before I wasn’t sure what to expect of this session. I worried the students might be very shy about asking question and that as a consequence in might not be very useful. I’m very glad to have been proved completely wrong!

We had a huge number of questions from the audience on a whole range of topics, such as subject choices (especially for the Omnibus Science course), coursework requirements, note-taking and all kinds of other issues too numerous to mention, filling up the entire 90 minute slot scheduled for the event. It was  a very interesting and enjoyable session and great to see the students so engaged and enthusiastic. Thanks to all who attended and especially to the new students for playing their part!

Teaching term doesn’t start for another couple of weeks during period which there will be further introductory sessions for the MAP students and others. My calendar is already rather full, but I don’t mind that at all if the events are as enjoyable as Friday’s.

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