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International Office - Merrimack College

St Mary’s University College has been establishing links with colleges in the United States for the last 7 years. In 1999 it began to work closely with Merrimack College, located in North Andover, MA.

Merrimack College is a Catholic liberal arts college founded by the Augustinian Fathers. It offeres four-year undergraduate degrees in the liberal arts, business, the sciences and engineering. It has an enrolment of approximately 2000 students. The well-known annual review of American higher education published by US News and World Report has ranked Merrimack among the top ten colleges of its size and type in the North-East US.

St Mary’s has been keen to develop links with Merrimack as part of its development of a BA Liberal Arts programme for the Irish context. Faculty in Merrimack have been very helpful in sharing their experiences of multi-disciplinary education, and of the rewards and challenges of a values-centred approach to the development of the whole person. In particular, staff at St Mary’s have availed of this partnership in the development of our innovative Writing Centre and its programmes.

As well as co-operation in curriculum development, the two colleges have facilitated closer links between the two communities by supporting staff and student visits. Several staff from St Mary’s have visited Merrimack on short study visits to learn about their programmes, and also to deliver classes at Merrimack. And in return, Merrimack staff have also visited and taught at St Mary’s. Contacts have flourished in this way between the Art and English departments. The Art departments, under the guidance of Dr David Raymond (Merrimack ) and Mrs Deirdre Robson (St Mary’s), have exchanged exhibits of student work. Prof Kathy Cain (Merrmack) and Dr Matthew Martin (St Mary’s) have contributed to both teaching and research activities between the two colleges.

Student links have also been extensive. In the summer of 2000, twenty business students visited St Mary’s and followed an intensive study programme on international marketing. They were accompanied by Merrimack lecturers, Drs Chuck Comegys and Sue Pariseau, and met a wide range of local business leaders in and around Belfast. Representatives of the St Mary’s Students’ Union visited Merrimack in 2001 to promote student links and in the spring of 2002, student members of the St Mary’s College Drama Society visited Merrimack as part of a study programme in the US. More recently, student tutors from the College’s Writing Centre attended an international conference of Peer-tutoring organised by Merrimack.

The wide range of activities are evidence of a lively relationship between the two colleges which is co-ordinated by Fr Feidhlimidh Magennis (St Mary’s) and Fr Scott Ness (Merrimack), both members of their respective college’s international outreach teams.