Return to Site

An Established Leader

Hibernia College is an established leader in pioneering new education technologies and embracing change in the ever-evolving world of education.

Founded by Sean Rowland PhD at the turn of the new millennium, Hibernia College follows an ambitious and forward-thinking strategy in order to play a leading role in education for the future. Dr. Rowland brought together his colleagues from the corporate, education and technology communities to create Hibernia College, Ireland’s first and only, accredited online third-level institution.

An online education model

Hibernia College has developed a model of online education that is successful because it is dedicated to helping professionals meet their current work challenges and by continually building on the interactions of students and faculty.
We educate professionals around the world who want access to the very best online education available.

Our College Crest

Hibernia College expresses itself proudly through the College crest, an Bradán Feasa (the Salmon of Knowledge*). Dr Seán M. Rowland, the College founder, designed the crest with Dr Karole Schafer Mourek and Anthony Mourek.

The crest shows the Salmon of Knowledge leaping over the water with the word ‘Eolas’ (knowledge) written underneath in Ogham, an ancient script strongly associated with Ireland.

The Salmon of Knowledge and the Ogham writing represent our commitment to teaching and learning of the highest standard, as well as the respect the College has for the history and rich heritage of Ireland.

*To read about the Salmon of Knowledge, click here.

Úsáideann Coláiste Hibernia an Bradán Feasa**, suaitheantas an Choláiste, mar shiombail bhródúil chun ár bhféiniúlacht a léiriú. Is é an Dr Seán M. Rowland, bunaitheoir an Choláiste, a dhear an suaitheantas seo i gcomhar leis an Dr Karole Schafer Mourek agus Anthony Mourek.

Sa suaitheantas, tá an Bradán Feasa le feiceáil ag léim os cionn an uisce, agus an focal ‘Eolas’ scríofa faoina bhun in Ogham, cló ársa a bhfuil gaol an-láidir aige le hÉirinn.

Is léiriú é an Bradán Feasa agus an scríbhneoireacht seo ar ár dtiomantas do na caighdeáin is airde teagaisc agus foghlama, mar aon le meas an Choláiste ar stair agus ar dhúchas saibhir na hÉireann.

**Chun níos mó a léamh faoi scéal an Bhradáin Feasa, cliceáil anseo.


In October 2016, Hibernia College was awarded the Erasmus+ Charter.

View our Erasmus Policy Statement here.

View our course catalogues for Primary here and Post-Primary here for more information on module structure and credits.

Awards and recognition

  • Digital Media Awards “Best in Digital Learning” Finalist 2016

  • Eircom Spider e-Learning and Education Award 2013

  • UK e-Learning awards: Gold and Bronze 2010

  • Selected to partner with five UK universities to solve the shortages of Science and Mathematics teachers in England in 2010

  • UK e-Learning awards: Silver and Bronze 2009

  • Hibernia College founder Dr Seán Rowland named one of the ‘100 greatest self-made Irish entrepreneurs’, Irish Entrepreneur Magazine 2009

  • Endorsed by Becta as an exemplar of ‘next education learning’, winning in 2009

  • UK e-Learning awards: Silver 2008

  • Hibernia College founder Dr Seán Rowland, named ‘Ernst & Young Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year 2008’

  • ‘Best e-Learning Company’ title at the Digital Media awards 2007

Hibernia College Quality Framework

Hibernia College offers a range of degree programmes validated and awarded by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI). Professional teaching qualifications are accredited by The Teaching Council of Ireland, and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programmes for Teachers are approved by the Department of Education and Skills. The standards of these programmes, as well as the learner experience, are assured through the implementation of the policies and procedures published in the Hibernia College Quality Framework.

The Hibernia College Quality Framework  reflects the College’s ongoing commitment to international best practice through a range of mechanisms that seek to continually monitor, review, and enhance our programmes and our College.   The Quality Framework is regularly reviewed for its effectiveness. Input from external experts including key stakeholders such as students, staff, employers and faculty is an important dimension of our Framework. This ongoing involvement of all internal and external stakeholders is emphasised throughout the policy and procedure documents.

The College is committed to publishing quality assurance reports summarising findings and identifying specific recommendations.  The  Quality Framework was approved in 2019 as part the College’s Re-engagement with QQI, please click here to view our QA approval report.

For reports from recent QQI-led and other quality assurance reviews including programme validation information, please click here.

Feedback on the policies and procedures contained within the Quality Framework is welcome and should be forwarded by email to Staff are invited to provide feedback and to submit request specific supports to us through the following online form here: Quality Framework (HCQF) Online Feedback Form


Policies are documented statements of principles covering specific areas of the Quality Framework.

They set out what the college says about a topic  and in general what to do.


Procedures are the documented broad actions that are taken to implement policy.

They set out how to carry out a policy.


Resources are less formal documents that support how policy and procedure are implemented.

They could be tools or templates, handbooks or checklists. Anything that supports the successful implementation of the HCQF.


Strategies are documents that set out the college's goals and objectives in a particular area.

These goals are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound.

Strategy tells us what success looks like.

AHEAD Charter

Hibernia College fully adopts the AHEAD Charter for Inclusive Teaching and Learning. In line with the Charter, the College’s quality assurance procedures incorporate the voice, and reflect the requirements, of all students including students with disabilities and those from other minority groups.  The College actively encourages feedback and welcomes any recommendations and suggestions for further enhancement in this regard.

Digital Education Learning Services

Hibernia College’s Digital Learning Department (DLD) offers a range of pedagogical services designed to enable the delivery of flexible, online and blended learning programmes. The DLD comprises learning designers, multimedia designers, A/V technicians, QA editors and VLE administrators, who work closely with academic teams to plan, design, develop and deliver media-rich materials for online and blended education programmes. The team has extensive experience creating videos, multimedia presentations, graphics, animation and text to create an engaging educational experience designed in accordance with research-informed pedagogical principles.

Recognising the importance of social learning, the DLD ensures that course designs feature collaborative activities and built-in student interaction as a core design principle of all group-based programmes.  For those activities that require real-time interaction, the DLD supports the planning and delivery of live online tutorials using virtual classroom technology, and offers full technical support to both students and lecturers. Our learning designers can integrate online elements with bespoke or pre-existing classroom sessions to create a holistic blended learning experience for students.

The DLD team has provided eLearning solutions to both National and International institutes over the last 15 years.

If you would like more information on these services, please email

Dr. Seán M. Rowland, President

Dr. Seán M. Rowland, President of Hibernia College, was born in Castlebar, County Mayo, Ireland. Having attended St. Patrick’s College in Dublin, he taught at primary school level for five years before travelling to the US to attend Boston College. Here he was awarded a Masters Degree in Curriculum, Instruction and Administration. He then pursued and completed his Ph.D. in Curriculum Instruction and Administration (CIA) with a focus on educational finance within the CIA programme. Dr. Rowland was also awarded a Masters Degree in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

While at Boston College, Dr. Rowland established and was appointed Executive Director of the Centre for Irish Management. His goals in creating the centre were to encourage economic development and create employment in Ireland through education, executive development and relationship building. Dr. Rowland also established the Irish Institute at Boston College, and, as Executive Director, worked extensively with young Irish professionals, political leaders and educators to promote Irish/US relations, provide upskilling in a variety of professional areas and contribute to job creation in Ireland.

In 2000, Dr. Rowland brought together his colleagues from the corporate, education and technological communities to create Hibernia College, Ireland’s first and only, accredited online third-level institution. The programmes for which the college is best known are its initial teacher education courses. Graduates from these courses are now highly sought after by schools around Ireland.

Dr. Rowland has served as President of the Harvard Club of Ireland and a member of Harvard University’s Littauer Society. He also served as a member of the Dean’s Advisory Leadership Council at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.  He is a member of the Harvard Faculty Club and an active alumnus of Boston College. In addition, Dr. Rowland is a member of the Institute of Directors, Ireland and of the Royal Dublin Society.

In 2008 Dr. Rowland won the Ernst and Young Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year award and in 2009 was named as one of the “100 greatest self-made Irish entrepreneurs” by Irish Entrepreneur magazine.

In 2013 Dr. Rowland was appointed to the Hewlett Packard (HP) Global Strategic Advisory Council for the HP National Education Technology Assessment project. In 2014 he was appointed to the Expert Group to examine future funding for higher education by the Minister of Education in Ireland, The Cassells Group, reporting to Government in 2016.


Seán Corkery, Chairman

Seán Corkery, non-executive director, is an IT and Telecoms veteran with more than 35 years of experience in the industry. Mr. Corkery is currently Chairman and CEO of Actavo, a leading infrastructure and utility support services company operating in various markets with particular specialization in Telecommunication and Oil and Gas industries. Before joining Actavo, he held numerous senior positions including Vice President, Global Supply Chain Operations for Dell Inc ,Chief Operations Officer at Esat Telecom , Vice President of Global Operations at AST Computer/Samsung, and, director of Pacific Region Operations at Apple.

He was a member of the Information Society Commission of Ireland, an independent advisory body to the Government, reporting directly to the Taoiseach (PM).  Mr. Corkery was a Director of Seabrook Research from 1997 to 2004(Software) and is currently a Director of Nualtra(medical nutrition), Topaz Energy Group(retail/fuel) and Digicel(Telecoms). Mr Corkery became Chairman of Hibernia College in February 2015.

David Carpenter, Chief Executive Officer

David Carpenter has held a number of senior positions in the vocational certifications industry including the position of Chief Executive of the ECDL Foundation, which he held for almost a decade and during which time he oversaw the development and growth of the ICDL programme from inception to global status. He has a wealth of experience in the certification industry and in the development of global partnerships at governmental and NGO level. He also has significant experience in the development aid (education and vocational training) sector having previously worked with the World Bank on a variety of infrastructural, educational and capacity building programs in sub-Saharan Africa.

David is a business graduate (BBS) of Trinity College, Dublin and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (FCA) and previously worked with KPMG and has held a number of senior finance and leadership positions with Swedish Telecom, in the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) and more recently in the Middle East.

Mary Kelly, Head of School of Education

Mary is Head of the School of Education at Hibernia College. In this role she provides academic leadership and direction for the School of Education’s suite of academic programmes, including the Professional Master of Education (PME) programmes in both primary and post-primary teaching, along with Continuous Professional Development courses. She is responsible for the strategic direction of research initiatives and innovation in academic development within the School of Education. She represents the College externally, promoting and further developing links with educational providers, agencies, professional organisations, government bodies and the community at large. In her six years of service, she has helped position Hibernia College as the leading provider of primary school teachers in the country.

Prior to becoming Head of School Education, Mary was Director of Primary Education and in Hibernia College. She is committed to ensuring that Hibernia College continues to prepare, develop and support reflective teachers who are academically strong, pedagogically skilled and responsive to the needs of all the children they teach, their parents and wider society.  Mary also serves on the Teaching Council.

Having graduated from St. Patrick’s College Drumcondra, Mary began her career as a primary school teacher and taught at all class levels in Ireland and abroad. In 2001, she was seconded by the Department of Education and Science to provide professional development in the area of Learning- Support with the Primary Curriculum Support Programme (PCSP). She then went on to work in several roles before taking over as Deputy National Co-ordinator PCSP with specific responsibility for the implementation of numeracy and literacy programmes under the Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools (DEIS) initiative.

Denis Cummins, Academic Dean

Denis Cummins is an Irish higher education expert who has held positions of lecturer in Computer Science and senior academic management roles including President/CEO at Dundalk Institute of Technology. In January 2016 he was appointed Academic Dean at Hibernia College, Dublin.

Working collaboratively with regional stakeholders he firmly established DKIT as the number one college destination for school leavers in the North East. As a performance-oriented leader he oversaw the enhancement of the Institute’s standing by improving results, improving its research metrics and increasing interaction with industry. As the “accountable officer” he had a strong ethical awareness and worked closely with DKIT’s Governing Body to foster a culture of accountability and transparency. Given his personal experience as the first member of his family to enter higher education, Denis believes strongly in equity of access to education. During his period as President he introduced scholarships to traveller students, mature students and for sporting achievement.

Holding a National Certificate in Data Processing with Distinction (DkIT), a B.Sc. Computer Systems with first class honours (UL) and a M.Sc. by research (Trinity College Dublin) he has built his successful academic career on his own strong academic record. His experience as a lecturer in Computer Science gave him a love for enquiry-based learning and a thorough understanding of the pedagogical, assessment and academic administration issues that would prepare him well for the senior roles he would later hold.

Denis was appointed President of DKIT in 2006. He led major developments such as the redevelopment of the Carroll Building, the acquisition of DKIT Sport and the establishment of the DCU DKIT Graduate School.

Denis brings a wealth of experience in quality assurance, academic leadership and strategic planning to his role as Academic Dean at Hibernia College.

Robert O'Neill, Head of IT

Rob has worked in senior IT Management and Operational roles for many years across a wide range of sectors.  Focusing on the application of technology to meet and exceed business and organisational requirements has enabled Rob to successfully lead multi-discipline teams in operations, technology, sales and marketing. Currently managing the College’s technical administration, support and development teams to provide a world class, 24×7 service to students, faculty and staff.

A graduate of TCD with a BSc. In Information Systems and DCU with a Masters in Internet Technology, Rob adds certifications in Project Management, ITIL and networking to a broad range of management and technical skills.

A former board member of the Association of Information Managers Ireland and a current member of the Irish Computer Society, Rob has a keen interest in information design, security, ethics and usability.

Francis McKeagney, Head of Digital Learning

Francis McKeagney is an eLearning pioneer with a track record of innovation and commercial success. He has worked extensively in the United States as well as in Europe.


Prior to joining Hibernia College, Fran was Chief Commercial Officer for Technology with Intuition Publishing. He joined Intuition after acquisition of his previous company, InnerWorkings. In his role, he created and launched a number of products, particularly focusing the company on the increasingly important area of cybersecurity. He also created a number of strategic industry partnerships to support Intuition in their entry into this sector.


Prior to Intuition, Fran founded InnerWorkings with a number of colleagues from CBT Systems/SmartForce and Intel. The company focused on performance-based training for professional software developers by creating a unique hands-on methodology with realtime code judging and performance analytics embedded within the Developer’s IDE. Fran spearheaded a partnership with Microsoft who used it extensively, both internally and within its partner ecosystem. The approach also underpinned a three-way partnership between InnerWorkings, HP and the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh.


Before InnerWorkings, Francis spent 12 years with CBT Systems in Ireland and the United States. The company was the first Irish technology company go public when it IPOed on NASDAQ. During his time there, Francis had different positions, culminating in his role of EVP of R&D with responsibility for the global R&D organization of 650 people in 5 countries. Before the IPO, Fran moved from Dublin to San Francisco where he remained for 10 years.


Francis graduated from TCD with a degree in Experimental Physics. He has also studied at Maynooth University, The Peace Research Institute in Oslo and at Stanford University in California.

Aisling Reast, Registrar

Aisling Reast has held several leadership roles in higher education and has a track record for delivering pioneering educational initiatives within highly regulated environments.


As College Registrar she ensures and facilitates effective quality assurance of the College as an accredited academic institution, ensures the integrity, accuracy, and security of all academic records, facilitates effective and compliant student registration and enrolment and designs and implements policies and procedures for responsible conduct as an academic institution.


Prior to joining Hibernia College, Aisling was Director of APPEL, a national body established to deliver a new model of education for the three Schools of Pharmacy in Ireland at UCC, TCD and RCSI.  Before taking up this role, Aisling was the Director of Operations at the Irish Institute of Pharmacy (IIOP). The IIOP was established by the pharmacy regulator to deliver a new model of continuing professional development and quality assurance of the pharmacy profession. Aisling’s profound commitment to quality and passion for education were essential in ensuring that the quality assurance systems for both bodies met the needs of a highly regulated, multi-stakeholder environment.


Aisling has held additional positions in healthcare education, policy development, continuing professional development, programme management and practice development, including at the Irish Centre for Continuing Pharmacy Education, Trinity College Dublin, the Irish Pharmacy Union and the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland.


Aisling is a pharmacist by profession and first registered as a pharmacist in 1999. She has since obtained an MSc at Trinity College Dublin and a Postgraduate Diploma in Leadership at RCSI. She also holds a diploma in public relations and certificates in assessment and quality assurance of the assessment process.