Evidence, Policy & Strategic Planning

The HEA aims to serve as the central evidence hub for the Irish higher education system. A major element of this is execution of the organisation’s Data and Knowledge Management Strategy. Most of its 2018 actions were completed, with the exception of the development of a staff database. The planned review of impact assessment models also did not take place due to lack of resources.

Interagency collaborations continued and new MoUs were signed with SOLAS and Science Foundation Ireland. In addition, collaborations with the Central Statistics Office as part of the development of a National Data Infrastructure were significant and resulted in a joint publication of the results of a pathfinder project on Higher Education Outcomes. The placing of a HEA data analyst in the offices of the CSO on a 3-day week further strengthened this collaboration.

This year also saw the full roll-out of the Graduate Outcomes Survey (in development since 2015 with the HEIs). The survey now encompasses graduates of all HEA-funded higher education institutions and will be conducted on an annual basis. The monitoring of key performance indicators in the System Performance Framework also continued to assess both institutional and system performance on a national and regional basis. A full analysis of completion rates in higher education institutions was conducted, the first such report on the higher education sector as a whole.

Graduate Outcomes Survey Information

The Capital unit’s planning for a HE space survey is currently at an preliminary stage, including a review of previous ones undertaken in Ireland and consideration of international practice. The important work of making our data systems GDPR-compliant continued in a number of key areas such as DPIA and Data Sharing Agreement drafting.

In terms of its policy advisory role, the HEA did not hold Future-Look Focus events in 2018. It undertook substantial planning for a joint event with Massachusetts Institute of Technology scheduled for January, 2019, on the theme of the workplace of the future. The organisation continued to provide policy support to DES.