Quality & Academic Excellence

The HEA works to enhance students’ experience and engagement through a number of mechanisms. It provides €2.25m annually to the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (NFTL) whose main focus in 2018 was to implement the 2017 independent review recommendations. These included a re-working of their priorities and the development of a new Strategic Plan. In 2018, the Irish Survey of Student Engagement (ISSE) went through its sixth round. For the first time, a survey for postgraduate research students was piloted. The HEA’s direct involvement with USI and QQI on the National Student Engagement Project (NStEP) more or less finished by the end of 2018, while its engagement in DES’ Transitions Reform agenda continues.

With respect to research policy, the HEA participated in the implementation of Innovation 2020. For example, it co-chaired (with the Health Research Board) the National Open Research Forum to support the delivery of I2020 Action 4.7 (to advance the open research agenda in Ireland). It also launched the National Doctoral Framework Advisory Forum with QQI and it supported DES in its operation of the Higher Education Research Group (HERG). The HEA also led on reviews of the Irish Research e-Library (IReL) and of bibliometrics analysis tools.

In international education in 2018, the Government of Ireland International Education Scholarship programme was revised, and the new Academic Staff Mobility Programme was rolled out. An impact review of Erasmus+ was also undertaken.

We also successfully ran the ‘Making an Impact’ research competition for research students for the tenth year.

Interview with 'Making an Impact' finalist William Johnston (UCD)