The Minister for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D. today (Tuesday 30 April 2019) launched a new three-year strategy for the National Forum. The strategy will work to ensure higher education students can continue to have an excellent teaching and learning experience that is informed by up-to-date research and facilitated by a high-quality learning environment and enhanced teaching approaches.
Speaking at the strategy launch, the Minister said: “I am delighted to launch the Forum’s strategy of ambitious thinking, programmes and initiatives. This initiative is about developing a vision of success, in partnership with students – the most important people in the equation. The strategy’s aim is to provide all students with the opportunity to fulfil their potential and become creators of new knowledge who are community engaged, ethically conscious, professionally competent and equipped to flourish in a global world.”
The Minister continued, “The National Forum has emerged as an integral component of the wider Irish higher education system. It is only through all institutions working cohesively together with the Forum that we can offer students and teachers quality teaching and learning experiences. The Forum is a critical resource for an Irish higher education sector with inclusivity, collaboration and diversity at its core.”
The 2019-2021 strategy will consolidate and advance on the Forum’s standing as an essential component of the national-level infrastructure for higher education in Ireland. The Forum’s collaborative approach will mean engagement with every institution in Irish higher education as it provides leadership and guidance for the continued enhancement of teaching and learning in the sector, for the benefit of all.
Today’s launch coincides with a number of EU briefings by the Forum at which it has been sharing lessons learned with European colleagues currently engaged in formulating best practice in higher education international policy and implementation. The work of the National Forum has been identified at European level as exemplary in the area of teaching and learning in higher education and other countries have been encouraged to follow Ireland’s lead.
The newly-appointed Chair of the National Forum, Dr Lynn Ramsey, added: “I warmly welcome this strategy which was informed by a sector-wide consultation process, including input from senior managers, staff, partners and over 1100 higher education students. It also builds on the Forum’s commendable achievements over recent years and represents a new chapter in which we continue to work across levels of education, roles, disciplines and across borders to support the success of all our students.” Also present at the launch were Mr Paul O’Toole, CEO of the Higher Education Authority, and members of the Board and Executive of the National Forum.
The new strategy builds on the identified strengths of the National Forum, attends to the policy context within which it is embedded and identifies its four key strategic priorities as:
The Professional Development of All Those Who Teach
Promoting evidence-based, flexible, inclusive professional development for all those who teach, reflecting the contextual needs and drivers within and across higher education institutions
Teaching and Learning in a Digital World
Supporting those who learn, teach, and support learning to embrace and harness the potential of digital technologies with the goal of enhancing learning, teaching, and overall digital capability
Teaching and Learning Enhancement Within and Across Disciplines
Recognising that disciplines are a key unit of change in higher education, with a focus on disciplinary excellence in learning, teaching and assessment
Developing a vision of success, in partnership with students, with the aim of providing all students with the opportunity to fulfil their potential and become creators of new knowledge who are community engaged, ethically conscious, professionally competent and equipped to flourish in a global world.
The 2019-21 Strategy of the National Forum can be viewed here.
Dr Joseph Ryan, Chief Exectuive of THEA is a board member of the National Forum for the enhancement of teaching and learning.