Enhancing Student Engagement in Decision-Making
Students are valued members of the higher education community, and it is important that this value is recognised by welcoming student participation in all aspects of higher education institutional life. The student, institution, and wider community benefit when students are actively engaged in institutional decision-making in terms of the three domains of governance and management, teaching and learning, and quality assurance.
In 2014, the Higher Education Authority (HEA) established a working group, chaired by Professor Tom Collins, to explore best practice in relation to student engagement in higher education institutions and to propose a set of principles that would assist institutions in this area. The working group comprised representatives from the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), the Irish Universities Association (IUA), THEA, Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), and the HEA, and published its report in April 2016, which recommended that all higher education institutions complete a co-led (staff and student) evaluation of formal and informal student engagement practices and opportunities at every level. The report also proposed ten principles of student engagement, and recommended that these should be embedded in a student engagement policy co-authored by the institutions and students in every higher education institution. The report of the working group, including the ten principles, is available here. A flyer, summarising the principles and how they should be embedded in institutional policy, is also available.
Irish Survey of Student Engagement (ISSE)
The Irish Survey of Student Engagement is managed as a collaborative partnership by the HEA, IUA, THEA and USI. The survey asks students about their experiences of higher education and is open to first year, final year undergraduate, and taught postgraduate students. Its main purpose is to provide benefits to each institution and its students by helping to improve feedback and appropriate action. Since the launch of ISSE in 2013, almost 125,000 students have had their say. A new, related ISSE survey for postgraduate research students (Research Masters and PhD) will run for the first time in 2018. Full details on ISSE are available at studentsurvey.ie
The National Student Engagement Training Programme
The National Student Engagement Programme (NStEP) was launched in April 2016 by the HEA, QQI and USI. The collaborative initiative, which is supported by the higher education institutions, has commenced with two key strands of work: a National Student Training Programme and Developing Institutional Capacity. Full details are available here.