6 December, 2023
By Maura O'Shea
Posted: 31 May, 2022
The CEO of the Higher Education Authority (HEA), Dr Alan Wall, has welcomed the establishment of the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (National Forum) and a new Teaching and Learning Committee under the auspices of the HEA. This National Forum Teaching and Learning Committee will advise the HEA Board on the development and impact of teaching and learning enhancement in Irish higher education.
The establishment of the National Forum under the HEA completes the implementation of recommendations following a 2019 review of the work of the interim National Forum which operated independently of the HEA to advise and support higher education institutions on teaching and learning development and practice.
Under the HEA, the National Forum is established on a sustainable basis and will build on past work and advise the HEA and higher education sector on the enhancement of teaching and learning. The National Forum will continue to support individual, institutional and sectoral change through policy advice and funding support instruments.
The work of the National Forum will be student-centred, evidence-based, inclusive, responsive and consultative, as well as internationally oriented and relevant to students and staff, irrespective of institution type.
The National Forum, advised by the National Forum Teaching and Learning Committee chaired by Dr Lynn Ramsey, will be academically led, made up of representatives of the broad spectrum of stakeholders in Irish higher education, including students, academics, senior managers, policy makers and representative bodies.
Over the course of 2022, the National Forum will develop a new strategy to reflect the enhanced position of teaching and learning on the national higher education landscape and its importance to the work and mandate of the Higher Education Authority.
The National Forum uses funding instruments to drive teaching and learning enhancement in Irish higher education through the National Seminar Series, Conference Supports, and a targeted fund for the Strategic Alignment of Teaching and Learning Enhancement in Irish higher education. Current initiatives also include professional development open courses, supports for the implementation of the student success toolkit, sharing of open education resources through the National Resource Hub and awards for Teaching and Learning Research Fellowships, Disciplinary Excellence in Learning, Teaching and Assessment (DELTA) and Teaching Heroes.
Updates on these initiatives along with a range of nationally relevant resources such as insights and guides, frameworks, policy papers and surveys are also available at teachingandlearning.ie.
The CEO of the Higher Education Authority (HEA), Dr Alan Wall said:
“I am grateful to the National Forum’s Chairperson, Dr Lynn Ramsey, and her Board, for the work they have done to progress the strategic development of teaching and learning in Ireland and to progress the Forum under the auspices of the HEA. I am also particularly cognisant of the work of past contributors to the Forum, such as Professor Sarah Moore, its first Chair, and Dr Terry Maguire, its first Director, who retired in 2021, Dr Joseph Ryan and Professor Philip Winn who acted as Chair and Director respectively during a short interim period, the former National Forum executive and National Forum Associates which comprised of teaching and learning experts from across the sector. Many have brought a wealth of experience, vision and commitment to collaboration to the Forum to bring it to this point and we in the HEA look forward to building on that vision and the centrality of teaching and learning to higher education in Ireland.”
Notes to Editor
About the National Forum
Pre 2022, the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (National Forum) operated under a custodial arrangement between the HEA and the University of Limerick. In late 2021, the Board of the HEA approved a proposal to establish the National Forum on a more sustainable basis under the auspices of the HEA.
The National Forum works with those leading and advising on the enhancement of teaching and learning in Irish higher education. It works with those who teach, learn and shape policy and practice to ensure a valued and informed teaching and learning culture in Irish higher education. It has a focus on the professional development of all those who teach, teaching and learning in a digital world, teaching and learning within and across disciplines, and student success.
Professional Development of All Those Who Teach
The National Forum promotes evidence-based, flexible, inclusive professional development opportunities that reflect the contextual needs and drivers within and across higher education institutions. Ireland’s first framework to support the professional development of those who teach across the sector was published by the National Forum in 2016. Open Courses for Professional Development have been designed by teams of colleagues across the higher education sector in collaboration with the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education as non-accredited professional development opportunities for all who teach in Irish higher education. Open Courses are flexible opportunities for those who those interested in progressing their professional development further information available here.
Teaching and Learning in a Digital World
The National Forum supports those who learn, teach and lead in higher education to critically apply digital technologies with the goal of enhancing learning, teaching and overall digital capability. They also published a policy framework and guidance to support institutions in developing education principles, practices and policies for digital and open teaching and learning. Further information available here.
The National Forum, working in partnership with students, has developed a vision of success 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. They have created the Seven Cs for Embedding Student Success: A Toolkit for Higher Education Institutions (Seven Cs Toolkit) resource for higher education institutions and developed the national understanding of student success in Irish higher education, compiled in collaboration with a range of sectoral representatives. Further information available here.
Teaching and Learning Enhancement Within and Across Disciplines
Recognising that disciplines are a key unit of change in higher education, the National Forum supports institutions with a focus on disciplinary excellence in learning, teaching and assessment. They provide a guiding framework, Erasmus+ DELTA mobility opportunity and award stream, strengthening networks of practitioners in academic disciplines and supporting impact on the teaching within disciplines.
The National Forum provides a variety of funding opportunities for Irish higher education institutions and initiatives that reflect and support the enhancement and transformation of teaching and learning at both a national and European level. For further information please see here.
The national learning impact awards aim to support sectoral and institutional efforts to promote, learn from and extend the reach of excellent practice in teaching and learning across Irish higher education. The three learning impact awards are Teaching Hero Awards, Teaching and Learning Research Fellowships, and DELTA Awards;
· Teaching and Learning Research Fellowships, in partnership with the Irish Research Council, are Ireland’s most prestigious national individual teaching and learning awards in higher education, further information available here.
· The DELTA Award celebrates excellence in teaching and learning within the disciplines and commitment to an ongoing, clearly articulated, shared process of continued enhancement, further information available here.
· Teaching Hero Awards, in partnership with the Union of Students in Ireland, celebrates outstanding teaching that has been recognised by students as enhancing their learning, further information available here.
At national level, the National Forum works in partnership with the Higher Education Authority (HEA), Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) and representative bodies (Union of Students in Ireland (USI), Irish Universities Association (IUA), Technological Higher Education Association (THEA), Higher Education Colleges Association (HECA), to help shape developments in teaching and learning enhancement across the Irish higher education sector.
National Forum Associates, chosen by their institutions, in consultation with the National Forum, provide crucial institutional perspectives which inform strategic developments within and beyond the National Forum. Partners and associates ensure that the reviews, research, frameworks and initiatives of the National Forum serve to inform policy and practice at both national and local level.
6 December, 2023
1 December, 2023