The third cycle of strategic dialogue saw HEIs submit a self-evaluation of their performance against the metrics they put forward in the compact agreed with the HEA in 2014. These performance reports were reviewed by the HEA Executive with reference to the first set of targets to be achieved by year end 2015.
In preparing their response, institutions were requested to have regard to the general feedback, informed by input from the HEA Board and external advisors to the process that issued under the first and second cycles and to have specific regard to:
- Implementation of the Transitions agenda – HEIs were requested to report on the vision underpinning the portfolio of undergraduate programmes, how planned provision is aligned to institutional mission, reducing the number of entrance points into higher education;
- Efforts to improve retention rates – where data in the HEA’s recent publication A Study of Progression in Irish Higher Education 2012/13 – 2013/14 (2016) highlighted concerns in each HEI, the HEA needs to be assured that a systematic approach is in place, to address the issue of non-progression, drawing on best practice nationally and internationally;
- Systems and workload management – A Review of Workload Management Models in Irish HEIs was published in 2014. HEIs were requested to report on the development of workload management approaches since then, with reference to the effectiveness of the approach, the outputs of same and how this contributes to the objectives of improving both accountability and performance within higher education.
As in the previous cycle of strategic dialogue, institutional submissions were assessed by the HEA, assisted by external advisors comprised of national and international higher education experts. Feedback on each institutional submission was provided in advance of meetings with institutions. Performance funding allocations were notified alongside 2017 HEI budget allocations. The HEA has committed to the publication of institutional performance funding allocations and progress towards the national system objectives as part of an annual system performance report for 2017.