MTU TLASE* Enhancement through Leadership Development and Partnership Approaches

*Teaching, Learning, Assessment & Student Engagement


Munster Technological University campus with a circular grass area with students sitting around on the grass.

Who we are

Teaching, Learning and Student Engagement Development Functions at Munster Technological University


What we are doing

Enhancing Teaching, Learning, Assessment and Student Engagement at MTU through leadership development and partnership approaches, as follows:

Senior staff leadership development: In 2019/20, the TLU, with a steering group of senior staff from across MTU, piloted a new Leadership in Higher Education Programme at MTU.

Valuing and enabling distributed leadership: In 2016/17 we initiated a Learning Community (LC) Development Project across and between MTU disciplines and campuses to  identify and work on TLASE enhancements. LCs take leading roles, assume responsibility and foster staff ownership of development needs. We are currently working to expand LC membership across all campuses.

Developing and scaffolding a multi-level coaching and mentoring culture: Since 2015/16 we have developed coaching and mentoring programmes to scaffold colleague engagement for positive collaborative action in TLASE and help us to get things done. We are currently extending these programmes across all campuses of MTU.

Enabling student-staff partnership approaches to TLASE enhancement: Having introduced Students as Partners in Quality (sparq@CIT) to some campuses of MTU since 2014/15, AnSEO – The Student Engagement Office have grown the activities to include resources, skills development and project set-up support for student-staff partnership approaches to TLASE enhancement. Our more developed Le Chéile – Together programme will enable us to expand these supports across all campuses of MTU.

le chéile together logo

Impact achieved

Leadership development: In 2020/21, 30 MTU Senior Academic Leaders from across MTU campuses are completing a new Leadership in Higher Education Programme at MTU. Each senior staff member participating in the programme receives two one-to-one leadership mentoring sessions to assist in identifying priority areas of action to enhance TLASE within individual areas of responsibility. These developmental conversations with key MTU colleagues will also uncover areas of leadership development and support that need attention as we seek to develop  ongoing programmes of leadership support and development at MTU.

Valuing and enabling distributed leadership: 24 discipline-based and interdisciplinary Learning Communities have been seed-funded and established over the past 3 years to create TLASE development clusters and champions who will influence and lead TLASE enhancements from within their discipline. Some LCs are at incubation stage, while many are already working on TLASE projects identified at LC level. Feedback indicates that each LC is providing a developmental space for members to share and reflect on TLASE practices and provide peer support for innovations and  enhancements. Currently over 180 staff are involved, and this number is growing with the expansion of our university community since 1 January 2021.

Developing a multi-level coaching and mentorship culture: Since 2015/16 we have been providing coaching and mentoring skills development programmes to support positive change. These include:

  • EMCC accredited Coaching Skills Foundation Level Training Programmes for staff: 6 programmes offered with over 90 staff participating (staff-to-staff and staff-to-students)
  • Induction Mentoring Training for staff: 150 staff so far have engaged with the staff-to-staff programme as follows:
    • 21 Mentoring Champions, i.e., staff who provide mentoring but also help identify newly appointed staff who may require mentoring locally at a department level
    • 58 Mentors, i.e., staff who provide mentoring
    • 71 Mentees, i.e., staff who have benefited from mentoring
  • Coaching Skills training for over 80 Reach Academic Mentors on our new staff-to-student Reach Academic Mentoring Initiative (2020/21). Reach is a new academic mentoring programme introduced this year to support first- and second-year students during COVID-19 emergency remote teaching
  • Providing resources, skills development and scaffolding to enable meaningful student-staff partnership approaches to TLASE enhancement: Initiated in 2014, sparq@CIT has grown and developed. In 2020/21, we have rebranded sparq@CIT as the Le Chéile – Together programme for MTU.  As of the end of 2019/20, sparq@CIT had engaged over 1,735 students and staff in student voice/consultation work, moving towards co-creation and student-led TLASE projects.  In 2020/21, 6 staff-student partnership TLASE enhancement projects are underway: Building Assessment Literacy Initiative (BALI), Work Placement Preparation and Assessment, Enhancing Student Engagement Communications, Mathematics Academic Support Development, Good Start Induction Programme, and Enhancing Library Services.

What we are learning

  • Leadership at all levels matters to maintaining a compelling TLASE vision and common purpose across
  • Intentional, structured leadership development and enablement across MTU provide spaces for maintaining and growing trust and relationship, winning hearts and minds, crystallising common purpose, and achieving equitable student and staff experience as we merge to form MTU.  Enabling a good motivational environment is key.  Action follows motivation.
  • Student-staff partnership, done well, is a powerful enabler for TLASE
  • All students and staff are important to TLASE
  • There is no magical thinking.  HEIs must take positive action to create multi-dimensional opportunities for both staff and students to contribute to TLASE enhancements. The actions taken at MTU and outlined here put value on TLASE enhancement, spotlight good practice and enable widespread involvement from people across the university.

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