The biennial meeting of the National Forum Associates Assembly took place on Tuesday, 19 May. The meeting, which was scheduled to take place in person, was moved online and allowed for an update on ongoing work to be given and a discussion of key National Forum work currently in development.
The Associates heard about the recent INDEx Survey report launch, progress in selecting Ireland’s Teaching and Learning Research Fellows, ongoing work under the €5.57m SATLE Fund, the National Forum Disciplinary Excellence in Teaching, Learning and Assessment (DELTA) Awards, the suite of National Forum online professional development short courses, and national education policy responses in the context of COVID-19.
Discussion took place regarding a national consultation on Valuing Ireland’s Teaching and Learning (VITAL), which is currently in its early stages. The VITAL consultation will provide the opportunity for individuals, disciplines, institutions and the higher education system to articulate a shared declaration with regard to how we value teaching and learning in Irish higher education. It will also allow the higher education community to define, collectively and in partnership, an agreed approach to how we recognise and demonstrate the value of teaching and learning in Irish higher education. You can read more about the VITAL consultation here.
The Associates also provided input into an exploration being conducted by the National Forum aiming to gather and disseminate lessons learned from members of the higher education community, who have gained new perspectives, considered new approaches and shifted thinking with regard to teaching and learning in recent months. The evident capacity which allowed so many staff and students to move to teaching and learning online and to transfer, re-purpose and re-imagine existing knowledge and experience reflects the significant Government investment in teaching and learning over the past several years and the sustained efforts of institutions and all those who support student success. It is important that learnings from this time are recorded so that teaching and learning across institutions may be further advanced through a dissemination of collective insights. A National Forum Insight detailing the results of this exploration will be published in the coming weeks.
The National Forum Associates form an integral part of the structure of the national teaching and learning landscape in Ireland. Associates, chosen by their institutions, in consultation with the National Forum, provide institutional perspectives which inform strategic developments within and beyond the National Forum. They also ensure that the reviews, research, frameworks and initiatives of the National Forum serve to inform policy and practice at local level. Meetings are held each semester at which National Forum Associates hear about and give their input into ongoing and upcoming teaching and learning enhancement efforts at national level.
The next meeting of the National Forum Associates Assembly is due to take place in October.