At the recent biannual international Board meeting of the National Forum, attended by the its international advisors, a discussion took place regarding ensuring the long-term sustainability of the National Forum within the higher education landscape. This followed a recent update to National Forum Associates on the same topic.
Teaching and learning underpins key educational imperatives such as employability, internationalisation, innovation, equality of opportunity, academic excellence and student success. Ensuring the national body responsible for leading and advising on the enhancement of teaching is on a secure footing is seen as key to the achievement of related policy objectives.
The 2017 independent review of the National Forum recommended placing the National Forum on a sustainable basis and the Board of the Higher Education Authority recently recommended that this process begin and that potential models of sustainability be explored. Long-term budgetary security is fundamental to effective strategic planning and the achievement of enduring, system-wide impact with respect to the enhancement of teaching and learning across the entire higher education community. Sustainability is also important to protect the expertise and operational knowledge that have been built since the establishment of the National Forum.
At its recent meeting, the National Forum Board discussed options for sustainability, informed by a summary of input from key stakeholders regarding considerations to be taken into account in discussing the future of the National Forum. Among these considerations were the central role of students in all its work, the international mindset it embraces, leadership by an academically-led Board, its non-partisan, inclusive, consultative ethos and its strong link to national and international research and policy. The Boards of the National Forum and Higher Education Authority will now finalise a sustainability model for the National Forum over the coming months.
The international advisors of the National Forum are Prof Kathy Takayama of University of Maryland-College Park, US, Dr Christian Tauch of the German Rectors’ Conference and Prof Frank Coton of the University of Glasgow. Other National Forum Board members represent the Department of Education and Skills, the Higher Education Authority, the Union of Students in Ireland, Quality and Qualifications Ireland, Ibec, the Irish Universities Association, the Technological Higher Education Association of Ireland and the Higher Education Colleges Association. A full list of members of the Board can be viewed here.