A total of 17 networks and discipline groups across the sector have been approved for funding under the National Forum’s 2020 Network and Discipline Fund, which was announced last November. This iteration of the Fund has a focus on Shared Solutions to Common Challenges. It aims to support networks and discipline groups to work together to respond proactively to identified challenges in teaching and learning in higher education, including those that have come to light through the sudden move to online/remote teaching and learning. A total of 54 expressions of interest were received under the 2020 funding call, with 31 applications submitted by the deadline. The review of proposed initiatives involved student input and input from international teaching and learning experts.
Funded initiatives will be conducted during 2021 and include those focused on sustainability, embedding research in teaching and learning, curriculum development, transfer of skills across education and work contexts, effective online/remote/blended pedagogies, maths learning support, adult education, community engaged learning, professional practice, knowledge sharing and development of targeted resources and publications, and innovative assessment approaches. In optimising the impact of their initiatives, the funded teams propose to engage employers, policy makers and relevant state bodies, as well as stakeholders in post-primary, higher education and further education and training.
Networks and discipline groups are recognised as important mechanisms for collaboration and enhancement due to their direct links with those working in subject areas or focused on key educational activities across higher education institutions. Acknowledging this, a key strategic activity outlined within the National Forum Strategy 2019-2021 is to provide opportunities to strengthen networks and discipline groups and support their efforts to enhance teaching and learning. The list of networks and discipline groups that were approved for funding under this call in 2020 were as follows:
- Green Campus Network
- DCU National Centre for Family Business
- Re-envisioning Active Learning for the Asynchronous Learning Environment
- SURE Network
- University College Cork – Graduate Attributes Programme & Civic and Community Engagement Office
- Irish Network for the Enhancement of Writing (INEW)
- Irish Maths Learning Support Network (IMLSN)
- Creativity and Innovation in Social Care (CISC)
- Irish Centre for Religious Education (ICRE)
- Educational Developers in Ireland Network (EDIN)
- CEEN (Campus Entrepreneurship Enterprise Network)
- Children’s Research Network – Early Childhood Education and Care Special Interest Group
- The Teachers’ Research Exchange
- HAQEF (HECA Academic Quality Enhancement Forum)
- HEI FET Forum
- Irish Association for Social Care Educators (IASCE)
- Irish Network of Healthcare Educators
A new call for 2021 will be announced in the coming months, details to follow.