In parallel with the funding for initiatives focused on enabling student success across higher education institutions, announced in late 2020, the National Forum will be guiding institutions in the development of whole-of-institution strategies for student success over the coming months and years. We now welcome input from those who might like to become involved in this effort.
In his opening to the recently published Statement of Strategy 2021-23 of the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Minister Simon Harris, T.D., stated his Department’s intention to create opportunities and support people to engage in education and training at every stage of their lives ‑ to learn, upskill, reskill and grow. Recognising that a common language and understanding is a precursor to any meaningful positive change, a national understanding of student success in Irish higher education sector was developed by the National Forum in 2019. This national understanding was based on consultation with students, an extensive review of literature, consultation with national and international experts, and a review of institutional and national policy documents (see here). There is now a clearer picture of the characteristics and enablers of student success in Irish higher education.
Success is recognised as an iterative, developmental process that is too nuanced to be effectively captured by binary markers such as progression and completion rates. Success is also unique to every student and can be affected by context and stage of learning journey. All of this can pose challenges for the development of whole-of-institution strategies for student success and there is a need to work together as a sector to rise to this challenge.
As a first step, the National Forum has developed a one-page guiding framework (see here) to inform initial conversations in the development of whole-of-institution approaches to embedding student success. The framework identifies three key pillars for student success: enabling institutional capabilities, enabling institutional culture, and enabling institutional practices. The next step to be taken is the development of a supporting toolkit, which will provide further guidance under each enabler.
We are keen to work in collaboration with anyone across the sector who might be interested in providing input to the development of this new toolkit. It is planned to launch the toolkit, in partnership with our colleagues in the Higher Education Authority, in October 2021.
If you have expertise in any of the enablers of the student success listed in the guiding framework and would like to contribute to the development of the toolkit, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘student success framework’ as the subject header by Friday 26 March 2021.