Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD has today announced a €6.4m funding allocation to drive teaching and learning innovation and enhancement across the higher education sector.
SATLE – the Strategic Alignment of Teaching and Learning Enhancement Funding in Higher Education – is administered by the National Forum in partnership with the Higher Education Authority.
The funding will focus on innovations in education for sustainable development, digital transformation and academic integrity.
The 2022-2023 allocation is made up of a share of €5m base funding and an additional one-off 2022 addition, bringing the total fund to €6.4m.
Announcing the funding, Minister Harris said:
“I am delighted to announce this funding allocation in support of enhanced teaching and learning, in particular as this is an immediate response to ESD to 2030, the Second National Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development, which I launched earlier this week. The funding is targeted to support a number of innovations under the five pillars of the new strategy to promote and support the embedding of ESD and inclusive and sustainable principles and practices in our higher education system.”
The Second National Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development to 2030 (DFHERIS/DoE/DCEDIY) is aligned with the pillars of the UNESCO ESD Framework to 2030, which aims to transform learning environments across all levels, making them more inclusive and sustainable. It also embeds opportunities for collaboration and peer learning on ESD, with a particular focus on transformative pedagogies, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches. And it supports the development of Open Courses on ESD/SDGs for professional development of educators in higher education.
The CEO of the Higher Education Authority (HEA), Dr Alan Wall, welcomed the announcement.
“This investment is a significant commitment to our shared vision for the centrality of teaching and learning to higher education in Ireland,” he said.
Digital transformation in the tertiary sector leverages learning from Next Steps for Teaching and Learning: Moving Forward Together and supports the development of institutional policies for digital and open teaching and learning, including online, blended and face to face modes of learning (see Guide to Developing Enabling Policies for Digital and Open Teaching and Learning).
Welcoming the funding allocations, the National Forum’s Chairperson, Dr Lynn Ramsey said;
“The National Forum, working in partnership with students, has developed a vision of ‘student success’ with the aim of providing all students with the opportunity to fulfil their potential. This potential will be further enabled by this funding commitment which targets innovations in education for sustainable development, digital transformation, and academic integrity to help students to become creators of new knowledge, who are community engaged, ethically conscious, professionally competent and equipped to flourish in a global world”.
Best practice in upholding and cultivating academic integrity looks at effective engagement with the challenges presented by academic misconduct, embedding a culture of academic integrity among providers, develops national resources and tools for providers to address the challenges and supports and engages with the National Academic Integrity Network (NAIN).
As part of the funding, institutions are advised to continue to take an appropriately strategic approach to teaching and learning enhancement over a three-to-five-year period, to drive teaching and learning innovation and enhancement across the higher education sector. Cross institutional collaboration between higher education institutions is particularly encouraged.
In keeping with the open and shared approach taken by the National Forum to date, the inclusion of participants from the private higher education and further education sectors in projects and networks will be welcome. Institutions will showcase key insights/resources/good practice and impact of their initiatives through national conferences and events and outputs will be publicly accessible through the National Resource Hub.
Subject to satisfactory performance and progress reporting, it is expected that a similar teaching and learning allocation will be made in 2023 and subsequent years.