Today, Monday November 13th 2017 the Higher Education Authority (HEA), Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) and the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) launch the National Student Engagement Network in Cork Institute of Technology as part of the National Student Engagement Programme (NStEP). The network aims to bring college staff and Students’ Union officers from institutions across Ireland together to discuss partnership, exchange ideas and develop initiatives.

Speaking at the launch, USI President Michael Kerrigan said,

“Student and staff partnerships are paving the way forward for improved higher education teaching and learning, with students at the very centre. USI is proud to be supporting the work of NStEP working with institutions to assess current student engagement activities, and to identify areas for enhancement towards improved practice. This was just the first step. Now, with events like the network we can reflect on the work of NStEP over the past 18 months, while also outlining the ongoing project work currently being led by the five Institutions which took part in the pilot programme in 2016/2017.”

Dr. Vivienne Patterson, Head of Skills and Engagement, HEA added,

“The engagement of students is a key element in the further development of our higher education system and the HEA therefore welcomes the launch of the National Student Engagement Network.  This network, which forms part of the wider National Student Engagement Programme (NStEP), will facilitate students to be actively engaged in institutional decision making in keys areas such as governance, teaching and learning, and quality assurance to the benefit of both students and higher education institutions.”

Karena Maguire, Head of Stakeholder Engagement from the QQI, stated,

“Learner-centredness is one of the core values of QQI and, indeed, the mission of the organisation in supporting and promoting a qualifications system that benefits both learners and other stakeholders. QQI very much applauds the launch of the National Student Engagement Network. This launch represents a key step in the establishment of NStEP as a pivotal structure in facilitating and enabling the central focus on the learner perspective as co-educators within the education and training system. QQI acknowledges the strategic vision and ongoing commitment of USI in engaging both QQI and HEA as partners in this important initiative.”

The morning launch will be followed by a series of workshops showcasing best practice and examining  challenges. The Network will be hosted online through the platform developed by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning.

The National Student Engagement Network is part of the National Student Engagement Programme (NStEP) is a collaborative initiative under development by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), the Higher Education Authority (HEA), and Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI).

The National Student Engagement Network is part of the National Student Engagement Programme (NStEP) a collaborative initiative under development by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), the Higher Education Authority (HEA), and Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI).  A national working group was established in 2016 to develop the programme. Members of the institutions and their student representatives that were part of the pilot phase made up members of the working group.  There are two key strands of work involved in the national programme which include a ‘National Student Training Programme’ and ‘Developing Institutional Capacity’. Since June 2017 twenty-three Irish Higher Education Institutions have joined NStEP.

ABOUT PARTNERS

USI is the national representative body for the 374,000 students in third level education on the Island of Ireland. USI works to improve and protect the lives of students every day on academic and social issues through campaigns, training and research.

The HEA leads the strategic development of the Irish higher education and research system with the objective of creating a coherent system of diverse institutions with distinct missions, which is responsive to the social, cultural and economic development of Ireland and its people and supports the achievement of national objectives. The HEA has a statutory responsibility, at central government level, for the effective governance and regulation of higher education institutions and the higher education system.

QQI (Quality and Qualifications Ireland) is an independent State agency responsible for promoting quality and accountability in education and training services in Ireland. It was established in 2012 by the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012.

Fore more information on NStEP see: http://usi.ie/nstep/