Trinity Hosts Workshop on Student Engagement and Retention

Posted on: 22 May 2013

Trinity College Dublin hosted a higher education sector workshop on building a national framework for student engagement and retention which brought together experts and stakeholders from across the country on May 15th last. 

Organised through the Irish Universities Association (IUA), the workshop provided an opportunity for the higher education sector in Ireland to share good practice in student engagement and retention with the aim of identifying areas of institutional success that can be developed strategically into a collective framework. It follows on from ‘A Study of Progression in Irish Higher Education’ (HEA, 2010) which called for ‘collective engagement by the Irish higher education community with the challenges of progression, completion, and enhancement of the student-learning experience’ (HEA, 2010: 62).

The 50 participants included student representatives, senior academic, administrative and support services staff from the seven universities in Ireland. There were also representatives from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and the Institutes of Technology (IOT) sector. Speakers included Muiris O’Connor, Head of Policy & Planning, HEA, Martina Crehan, Curriculum Innovator, RCSI and Professor Bairbre Redmond, Deputy Registrar, Teaching and Learning and Dean of Undergraduate Studies, UCD and Deputy Chair, National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning.  

Key participants in the Student Engagement Workshop, from left, Dr Amanda Piesse, Dean of Students, TCD; Muiris O’Connor, Head of Policy & Planning, HEA; Prof Bairbre Redmond, Deputy Registrar Teaching & Learning, UCD; Martina Crehan, Curriculum Innovator RCSI; Declan Reilly, Disability Officer, TCD; Lewis Purser, Director of Academic Affairs, IUA & Dr. Pat Morgan, Vice President of the Student Experience, NUIG.

Lewis Purser, Director of Academic Affairs, IUA who facilitated the event commented: “Today’s workshop was important in reviewing good practice in student engagement and retention across Irish universities and IOTs, and in bringing together key elements for a shared approach to this work in the future. We know how positive student engagement can lead to better outcomes for individual students, higher education institutions and ultimately Irish society: our challenge now is to build on what we know to ensure enhanced models of student engagement across all institutions, which can benefit all students”.

The workshop was initiated by Trinity’s Disability Service and was supported by the Dean of Students, Dr Amanda Piesse, the Senior Tutor, Dr Claire Laudet, and the Senior Lecturer/Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Dr Patrick Geoghegan. Following the workshop Dr Geoghegan praised Declan Reilly of the Disability Service for working with the IUA to bring together the entire higher education sector for this discussion.  Dr Geoghegan noted that: “This workshop was a great example of the higher education sector working together to ensure that we do the very best for all our students, sharing ideas, approaches, and concerns. The next step is to build on the consensus emerging from the workshop and develop the recommendations into some kind of national framework, or set of guidelines, that each HEI can work from”.