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One strand of the EAT-PD: Enabling Academic Transitions through Professional Development was the Senior Staff Project titled “Future of Higher Education in a Changing World”

In developing this component of CIT’s SATLE 2019 funding, the instrumental role of Senior Staff (Faculty Management, Heads of Department/Function) in programme development was acknowledged and how this can influence positive cultures for change in relation to Teaching & Learning Enhancement. Consequently, the programme comprised a series of masterclasses, transformation projects, webinars and coaching opportunities focussing on the ‘Future of Higher Education in a Changing World’. Alongside regular developmental workshops, guest speakers challenged participants to explore how topics including Generation Z, 4th Industrial Revolution, Graduate Development and Future of Work would influence MTU’s curriculum development and Teaching, Learning, Assessment and Student Engagement (TLASE) agenda.

Although, during the life of the funding period, CIT and ITT were autonomous institutions, the Teaching & Learning Unit collaborated with colleagues in Kerry, resulting in a shared programme being developed that supported and prepared for the integration of teaching, learning, assessment and student engagement practices of an emerging Technological University. Over 60 staff participated in the range of activity resulting in stronger cross-disciplinary and cross-campus relationship building and understanding.

A key activity to ensure sustainability of the programme was the buy-in and approval to sponsor the programme by the Presidents of CIT / ITT – this support has continued with our new President who contributed to all the webinar sessions.

How was the programme shaped by its participants?

The Masterclasses (Future of Higher Education in a Changing World) were developed as a cross-institute initiative prior to designation as MTU.  Therefore, a Steering Group from CIT and ITT was established to explore the needs of senior staff across Cork/Kerry to ensure greater engagement as the programme launched. The Group requested a mix of international expert input, group-based workshops and individual coaching, which aligns to MTU’s Coaching and Mentoring culture. The initiative team engaged the services of Advance HE and an Executive Coach to create a bespoke programme to cover areas addressing the programme’s aims:

  • Discuss important HE leadership topics including Future of Work and Generation Z, and explore their impact on our curriculum and learner experiences
  • Develop an understanding of the purpose and principles of a curriculum framework
  • Enable those leading learning and teaching at CIT/IT Tralee to embed proposed changes within their departments and functions
  • To provide a space to evaluate and reflect on the future development of HE at CIT and IT Tralee and consider how changes worth making can be initiated and sustained.

What did participants learn about and discuss?

Drawing on Advance HE’s highly regarded ‘Leading Transformation in Learning and Teaching’ three experiential modules were developed to be delivered online through synchronous and asynchronous activity:

  • Current and Emerging HE Landscape
  • Leading Change in your Department/Function
  • Embedding and Sustaining Activity

In total, 10 synchronous sessions were run, alongside individual coaching sessions and 4 webinars, which were made available to the wider Senior Staff community.

What webinars took place and who were the national / international speakers?

In addition to the core offering of Masterclasses, Transformation projects and individual coaching, the programme also commissioned a series of webinars by leading national and international speakers on emerging topics related to the Future of Higher Education.

Topics and speakers incluced:

  • Preparing and Growing minds for Lifelong Learning
    • Claire McGee (Head of Education and Innovation Policy, IBEC)
  • Why Higher Education needs Further Education to Flourish
    • Andrew Brownlee (Chief Executive, SOLAS)
  • Developing teaching and growing research – how can this work?
    • Professor Alyson Tobin (Vice Principal for Teaching and Learning, Edinburgh Napier University)
  • Leading Innovation in Higher Education – co-designing education for economic development
    • Professor Helen Whelton (Head of College of Medicine and Health, UCC)
    • Tim Horgan (Head of Faculty of Engineering and Science, MTU)
  • The Future Learner and the Future of Work
    • Dr Paul Redmond (Director of Student Experience and Enhancement, University of Liverpool)

How are the outcomes of the initiative being embedded beyond the life of the funding?

As noted, the Masterclasses programme was a core component of MTU’s success in receiving €1million of Performance Funding from the HEA and is informing the strand of work relating to Distributed and Transformational Leadership Development.

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