NStEP works with the following National Experts and Higher Education Institutions

National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning in Higher Education

HEI Particpants image1

The establishment of the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning in Higher Education was announced by the Minister for Education & Skills in November 2012. The role of the Forum is to enhance the quality of the learning experience for all students at third level, be they full-time, part-time or flexible learners.

The Forum brings together all of those involved in shaping third-level teaching and learning in Ireland in order to support and develop excellent practices already underway in many of our Universities, Institutes of Technology and Private Colleges.

Engaging with leaders, managers, teachers and students across all institutes of education at third level in Ireland the Forum will mobilise expertise and inputs from across the entire sector to shape best practice in all institutes of education.

Vision of the Forum

Under the guidance of its Board, whose members are chosen to represent the different areas of expertise in teaching and learning, the Forum engages in a range of activities aimed at:

  • Championing all those who contribute to great teaching and learning in third level education
  • Inspiring great practice, by celebrating examples of teaching that have a strong and positive impact on learning
  • Developing teachers and learners
  • Benchmarking best practice in professional development,
  • Building e-learning capacity
  • Enabling innovation in a fast-changing educational environment

By promoting key enhancement themes (Teaching for Transitions 2013/15, Assessment for, as and of Learning 2016/18). The Forum helps to focus expertise and attention on issues of real interest and importance while improving, developing, innovating and transforming the teaching and learning culture and capacity throughout Higher Education institutions in Ireland.

HEI Particpants image2

The Irish Survey of Student Engagement

The Irish Survey of Student Engagement was launched in 2014 after a successful national pilot in 2013. Currently, thirty higher education institutions participate in the ISSE. Almost 60,000 students have participated in the survey between 2013 and 2015. Based on this experience, a revised and shortened survey was implemented in 2016 to which more than 29,000 students responded. Each year, a report of national results is published in November and can be found on

The ISSE collects data on students’ engagement with their learning and learning environments. The main purpose of the survey is to provide benefits to each institution (students and staff) by helping to improve feedback and supporting appropriate action. Objectives include:

  • To increase transparency in relation to the student experience in higher education institutions
  • To enable direct student input on levels of engagement and satisfaction with their higher education institution
  • To identify good practice that enhances the student experience
  • To assist institutions to identify issues and challenges affecting the student experience
  • To serve as a guide for continual enhancement of institutions’ teaching and learning and student engagement
  • To document the experiences of the student population, thus enabling year on year comparisons of key performance indicators
  • To provide insight into student opinion on important issues of higher education policy and practice
  • To facilitate comparison with other higher education systems internationally

The Irish Survey of Student Engagement is managed as a collaborative partnership. It is co-sponsored by the Higher Education Authority (HEA), institutions’ representative bodies (Institutes of Technology Ireland, IOTI, and the Irish Universities Association, IUA) and the Union of Students in Ireland (USI). The partnership approach in place is an important feature of the project. Working groups, consisting of institutions’ and students’ representatives, manage the national project.

2016/17 Pilot Institutions


Cork Institute of Technology is participating in the pilot primarily through the Student Engagement and Success Office and the Students’ Union. CIT caters for over 16,ooo students across four campuses. The Students’ Union includes three full time sabbatical officers and three part-time officers.

CIT established a strategic initiative in 2012 to improve student engagement and retention. The Student Engagement and Success Office is resourced and based within the Office of the Registrar and Vice President for Academic Affairs. The Office, with the Students’ Union, has already launched a SparQ at CIT project with assistance and advice from sparqs and will bring their experience in this initiative to the National Working Group.

Project 5: Staff Roles and Capacity Building is led by CIT


Letterkenny Institute of Technology has almost 4,000 students, a high proportion of whom are mature students (24%). It is the only Higher Level Institution in County Donegal and receives over 70% of full time students from within the county.  The pilot will be coordinated by the Office of the Registrar and the Students’ Union. The Students’ Union executive includes three full time sabbatical officers.

Project 4:  Students in formal system level procedures, strategy and decision making is led by LYIT


The National College of Ireland is located in Dublin City Centre and has a current enrolment of 4,800 students. This student cohort has a diverse learner profile with 47% of students being part-time learning studying on campus, in off-campus centres and via blended and online learning. The Students’ Union has two full time sabbatical officers and a full time administrator. The pilot project will be managed from the Quality Assurance and Statistical Services Office and the Students’ Union. Oversight at an institutional level will be provided by the Learning, Teaching and Assessment Committee of Academic Council.

Project 1: The Role and Recruitment of Class Representatives is led by NCI


National University of Ireland Galway has over 17,000 students and is located in Galway city centre. The Registrar has established a working group engaging the Centre of Excellence in Teaching and Learning, Quality Office and students. The Students’ Union executive includes three full time sabbatical officers and twelve part-time officers and convenors. Engagement with the National Programme will be led by the Office of the Vice President for the Student Experience and the Students’ Union.

Project 2: The Design, Review and Delivery of Programmes is led by NUIG


Waterford Institute of Technology is participating in the pilot primarily through the Students’ Union and Office for Student Life and Learning. WIT has over 7,500 students and located across five campuses. The Students’ Union has two office location and an executive made up of three full time sabbatical officers and two part-time elected officers. The Office of Student Life and Learning (SLL) provides direct support to students and develops policy and programmes relating to student engagement.

Project 3: Student Feedback Opportunities, Data and Follow Up is led by WIT.

Full list of participating higher education institutions currently:

Athlone Institute of Technology

Carlow College

CCT College Dublin

Cork Institute of Technology

Dublin Business School

Dublin City University

Galway – Mayo Institute of Technology

Griffith College Dublin

Hibernia College

Independent College Dublin

Institute of Art, Design and Technology

Institute of Technology Carlow

Institute of Technology Sligo

Institute of Technology Tralee

Limerick Institute of Technology

Letterkenny Institute of Technology

Maynooth University

National College of Ireland

NUI Galway

Technological University Dublin

University College Cork

University of Limerick

Waterford Institute of Technology