National Student Engagement Conference 2019

NStEP was delighted to host our annual conference on Thursday 14th November 2019 in Maynooth University’s Renehan Hall. The conference kicked off with the launch of our new Strategy for 2019-2021, followed by a range of exciting speakers and workshops!

Speaker Line-Up

The line-up of plenary speakers covered a range of perspectives and experiences from across higher education, both in Ireland and abroad, from staff and students. The conference was concluded by an exciting and informative keynote speaker, Professor Colin Bryson – a co-founder of the RAISE (Researching, Advancing & Inspiring Student Engagement) Network.

Keynote: Professor Colin Bryson

Colin Bryson is currently the Director of the Combined Honours Centre at Newcastle University and tries to put student engagement and partnership at the heart of all his practice and scholarship. He has been working on, and disseminating about this agenda for fifteen years, gaining a National Teaching Fellow and a chair of HE in the process. Ten years ago he founded RAISE, and led the network from four members to over a thousand in twenty countries.

Colin will share his experiences of setting up the RAISE Network and as part of his keynote will guide delegates through a participatory workshop, exploring the barriers, challenges, and benefits to student partnership.

Karen Jones

Karen Jones has just taken up post as the Executive Director of Quality Assurance and Statistical Services (QASS) in the National College of Ireland (NCI). Karen is an internationally recognised quality improvement expert with over 25 years’ experience working within tertiary education across Europe, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand. Karen’s career has placed the student voice and student success at the heart of institutional effectiveness. Karen has led the design of several student representative and feedback structures at institutional and national levels, including the WISE (Wales Initiative for Student Engagement) and the UK’s National Student Survey (NSS). Prior to joining NCI in August 2019, Karen led the launch of an innovative student voice structure in her New Zealand Polytechnic, which resulted in a 50% reduction in student complaints within its first year. Karen also designed a new approach to programme and institutional quality where student-success and satisfaction demonstrably informed decision making.  

Karen will guide delegates through her experiences as a lead developer of the WISE Wales initiative for student partnership and reflect on some key national priorities in Ireland, including student success, and how we might approach them through the lense of student engagement.

Karolyn McDonnell

Karolyn McDonnell is a current research student in the Institute of Technology Carlow, having recently completed a Masters by Research in Humanities in socialCORE. She previously studied Business, Law and Finance, as well as Social and Community Work. Karolyn was previously completed a Student Associate Internship – a partnership initiative of the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning and the Union of Students in Ireland. During this role she conducted research with students across the country capturing their perspectives on their Higher Education experiences, contributing to the recent publication of reports on student success. She is also a member of the National Student Success Working Group as well as a student representative on the National Digital Advisory Group for Higher Education.

This year Karolyn became one of NStEP’s Student Trainers, training up Class Representatives around the country to effectively represent their peers and to engage in the enhancement of the learning experience. She will reflect on the development of student-centred learning through student-staff partnership.

Conference Resources

Presentation slides from the conference are below and you can also visit the NStEP YouTube channel to view the keynote and plenary presentations.

Professor Colin Bryson: Enhancing Education through Engagement and Partnership

Karen Jones: Some wise(r) words on student engagement from Wales and beyond

Karolyn McDonnell: Student Centered Learning Across the Generations

Break Out 1: The Fourth Domain (Student Representation)

Break Out 2: Unlocking Student Success through the Four Domains

You can visit the NStEP YouTube channel here.