Students have a major contribution to make in ensuring the quality of higher education and training provided in Irish universities. Regular and structured student feedback on engagement with their studies and with broader university life, and on the quality and relevance of learning, teaching and other services, is encouraged and facilitated across the Irish university sector. Student representatives sit on the quality enhancement committees in each university. Students can also play an important role in influencing the design of curricula, and in reviewing and providing feedback on the use of these curricula.
Irish universities ensure student feedback through a number of aspects, for example: reviews of academic programmes and departments, as part of regular quality assurance procedures; undergraduate and postgraduate module evaluations; specific topics, e.g. first year experience, student counselling, career services; specific services, e.g. catering, accommodation, transport; international student surveys.
The principle national student feedback tool which informs institutional and programme management, as well as national policy, is the Irish Survey of Student Engagement.
This initiative is managed as a collaborative partnership between…
- the Irish Universities Association (IUA) on behalf of the universities,
- the Higher Education Authority (HEA),
- the Technological Higher Education Association (THEA)
- the Union of Students in Ireland (USI).
More than 163,000 students responded to this survey from 2016 to 2018. A large and valuable data set has been created, providing insight into student opinion on important issues of higher education policy and practice. This direct student input serves as a guide for the continual enhancement of the universities’ learning and teaching practices and student engagement. Details and results are shared widely as national reports, which are then analysed and interpreted within the universities.