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 their engagement with their studies and with broader university life, and on the quality and relevance of teaching, learning and other services, is important in contributing to this process. 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.
Student representatives sit on the quality enhancement committees in each university. Useful information regarding the importance of student involvement in quality assurance processes and to provide information to students about quality assurance, including a student handbook on quality, can be found at http://www.iuqb.ie/info/students.aspx
As part of the National Higher Education Strategy implementation process, the Irish Survey of Student Engagement (ISSE) has been developed, to encourage enhanced systems of feedback from students to inform institutional and programme management, as well as national policy. Reports from the ISSE Pilot phase in 2013 and full surveys in 2014 & 2015 can be found at www.studentsurvey.ie.
Through the IUA, the Irish universities participated during 2011-2012 in a major European project examining how universities across Europe track their students through undergraduate studies and into postgraduate studies and the labour market. Reports and other information regarding this project, which also covers the topic of student feedback as part of this tracking process, can be found at www.eua.be/trackit.
Irish universities currently ensure student feedback at a number of levels, for example:
- reviews of academic programme and departments, as part of regular quality assurance procedures
- annual student survey – the Irish Survey of Student Engagement (ISSE) which is based on the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) in North America. See studentsurvey.ie for more details
- undergraduate and postgraduate module evaluations
- specific topics, e.g. first year experience, student counselling, career services
- specific services, e.g. catering, accommodation, transport
- postgraduate studies
- international students.
Examples of student feedback mechanisms in use across the Irish universities can be found through the following links: