Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor has launched a new guide for the higher education sector to help institutions to measure the impact of their engagement with Government, civil society, community organisations and the public. This new guide will assist institutions map, measure, and report on an expanding variety of engagement activities across research, teaching and learning, student and staff volunteering and public engagement.
Informed by a national working group, driven by Dr Rhonda Wynne, UCD in the Community, the Framework will provide guidance to third level instituions in setting baseline figures and key performance indicators for engagement activity when reporting to the Higher Education Authority on the new System Performance Framework. The guide is part of a concerted effort by universities to respond to societal challenges, in partnership with civil society and community organisations.
The guide aims to complement the existing HEI activity and to support new activities, laying down benchmarks for civic and community engagement in line with best international practice. Third level institutions will also be encouraged to increase their existing number of students that are involved in these activities, with institutions that fail to meet the assigned targets possibly facing funds being withheld in certain circumstances.
The National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030 endorses the civic mission of higher education and states that ‘engaging with wider society’ is ‘one of the three interconnected core roles of higher education’. In acknowledgement of this, the Presidents of the Irish universities and Institutes of Technology signed a ten-point Campus Engage Charter for Civic and Community Engagement in 2014, thereby committing their institutions to the enhancement and co-ordination of engaged research, teaching and learning, public engagement and student volunteering.
This new Framework may prove useful for those designing and developing Clinical Legal Education programmes within the Law Schools of third level institutions in Ireland.
Click here for the guide to ‘Measuring Higher Education Civic and Community Engagement: A Support Framework.’
Click here for the 'Charter for Civic and Community Engagement.'
Click here for PILA’s 2015 report ‘Clinical Legal Education in Ireland: Progress and Potential.’