Colleges face financial penalties if they fail to meet new targets

UCD, TCD say non-EU student numbers will be up 50 per cent by 2016

TCD says its vision is to be ‘a university of global consequence’, and  puts heavy emphasis on research and internationalisation in its performance agreement with the Higher Education Authority (HEA).

TCD says its vision is to be ‘a university of global consequence’, and puts heavy emphasis on research and internationalisation in its performance agreement with the Higher Education Authority (HEA).

Thu, Jun 12, 2014, 09:08

The Higher Education Authority (HEA) has published a series of performance agreements with each of the State’s universities, institutes of technology and other third level colleges.

It is the culmination of a year-long “strategic dialogue” process which sets binding targets for each institution in the period up to 2016.

Under the “compact”, each college has had to set out its plans for the future, and how it intends to differentiate itself from other higher education institutions.

For the first time, institutions have to set specific goals in areas such as access for disadvantaged groups, drop-out rates, the quality of teaching and learning, and research and internationalisation.

Up to 10 per cent of HEA funding can be withheld if these targets are not met.

Details of the compacts for the state’s seven universities are as follows:

(Click on the name of each institution to download the full report as a PDF)

University College Dublin

UCD says it “plays a critical role in Ireland’s economic, social and cultural development and is an important curator of our national heritage... but UCD’s ambition stretches beyond these shores.”

In its performance agreement with the HEA, it sets out ambitious targets on internationalisation, saying that by 2016 it will have doubled its intake of non-Irish students from a base of 2,945 in 2010/11.

The target of 6,000 such students, two thirds of which would be from non-EU countries, has already been largely achieved, it says, with 5,000 international students now on its books.

Highlighting partnerships in countries including China, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Hong Kong, it says: “Over the coming period, the University plans for significant growth in its overseas efforts, with particular emphasis on locations that offer us the opportunity to build mutually beneficial partnerships of scale especially in areas such as business, science, engineering, health and public administration.”

UCD also plans to increase options for students to study abroad, setting a target for students spending one or more semester away from 553 now to 600 in 2016.

On access, it seeks to increase the number of students from underrepresented groups but is less ambitious than other institutions in this regard.

It plans to keep the proportion of students from disadvantaged backgrounds stable at 17 per cent, and increase the proportion of flexible learners by just 1 per cent to 19 per cent.

Another priority in the compact is improving the teaching and learning experience. UCD plans to set a new student ratio of 1:8-1:10 under a “peer mentor” system, and will benchmark its performance against the planned new Irish Survey of Student Engagement (ISSE) scores.

Performance funding of €670,000 has been allocated to UCD contingent on compact.

Trinity College Dublin

TCD says its vision is to be “a university of global consequence”, and it puts heavy emphasis on research and internationalisation in its performance agreement with the Higher Education Authority (HEA).

On college partnerships, it is committed to an innovation alliance programme with UCD and two regional clusters on teacher training and creative arts. But it stresses “the governance of the regional clusters should be at a high level and not unduly intrude on legitimate university autonomy”.

On access, it sets a target of increasing flexible learners (part time, distance, e-leaners) as a percentage of the student body from 12 per cent in 2010/11 to 14 per cent in 2016.

In the same period it plans to almost double the intake of students from non-EU countries from 953 in 2010/11 (or 6 per cent of the student population) to 1,874 in 2016.