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.

It also says it will boost options for Irish students to study abroad. In 2010/11, 260 students participated in outward exchanges and it aims to increase this to 312 by 2016.

TCD notes a new “online strategy” has been approved by the college board. It includes plan for enhanced use of technology in teaching, the development of new online programmes and the creation of “a limited number of MOOCs”, or free, open-access courses.

On research, it says “generating knowledge and transferring this knowledge is the core activity of TCD”.

The university is implementing a new strategy on engagement with industry which “will create a step change in how TCD engages with industry and will ensure TCD is ‘open for business’ in all aspects of our operation.”

Performance funding of €495,000 has been allocated to TCD contingent on compact.

University College Cork

UCC commits itself to being “a world-class university connecting our region to the globe”, and sets a target of sustaining its position in the top 2 per cent of global universities in world league tables.

It says it “plans to build on its role as the comprehensive university of the South of Ireland”, participating in a regional education cluster comprised of UCC, CIT, WIT, IT Tralee and IT Carlow.

It notes, however, “a significant risk” arises from the focus of CIT and WIT to make separate applications for Technological University (TU) status with neighbouring colleges.

UCC says it will enhance internationalisation by strengthening its partnerships with universities of similar vision, and its sets ambitious targets on incrasing international student cohort from 10 per cent in 2010/11 to 17 per cent.

This percentage rises to 30 per cent in UCC’s projected profile for 2016.

It also plans to increase the number of Erasmus students by 30 per cent, and have a quarter of undergraduate programmes provide a year abroad.

Its aim, it says, is to “become a pluralist, multicultural , yet Irish, campus community”.

It also sets targets on increasing linkages to further education colleges and a greater mature student intake, including planned Fetac quotas for 60 per cent of level 8 programmes.

Performance funding of € 449,000 has been allocated to UCC contingent on compact.

NUI Galway

NUI Galway says it has “an overarching objective to be firmly embedded within the top rank of research universities in our selected areas of expertise”.

It is prioritising the following areas: a) Research; b) Teaching and Learning; c) Regional Engagement; d) An Ghaeilge and e) International Orientation.

It sets more detailed targets than many other institutions, itemising for example how many spin-off companies and research references it plans to achieve by 2016.

It says it will increase the proportion of international students from 15 per cent of the student body now to 18 per cent in 2016.

It will also increase the number of students from lower socio-economic backgrounds from 20 per cent to 22 per cent. In addition, “blended learning” through e-learning and massive online open courses (MOOCs) will rise from 7.2 per cent of programmes to 8 per cent, it says.

It also sets a target to increase the number of doctoral graduates by about 5 per cent to 200 in 2016, and to improve speed of completion.

Only 19 per cent of PhD students completed on time in 2010 and a 30 per cent target is set for 2016.

Funding of €409,000 has been allocated to NUIG contingent on it meeting the agreed performance plan.

University of Limerick

University of Limerick says its mission is to be “a distinctive, pioneering and connected university”. A heavy emphasis is placed on student experience, and by 2016 a system of monitoring “modules that have received low scores” will be in place.

It also plans to boost online learning capacity, increase the proportion of flexible learners from 14 per cent to 17 per cent.

In 2012, the number of citations achieved by UL publications stood at 6,328 and it aims to increase this to 8,859 by 2016. In the same period it plans to increase the number of books published by UL staff with “prestigious publishers” by 20 per cent.

It says it will maintain the same level of “invention disclosure” but will increase the number of licences it signs with industry. It sets a target of 20 per cent increase in research income from industry by 2016.

In addition, it plans to double the intake of non-EU students, and increase the number of student taking a semester abroad by 30 per cent.

Funding of €309,000 has been allocated to UL contingent on it meeting the agreed performance plan.

Dublin City University

DCU says it aims to develop “creative, analytical, enterprising and socially responsible citizens” and places heavy emphasis on links with community and industry in its HEA performace agreement.

It sets an ambitious target of of 60 per cent of programmes “blended” with online learning by 2016 - up from baseline of 8 per cent in 2010.

And it sets a target of 65 per cent of staff to be “research active” in 2016 - up from 50 per cent now.

It also plans to increase the number of non-EU students on campus from about 500 in 2011 to 800 in 2016, and boost the number of such students on online programmes from les than 50 in 2012 to 200 in 2016.

It says it will widen its student access programme from an existing 6.8 per cent of the first-year population to 9 per cent by 2016. This would boost the proportion of students coming from disadvantaged backgrounds from 19 per cent to 21 per cent. As part of an “age friendly strategy”, it also plans to have 200 older adults on DCU programmes by 2016.

Funding of €219,000 has been allocated to contingent on it meeting the agreed performance plan.

NUI Maynooth

NUI Maynooth says its goal is to “offer students an outstanding university education, the best available in Ireland”, placing heavy emphasis on the campus experience and transferring practical skills.

It plans to double the enrolment of international students, and also greatly enhance its internship programmes. It says it will achieve a 75 per cent increase in number of work placements over baseline; and 50 per cent more enterprises interacting with university via placements.

There will be enhanced support for student learning, and a planned doubling of the numbers availing of writing centre, maths support and study skills support to over 2,000 students in 2016.

NUIM also sets target of increasing research income from €20million this year to €22 m in 2016. There is a target to increase postgraduate enrolments from 1,774 this year to 1,917 in 2016.

On access, it plans to “retain at least the current proportion of students from designated groups, despite an increasingly difficult economic context”. The proportion of students from disadvantaged backgrounds would thus remain at 22 per cent.

Funding of €200,000 has been allocated to NUIM contingent on it meeting the agreed performance plan.