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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Initial education for academic staff in higher education


9.Teachers and education staff

9.4Initial education for academic staff in higher education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Initial Education for Academic Staff in Higher Education   

At the present time there is no mandatory, sector-wide programme for the initial training of academic staff in higher education in Ireland. However, most higher education institutions offer staff development programmes, which provide continuing professional development (CPD) for all staff in a range of areas. The courses offered through Trinity College Dublin’s Staff Development Programme, for example, include report writing, time management, managing conflict, editing and proofreading, personal effectiveness, assertiveness training, minute-taking, project management, supervisory management, and critical thinking.

Postgraduate programmes in teaching and learning in higher education are offered by

  • Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT),
  • University College Cork (UCC),
  • University College Dublin (UCD),
  • Dublin City University (DCU),
  • National University of Ireland, Maynooth (NUIM),
  • National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG), and the University of Limerick (UL).

The first postgraduate academic professional development (APD) programme in the Republic of Ireland was DIT’s Certificate in Third-Level Learning and Teaching, which is mandatory for all DIT staff and which comprises two modules: Learning and Teaching in Higher Education and Designing Curricula and Assessment Strategies. 

In recent years, targeted investment in teaching and learning through the Higher Education Authority’s Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) has supported some collaborative inter-institutional initiatives in academic professional development: the Institutes of Technology Ireland's Learning Innovation Network (LIN) established a modular Framework for Academic Professional Development through engagement with which staff can develop a range of agreed core competences. Following HETAC accreditation guidelines, the LIN framework facilitates the acquisition of Special Purpose Awards at level 9 of the National Framework of Qualifications (each worth 10 ECTS) and their combination into a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (worth 30 ECTS).

The National Academy for Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (NAIRTL)’s Continuing Academic Practice Education (CAPE) initiative provides an effective mechanism for recording and recognising the continuing professional development activities of higher education professionals as credits in academic practice.

The National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030 emphasises the necessity for all academic staff to be qualified and competent in teaching and learning. It is envisaged that this professionalism will be achieved through the establishment of a National Academy for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning which, building on earlier initiatives, will establish a professional standards framework to recognise academics’ continuing professional development.

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