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Home » Ireland’s Education Yearbook 2021 » Higher Education

Higher Education


Professor Kerstin Mey was appointed President of University of Limerick on 8 October 2021, following an open competition and subsequent approval from the university’s Governing Authority. Prior to that, she had served as Interim President at UL from 1 September 2020. She is also a former Vice President of Academic Affairs and Student Engagement.

The First-Year University Experience During a Pandemic

The transition to higher education changed dramatically for the class of 2020. Researchers at Maynooth University studied the first-year undergraduate experience in this challenging time. This article reports on several important insights from the student responses. The pandemic has dramatically changed these students’ introduction to and experience of higher education, both academically and socially. The findings presented here offer insights relevant to all higher-education settings.

Delma Byrne
Delma Byrne
Associate Professor, Maynooth University Departments of Sociology and Education

Assessment Choices Post-Covid-19

How Covid-19 challenged and changed assessment – perhaps permanently

Covid-19 required higher education institutions to change their assessment practices, particularly in relation to summative, time-constrained, closed-book examinations. With various alternative assessment approaches having been used successfully during the pandemic, the question now is whether to return to pre-pandemic assessment practices or to continue to embrace and develop the changes introduced. We have the opportunity and responsibility to choose well.

Tomás Mac Eochagáin
Dr Tomás Mac Eochagáin
Director of Academic Programmes, Griffith College

Women Leaders in Irish Higher Education

Reflections on recent progress and the challenges of sustaining it

This short article reflects on recent and current women leaders in Irish higher education, as we mark the end of the first year in post of the first woman president of an Irish university and the coming into post this year of three more. It also flags some of the challenges yet to be met and the vigilance required to maintain the progress made on gender equality in the sector over the past several years.

Anne Scott
Prof Anne Scott
Former Vice President for Equality and Diversity, NUI Galway (retired)

Enhancing the Recognition of Prior Learning in Higher Education – Why and How?

Making the case for RPL as a powerful resource for Irish higher education

This article provides an overview and summary analysis of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) in higher education (HE) in Ireland to date. It introduces the new National RPL in HE Project, whose vision is to make RPL an integral part of HE. It looks at why RPL is important for Irish higher education, and what actions are being planned to embed it systemically. RPL is a powerful resource that supports HE to progress a range of strategic objectives and makes access to lifelong learning a reality for many.

Grace Edge
Grace Edge
Project Manager, National Recognition of Prior Learning in Higher Education Project
Edwin Mernagh
Edwin Mernagh
Education and Training Specialist

Micro-credentials Untethered: A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing?

Micro-credentials are the latest shiny new thing attracting educators’ increasing attention. Indeed, 2021 may become known as the year of micro-credentials. On the surface, the micro-credentialling movement offers great promise in helping to redesign and even reimagine more future-fit and complementary credential frameworks to enhance employability, continuous professional development, and the goal of a thriving learning society. But is there a danger that the micro-credential may be a wolf in sheep’s clothing?

Mark Brown
Mark Brown
Director of the National Institute for Digital Learning, Dublin City University
Mairéad Nic Giolla Mhichíl
Mairéad Nic Giolla Mhichíl
Director of Micro-credential Strategy and Innovation, Dublin City University

Ireland’s University Presidents 2022

The appointment in December 2021 of Prof Mark Rogers as the interim president of University College Dublin saw six university presidents appointed in the 2021 calendar year.

With pending appointments of two more in 2022 – to lead the recently established Technological University South-East Ireland (TUSEI), and Connacht Ulster Alliance (CUA) – we will have eight new leaders in our university sector.

Read the biographical details of all university presidents.

Other Chapters Ireland's Education Yearbook 2021

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