The TUSEI consortium has put in place a dedicated fund to support collaborative projects between academics and staff from both partner institutions, the aim being to develop cross-institutional initiatives that would build regional capacity and strong relationships and alliances supporting the development of the Technological University. Following an initial call for expressions of interest projects were selected which enabled academic, professional service and management staff in both organisations, along with other regional stakeholder groups, to work on a shared initiative of benefit to both participants and ultimately to the South East. Approximately 200 academic, professional service and research personnel from the partner institutions as well as regional collaborators including Teagasc, South East ETBs, the South East Regional Skills Forum and others will by the conclusion of the scheme have been directly supported.
A range of projects were focussed on sharing experience and building collaboration in the area of research. The research SPARKS project aimed to build research centred collaborative networks between both Institutes by bringing researchers together to encourage interactions and to highlight the personnel, skillsets and technologies available at each. The success of the first conference led to the funding of a second event in the Autumn of 2019. The Science Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) Network Conference and Postgraduate Colloquium showcased high quality undergraduate projects in both Institutes and facilitated students showcasing their work to industry and potential employers with separate exhibitions taking place on both the Carlow and Waterford main campuses and each being attended by students and staff of both. Plant-Microbe Interactions for Sustainable Agriculture (PISA) brought researchers from both Institutes together establishing a network to stimulate collaborative research and teaching. This project also involved partners in Teagasc as well as international experts in the field to stimulate collaborative research and teaching.
Projects also encouraged student-focussed collaboration and co-operation in teaching and learning. For instance, the Pedagogy Underpinning Learning in the South East (PULSE) project opened up a creative dialogue amongst academic staff at Waterford Institute of Technology and Institute of Technology Carlow through which opportunities in the teaching and learning processes in both organisations were examined and a community of practice in which members benefit from a shared purpose and understanding was developed. Engagement in the national HEAR/DARE schemes has also been enhanced through staff from both organisations working together, increasing and aligning access and support routes for students following a joint mentoring programme. Work is ongoing to explore the challenges facing adult learners returning to education and to examine their learning experience, participation and success rates.
Implementing the Technological Higher Education Quality Framework (THEQF) in the Institute of Technology Carlow and Waterford Institute of Technology, for the Technological University of the South East involved assessing the academic quality infrastructures in both organisations in relation to the Technological Higher Education Quality Framework in order to identify areas of best practice and areas in need of future enhancement. This and other projects focussed on developing professional, managerial and administrative capacity within the organisations and exchanging best practice. Leadership from the Middle involved a strategy and leadership capacity-building workshop for middle managers at both institutions. HR teams from each Institute have worked together on auditing current processes recruitment and monitoring systems informed by a joint visit to a HEI where eRecruit is operational and work has also commenced with Educampus and CoreHR.
A number of projects are focussed on developing the interface between the partner institutions and the wider South East. Connecting the South East: a small firm front line employee network capability development programme, for instance, engaged a number of small firm front-line employees (SFLE) from the region in a “network capability development programme” co-developed and delivered by faculty at Waterford Institute of Technology and Institute of Technology Carlow campuses. Work is ongoing including on the development of an iterative, flexible, collaborative framework for HEI, government, industry and society engagement that will future proof regional economic development in the South East with TUSEI envisaged as the catalyst in this collaborative process. The project, Framing an intercampus collaborative culture through design-led approach within an emerging TUSE, involves staff from both institutions working together to explore the application of the design-led thinking to the development of the future organisation.
A range of other projects are currently in train. These involve, amongst other things, projects in a number of academic Schools, projects involving external stakeholders and agencies from within and outside the region, projects in support of the promotion of research, administrative best practice, and internationalisation. The total funding dedicated to this round of collaborative projects is in excess of €250,000.
The full list of projects supported (either completed or ongoing) is below:
- South East Research Sparks – Igniting Collaboration
- Cross-Institutional Athena SWAN Seminars
- The Transition Process of Adult Learners in Higher Education
- Endless Forms Most Beautiful-Two cultures combined
- PISA: Plant-Microbe Interactions for Sustainable Agriculture – establishing a collaborative research network
- Leadership from the Middle
- Connecting the South East – a small firm front line employee network capability development programme
- ” SESAME” South-East STEM Activities for Mutual Engagement
- Innovations in Materials Engineering
- Science Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) Network Conference and Postgraduate Colloquium
- Pedagogy Underpinning Learning in the South East (PULSE): moving towards a Community of Practice in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
- Framing an intercampus collaborative culture through design-led approach within an emerging TUSE
- Creative Topographies: The Intimacy of Space and Place in Ireland’s South East
- Regional Economic Development through HEI, Government, Industry and Society collaborative engagement
- Implementing the Technological Higher Education Quality Framework (THEQF) in the Institute of Technology Carlow and Waterford Institute of Technology, for the Technological University of the South East.
- Sharing, developing and embedding best practice in technology enhanced assessment methods of practicals in Science and Health (TEAM2)
- ‘Forcers’ and Barriers towards a Green-Campus in the context of waste reduction – A qualitative behavioural Change analysis in the HE sector.
- Exploration of the Ambiguous Nature of Creativity & innovation in New Product Design
- International mobility as part of the student experience: shared academic perspectives
- Implementation of an online eRecruitment system in both Institutes with the same customised platform.
- Finance best practice
- HEAR and DARE entry route for (a) existing autonomous Institutions (b) a merged entity
- Scoping the Design and Delivery of Accredited CPD Programmes in Academic Leadership for Institute of Technology Carlow/Waterford Institute of Technology Faculty and Professional Staff