National Student Engagement Programme
The National Student Engagement Programme was launched in April 2016 by USI, the HEA and QQI, along with the help and support of Sparqs (Student Partnerships in Scotland).
NStEP’s main goal is to ensure that students are involved as partners in decision making processes in higher education Institutions. Upon the launch in 2016, NStEP got many applications from third level institutions, however only sought for five, where LYIT was extremely fortunate to be chosen as a pilot institution. In the first year there was a large focus on developing and researching a national student training programme and developing institutional capacity. From this research, five common themes were prevalent in every pilot college, which led to the development of five national projects where each individual project would be tied with one of the pilot institutions.
Here are the five national projects:
- The Role and Recruitment of Class Representatives (Led by National College of Ireland)
- The Design, Review and Delivery of Programmes (Led by NUI Galway)
- Student Feedback Opportunities, Data and Follow Up (Led by Waterford Institute of Technology)
- Students in Formal System Level Procedures, Strategy and Decision Making (Led by Letterkenny Institute of Technology)
- Staff Roles and Capacity Building (Led by Cork Institute of Technology)
As you can see above, LYIT has been focused on students in formal system level procedures, strategy and decision making. Before the implementation of this programme, involvement in formal system procedures by students could have been perceived to be tokenistic at best, where more often than not, feedback would be sought after planning or development had already occurred.
In the year 2017/2018 a huge focus was placed onto students ensuring they were included in any formal system procedure occurring. During the same academic year, the institute was facing a cyclical review and creating the strategic plan from 2018-2022. Students were sought in a variety of ways to give feedback, both in reviewal of the college and what they would wish to see develop and change in the coming years. This was done by having board meeting discussions, having meetings where feedback was obtained unanimously, being involved in building plans of development at our class rep councils and having a graffiti board in the busy halls to get feedback from busy students who were just passing by.