Developing best practice models for industry-university teaching partnerships to guide, design and deliver professional education programmes in higher education institutes.

Greg Larkin
University of Limerick


Martin Hayes
University of Limerick


 
Sinead Spain
University of Limerick

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Ann Ledwith
University of Limerick

Abstract
Introduction to the workshop and its objectives
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The agenda for the modernisation of Europe’s Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) promotes the collaboration between Industry and HEIs to improve the quality and relevance of higher education by involving employers in the design and delivery of programmes (European Commission, 2011).
Within the Irish context, Ireland’s National Skills Strategy 2025 supports partnerships between the higher education sector and enterprise to address skills shortages in sectors such as the ICT, Biopharma, Smart Manufacturing and Finance areas (Department of Education and Skills, 2016).
This workshop will seek to elicit and share the experiences of both HEIs and Industry representatives who have collaborated in the design, development and/or delivery of programmes and modules, with a focus on professional upskilling education. In addition, it will generate discussion on what has worked well, not so well, and the systems needed to support this collaborative practice.
The University of Limerick (UL) will also outline its own experience in this area, and share the findings of current research from the REAP project, based on the development of a best practice framework for the engagement of practitioner/enterprise-based experts into the process of delivering flexible upskilling programmes. The REAP Project is a collaboration between University of Limerick (UL), Mary Immaculate College (MIC) and Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) and is funded by the Irish Higher Education Authority (HEA) under the HEA Innovation and Transformation fund.

Methods used and/or approach taken
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The workshop will be interactive with an initial short presentation to outline the context, followed by guided group work to elicit experiences under the conference subthemes (University-Industry Partnerships: A holistic perspective). The workshop will finish with a summary of findings and an insight into the University of Limerick’s related work with reference to the REAP project.

Workshop running plan
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• UL will present an overview of the context, and the workshop objectives; (10 mins);
• The workshop participants will divide into groups and consider three issues in the context of industry-university teaching partnerships (60 mins)
1) experience with Industry-HE boards to advise on programme design – what works well;
2) experience of collaborating on module/content design – what works well, limitations and recommendations;
3) collaborating on module delivery/co-delivery/online moderation – what works well, considerations for maintaining quality and consistency across modules
• A moderator will be nominated at each table to guide the discussion and record findings; groups will rotate tables for each issue and the moderator will remain;
• At the end of the workshop the moderators will summarise and present findings to the overall workshop group (on the three themes).

• UL will reflect on the findings from the workshop in line with the findings from the REAP Project (10 mins)
• A UL industry partner will present their own experience of collaborating on professional education programmes (10 mins – if time allows);
• UL will present the draft best practice framework for the engagement of enterprise-based tutors (REAP project) for discussion and feedback (15 mins)
• Summary and wrap up (5 mins).
Total: 1 hr 30 mins

Results and implications: Results and/or arguments summarised
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The workshop will generate discussion on best practice models for industry- HEI teaching partnerships to guide the design and delivery of professional education programmes in higher education institutes. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about and share current practices, discuss opportunities, and apply ideas within their own context.

Conclusion: Main outcomes of the workshop
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• Documenting and sharing experiences and practices of Industry - HEIs teaching collaborations for the design, development and/or delivery of programmes and modules with a focus on professional upskilling education;
• Opportunity for workshop participants to learn about and discuss best practices, and the importance of these best practices in their own context.
• Opportunity for workshop participants to interact and network with peers.