Judging by the lively conversations, the concentrated engagement with the workshops, and the energy of the ideas generated, the StudentSurvey.ie Practitioners Forum was a good day for those working on this important initiative. 

Thank you to our welcoming hosts, National University of Ireland, Galway, and Atlantic Technological University. 

Summary of the event

Watch this video of the Closing Remarks by the Union of Students in Ireland Vice President for Academic Affairs Megan O'Connor to get a very efficient and comprehensive summary of what was discussed throughout the day... 

Photograph of Megan O'Connor engaging in session at the Practitioners Forum

Kicking off the day...

President of Atlantic Technological University, Dr. Orla Flynn, shared some inspirational and encouraging words with us to start the day.

Chuir Uachtarán Ollscoil Teicneolaíochta an Atlantaigh, an Dr. Orla Flynn, fáilte romhainn agus chuir sí tús dóchasach leis an lá. 

Dr Flynn was introduced by President of the Union of Students in Ireland and NUI Galway alumna Clare Austick.

Still from video of Dr Orla Flynn, President of Atlantic Technological University

Straight into... Open Forum I

These workshops presented an opportunity to learn about, discuss and influence these data analysis solutions cross-sectorally. Facilitators circulated through four breakout groups of attendees for 15 minutes a session. Each speaker presented a solution from the Analysis and Impact Group and the attendees discussed its use and relevance in their own HEI.

This session was definitely not only for those directly involved in data analysis! Colleagues such as SU representatives, communications and marketing staff, senior management, and those primarily responsible for running the survey fieldwork saw the potential uses of the results in their own work. 

The solutions were:

StudentSurvey.ie Report Templates and Guide

Facilitated by Dr Jing Burgi-Tian, Institutional Research and Analysis Officer, DCU

Access the presentation HERE

Access a generic* copy of the StudentSurvey.ie Report Templates and Guide HERE

* Each participating institution has their own individualised version.

Photograph of Dr Jing Burgi-Tian

Photograph of attendees engaging in session facilitated by Maura McGinn

Qualitative analysis results and next steps

Facilitated by Maura McGinn, Director of Institutional Research, UCD

Access the presentation HERE

Access all of the qualitative data analysis discussed by Maura HERE

Report automation tool

Facilitated by Dr Lydia Devenney, Teaching and Learning Postdoctoral Researcher, ATU

Access the presentation HERE

Access the session handout HERE

Photograph of Dr Lydia Devenney

Photograph of Janice Lau

Data visualisations

Facilitated by Janice Lau, Senior Statistics Manager, HEA

Access the presentation HERE

Access the session handout HERE

Access the StudentSurvey.ie Trends Over Time Research 2016-2021 referenced by Janice HERE

A second presidential address

Labhair Uachtarán Ollscoil Éireann Gaillimh, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, leis an slua roimh lón. 

Prof Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway, spoke to the attendees before lunch. 

Attendees were visibly struck by Prof Ó hÓgartaigh's observation that, while the establishment of the survey was a great success, we have not been as succesful in putting in place systems to respond to student feedback. He applauded attendees on their work and dedication, and encouraged them to continue to tackle these matters throughout the rest of the day. 

Photograph of Prof Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh addressing the crowd
Photograph of attendees at Practitioners Forum standing in a semi-circle listening to Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh
Photograph of attendees at Practitioners Forum standing in a semi-circle listening to Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh

After lunch... Open Forum II

The purpose of these workshops was to prompt creative and critical thinking about how to move forward with listening to students and to what they say through StudentSurvey.ie and PGR StudentSurvey.ie. Each workshop lasted 35 minutes and attendees participated in two workshops. 

The objectives of the groups varied, as some invited open discussion, and some focused on a specific issue. The themes were:

Photograph of attendees at Practitioners Forum

StudentSurvey.ie lifecycle and strategy

Led by Lee O'Farrell (UCD), this session required attendees to engage critically with the assumptions of the StudentSurvey.ie initiative. It was facilitated by an external facilitator, but led by attendees' priorities as they considered the "bigger picture" of the purpose and impact of the project. 

This session was the kick off of a larger consultation, being led by the StudentSurvey.ie co-sponsoring organisations (HEA, IUA, THEA, USI) and the StudentSurvey.ie Steering Group. Read more about this consultation HERE.

And watch this space for your opportunity to influence the future planning for StudentSurvey.ie!


Led by Oisín Hassan (the National Student Engagement Programme Manager), this session focused on getting institutional stakeholders (e.g. Programme Directors and Heads of School) interested in the survey results, and on creating meaningful staff-student partnerships.

Attendees participated in an card sort task to consider partnership in their institutions and how they can achieve more together. The task was designed by Oisín, who can be contacted here by anyone wishing to run a similar exercise in their HEI. 

Thanks are also noted for Grace Edge (Recognition of Prior Learning Project Manager) who could not attend on the day but who led on the development of the session.

Photograph focusing on Michael Frain, UL

Photograph of Nora Trench Bowles, IUA, and Lee Richardson, DBS

Data analysis deep dive

This focused session was led by Blaž Podobnik (MIC), who delved into the report automation tool. Attendees benefitted from detailed engagement with the data for their own institution, and left with new resources and knowledge. Attendees were also invited to share their thoughts on these tools and influence their next iterations.

Access the presentation HERE

Access the instructions for accessing the report automation tool HERE

If you have any feedback, please complete the form HERE 

And send it to info@studentsurvey.ie

Focus on PGR StudentSurvey.ie 

This session was led by Dr Jennifer Brennan (THEA) and Dr Emer Cunningham (UCD). It opened a dedicated space to consider good practice in the use of PGR StudentSurvey.ie results. It also focused on what is needed by practitioners to support the data analysis. It gave those working with PGR StudentSurvey.ie an opportunity to influence where the initiative goes next. 

Access the presentation by Ioanna Galeadi (UCD) HERE

Photograph of Áine Flynn, UCC Head of Graduate Studies

Multiple Perspectives

Multiple Perspectives on student engagement was a chance for attendees to sit back, relax at the end of their otherwise very active day, and listen to the experiences and advice of their colleagues in student engagement. The session was chaired by Clodagh McGivern, current Vice President/ Education Officer for NUI Galway SU and incoming Vice President for Academic Affairs for the Union of Students in Ireland.

The first speaker was Prof Hamish Coates. Known to many attendees due to his significant influence on surveys of student engagement in Australia, New Zealand, China and for his influence on the Irish Survey of Student Engagement, Prof Coates brought a wide-ranging perspective. 

Prof Coates is a Tenured Professor at Tsinghua University's Institute of Education, Director of the Higher Education Research Division, and Deputy Director of the Tsinghua University Global Research Centre for the Assessment of College and Student Development. He was Professor of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne, Founding Director of Higher Education Research at the Australian Council for Educational Research, and Program Director at the LH Martin Institute for Tertiary Leadership and Management. He concentrates on improving the quality and productivity of higher education.

Most recently, he was the editor of Global Student Engagement.

This important and interesting new book contains a chapter by Siobhán Nic Fhlannchadha, Janice Lau and Brian Stanley on the Irish Survey of Student Engagement, ensuring Ireland stays involved with international developments and that the success of StudentSurvey.ie receives recognition

Redeem a 20% DISCOUNT with promo code ‘FLE22’ before 10 June 2022. 

Redeem a 20% DISCOUNT with promo code ‘FLE22’

Watch Prof Coates' presentation below

Still from a video by Prof Hamish Coates, who is on screen in the image

Impact and innovation in the participating HEIs

The next speakers were all representatives of higher education institutions, and they spoke about their experienes of using the results of StudentSurvey.ie to achieve impact and shared some valuable insights with attendees. You can access their presentations below. 

TUS for Student Survey Practitioners Forum - Focus on the library

Áine Daly, TUS SU President

Kevin Pakenham, SU VP for Education

Access their presentation HERE

Photograph of Áine Daly, TUS SU and Kevin Packenham, TUS SU

Photograph of Dr Fintan Bracken and Dr Gary Cahill, SETU

Programmatic Review: Ecosystem Approach

Dr Gary Cahill,  Lecturer, Faculty of Science

Martina O’Gorman, Lecturer, Faculty of Science

Dr Denise Earle, Lecturer, Faculty of Business

Dr Fintan Bracken, Director of the Office for Institutional Planning and Research

Dr Yvonne Kavanagh, Assistant Registrar

Access their presentation HERE

SUCCEED - Standardising the Use, Communication and Capability of StudEntSurvEy.ie Data

Marese Bermingham

Róisín O’Grady

Linda O’Sullivan

Access their presentation HERE

Photograph focusing on Linda O'Sullivan, MTU

Thanks a million!

Gabhtar míle buíochas le eagrais urraíochta Suirbhé na hÉireann ar Rannpháirtíocht na Mac Léinn: An tÚdarás um Árd-Oideachas, Cumann Ollscoileanna na hÉireann, an Cumann Árd-Oideachais Teicneolaíochta, agus Aontas na Mac Léinn in Éirinn.

The StudentSurvey.ie Steering Group would also like to thank our hosts, NUI Galway and ATU.

In particular, the Project Manager wishes to acknowledge the work of: Mary Hardiman (NUI Galway), Karen Smyth (ATU), John Caulfield (NUI Galway), Róisín O'Connell (THEA), our rapporteurs Emily, Sinéad, John, Ruairí and Ashley, Maja, Angela and Saoirse in Moffets NUI Galway, Bernie and Onda in NUI Galway Estates, Ríona and Adam in the Socs Box and Marianne Ní Chinnéide i Lárionad Uí Dhonnchú don Drámaíocht, Amharclannaíocht agus Taibhiú.

See you next year at the StudentSurvey.ie Practitioners Forum 2023!

Photograph of representatives of the hosts and co-sponsoring organisations