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09.30 - 10.00



10.05 - 10.40

The graduate landscape - graduate transitions into the labour market and further study

Presented by Dr Denise Frawley | Head of Performance Evaluation (Acting) | Higher Education Authority

Dr Denise Frawley will delve into the findings of the most recent HEA Graduate Outcomes Survey (Class of 2017) which surveyed nearly 30,000 graduates to understand what their next step was post-graduation. This survey is the first in a series on graduate outcomes for the Irish higher education system since the updating of the First Destinations survey; and aims to demonstrate the contribution that our graduates and higher education institutions make to Irish social, cultural, civic and economic progress.

The presentation of the report will provide a valuable resource for policy makers, students, guidance counsellors, teachers and all with an interest in education.


Dr Denise Frawley works in the Higher Education Authority (HEA) in the areas of Performance Evaluation and Statistics. Before her time in the HEA, she worked at the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI). Denise has worked broadly on policy-relevant educational issues, spanning primary, second-level and higher education sectors. Her main research interests include educational transitions, social inequality and disadvantage in education as well as mixed-methods research.




10.40 - 11.10

The changing landscape for PhD careers and funding provision

Presented by Ger Lardner, Career & Skills Consultant specialising in Doctoral Candidates in UCD and Dr Fiona Blighe, Scientific Programme Manager, Science Foundation Ireland

With a focus on employability outcomes, new methods of developing PhD candidates and the introduction of Centres of Research Training. What are the institution wide implications of the changing landscape and the ever increasing industry collaboration in the development of PhD candidates.

Ger Lardner, as a Career & Skills Consultant, Ger focuses on the mobility of Doctoral Candidates beyond the PhD. She delivers a Careers Programme of professional skills training. 1-1 guidance and employer networking opportunities to enhance researcher competitiveness in a global environment. Ger holds an MSc in Guidance & Counselling from DCU, a Graduate Diploma in Systems Analysis and a BA in Economics & Geography from NUIG. She is an accredited member of the British Psychological Society for Level A & B psychometric testing.
Ger is Chair of the AHECS (Association of Higher Education Career Services) Postgraduate Research Task Force, a member of AGCAS (The Association of Graduate Career Advisory Services, (UK) and a member of the EUA-CDE TPG on Career Tracking for PhDs.
Dr Fiona Blighe is a Scientific Programme Manager with Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). She manages a range of PhD training programmes and an award portfolio in the area of ICT, the physical sciences and engineering. Fiona has a background in physics and project management. Prior to joining SFI Fiona was Programme Manager for the Centre for Women in Science and Engineering Research in Trinity College Dublin. She has worked as a researcher in Dublin City University and Trinity College Dublin. Fiona holds a PhD in Physics and a degree in Natural Science from Trinity College Dublin.


11.10 - 11.50

A whole-institute approach to internationalisation - success factors, money matters, and the road ahead

Presented by Laura E. Rumbley, PhD | Associate Director, Knowledge Development & Research, European Association for International Education

What does ‘successful’ internationalisation look like in European higher education, and in what ways do financial considerations drive or hinder this process? In recent years, the need to answer these questions has become increasingly important.

This presentation draws on data from two recent studies in the EAIE Barometer (second edition) report series, providing insight into how international higher education professionals across Europe view national and institutional realities with respect to internationalisation.

Several key issues are explored:

  • What are some of the shared characteristics among institutions where there are high levels of confidence about internationalisation approaches and performance?
  • In what ways does “money matter” in the internationalisation of European higher education institutions?
  • And what might some of these insights mean for Irish higher education moving forward?


Laura E. Rumbley is Associate Director, Knowledge Development & Research for the EAIE. She served from 2012 to 2018 as Associate Director and Assistant Professor of the Practice at the Boston College Center for International Higher Education (CIHE), where she is currently a Research Fellow. Laura is a co-editor of the Journal of Studies in International Education (SAGE), and serves on the editorial advisory boards of International Higher Education (Boston College) and Studies in Higher Education (Routledge). Laura is a former Deputy Director of the Brussels-based Academic Cooperation Association (ACA) and a former US Foreign Service Officer.



12.20 - 13.20

Strategies towards equality, diversity and inclusion at universities

Presented by Dr Thomas Ekman Jørgensen, Senior Policy Coordinator, European University Association (EUA); Dr. Anna Kelly, Director, Access & Lifelong Learning, University College Dublin and Lewis Purser, Director Learning & Teaching and Academic Affairs. 

The session will provide an overview of developments across Europe based on the results of a survey to universities conducted in 2018/2019, as part of the INVITED project of the European University Association and the European Universities' Continuing Education Network, with support from the European Students Union. Hear from an Irish University which will illustrate their approache towards equality, diversity and inclusion, and provide inspiration for a discussion with participants.

Dr Thomas Ekman Jørgensen is Senior Policy Coordinator at EUA. His responsibilities include ensuring coherent policies for universities as well as overall policy development and managing cross-cutting issues with policy relevance.

Dr Jørgensen worked with EUA as Head of the Council for Doctoral Education for a number of years. He studied History and German Studies at the University of Copenhagen and the Free University Berlin. He received his PhD in History and Civilisation from the European University Institute in Florence in 2004 and worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Copenhagen and at the Université libre de Bruxelles before coming to EUA. As a historian, he has worked on students and left-wing movements around 1968. He has also published on youth movements during World War I.

Dr Anna Kelly, DipEd(HEc), MEd(SEN), MSc(Mgt), PhD (Inclusive Design) is Director, Access & Lifelong Learning at University College Dublin. Dr Kelly leads a team of access professionals who support the University to realise its strategic objective to become a diverse and inclusive scholarly community. She is Chair of the Steering Group for HEAR/DARE Alternative Admissions Routes to Higher Education and is Ireland's representative on the European Access Network. In addition, Dr Kelly has extensive experience of the further education sector, including St Michael's House, the National Rehabilitation Board, and FÁS.
Lewis Purser is director (Learning & Teaching and Academic Affairs) at IUA, where he works with the Vice-Presidents Academic/Registrars’ group, and also supports other groups including the admissions officers, access managers/directors, international officers, quality officers, heads of teaching and learning and heads of student services.
From 1998-2005 he was programme manager at the European University Association. A graduate of Trinity College Dublin and of the Graduate Institute of Development Studies at the University of Geneva, he worked from 1989-1998 with various higher education institutions in Hungary, Romania and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and with several United Nations agencies in educational, health and social fields.

View the presentation slides here.


13.25 - 14.05

Lifelong learning for lifelong employability

Presented by Róisín Donnelly, Head of learning development, College of Business, Technological University Dublin and Dr Maria Gallo, Director of the Centre for Lifelong, St. Angela's College, Sligo, a College of the National University of Ireland, Galway

The panelists will discuss the development of new methods of learning and teaching, throughout a students academic years and post-education to enable the learner to continuously develop and upskill. They’ll explore how the development of technologies are making the transfer of knowledge easier and more portable. Lifelong Learning and the identification and development of skills and competencies that will lead to personal development and success for the learner but also as a benefit to the wider economy.

Dr Maria Gallo has over 20 years as a scholar, and higher education professional in lifelong learning, philanthropy and alumni relations roles. Maria is the former Director of Lifelong Learning and Engagement at St Angela’s College, Sligo and is currently a Research Fellow with the Community Knowledge Initiative at the Institute for Lifecourse and Society at NUI Galway. As the Founder of the social enterprise KITE- Keep in Touch Education, Maria undertakes research, consultancy and education projects to promote alumni connections in life for life. Along with her TEDx talk on alumni, Maria is a regular speaker at higher education conferences worldwide and is a Director on the Board of Ireland Reaching Out (IrelandXO). Maria has several academic publications on higher education and remains actively involved in all five of her alma maters in Canada, Ireland and the UK.
Róisín Donnelly is Programme Chair in the LTTC and Programme Co-ordinator of the MSc Applied eLearning (winner of the IELA award for best blended learning programme 2012 & Shortlisted for PG Course of the Year 2014). She has supervised 28 MSc and MA students to successful completion and is currently co-supervising a PhD student in Computing. She is a fellow of SEDA, a fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy, founder and co-editor of the Irish Journal of Academic Practice (IJAP), co-founder and joint co-ordinator of the annual Graduate Student Conference, and a former member of the Steering Committee of the Irish PBL network (Facilitate). She previously worked as a lecturer and research officer in the Northern Ireland Knowledge Engineering Laboratory in the Faculty of Informatics at the University of Ulster from 1992-1997, and subsequently moved to Australia where she was a lecturer and research fellow in the School of Computing in the University of New South Wales (Sydney), until joining the LTTC in 1999.
In her current LTTC role, she delivers consultancies and workshops on a variety of topics in learning and teaching development, and has a range of publications to date reflecting her specialist teaching and research interests, including Professional Development of Teaching and Learning for Academics, Curriculum Design, Digital Scholarship, Academic Writing, Reflective Practice, Active Learning, eLearning Pedagogy & Design, Supporting Virtual Communities, Blended Problem-based Learning Strategies, ePortfolios/Teaching Portfolios, and Supporting Supervisors in Undergraduate and Postgraduate Supervision.

14.10 - 16.20

gradireland Higher Education Awards

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