Transforming Higher Education Conference

This 2-day event fostered collaboration between education and industry for upskilling. The UL@Work project, funded by the Human Capital Initiative (HCI), hosted prominent international academic and industry speakers who engaged in debate and discussion on best practices in education and skills preparation for the future workforce. Joining forces to bring expertise and rounded debate to empower the workforce of the future. Day 1 was held at our City Centre Campus, while Day 2 was facilitated at our Plassey Campus.

  • Professor Ann Ledwith, Executive Dean, Graduate and Professional Studies, welcomed everyone and spoke about the purpose of this most worthwhile event and how implementing good practice through valued insights from all stakeholders ties to strategic objectives regionally, nationally and internationally. 

  • Cllr Kieran O’Hanlon, Deputy Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, gave an opening address.
  • Dr Vivienne Patterson, Head of Skills and Engagement, Higher Education Authority (HEA), spoke about how Higher Education institutions and industry need collaboration to drive innovation. How can we take risks, deliver change and leverage funds for skills development?
  • Industry voice offered by Richard McKeogh, Director of Operations, Stryker.
  • Professor Ian Solomonides put forward Plenary No. 1 - ‘Block teaching: Transforming Higher Education: Implementing Institutional Change.
  • Round Table discussion with a mix of stakeholders from industry, policymakers, regional skills development, Higher Education and Further Education and Training, where a question was offered to each table, wrapping up with findings presented by each. (SEE SKETCHES BELOW)

A thought-provoking opening was offered by Shane Kilcommins, Provost and Deputy President, UL. This framing set us up nicely for a good day to ask those difficult questions about disruption and innovation in education. 

Disruption in Higher Education: Where now for workplace-focused education? Chaired by Professor Ian Solomonides, Victoria University, Melbourne.

  • Associate Professor Jeff Dusek, Baldwin Wallace University, spoke about innovation in curriculum design to grow the next generation of problem solvers.
  • Professor Minna Isomursu, University of Oulu, offered an insightful discussion on diversity, equality and inclusion in education. 

Industry Co-Design and Co-Delivery 

  • Professor Gilly Salmon and Professor Alejandro Armellini took to the stage to present the importance of industry co-design and co-delivery. Their presentation ‘Be More Janus’ focused on the importance of looking back and looking forward. 

Student Voice

We heard from industry professionals Orla Treacy, John Mc Loughlin, David Lamont and Andy Nolan, who are also undertaking part-time UL@Work courses, executive apprenticeships and doctorates. Impressive to hear how professional education is empowering their career journey.

Fireside chat: Reflections on University of Limerick's role in innovation in transforming education. 

  • This insightful discussion was chaired by Dave Griffin, Business Development Manager, CONFIRM, with UL colleagues Dr Sarah Kieran, Kemmy Business School; Michael Hennessy, Flexible Learning Unit; Professor Norma Bargary, Department of Mathematics and Statistics; Professor Tiziana Margaria, Computer Science and Information Systems.

Micro-Credentials – Chaired by Fiona Keogh, Analog Devices.

  • Dr Nan Travers presented Shaping the Future of Micro-Credentials, while Professor Josephine Lang, University of Melbourne, offered how to assess and integrate micro-credentials.
  • Professor Martin Margala put forward a presentation on Professional Development at Scale and the Role of Modern Public Universities: Towards the Future of Traditional Universities. 

Closing debate: ‘This house believes that the Traditional University Degree is a relic of a bygone age.’ 

Moderated by Professor Ann Ledwith with motions for and against provided by Professor Stephen Kinsella, UL, Dr Carolina Alves, Girton College, Cambridge, William Beausang, Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, and Andrew Finn, Fastrack into Information Technology (FIT)