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Business and Management., 5.3 EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES
The drive for third level education institutes to engage with industry, enterprise and the community recognises their interdependence and need for continuous knowledge exchange. The extent to which students are capable of embracing their post-qualification roles, may be determined by the currency of the curriculum and work-readiness, which is informed by the context of the ‘real-worlds’ however they are shaped. Similarly, the activities that challenge industry, enterprise and the community could find support in the broad the spectrum of knowledge, skills and expertise that resides in the domain of formal education.
A key obstacle to collaboration between higher education institutes and enterprise seems to be one of communication. Typically, the discourse and structure of third level education institutes presents a challenge to those wishing to engage. This may be intensified by the tendency to ‘silo’ disciplines in a way that may not reflect enterprise categorisations.
Recognising this, three Dublin Higher Education Institutes, Technological University Dublin (DIT), Institute of Technology Tallaght (ITTD) and Institute of Technology Blanchardstown (ITB) developed an innovative cross- institute approach to bridging the communication gap between the academic world and the communities in which they are situated. Specifically, the project partners collaborated to develop a platform, entitled ConnectED, to enhance proactive dialogue between industry and academia, thereby creating a trusting and supportive environment in which mutually beneficial interactions could progress and lay solid foundations of mutual respect and trust.
An additional aspect of the collaboration is that the three Institutes involved are currently in the process of preparing for merger and applying for Technological University status. Consequently, working together on the project facilitated a closer working relationship and contributed to organisational restructuring debates.
In summary, ConnectED aims to be a sustainable and capable approach to promoting, enabling and facilitating engagement with industry, enterprise and the community. It seeks to establish partnerships for the mutual benefit of all the stakeholders and to embed the expertise and resources of higher education clusters in their strategic thinking. Supported by a consolidated enhanced online portal, an open access repository for engagement knowledge, impact story-telling, and resource-brokering, ConnectED contributes to the development of a strong engagement commitment and is a catalyst for an improved strategic approach to managing engagement relationships. ConnectED was funded by Higher Education Authority: Roadmap for Employment-Academic Partnerships (REAP) initiative.
Keogh, John. J., Kirk, D., Maguire, T.,(2015) 'ConnectED: an Enhanced Online Interface for Engagement between Industry and Academia', UIIN Annual International Conference, Berlin, June, 2015