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Dr. Sharon Feeney to join HEA Board

Posted: 28 July, 2016

Dr. Sharon Feeney, Head of Learning Development in the College of Business, DIT, has been appointed to the new board of the Higher Education Authority.

Announcing the appointment of members to the Board yesterday, the Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton TD wished them well in their important roles.  He said, “At the heart of what the Government is trying to achieve is to use our economic success to make life a little easier for people.  High quality education and training is key to this ambition.  I want to ensure that the higher education system equips people with the knowledge and skills necessary to live fulfilled and rewarding lives, and to meet the social and economic challenges facing Ireland.” 

Outlining the programme of work for the board, he said the implementation of the System Performance Framework, Strategic Dialogue and agreement of compacts between the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) underpins a changed relationship between the State and the higher education system and provides for a new level of accountability for public funding against national objectives for the public funded higher education system.  “Now, I want to examine the potential for new funding models to ensure that we can deliver results in areas such as disadvantage, skills and research.  In addition, I will be mapping out a multi-year vision for the future of this crucial sector which will see the development of a new Systems Performance Framework for Higher Education for the period to 2021,  I will be examining measurement instruments for key areas that will include increasing access for underrepresented groups, flexible and online learning, responsiveness to emerging skills needs, student retention, new apprenticeship models and a renewed focus on improving the quality of the student experience and learning outcomes.

The knowledge and capability which these appointments will bring to the Board will ensure that we can deliver on these national objectives.”

Responding to the announcement of her appointment, Dr. Feeney said she was honoured and delighted to have an opportunity to contribute to the challenging programme of work which the Minister has outlined.

Dr. Feeney has worked in the higher education sector since 1991 in numerous roles, including quality assurance; lecturer (in corporate strategy; organisational behaviour; behavioural science; public policy; international management; and other management modules), and most recently as Head of Learning Development.  She has a Masters degree in Work and Organisational Psychology from Dublin City University and a PhD from The University of Sheffield. Her doctoral thesis (“Institutional Quality Review in Higher Education in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland: a Comparison of Two Approaches”) examined the origins and processes of institutional level quality reviews in Irish higher education institutions.  Her current research interests focus on higher education policy at the institutional, national and international levels, with particular emphasis on quality systems, programme and institutional evaluation, and qualifications and awards frameworks.  She is involved in research projects that focus on learning and teaching methods in higher education.