Can you teach an old dog new tricks? Institution-wide pedagogical reform at an elite university in Ireland
Institution-wide pedagogical reforms are common across higher education institutions. Such reforms may be driven by rationalisation as well as recognition of the need to provide students with interdisciplinary learning experiences that equip them with the “social and analytic competencies needed in contemporary careers outside the academy” (British Academy, 2016, p.5). This paper reports on an institution-wide pedagogical reform initiative, the Trinity Education Project (TEP), at Trinity College Dublin, an elite and ancient Irish university. We describe the development of the TEP and the implementation of its Assessment Framework, which aims to bring diversity into teaching, learning and assessment through the assessment of graduate attributes in a system strongly focused on assessment of learning, examinations and lectures. Reflections on challenges are presented. Discussion centres on the extent to which it is possible, and the best approach, to achieve consensus in an educational system where autonomous disciplinary structures and traditions prevail.