HECA is the representative association for the independent colleges’ higher education sector in Ireland, which comprises fifteen institutions with a diverse range of programme offerings. HECA’s primary function is to act for, and advocate on behalf of, the independent college’s higher education sector in a unified manner, and to strive to ensure that the HECA voice is heard and acted upon.
HECA interacts on behalf of the sector with many different key national and international stakeholders and influencers, which are outlined in more detail under the ‘Engagement’ section on this site.
HECA fulfils three core functions:
1. Advocacy and Representation
2. Member Network
3. General Services
Advocacy and Representation
Drawing on the leadership and academic expertise of its diverse community HECA’s work as a representative and advocacy body for independent college’s higher education sector encompasses the following activities:
• Providing strategic representation and advocacy for the independent colleges education sector to government and government agencies.
• Representing the sector, alongside other higher education and further education bodies, at a national level in an impartial and positive manner.
• Raising the proﬁle of the sector with key stakeholders and the general public.
• Influencing and shaping the higher education policy agenda through our interactions with policy makers and other stakeholders, including formal communications such as policy papers and submissions.
• Influencing and maximising funding for the sector.
• Building strategic relationships and alliances, including with business leaders and their representatives, that highlight the importance and responsiveness of the private higher education sector to industry needs.
• Undertaking specific enhancement work, e.g. internationalisation, driving quality enhancement in higher education.
• Seeking innovation and debate on complex issues facing the future of higher education.
HECA facilitates collaborative networking amongst its members through the following collegial activities:
• Managing a range of key working committees and groups, particularly in areas pertaining to Teaching Learning and Assessment, Quality Assurance, and Validation and Accreditation.
• Organising relevant sectoral workshops, colloquia, and conferences.
• Providing a forum and network to discuss common issues, shared experiences, with the goal to achieve higher order thinking and improvement across the sector.
• Providing a network and opportunity for greater purchasing power on certain commonly required items.
• Accommodating and supporting the collaboration on innovative ideas within higher education.
HECA provides a wide range of services to the HECA community. Examples of such activities include the following:
• Managing the Protection of Enrolled Learners Scheme (PEL) in adherence to national legislative requirements and QQI guidelines, through the HECA PEL Scheme Oversight Committee.
• Supporting, sharing and performing research and data analysis into areas such as, educational trends, and future in-demand qualification areas.
• Managing the collaboration and publication of data from the HECA membership.
• Supporting capacity building within the HECA membership, as a community of good practice, to improve its member’s effectiveness in continuously improving and building to produce excellent standards and leading innovations across higher education benchmarked against national and international norms.
• Promoting and showcasing innovation and good practice within HECA.
• Communicating information on policy and reporting requirements to individual members.