All Ireland Society for Higher Education (AISHE), AISHE-C 2010: Designing & Delivering Curricula for the Future

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Changing curricula in art and design education in a post bologna context, developing part-time progression routes for mature students at the National College of Art and Design.
nuala mary hunt

Last modified: 2010-10-13



The Bologna agreement, proposed the introduction of a European area of higher education by 2010, among the many changes included in this initiative are; the development of comparable degrees, the intorduction of three cycles within third level, ects and much more. This paper will consider the implications of policy developments for undergraduate provision in third level art and design education in a post-Bologna context.  In particular, the researcher will examine curriculum developments within the National College of Art and Design part-time education programme for mature students in the context of on-going change within the higher education sector.


The landscape of higher education in Ireland has significantly altered since the 1990s. Policy developments such as; Bologna, Universities Act, White Paper on Lifelong learning, combined with changes in how third level is funded has impacted on providers within the sector.


Generally, art and design education in the state has evolved toward full-time undergraduate degree options which are often discipline specific, ie visual communications, or fine art painting. While many Institutes of Technology, Independent colleges and NCAD, offer full-time under-graduate degrees, there are few part-time options in art and design. There are a small number of examples within the IoT sector, at GMIT, and IADT, however, the duration of part-time degree programmes vary. In the context of on-going change, with dwindling resources available, the prospect of developing and sustaining part-time progression routes for mature students becomes increasingly challenging.


The arrival of Bologna has presented third level art and design curricula with a number of challenges including: potential changes to the duration of under-graduate courses,  implementing modularisation, learning outcomes, the development of progression routes to post-graduate taught programmes, as well as the on-going debate concerning disciplinary boundaries.


This paper will present a curriculum development initiative taken within the college(NCAD) to address part-time progression routes for mature students. Curriculum design can be a slow process, involving several stakeholders with divergent views on how courses are constructed , and delivered.   The design of a modular programme for part-time students in art and design will be examined in the context of policy developments, institutional structures, and ongoing changes in teaching and learning.

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