With the Trinity Education Project, Trinity has committed itself to making radical changes to many of its core functions as a university. From the way it teaches students to the way it assesses them, Trinity is promising that the education an individual leaves with will be different to that received by former graduates.
All of this sounds very abstract, however, and it’s easy to be cynical about how Trinity can achieve these changes, particularly given the short timeframe that it has set itself – students entering in 2018/19 will be running off entirely different systems to those currently in Trinity. Thus, while we’re used to hearing about the changes the College will be making – an earlier start to the term, the replacement of TSM, broader types of assessment, a Christmas exam week but fewer overall exams – it’s easy to dismiss the idea that such changes will make a big difference to how students experience Trinity. After all, a lecturer or even a whole school could work to make their curriculum and assessment as similar as possible to the current system.
There are, however, changes that are guaranteed to affect those in Trinity in a noticeable way. Some of these changes will be positive. The introduction of a fixed timetable, for example, should result in timetables available to students earlier, and not during the first week of term. Many, however, will be unexpected and confusing to many in the Trinity community, who, with Trinity working off many traditional systems and procedures, are used to having things work on the same system and timeline as they have for decades.
Changes may come to some of the aspects of College that many believe define Trinity. For example, with the introduction of Christmas exam weeks, the timing of the Schols examinations in January would result in an even less pleasant Christmas break for the second-years who put themselves forward.
Current students are not engaging with the consultation surrounding the project, and the changes that come in will not affect them. But even if the project’s most ambitious aims remain unfulfilled, how a student’s time in Trinity looks is still likely to change radically.