Proves Key Influencer for Building Activities page15
Community Based Research
Sample Events from EVY2011 Ireland page 29
Harnessing the energy of youth Youth volunteering in Ireland is underdeveloped, but a number of groups are working to tap into the vast potential out there Louise Holden writes. IRISH PEOPLE HAVE a good global record on volunteering – a recent study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found that Ireland ranked joint second in the world, alongside the US, for giving money and spending time on good causes outside the home. However, in a European context, we are not doing so well. Northern and western European countries such as Norway, Sweden, Finland and Germany have traditionally high rates of volunteering, underpinned by a history of military conscription that has helped create a culture of giving time for unpaid work. The European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) came up with results that vary from the OECD finding. This study of EU member states puts Ireland in the lower ranks of volunteering societies. About 19 per cent of Irish people in the survey claimed to take part in voluntary or charitable activities on a regular basis: only 12 per cent of these committed themselves once a week or more. This is around the EU average, but is dwarfed by comparison to polltoppers such as Denmark (45 per cent) and Finland (43 per cent). On a wider societal level, volunteering has been found to increase social-connectness within communities – a critical factor in the health of societies.
Youth volunteering in Ireland is underdeveloped, but a number of groups are working to attract more 18- to 30-year-olds into relevant programmes. It’s not just about giving help any-old-where, there is an increasing emphasis on matching young people to volunteering work that will enhance their career prospects and help them make connections relative to their skills and interests. Lorraine McIlrath is coordinator of the Community Knowledge Initiative at NUI Galway. She oversees the ‘service learning’ programme at the university; a model that sees students earning academic credits for work in the community. The work has to be relevant to their degree course and they are assessed on their contribution by the faculty when the work is done. Service learning is now an embedded element of 40 degree courses at NUI Galway. “Service learning is fundamentally a teaching tool,” says McIlrath, who piloted the model in the north when teaching conflict studies in her early career. While most youth volunteering takes place in a local community setting, a small but growing number of young volunteers are taking their skills beyond Ireland to work for not-for-profit agencies across Europe. Léargas is the body charged with granting funding and setting up connections for Irish 18- to 30year- olds looking to volunteer abroad. Léargas also organises placements for young people from other EU member states to come
Celebrations at the launch of European Year of Volunteering 2011
here – and to date the inflow has exceeded the outflow. “Ireland is an attractive destination for volunteers because we have a well-established community network of voluntary organisations here,” says Des Burke, programme manager of the youthwork service at Léargas. “There is also the language motivation: many young Europeans learning English see volunteering here as a good opportunity to develop their skills.” As part of the EU Youth in Action programme about 70 volunteers come to Ireland to work with NGOs each year. Around half that amount go in the opposite direction. There is definitely room for growth in this regard, according to Burke. “A volunteering programme is challenging, it takes you out of your culture and exposes you to an entirely new experience. We tend to attract students with an idealistic attitude, an ethos of citizenship,” he said. There is generous funding
available for the EU Youth in Action programme, with up to 90 per cent travel and accommodation costs covered and a small stipend for living costs. For a young person about to leave school or college without an obvious job in prospect, volunteering is worthy of consideration. The period between the ages of 18 and 30 is the best opportunity many will have for taking part in rewarding community work. Volunteering is a chance to get a taste of the real world, before the real world gets in the way.
This article was published in Irish Times on 16th April as part of the Irish Times supplement for the European Year of Volunteer 2011.
Campus Engage Post
In Brief Sharing is Caring Dr. Elaine Ward from Dublin Institute of Technology recently offered a CKI Lunchtime Seminar entitled, ‘The Ways and Whys of Community-Engaged Research and Scholarship’ at NUI Galway. Drawing on her ten-year’s experience working in American higher education and from her research on female communityengaged scholars, Dr. Ward shared her insights on community-engaged research, faculty identity, and the changing university. Dr. Ward presented her theory of community-engaged scholarly identity and shared narratives of those who have navigated institutional cultures and contexts, making their community-engaged work count as legitimate scholarly work. She also facilitated collective and continued exploration into the questions of community-engaged research and scholarship, including how we continue to move community-engaged research and scholarship from the margins into the central practices of Irish institutions of higher education.
Quirky Service Learning ‘Topper Off’r’ is a simple instrument that allows a stroke patient or amputee to slice the top off a hard-boiled egg with little effort. NUI Galway Mechanical Engineering students from Athlone and Ballybofey came up with the device after they were set the challenge of inventing something for a person with limited mobility. Working closely with an occupational therapist, The NUI Galway students found the entire process a valuable learning experience; putting their engineering knowledge into practice, while doing something that will actually benefit people. “Although it’s very simple, it might actually help someone,” explains Kiel McCool. “There wasn’t a lot of engineering involved because it was a fairly simple concept, it was more about becoming aware of the limitations stroke or amputee patients had and making things as easy as possible for them.”
University of Limerick’s President’s Volunteer Award UL’s newly launched community engagement site wwwulpva.ie offers a colourful range of volunteering opportunities available to students. One international opportunity, ‘The Burren Chernobyl Project’ (BCP) is particularly attractive. BCP is a leading Irish charity established in 1993 to help the child victims of the fallout from the Chernobyl disaster. Many projects have been carried out by BCP to assist the children and their families in Belarus who are enduring the effects of exposure to radiation, in addition to other social and economic problems.
Blast from the Past WIT’s Elizabeth Brunton and ITT’s Anne Jordan presented at the 4th Annual Conference on Teaching & Learning at NUI Galway in 2006. The conference was entitled, ‘The Challenge of Diversitys; Teaching, Supporting and Student Learning’. Their paper, ‘Learning Strategies, Metacognition and College Success’ concluded; “Many students entering third level do not have learning strategies that related to their strengths as identified by learning styles and multiple intelligences questionnaires. How can we best integrate awareness raising initiatives into the curriculum?” If, as Brookfield (1998) states, reflective journaling can aid in the development of a sense of personal power and selfworth, which in turn will enable them to become critical thinkers, then how can this be best integrated into the curriculum for all
newcomers to third level? See the paper at www.itt.ie/TLUHome.
Audit on the day involving groups collecting information from various divisions of the campus.
In it to Win it The governing body of the Dublin Institute of Technology established an award in 2010 to recognise students who have contributed greatly to student life in the Institute and their local communities. By recognising those students who have made a difference and left a positive legacy in DIT, it is hoped to inspire other students to make a similar contribution. Those who would be legible are those who have, voluntarily, made an outstanding contribution to clubs and societies, students’ union or the institute, those with sporting achievements on a national/international level, those who have undertaken extensive pastoral/charity work, and those who have achieved excellence in a cultural/artistic field.
Sustainability at DCU The Office of Civic and Global Engagement at DCU recently held a workshop to launch the sustainable DCU initiative. One of the main objectives of the workshop was to raise awareness as to what DCU is currently doing to reduce its impact on the environment and become more sustainable in the long term. There were a number of guest speakers on the day, including representatives from An Taisce and The Environmental Protection Agency, along with DCU researchers working on sustainability issues. There was also an opportunity to take part in an Environmental
NUI Maynooth Reaches out to the Community The pioneering role of NUI Maynooth in broadening the horizons of adult education in Ireland is widely recognised, including the university's first Outreach Campus at St. Kieran's College in Kilkenny. NUI Maynooth provides a range of courses at undergraduate and postgraduate level for adult students from Kilkenny and the Southeast. Great emphasis has been placed on ensuring that the campus commands a high level of local ownership, with a local steering committee in place to foster local engagement with the campus. Currently, there are almost 330 registered NUI Maynooth students pursuing various courses in Kilkenny. Approximately one third of these students are undertaking the B.A. (Local / Community Studies), a part-time modular degree specifically designed to facilitate participation by adult learners. In former years, it has also offered the Diploma in Community and Youth Work and the Higher Diploma in Information and Communication Technology in Education at the Campus, as well as various NUI Certificate courses from the University's Continuing Education programme. Since its establishment, Kilkenny Campus has also been privileged to play a part in the cultural life of Kilkenny through various cultural events and activities.
Major Increase in Student Participation Thousands of students have participated in volunteering and service learning in 2010 as a result of proactive promotion of civic engagement within universities and institutes of higher education. Much of the increase has come about due to specially developed programmes, awards, fairs and exhibitions where students, academics and community organisations learned about the availability of engagement options. Some of the major developments included Dublin City University’s set of guidelines for the embedding community-based learning in its curriculum, which helped
academics marry teaching with community partnership projects. It also introduced a President’s Award for Teaching and Learning that recognised civic engagement. Limerick Institute of Technology’s programme GIVE, has increased awareness and recognition of student activity in the community. Its flexibility makes it achievable for students whose voluntary contribution both on and off campus is acknowledged. Any student who volunteered for a minimum of 10 hours in the calendar year is eligible to apply for the award.
University of Limerick increased its volunteering activity by implementing the President’s Volunteer Award in 2010 and a new online volunteering portal. Backed by the Campus Engage seed-funding initiative, the University built the portal on preexisting resources of the Community Knowledge Initiative at NUI, Galway. This allowed the PVA to be rolled out by the President of the University during Orientation Week in September 2010 and for UL students to engage with volunteering opportunities from the beginning of the semester.
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Engage News NUI Galway Engineering Programme Won Award The Talloires Network and the MacJannet Foundation announced in 2010 that NUI Galway was among the winners of the second annual MacJannet Prize for Global Citizenship. This is the first time in history that an Irish education institution has been recognised for work in the area of civic engagement. The CAIRDE (Community Awareness Initiatives Responsibly-Directed by Engineers) service-learning module received second place in the MacJannet Prize for Global Citizenship. Through CAIRDE, all third-year Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering students apply academic knowledge and skills to address genuine community needs. NUI Galway, through the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI), became an active member of the Talloires Network in 2008. Since its inception, 50% of NUI Galway’s course offerings have created a servicelearning component. The McJannet Prize will help nurture and further develop this pedagogy across Ireland. Other winners of the MacJannet Prize included first place winner, PuentesUC (Bridges UC), at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. Joint second-place winners with NUI Galway are the HIV/AIDS Education and Prevention Program at University of Mines and Technology in Ghana and third-place prizes were also awarded to five additional outstanding programs from four continents: Community Builders, Wartburg College (USA); Humanity in Focus, University of Hong Kong (China); Student Leaders for Service, Portland State University (USA); Ubunye, University of Cape Town (South Africa); Vidas Móviles, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Colombia)
17 Projects Awarded Seed Funding Seventeen projects from various institutes of higher education were awarded up to €5,000 each to support their new and innovative civic engagement activities. This has lead to an increase in student and staff capacity in partnerships with local, national and international communities. Applications saw a diverse range of civic engagement activities represented, including service-based learning initiatives, community-based research methodologies, knowledge transfer and outreach partnerships. Among the winning projects was an online mini med school from the Royal College of Surgeons. The project involved recording a series of free lectures held monthly for the general public. The recorded lectures were then uploaded via webcast for the world to see. This allowed the Royal College of Surgeons to open up medical science to the general public, regardless of geographic location.
UL’s Co-operative Education Placement Continues to Grow Forty-four University of Limerick students are currently on civic engagement cooperative placements, a number envisaged to grow over the coming years. The increase is a result of UL’s Centre for Teaching & Learning collaboration with voluntary organisations and UL's Cooperative Education Department. Due to the success of a pilot programme in 2010, a number of disciplines incorporated community-based project work into courses taken before the student’s Coop experience. This proved popular with students, many of whom opted to broaden the community-based relationship into a Co-op placement. Unlimited opportunities exist for UL’s cooperative project to engage with the Limerick community, particularly in light of the Limerick Regeneration project. However, findings to date suggest that UL's engagement needs to be more targeted, coordinated and sustainable. The civic engagement initiative has the potential to help the university refine and improve the nature of its engagement with the community. This positive development comes at a time where UL and Campus Engage are working closely on supporting the continued development of ‘Education for Sustainability’. In 2009, UL launched a BSc degree programme in Energy that will provide students with the scientific and technical expertise to address the largest issues of the 21st century: energy sustainability, energy control and climate change.
Pictured at the launch were Ann Lyons, Community Knowledge Initiative, NUI Galway; Dónal Walsh, Galway City VEC; Yuvi Basanth, Roots Reel Films; and Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway.
Film Documentary Leads Community Education Discussion A new documentary film, ‘Bridging the Gap’, in which leading academics in Irish higher education discuss contemporary social and economic issues in an engaging and accessible way, was launched in April 2010 at an event hosted by Galway City VEC, Campus Engaged NUI Galway. The aim of the film is to bridge the gap between higher education and adult and community education, by making available the knowledge, expertise and perspectives of academics to students learning in community-based settings. The film consists of two DVDs, which contain a number of short programmes on topics such as human rights, globalisation, education, democracy, gender and racism. The production of ‘Bridging the Gap’ is a partnership between County Wexford VEC, Roots Reel Films and the Equality Studies Centre at UCD, supported by funding from Campus Engage. The film has won an Aontas Star Award as an outstanding learner-centred adult and community education project and represents a very productive collaboration between institutions of higher education and community-based education. It will make a valuable contribution to the adult and community education sector, in addition to being useful resource for teachers and learners alike.
Campus Engage Sponsors Board of Irish College Societies (BICS) Award Campus Engage joined forces with BICS to acknowledge and affirm civic engagement by sponsoring a Best Civic Contribution award at their annual award ceremony. The event, which is held in April each year, is designed for students and their societies to showcase their numerous achievements and to celebrate the importance of societies contributions to higher education. Campus Engage first established the award in 2009, where both a large college and small college are eligible to win. Last year’s winners were Trinity College Dublin for their St Vincent de Paul ‘Big Crimbo Panto’ and Mary Immaculate College Limerick’s ‘One World Society’. BICS is a national organisation dedicated to providing a national forum for the societies in Ireland's universities, colleges and institutes of education. Founded in 1995, BICS acts as an information resource and support mechanism for society administrators throughout the country, promoting the sharing of ideas and the implementation of best practice.
New Appointment at DCU in the Community DCU has developed a set of guidelines for the embedding of communitybased learning in its curriculum and instituted a President’s Award for Teaching and Learning, recognising civic engagement in 2010. It also inaugurated its Volunteer Expo in 2009. The community-based project, ‘DCU in the Community’ has been reconfigured and strengthened by the appointment of a new staff member. Helen McQuillan is the development officer with ‘DCU in the Community’, Dublin City University’s community-based learning centre, situated in the heart of Ballymun. Her role is to engage with local community, education and training organisations, to look at ways of encouraging and supporting adult learners to progress to third level. The ‘DCU in the Community’ team also act as ambassadors for the university, linking the local community to campus resources, knowledge, events and support services.
Campus Engage Post
Engage News Continued/ New Appointment at DCU in the Community
Enhancing the Teaching and Learning Landscape
‘DCU in the Community’ acts as a shop front for DCU’s civic engagement mission. It has a physical presence in a neighbourhood and community that has one of the lowest participation rates in higher education. Co-funded by Ballymun Regeneration Ltd, the project has had the opportunity to feed into Ballymun’s social regeneration process, to network and deliver programmes jointly with community organisations, and to impact positively on the community’s learning culture. “DCU takes civic engagement seriously and sees the long-term benefits of establishing good relationships with local communities,” says Helen McQuillan. “Since I started in this role in July 2010, I have been inspired by the passion and commitment of organisations working with people who face considerable social and economic challenges in their daily lives. I have also been heartened by the enthusiasm and support of DCU faculty and staff in engaging with our work in making civic engagement tangible, rather than theoretical.”
In 2008, a postgraduate module on Civic Engagement, the first of its kind in Ireland, was successfully developed as part of the Postgraduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning at NUI Galway. This module was designed following a call from the higher education sector for a formal professional development opportunity to engage with this new terrain. To date, over forty academic staff from across the HE sector have successfully completed the module, from Letterkenny IT to NUI Maynooth to Waterford IT. Course work undertaken has allowed for the emergence of new civic engagement opportunities and for the development of indigenous research based on Irish practice. Themes under investigation include the historical evolution of higher education and manifestations of civic engagement within higher education, with a focus on service/community-based learning. A range of stakeholders share their perspectives, including community partners, students and champions of civic engagement. The 10 Ects module has been offered without cost as a result of NUI Galway's commitment to Campus Engage.
Embedding Volunteering and Service Learning St. Angela’s College in Sligo has embedded student volunteering and service learning in their current academic and strategic plans, drawing from the work underway through the CKI at NUI Galway and Campus Engage. In keeping with its mission to extend and strengthen its links with the wider community, the Department of Nursing and Health Studies at St Angela's College has formed a collaborative relationship with The National Learning Network, Sligo. Ten learners from the Access Programme at National Learning Network are currently using the food lab facilities in St Angela’s to complete a FETAC Level 3 Food and Cookery module. Gwen McDermott, an instructor from the National Learning Network, is facilitating the programme and is being assisted by students from the Bachelor of Nursing Science (Intellectual Disability) Programme. The programme, which is being delivered over three week, is proving to be a worthwhile and beneficial experience for all involved in this innovative project, suggests Ursula Gilrane-McGarry, a lecturer in the Department of Nursing and Health Studies. “From the learner’s perspective, this programme is an opportunity to become involved in life on college campus among students of a similar age group to the learners themselves. This broadens horizons for these learners as it gives them a chance to become more involved in the wider community and in so doing, increases their level of confidence and self-esteem.”
Strategy for Widening Participation at DIT Announced Dublin Institute of Technology launched its strategy for widening participation in April 2010 in which; “Every learner is encouraged, supported and recognised for their contribution to the DIT student experience.”
The strategy expands on the 120-year tradition of providing education opportunities for a diverse range of students. The strategy will enable DIT to widen educational access among people from under-represented communities to better prepare them for employment, postgraduate study and lifelong learning. This strategy will build upon the well established links DIT have already sustained with the
Mapping Civic Engagement within Higher Education in Ireland Global organisations and institutions are using the publication, ‘Mapping Civic Engagement within Higher Education in Ireland’ as a major resource for understanding civic engagement and civic engagement activities. The book, a partnership publication by AISHE Campus Engage, is a product of the ‘Service Learning Academy’, a project funded by the Higher Education Authority’s (HEA) Strategic Initiatives 2005 to 2007. The project was led by the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) at NUI Galway, in partnership with Dublin City University, NUI Maynooth and Dublin Institute of Technology. It highlights a range of activities that underpin civic engagement within higher education in Ireland and stands as a contemporary record of current thinking, experiences and rationale in this area. Contributions were drawn from individuals working within policy bodies, universities, and community together with third level students. The publication was called for as a result of discussion fora and seminars on the area of civic engagement to help those new to the field to gain an insight into the ongoing activities within Ireland. Its success is paramount to the ‘real’ case studies submitted by a diverse range of initiatives and can be found listed on many reference sites, including Campus Compact in the United States.‘
community and extend further into communities experiencing socioeconomic disadvantage, mature students, students with a disability, students from ethnic minorities and students from the Traveller community. Benefits of the new strategy will extend beyond the institute into the community, but the paper lists the following among the benefits to DIT; an enriched reaching and learning environment; highly
motivated and successful students with high levels of retention; increases in student numbers and engagement as basis for useinspired and policy relevant research. Targets are set in accordance with those set in the National Plan for Equity of Access to Higher Education and building on DIT’s current position; the target for widening participation of students entering DIT in 2015 is 34%.
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Engage News NUI Galway Launches Going to College Project
New Curriculum & Learning Support Toolkit at GMIT
In 2011, NUI Galway launched the ‘Going to College Project’, an inclusive education initiative to support the civic engagement of persons with intellectual disabilities. The project university/community partnership in which the UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement, NUI Galway, the Community Knowledge Initiative, NUI Galway and the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies, are leaders. The project is also supported by the HSE. The aim of the two-year project is to support the civic engagement of persons with an intellectual disability through access to inclusive higher education at NUI Galway. Students with an intellectual disability will chose to study particular subjects (or subject modules) they are interested in and will be individually supported to participate in classes with their peers in the university. Students will also be supported to volunteer in their own community, get involved in community activities and community projects, experience internships in departments at NUI Galway, undertake external work placements linked with their area of study and participate and engage in college clubs and societies. There will be a flexible accreditation process to acknowledge each student’s individual achievement, resulting in a Certificate in Arts and Civic Studies. Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair for Children, Youth and Civic Engagement and Director of the Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway explained, “This pilot will provide an opportunity for the students to fully engage with college life, develop social connections with their peers and harness the knowledge and skills to determine their own future.” The project will also include collaborations with other universities both nationally and internationally. Bruce Uditsky and E.Anne Hughson from the Alberta Association of Community Living (AACL) /University of Calgary will attend the launch. AACL have been involved in the development of inclusive higher education for persons with intellectual disabilities for over 20 years in Alberta, Canada. As part of their visit, they will provide workshops for academic staff at NUI Galway, for parents and families and for service providers. The project will also be supported by a number of community and employer patrons including Mary O’Malley, poet and writer; Padraig O’Ceidigh, CEO Aer Arann and Tina Roche, CEO Business in the Community. Journalist, TV presenter and NUI Galway graduate, Conor Pope will also be patron of the project.
In 2010, GMIT developed a Service Learning module (worth 5ECTS) titled ‘Civic Engagement’ and a learning support ‘Toolkit’. The new ‘Toolkit’ developed functions as the student’s main reference point for the GMIT Civic Engagement Module. It contains content for a series of workshops and tutorials, serves as a reference tool for students’ placement in the community (learning through service), and outlines the assessment methods for the GMIT Civic Engagement module. The ‘Toolkit’ topics include: Introduction to the Principles and Practices of Community Based Learning; The Roles and Responsibilities of the Institute, the Student, and Community Partners; Communication Tools and Techniques to Support the Civic Role; and Techniques for Community Based Learning. This new civic engagement learning and assessment opportunity in GMIT has enhanced the student learning experience and is now cultivating a new generation of graduates who can relate to democracy, diversity and social responsibility issues.
DkIT, Simon & Rehab Care’s Growing Food Collaboration
NUI Maynooth Welcomes Fulbright Scholar NUI Maynooth welcomed Fulbright Senior Specialist, Maria Alvia, to its campus in 2010 and 2011. Maria is the Director of the Centre for Community Based Learning at Occidental College in Los Angeles, California, where she also teaches a class in Academic Community Engagement. During her time in Ireland, she conducted a workshop addressing the role of higher education in society’s wellbeing by sharing information on several approaches through which higher education institutions engage with the larger community. Maria is originally from Northern Mexico, and has been a community organiser for most of her life in Mexico and in the United States. From 1992 through 2000, Ms. Avila was an organiser with the Industrial Areas Foundation in Los Angeles and in Northern California. She earned a degree in Social Work at the Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juarez, in Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, a BA in Psychology at the University of Illinois in Chicago, and an MA in Social Service Administration and Community Organising at University of Chicago. Her approach to civic engagement from a community organising perspective has taken Ms. Avila to present at various conferences throughout the US, in Mexico and in Ireland. Ms. Avila’s community organising model to institutionalising civic engagement at Occidental has been referred to in several books and articles.
Two years ago, a group of students and staff at Dundalk Institute of Technology created a ‘Growing Food on Campus’ project, which has now become a recognised college club and society. The group wanted to learn more about how to grow food, model and promote sustainability and resilience on campus and influence the curriculum, in addition to prompting awareness around including ethics. DkIT now have eight raised beds on campus. Most of the members of the group are novice gardeners. Last spring, the project contacted the Simon/Rehab Care Food Project in Dundalk. This project has similar aims but a lot more expertise and knowledge of gardening. Over the past year, the institute and Simon/Rehab Care project have visited each other’s projects and shared seeds and plants. In August, they will share a joint-stand at the Drogheda Food Festival. This initial contact has now expanded to include other aspects of sustainable development. A recent visit to the Rehab Centre to see their approaches to recycling has resulted in a plan for Rehab clients to come to DkIT to help canteen staff with their recycling efforts.
Campus Engage Post
Engage News We Volunteer! Photographic Exhibition goes on Tour
third level sector. The conference brought together representatives from institutions such as Trinity College Dublin, DCU, DIT, UL, University of Ulster, NUI Galway and St. Angela's College Sligo, to mention a few. ‘Building a Voice for Student Volunteering in Ireland', provided a space for student volunteers to meet together for the first time. Student volunteers were recognised as the experts in student volunteering, where each student had the opportunity to share their individual experiences and perceptions with the audience. One such student, Rachel Breslin from UCD, stressed the importance of giving time versus just money to a cause. She highlighted that one person can’t achieve everything but as a collective, an impact can be achieved, evident from the ?110,000 worth of hours contributed annually by student volunteers, a tiny sample of overall national student volunteering hours. The last seven years have seen an upsurge in student volunteering activities across the third level sector, recognising the diverse activities students undertake as volunteers within the community.
NUI Galway Represented on EU Year of Volunteer 2011 Steering Committee
Volunteering stories of over 20 students went on tour as part of an exciting photographic exhibition called ‘We Volunteer!’ recently. Launched by President Mary McAleese, Patron of European Volunteer of the Year 2011, over 200 volunteers and distinguished guests arrived at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham to celebrate the commitment of volunteers throughout Europe. The exhibition was sponsored by Campus Engage and organised by a group comprising of representatives from both universities and institutes of technology. All third-level colleges in Ireland were invited to nominate students for inclusion. From the 60 nominations received, 20 students were selected. The exhibition travelled throughout Ireland in early 2011, visiting over 20 universities, in addition to making one special trip to Latvia. Karina Korotkevica, an Economics, Politics and Law student from DCU who took part in ‘We Volunteer!’, attended a volunteering seminar in Riga, Latvia. The aim of the seminar was to look at the challenges and issues faced in promoting volunteering in Latvia and to learn from other European countries’ experiences. Acting as Ireland’s ambassador, she shared her experience of volunteering as part of the Uaneen module at DCU. “I am very happy to promote the ‘We Volunteer!’ exhibition outside of Ireland; it’s such a creative and interesting tool to promote volunteering to young people,” said Karina.
Student Volunteers Call For Additional Support and Resources Staff and students from over 16 institutes of higher education from across Ireland gathered at the ‘Building a Voice For Student Volunteering in Ireland’ conference, which was recently held at NUI Galway. The conference was held in anticipation of the EU Year of the Volunteer 2011 and was sponsored by Campus Engage. At the conference, students called for additional support and resources to enable them to realise their full volunteering potential, including dedicated support staff across the
NUI Galway’s Lorraine Tansey has been appointed as a member of the EU Year of Volunteer 2011 Steering Committee. Her role will be to lead on key activities and events for the year. The European Year of Volunteering 2011(EYV2011) is about recognising the contribution of voluntary activity to society and the value that volunteering inherently gives to causes and communities on a local, national and international level. Each country in the EU has an appointed National Coordinating Body (NCB) to lead on key activities and events for the year. In Ireland, Volunteering Ireland, the national volunteer development agency, has assumed responsibilities of the NCB. The steering committee is formed of various community organisations, institutions and relevant volunteering individuals to discuss a vision and plan for the year’s activities. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to represent NUI Galway in something that bears a huge significance on students, universities and the communities in which we live. Volunteering and volunteers play a major role in society and the many events of EYV2011 will feature their dedicated activities,” said Tansey. Of the many ongoing activities, a research project on Volunteering in Ireland will be conducted, where current trends and issues facing the sector will be explored. For more information on events and activities visit www.eyv2011.ie
Dublin Institute of Technology Win McJannet Prize Dublin Institute of Technology’s ‘Community Links Programme’ was announced as a third prize winner of the McJannet prize for global citizenship. The only Irish third level institution to win a prize at the 2011 awards, the programme was selected from a pool of 75 nominations from 59 universities in 26 countries. The ‘Community Links Programme’ was established in 1996 by DIT lecturer Dr. Tommy Cooke. The aim is to support individuals and communities to help them reach their full educational potential. According to the programme, educational disadvantage is a complex problem affecting all age groups in a variety of settings, be it in school or the community. The ‘Community Links Programme’ attempts to address this issue by using a variety of coordinated approaches tailored to the needs of the groups with whom they work. There are seven programmes that make up the ‘Community Links Programme’, ranging from DIT Access Service, Computer Learning in Communities to the Ballymun Music Programme. The programme also works in Southern Belarus with over 300 physically and/or mentally disabled people. The McJannet prize is awarded by the Tallories Network, an international organisation committed to strengthening the civic roles and social responsibilities of higher education. Along with a monetary award, the ‘Community Links Programme’ will send two representatives to Madrid for the Talloires Network Leaders Conference in June to engage in workshops, share their ideas and experience and receive their prize.
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Students working with communities - the curriculum initiative in Irish Higher Education A seminar, entitled ‘Students Learning With Communities’, was jointly hosted by the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and the Higher Education Authority (HEA) in Aungier Street last January. The seminar’s aim was to consider the impact of students learning with communities in Ireland and to discuss the potential for its future development in Irish higher education. Over 100 educationalists from universities and colleges across Ireland gathered to hear how the concept of ‘civic engagement’ has been developed as a core element in higher education in the USA, and how it is being adapted in the Irish context. The opening address at the seminar was given by Mr. Tom Boland, Chief Executive Officer of the HEA. Urging institutions of higher education to engage directly with communities, he said, “Service learning, as part of necessary curriculum reform, can re-invigorate
Accelerating Campus Entrepreneurship
The Accelerating C a m p u s E n t re p re n e u r s h i p (ACE) Initiative is a joint collaboration of Institute of Te c h n o l o g y Blanchardstown, Cork Institute of Technology, Institute of Technology Sligo and National University of Ireland Galway and is being led by Dundalk Institute of Technology. The SIF ACE (Accelerating Campus Entrepreneurship) initiative aims to develop a range of educational programmes that will create entrepreneurial graduates who can create indigenous employment or deliver benefit to employers of all kinds. Some significant achievements of the ACE Initiative includes the development and implementation of modules at various levels to develop and grow entrepreneurial mindsets and behaviours, in addition to new undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in entrepreneurship in engineering and technology areas, as well as non-business disciplines
both students and teachers, encourage students to become more enquiring and self-reliant, provide a basis for keeping the higher education curriculum up-to-date, interesting and relevant and benefit directly the communities in which a higher education institution is located.” The keynote speaker for the seminar was Dr. Saul Petersen, Executive Director of Connecticut Campus Compact. The Campus Compact organisation is a coalition of more than 1,100 college and university presidents in 35 States in America, and it aims to fulfil the civic purposes of higher education by educating students for civic and social responsibility, and forging effective community partnerships. DIT and NUI Galway have been active in developing the concept from an Irish perspective, incorporating it into the curriculum across a wide range of programmes, from tourism to engineering to
business. The projects have worked extremely well and as part of the programme for the seminar, Dr. Catherine Bates, DIT Coordinator of ‘Students Learning with Communities’, and Lorraine McIlrath, NUIG Coordinator of ‘Community Knowledge Initiative’, gave excellent accounts of the experience for students, their academic mentors, and for communities. Dr. Tommy Cooke, Head of Community Links in DIT, who has been instrumental in the development of ‘Students Learning with Communities’ and believes strongly in its benefits for students, academic institutions and communities, said, “Our experience with this programme in DIT has been entirely positive. Over 1,000 DIT students participated last year in a range of community-based projects, bringing their theoretical learning to bear on real-life challenges in communities and
community organisations. It is very evident that the students gain in confidence and motivation; they learn from the community partners they work with, and it’s a wonderful opportunity for them to reflect on the effects their chosen profession can have on society. Engagement in meaningful projects improves retention and academic staff find that projects can re-invigorate class work and can lead on to further interdisciplinary projects.” Dr. Cooke also believes that the concept can be extremely beneficial to communities. “Communities identify projects that will build on strengths or meet specific needs, and the students and lecturers bring great enthusiasm to the challenge. Through this engagement, communities can become part of the learning and teaching process, and can help to shape the graduates of the future.”
such as early childhood/social care education and biomedical engineering. The Regional Development Centre at Dundalk Institute of Technology has developed a close working relationship with Dundalk Credit Union as part of the Student
The event provided an opportunity for the students to showcase their businesses and also to make some sales. It also allowed the members of Dundalk Credit Union to see the range of student businesses that they have been supporting and also, the impact the fund has had on
ownership and self-employment as a career option. Over past two years, Dundalk Credit Union has supported these efforts and came up with a fresh idea for encouraging student enterprise at DKIT. Realising that an essential ingredient to getting any business idea up and running is funding, Dundalk Credit Union kindly sponsor the Student Innovation Fund for the benefit of all undergraduate and post-graduate students from all schools at DKIT. Billy Doyle, General Manager of Dundalk Credit Union, puts it into perspective stating, “At the core of entrepreneurship is a self-help ethos and the benefits of self-help have never been more important than in the Ireland of today.” To date, a total of 15 students have been successful in receiving the fund. All are at different stages – product development, pre-sales and some are trading. The showcase event brought together six businesses that are very much in sales mode. Students are also encouraged to enroll on The Bright Ideas Programme, part sponsored by Dundalk Credit Union, which helps to determine market feasibility of the students’ business ideas and also to help put them on a sound footing from the start.
Dundalk IT Internship Programme. In particular, Dundalk Credit Union supports an innovation fund for developing student ideas. In April, six DkIT Student Businesses, all recipients of the Dundalk Credit Union Student Innovation Fund, showcased their products and services to the members of Dundalk Credit Union.
getting these businesses off the ground. It is students such as these that are helping to brighten Ireland’s future. DkIT is at the forefront in Ireland in promoting enterprise to its student population and has a dedicated resource, Student Enterprise@ DkIT to encourage students to consider business
Campus Engage Post
Campus Engage Summer UCC Get’s Green Flag Award School University College Cork (UCC) new recycling facilities for students the first 3rd level are now available in front of the Engaging at UL became educational institution in the world lecture halls, and in the canteens, The first UL Politics and Public Administration Summer School, held in partnership with the Limerick City Development Board, has chosen the topic of ‘Renewing Local Democracy and Civic Engagement’ as its theme. At a time when public confidence in decisionmaking is severely challenged, this summer school is both timely and necessary. The focus of the summer school is deliberately local, reflecting a belief that local is the level where people can most directly engage with democratic processes. The emphasis on civic engagement reflects a belief that a healthy democracy requires the active and ongoing participation of citizens and of other residents. While a variety of local governance and civil society mechanisms have been established and supported over the past 25 years, insufficient thought has been given to building the capacity necessary to enable civic engagement to reach its full potential, or to embed it firmly within the local democratic or administrative landscape. Indeed, some of these mechanisms are in the process of being dismantled or reconfigured, potentially weakening the scope for innovative and imaginative local democracy initiatives. This summer school takes place at a time of considerable change and challenges in Ireland. It provides an opportunity to take stock of where and how local democracy and civic engagement have prospered and where they have struggled. In doing so, it will place particular emphasis on the challenges for public representatives and public administration. The summer school is also focused on exploring how confidence in local democracy can be enhanced by deeper and more embedded civic engagement. The school is aimed at a variety of different audiences – local and national officials; public representatives; representatives of community-based organisations and academics. The school may also be of interest to media seeking to develop deeper understandings of the relationships between democracy and its citizens. More information is available from Dr. Chris McInerney on 061 213514
to be accredited with the prestigious international ‘Green Flag’ award. The award, presented by Minister John Gormley, on behalf of An Taisce to UCC President Dr Michael Murphy, is a direct result of the ‘Green-Campus’ programme, a student-led initiative undertaken by UCC students and staff over the last three years. The ‘Green-Campus’ programme, operated in Ireland by An Taisce, has seen the university save ?300,000 in waste management costs, reduce waste to landfill by nearly 400 tonnes and improve recycling from 21% to 60%. Furthermore, UCC has conserved almost enough water this year to fill the equivalent of the Lough of Cork. In addition to staff recycling systems that previously existed,
where the staff is trained in minimising waste. “It is quite a leap, transforming the Green-Schools programme, geared for the typical school of a few hundred students, to a complex campus of 130 acres, 16,000 students and almost €3,000 staff,” explained Dr Michael John O’Mahony of An Taisce. “In population terms, UCC is bigger than your average Irish town, so bringing together all the necessary parties and practices to develop it into a sustainable Green-Campus was a real challenge.” UCC President, Dr Michael Murphy said, “It was these students, who had been part of the Green Flag programme at secondary school level, who believed from the outset that the concept could be transferred successfully to an institution of
UCD community education initiative wins national award
level without accessing education through the community first,” said Catherine Doyle, a social science student who came through the community programmes. “It has given me the confidence to participate in education on a level I could only ever dream of,” she added. "Enhancing adult learning, resourcing it, and structuring it in such a way as to meet the needs of people of all ages, is above all else, a citizenship issue," said President of the Labour Party, Michael D Higgins who spoke at the AONTAS award ceremony which took place at the end of February 2011. “This award recognises the very clear learning progression, from engagement in community education courses, to undergraduate level, and hopefully in the future to post graduate level,” said Dr Mary Ellen McCann, UCD School of Applied Social Science, Director of the Initiative. “The partnership provides the opportunity for traditional university courses to liaise with community education structures and methods. The courses are an example of a community of learners, working together to understand more about a very serious social problem.”
In recognition of outstanding collaborative work undertaken in the community, the Partnership Education Initiative in Drug Prevention Education and Research Capacity, coordinated by the UCD School of Applied Social Science, has won the National Category Award at the 2011 AONTAS Star Awards. The Initiative was established in response to specific needs identified by drugs projects engaged in adult and community education. It offers two specific diploma programmes designed to provide access to university-level courses and to give practical expression to the strong community focus that professional practice and service delivery in this field requires. Working with its partners: An Cosán, Tallaght; Urrús, Ballymun and Merchants Quay Ireland (MQI), the UCD School of Applied Social Science has supported over 300 students to complete diplomas from these courses since 2002. “I would not have ever had the confidence to take on studies at this
UCC’s size and that by raising awareness throughout the university, we could, together, make a real difference.” Mark Poland, Director of Building and Estates, added, “This initiative has provided a great forum for environmentallyconscious members of staff and students to assist in how we tackle our environmental responsibilities as a university community. This is about more than making a campus green. Over the past 14 years, hundreds of thousands of students in Ireland have been brought up with Green-Schools, sometimes starting at pre-school, through primary schools and then second level. It is critical that the chain not be broken once they complete the Leaving Cert. It needs to continue into 3rd level, and from there into their professional, as well as their personal lives so that they become life-long educators and ambassadors of sustainable living.”
“This initiative is an example of how The UCD School of Applied Social Science is to the fore in innovative provision for mature learners and students from lower socio-economic groups,” said Professor Brian Nolan, Head of the UCD School of Applied Social Science. The Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs has provided funding for the courses. It recognises the courses as an important initiative in the National Drug Strategy. There were 84 nominations for the 2011 AONTAS Star Awards from across adult learning organisations, community and voluntary groups, the business sector, government agencies, statutory bodies and NGOs. A total of nine awards were presented, one of which was the National Star Award. AONTAS - the National Adult Learning Organisation exists to promote the development of a learning society through the provision of a quality and comprehensive system of adult learning and education that is accessible to and inclusive to all.
Campus Engage Post 9
Bringing the Celtic Tiger’s Paws Back to Ground Campus Engage finds its place within society
When the team behind Campus Engage was successfully awarded SIF1 funding to coordinate a civic engagement project in Irish higher education in 2006, they had a clear vision; to develop competency and capacities through the creation of a network to support civic engagement activities in higher education in Ireland. Fast forward to 2011 and the three-year project has ended. However, Campus Engage engaged not just the students, staff and local communities surrounding the five university partners involved- namely lead partner NUI Galway, Dublin City University, University College Dublin, NUI Maynooth and University of Limerick, but the entire higher education sector here in Ireland. The project was initiated by Lorraine McIlrath, Campus Engage’s Principal Investigator and coordinated by Ann Lyon, both of whom are based at NUI Galway. The project has left an indelible mark on the institutions and organisations with which it came into contact, and has mushroomed to such a degree that the positive effects of Campus Engage continue today. “Over the past three years, it has definitely increased the profile of civic engagement so that there are more people talking about civic engagement and there are more and more people getting involved in civic engagement activities,” explains Ann Lyons, Network Coordinator of Campus Engage. “There’s now a discourse surrounding civic engagement and because of Campus Engage, there is sufficient information for people to want to develop civic engagement within their own institutions. Campus Engage was a funded project which helped create capacity for civic engagement.” As lead partner in the project, the team at NUI Galway applied for SIF1 funding and each participating university then matched the contribution. The project proposed a number of activities to develop civic engagement across the higher education sector in Ireland. It was a natural progression and further
Lorraine Mc Ilrath development of previous civic engagement projects at NUI Galway, such as the university’s Community Knowledge Initiative for example, explains Lorraine McIlrath. “Students now start off in school with opportunities to undertake civic engagement projects through subjects such as CSPE and Young Social Innovators (YSI). However, after that, third level has a role to play in this regard through creating a sense of social justice among our young people. We are a public sector institution and we have a role to play in a public way; our knowledge is our business and we can collaborate through knowledge based projects,” she explains adding, “There are multiple ways in which the work of projects like Campus Engage are important at third level. NUI Galway was the first university to invest in this civic engagement package; in 2001 Atlantic Philanthropies funded the Community Knowledge Initiative, or CKI as it is better known. That was the first attempt at taking on a civic engagement project through smaller activities. Campus Engage on the other hand allowed the higher education sector begin to discuss its role in civic engagement.” However, to develop the idea further and having looked at the USA where civic engagement is well developed, through service learning, for example forming an integral part of the curriculum, Campus Engage needed to engage not just NUI Galway, but other universities for it to be more successful. The mission of Campus Engage was clear; to promote and support civic engagement activities in higher education in Ireland and at the same time, strengthening the relationship
between the participating institutions and the wider society through the sharing of knowledge between academic and civic communities, widening students’ civic awareness and developing a coherent national policy framework for civic engagement in Irish higher education. Seed funding to allow projects to grow was an important part of the civic engagement collaboration; 13 universities and Institutes of Technology benefited from 17 seedfunded projects. Campus Engage also sponsored the collaborative mobile photographic exhibition ‘We Volunteer!’ to celebrate European Year of Volunteering 2011, which features 20 student volunteers from across Irish third level.
Third level has a role to play in this regard through creating a sense of social justice among our young people
By Gráinne McMahon
An international conference held in Croke Park in June 2009 saw higher education academics, administrators and people involved in community projects from both home and abroad gather to discuss the potential for change offered by civic engagement partnerships in areas such as service learning and community-based learning, research, civic education and volunteering. “Holding such a conference allows delegates to present their work, to network and for visiting scholars to share their knowledge and expertise with us here in Ireland,” explains Ann Lyons. It is also a means of highlighting the extent of civic engagement that is taking place across Ireland, while profiling these projects at the same time. “There’s a lot of spin off and it can be a catalyst for people to
develop work in their own institutions,” says Ann. “Campus Engage has acted as a platform that operates as a central point for networking; people are drawn into contact with others right across higher education - they link in with each other.” Service learning has been very much encouraged through Campus Engage, as has student volunteering. It has, says Lorraine McIlrath, heightened social awareness among university communities of the world outside the campus buildings. “Strategically we’re at a good place building on the developments that Campus Engage facilitated; it was building on the elements that had been laid before. Higher education is involved in the business of knowledge; how we do this should be based not on a banking model, but on one involving social justice and contribution, and now teaching and learning includes this dimension. We can do this through students and staff volunteering or allowing students to get academic credit for community projects for example, undertaken as part of their degree. Civic engagement can also be undertaken in research activities at postgraduate level to fulfil a community need, so engagement has relevance.” According to Lorraine and Ann, Campus Engage has been successful in creating opportunities for dialogue and activities regarding civic engagement in higher education. It has contributed to the creation of space for civic engagement to grow, which Ann believes is very valuable. “Many didn’t know what ‘service learning’ was nine years ago, but now so many people are speaking about it, the terms are tripping off their tongues. The sheer value of that has been incredible,” says Ann. Lorraine agrees that the concept of civic engagement has expanded through Campus Engage; “We’ve been sharing messages on the range of things you can do for civic engagement. Volunteering and service learning were starting points, as we knew there was practice out there; we wanted to nurture and have conversations on this important work. It was a case of figuring out what’s out there, showcasing it and shedding light on it.”
Campus Engage Post
Civic Engagement that it provides an injection of cash that allows real activity to happen. Campus Engage has helped to set the agenda regarding civic engagement and it would be a waste of everyone’s time and money if it were just left there. If it’s left devoid of funding for a few years, you have to come back and you’ve lost all the gains you’ve made. We’re at a tipping point, all the valuable work will be lost if we don’t continue now.”
She concludes by arguing that the money spent on civic engagement projects such as this are saved by considering the value of hours that students spend on community projects. “There’s a real economic gain for society as a whole; if you were to translate the number of hours that students spend volunteering through projects like Campus Engage, there’s an economic return.”
Creation of website: includes news, information and valuable webbased resources on civic engagement activities in higher education.
University-Purdue University, the inaugural Campus Engage Visiting Scholar. During his stay in Ireland, Professor Bringle visited a range of higher education institutions (HEIs), both universities and institutes of technology. He offered workshops and seminars on service learning and civic engagement activities and also met with senior management in the HEI sector.
Professor David Watson, Institute of Education, London.
Seed-funding Initiative: providing financial support for 17 new and innovative civic engagement activities within individual higher education institutions throughout Ireland.
November 2008: Ann Lyons enhanced their education, allowing them to think more broadly about the particular discipline they are studying through community projects for example, giving them a broader sense of where they fit in.” So where to from here with Campus Engage? Both Ann Lyons and Lorraine McIlrath are of the firm view that the work of the project cannot be shelved and that instead, it must continue to be nurtured with the assistance of further funding. “There is now a discourse surrounding civic engagement,” says Ann who believes it is a topic that has been brought to the fore and cannot be ignored. “Campus Engage just doesn’t come to an end; roots have been put down - that doesn’t end. The project concentrated on supporting activities across the country; what we’ve been doing is building up contacts, we’ve been joining the dots between the activities and the policy makers and bringing those two things together. We are now at the point where we can grow forms of civic engagement applicable and relevant to the Irish situation; there’s a critical mass of
Campus Engage has acted as a platform that operates as a central point for networking; people are drawn into contact with others right across higher education they link in with each other
The project has led to hundreds of mini projects right across Ireland and this, says Lorraine, is the road which third level institutions should continue to follow; producing top graduates that have the characteristics of academic and professional excellence, but have an ethical focus. “It’s a way of doing our business in a much more meaningful way, which is more enriching; civic engagement honours people’s creativity and gives them the confidence to challenge injustices within society and create change. If the house of cards is falling in Ireland, we need citizens to question how and why they are falling, and to create a better and more balanced system.” With the close of Campus Engage’s funding period came the publication of the Higher Education Authority’s ‘Hunt Report’, which highlights the importance of civic engagement in third level education, something that the Campus Engage team is very excited about. Although the project is no longer formally funded, the phone calls have not stopped, nor has the mushroom effect of the civic engagement project ceased. “We’re on a tipping point for really developing civic engagement in Ireland and we’re ending Campus Engage at an exciting time,” says Ann. In the last few weeks, those central to Campus Engage have been asked to deliver keynote addresses and workshops at various campuses across Ireland to shed practical light on how to embed the Hunt Report. Lorraine believes third level education is at a “momentous place” in light of the success of the project and the strategies outlined in the Hunt Report earlier this year. “Campus Engage has demonstrated what it set out to do; now it is time to join up the dots and decide what the next stage of development is. We have demonstrated there is an appetite across Ireland for more development of civic engagement and we have evidence to back that up through the various projects and the creation of strategic opportunities.” Campus Engage has, in a way, brought the Celtic Tiger’s paws back to ground. “There was a feeling that we had lost the sense of community in Ireland and our historical expressions of active citizenship. Higher education has an important function in this; it is really important that students have a sense of themselves as active citizens and not just passengers,” says Lorraine, who believes the project has helped to change this. “Campus Engage has
activity happening now and with the support of key policy makers, such as the HEA this development can continue.” Lorraine agrees: “Irish education is more than ready for it. One of the advantages of schemes like SIF is
Visit of Professor Bill Oakes, Indiana University-Purdue University, USA: ‘Service Learning in Engineering Education’
March 2009: Visit of Professor Angie Hart and Lisa Williams, Community University Partnership Programme (CUPP) University of Brighton: ‘Collaborative Scholarship: Community-University Partnerships in Practice’.
April 2009: Campus Engage supported the annual award ceremony of BICS (Board of Irish College Societies) and sponsored the new BICS award of Best Civic Contribution. The large college award was won by NUIG Voluntary Services Abroad and the small college award was won by the Institute of Technology Tallaght (ITT), Radio Society.
May 2009: The Campus Engage newsletter, ENGAGE was published. 2,000 copies were printed and distributed at the conference and circulated to the various mailing lists of the partner institutions.
June 2009: International conference: ‘Higher Education and Civic Engagement Partnerships: Create, Challenge, Change’ was held in the Croke Park Conference Centre, Dublin, attended by over 200 Irish and international participants.
August 2009: Publication of ‘Mapping Civic Engagement within Higher Education in Ireland’ (with AISHE, ‘All Ireland Society for Higher Education’), a resource that documents a range of activities that underpin civic engagement within higher education.
September-December 2009: Visiting Scholar: Professor Bob Bringle, Director of the Centre for Service and Learning at Indiana
November 2010: Visiting Scholar: Dr. Patti Clayton, Senior Scholar with the Centre for Service and Learning at Indiana University - Purdue University (IUPUI) and a Visiting Fellow with the New England Resource Centre for Higher Education (NERCHE). Visiting Scholar: Dr. Clayton conducted a number of seminars on Service Learning, Community-based research methodologies and the DEAL model of reflection.
November 2010: Building a Voice for Student Volunteering in Ireland. More than 50 student volunteers from 16 universities and institutes of technology across the island of Ireland came together to share knowledge, ideas and effective practice, to reflect on the impact, value and significance of their volunteering and to develop a mission statement and future plans for student volunteering in Ireland. 2010-2011: ‘We Volunteer!’ Photographic Exhibition: a collaborative mobile photographic exhibition featuring student volunteers from across higher education in Ireland, celebrating the EU 2011 Year of Volunteering.
2011: The Survey on Civic Engagement in Higher Education, documenting activities across the sector in Ireland is completed. The survey report and recommendations will be presented to the HEA and form the basis of discussions on the long-term, sustainable development of civic engagement activities in Irish higher education.
Campus Engage Post 11
Civic Engagement in Ireland’s Higher Education Single or Engaged By Laura Butler
Working together in higher education reinforces university civic engagement and social responsibility, while it promotes partnerships which share best practice across the higher education sector. It also strengthens our links with local communities and fosters an ethos of active citizenship and social responsibility.
Institutes of Higher Education act as cultural capitals in the economy – taking us in and enriching us with high quality skill sets and knowledge, before ushering us out into the world to make our mark. Institutes of Higher Education have many roles to play and one in particular is recognising its position in the community. An engaged university thrives on taking part in its locality by participating in and watching its development, whether that is a town or city. The two-way relationship allows the university to boost the community by way of innovation and vice versa. It is important to assess or acknowledge the work and organisation undertaken by universities to develop strategic, effective programmes to promote student volunteering. In the past decade, our Irish universities across the board have devoted huge efforts to their plans for prosperity and civic engagement. With the aim of helping or teaching others firmly at the forefront, initiatives have been set up for an education service, available to students studying at third level. We, as graduates, undergraduates, postgraduates or mature students, have a responsibility as citizens to create a better world for those around us – to give back to the world in which we live. Working together can further progress our ambitions for growth and change. If we are united, we can
increase our impact and make more of a difference to the environment. However, outside of the recent Campus Engage project’s national ‘Building A Voice’ conference, there does not seem to an overwhelming amount of shared university activity - nor is it spread on a large scale. For the purpose of discussing the benefits of universities acting together, a range of people in Ireland who have responsibility for civic engagement in higher education were asked about their opinions on collaboration. “DCU is strongly of the view that civic engagement by universities in Ireland needs to be a collective effort. This way we can pool resources and share best practice in a rapidly evolving but still embryonic strategic mission,” says DCU’s Head of Civic Engagement, Ronnie Munck. DCU’s current Civic Engagement strategy revolves around the positive notion that an engaged university is helped by and helps to build a strong economy and society. The university wishes to promote activity across the campus and in the surrounding community in pursuit of widespread development. “A national platform to enable and drive civic engagement in all its facets is essential to empower this work,” stresses Munck. The Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), proud of its close engagement and collaborative links with society generally, along with industry on a whole range of levels, while also with academic institutions in Ireland and internationally. According to the university, which is ‘for’ working together with others in higher education and outside it, relationships are essential components in the way DIT works and they provide an important external focus for both students and colleagues. DIT has co-operation at some level with every other higher education institution in the country, but is also a partner in multiinstitutional activities, such as the Dublin Region Higher Education Alliance. In some cases, joint programmes are offered at undergraduate and PhD level – for example with Trinity College and with other institutions. Academic programmes aside, DIT is involved in research in collaboration with universities and also with civic and industrial
partners. An example of this is their ‘An tSlí Ghlas/The Green Way’, which was launched recently by EU Commissioner Máire Geoghegan Quinn, to develop a green tech/clean tech corridor between Dublin Airport and their Grangegorman campus in Dublin City Centre. Aligned with DIT in that particular endeavour were DCU on the academic side. The Environmental Health Sciences Institute is another joint venture, this time led by DIT in partnership with the HSE and DCC, and in collaboration with University of Ulster. Maura Murphy, Course Director, Specialist Diploma in Teaching Learning and Scholarship at the University of Limerick (UL) similarly feels that alliance is key to progression. “Working together in higher education reinforces university civic engagement and social responsibility, while it promotes partnerships which share best practice across the higher education sector. It also strengthens our links with local communities and fosters an ethos of active citizenship and social responsibility.” Learning through active participation is very necessary for our students in today’s world and this can be achieved through civic engagement initiatives.” The University of Limerick’s Centre for Teaching & Learning staff have seen great success with their Cooperative Education programme – encouraging student volunteers to dedicate time to work relating to their curriculum. The centre collaborates with numerous voluntary organisations to help further promote activity on campus. As a result of current climates and economic lapses, running civic engagement programmes and maintaining or securing funding will no doubt pose a challenge in the coming years. With such uncertainties to overcome, one would imagine that seeing our universities adopt a united front would lighten the austerity measures we are facing. Gerry Whyte, Dean of Students at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) reiterates the importance of easing financial constraints. “Speaking personally, I support the idea of university collaboration in civic engagement. At a time when there is great financial pressure on third level education, such collaboration facilitates the most effective use of scarce resources to promote civic engagement.”
Whyte also spoke of Trinity College’s specific university dedication: “Trinity College is committed to promoting and encouraging civic engagement among both staff and students. We support such engagement at local, national and international level, though a key priority in our strategic plan is to build on our existing relationships with our neighbours in the city centre, contributing to educational development in the area.” Trinity College’s Strategic Plan centres on outreach in Dublin and Ireland as a nation. The strategy, spanning over the years 2009-2014, is categorised into four areas that reflect the establishment’s activities; including education, knowledge generation and transfer, student experience and engagement with society. Anna Murphy, Access Project Officer at Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) says that the Munster college is committed to, “promoting equitable access to and successful participation in higher education for all members of society”. “Supported by the President and directed by the Registrar, the LIT Access agenda flows from a philosophy of integration and social inclusiveness. In partnership with students, staff, education providers, communities, statutory and voluntary agencies, LIT seeks to support widening access for underrepresented learners by delivering targeted strategies to promote, facilitate entry to and successful participation in higher education,” says Murphy. “LIT has collaborated successfully with the University of Limerick on projects such as the Class of 2014 and the Traveller Initiative. We worked in partnership with the Class of 2014 project, coordinated by UL, which aims to support a cohort of students as they transition through second level and on to higher education.” Multidisciplinary institutions such as those within the education system must, in today’s modern society, continue to voice their views and speak their minds, be it alone or preferably in unison. It is only through action can we implement change and ensure continued success for our small country in times ahead. To do so, we must band together in our plans for the future.
Campus Engage Post
Sow the Seeds, Watch them Grow Funding initiative encourages project development By Gráinne McMahon
romoting and supporting civic engagement activities in higher education in Ireland were among the core aims of the Campus Engage project. This civic engagement collaboration between higher education institutions and the wider community was understood as activities aimed at benefiting both the community and the third-level institution, involving individuals, groups and organisations. With this ethos in mind, those behind Campus Engage invited applications for projects from universities all over Ireland to fulfil the objectives of the network, with the aim of the initiative to support new and innovative civic engagement activities in individual institutions. “The aim was to increase student and staff involvement within the local, national and international community,” explains Lorraine McIlrath of Campus Engage. The brief was clear; projects had to be directed towards service or community-based learning, community engaged research, volunteering, community or economic regeneration, capacity building or community-campus partnerships and outreach activities. The successful projects would then receive grants of up to €5,000 while the successful institution of higher education also had to match that funding. The 15 successful projects from all over Ireland received their seed funding in Summer 2010 and had until December 2010 to sow that funding, submitting a report of the project’s activities and outcomes at the end of the project period. Applications were judged on a number of criteria; the activity had to be a new and innovative initiative, contain a civic dimension, and relate to community need and involve collaboration between the higher education institution and community. “The project proposals also had to demonstrate that the activity would be sustained beyond the funded project,” explains Ann Lyons, Campus Engage Co-
ordinator. Over 40 projects applied for funding; the following institutions were successful; Dublin Institute of Technology, Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT), IT Tallaght, IT Tralee, Limerick Institute of Technology, National College of Ireland, NUI Galway, Royal College of Surgeons, St. Angela’s College, Sligo, Trinity College, Dublin, University College Dublin, University of Limerick and Waterford Institute of Technology. One project involved the establishment of a ‘Mini Med School’ at the Royal College of Surgeons, where members of the public have been invited to free information events about important health issues, thereby allowing access to a forum to access the most up-to-date knowledge and opinions on human health, disease, diagnosis and treatment. Maria Morgan, CoDirector of RCSI Mini Med School says the free monthly event delivered by staff at the college has been a huge success; “The lectures include some of Ireland’s leading physicians and researchers on a broad range of health-related matters including psychiatric illness, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, snoring, childhood accidents, cancer and sexual health. It has been such a success that it consistently attracts maximum capacity registration.” In fact, such has been the success of the pilot project that the team behind ‘Mini Med School’ is currently piloting the audio recording of two of the sessions which is facilitated by funding awarded by the Campus Engage Seed Funding initiative. Another Dublin service learning project could go ahead because of the awarding of seed-funding from Campus Engage; this particular initiative saw students from Trinity College Dublin regularly travel to Mountjoy Prison where, along with the Dhá Lámh theatre company, the prisoners produced a drama project which they performed to their fellow in-mates. It was a voluntary project which took place during the summer and although the students and dramatist involved came up against some challenges like any project, overall it was such a huge success that there are now plans to expand it further. Sarah Quinn, Project Co-
ordinator said that the aim of the project was that contact between students and the women in prison would increase the exposure of all parties to groups outside their social circle and break down prejudices. Because of this drama project, a key outcome for the group at Mountjoy Prison was the successful provision of a safe place in which to express oneself; “One prisoner commented that in prison, it isn’t easy to be yourself as others judge you, whereas the drama group, “gives you that little bit of time to come out, express yourself without people judging you. You can show your sadness, you can cry, you can scream, you can laugh. I love it.’” The students hugely benefited from the project also; “The students’ perceptions of the women shifted across their exposure to the prison environment. They hadn’t anticipated that the women would come from such varied backgrounds and have a wide range of skills,” says Sarah, explaining that preconceived notions about the women’s behaviour were also challenged. Other projects focused on developing civic engagement projects at colleges and universities throughout Ireland such as at Dublin Institute of Technology where, as part of their entrepreneurship module, students completed a social entrepreneurship project whereby they came up with an idea, which would make a difference to a community. The winning project addressed the issue of literacy in the Grangegorman area of Dublin, providing literacy classes in the home as a way of facilitating those
with children who cannot attend classes and to cater for those who may be too embarrassed to register for NALA classes. Dr Ziene Mottiar from the School of Hospitality, Management and Tourism at Dublin Institute of Technology said it had been so successful that the literacy project could be replicated throughout Ireland; “For the community, the importance of this project is clear and even if it only makes a difference in five to ten people’s lives in the first instance, the difference will be significant for those individuals. Also, if participants are parents, there will be positive consequences for others in the family as they are now able to help with homework with children and perhaps their enthusiasm will encourage others to gain literacy training.” Similarly, at the Institute of Technology Tralee, seed funding from Campus Engage enabled the development of a standalone module directed towards the promotion and encouragement of student volunteering and civic engagement within communities. A ‘Volunteering and Civic Engagement Survey, 2010’ sought to ascertain patterns of student volunteering and whether students were interested in obtaining recognition and academic credit for their activities. That led to the establishment of a data base of agencies and organisations in the Tralee urban area for students taking the Community Service Initiative module, while student volunteering was also promoted at the institute to be disseminated during 2011 - the European Year of the Volunteer. All the steps have been taken to enable the roll out of CSI as a pilot module, explains Edel Randles who is behind the project. “This funding has enabled a concentrated focus to be captured and applied to the furtherance of the CSI module within the institute. The module will run in January, in the knowledge that all of the necessary ground work has been undertaken to ensure its successful implementation.” Edel believes the seeds have firmly been sown at the institute because of Campus Engage. “It highlighted the very important role that service learning plays and can play in the delivery of educational opportunities and settings in Higher Education,”
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Civic Engagement women to engage in an activity that they could then share with others in the prison and for which they received much praise for their newfound skills. “With regards to personal learning and skillsdevelopment, the women identified becoming more confident as a major outcome from the group. They said that they got to know each other better.”
Under the Spotlight: Three Seed Funded Projects 1. Socially entrepreneurial students 'making a difference' in the community, Dublin Institute of Technology
3. RCSI Mini Med School, Royal College of Surgeons
Through this Campus Engage funded project at Dublin Institute of Technology, students have been encouraged to act in a socially entrepreneurial way by using their skills, knowledge and experience to ‘make a difference’ in the community. The project commenced in August 2010 and saw the students involved complete a social entrepreneurship project as part of their Entrepreneurship module. “In teams of three, they came up with an idea which would make a difference to a community. They then had to write a business plan, implementation plan and financial plan for the project. The budget was €2,000,” explains Dr Ziene Mottiar from the School of Hospitality, Management and Tourism at Dublin Institute of Technology. The aim was to encourage civic awareness among students and strengthen links between communities, staff and students and projects were evaluated on the basis of innovativeness, entrepreneurialism, the clarity of the implementation plan, the incorporation of the community in the development of the project and sustainability of the project in the longer term. Proposed projects included the establishment of youth clubs, associations for Erasmus students, information sessions for teenagers on healthy eating and on creative thinking and a website for older people. The winning project addressed the issue of literacy in the Grangegorman area of Dublin, providing literacy classes in the home as a way of facilitating those with children who cannot attend classes and to cater for those who may be too embarrassed to register for NALA classes. Support for the project has come from Joe Costello TD, a director of the Dublin Adult Education Centre, Monsignor Dermot Clarke, parish priest of Aughrim Street Parish and Denis Desmond, the national secretary of the Retired Teachers Association,
Members of the public have been flocking to free information events at the Royal College of Surgeons to learn important health lessons as a result of the establishment of a ‘Mini Med School’. Funding from Campus Engage has helped facilitate the innovative and unique public health programme, which was founded with an aim to provide the general public with a forum to access the most up-to-date knowledge and opinions on human health, disease, diagnosis and treatment. The programme has enabled the delivery of a series of lectures by RCSI academic staff on important illnesses and health conditions, according to Maria Morgan, CoDirector of RCSI Mini Med School; “These include some of Ireland’s leading physicians and researchers on a broad range of health-related matters including psychiatric illness, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, snoring, childhood accidents, cancer and sexual health.” The school has seen the delivery of a free monthly event, based in the college’s Dublin City Centre campus, and has been so successful that it consistently attracts maximum capacity registration. Each lecture is followed by a question and answer forum in which speakers take questions from the audience, facilitated by the MMS coordinator. “Previous MMS events have seen participants travelling from as far as Donegal, Mayo, Galway and Athlone to attend and on occasion, demand for places has far outreached our seating capacity.” The online ‘Mini Med School’ has seen informative lectures on topics such as Youth Mental Health, Life After Stroke and Cancer of the Oesophagus. Such has been the success of the project that the team behind ‘Mini Med School’ is currently piloting the audio recording of two of the sessions which is facilitated by funding awarded by the Campus Engage Seed Funding initiative.
which it is hoped will help play a significant role in the sustainability of the project. All parties involved in the project have benefited, explains Ziene; “For the community, the importance of this project is clear and even if it only makes a difference in five to ten people’s lives in the first instance, the difference will be significant for those individuals.
2. Prison Drama Through Peer Education, Trinity College Dublin Through Campus Engage seed funding, a unique service learning project was established at Trinity College Dublin between the university, the Dhá Lámh Theatre and Mountjoy Prison. It saw a dramatist and students regularly visit Mountjoy Prison during the summer months where they mentored female prisoners and taught drama classes. It concluded with a drama performance from the prisoners. The aim of the project was to establish contact between students and the women in prison to such a degree that it would increase the exposure of all parties to groups outside their social circle and break down prejudices. Sarah Quinn,
Project Co-ordinator, says it was such a success that there are now plans to make it a shared learning experience on an annual basis. “The women thought of the students as adding a “lovely mix” and “balance” to the group. They commented on how the students were very “comfortable” with them and how they “joined in the gang”. Most importantly, the students showed the women respect and were non-judgemental. The students, the women stated, gave them time and offered support. The students made “us feel like we were people that were recognised, that we can meet with people though we’re inside here” and “if you’d any problems they’d sit down and talk”.” Having an outside group travel to the prison on a regular basis for drama classes were factors that motivated the women and encouraged them to continue taking part in the drama project. Overall, the women at Mountjoy found it to be a positive experience and a welcome variation to the usual subjects offered in prison, while the students had to respond to change as the dynamic of the group changes over time. “The students’ perceptions of the women shifted across their exposure to the prison environment. They hadn’t anticipated that the women would come from such varied backgrounds and have a wide range of skills,” says Sarah. A final drama performance allowed the
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An Exciting Time for Engagement in Ireland By Dr. Elaine Ward Higher Education Policy Research Unit (HEPRU) Centre for Social and Educational Research (CSER) Dublin Institute of Technology
imes are certainly challenging in Ireland in 2011 and there is no doubt of the difficulties individuals, communities, organisations and higher education institutions (HEIs) face. In spite of this, it is an exciting time to Engage in Ireland. Albeit, I am an outsider to Irish engagement—an Irish national, I returned home in August of 2010 after thirteen years living and working in the United States. I spent more than a decade as a practitioner and researcher community-engagement in the greater Boston area, working both inside and outside of the academy. I proudly watched civic and community engagement gain traction in Ireland over recent years. I silently witnessed individual leaders step forward and take a stand for civic engagement and individual institutions claim commitment to community engagement as a central tenant of their overall academic mission. I had read the scholarly outputs of a procession of U.S. researchers who took a personal and professional interest in Ireland’s engagement efforts across the country and institutional sectors. Over the years, these relationships have been nurtured and strengthened. These strong international ties, I believe, provide solid ground for the national engagement efforts and increase opportunity nationally, internationally, and more importantly collectively. More recently, I personally experienced all that comes with a national commitment to civic and community engagement articulated through the National Strategy for Higher Education. An exciting time to engage in Ireland! I am delighted to be based in Ireland in this next phase of development of the nation’s civic and community engagement identity. As we (for I now claim a contribution to this collective endeavour) embark on this next stage in Ireland’s engagement journey, I believe we need to ask ourselves some questions – who is doing the actual work of community engagement? Are they academics/researchers/administrators? Are they women or men? What motivates their engagement? Do they claim a particular ideology? What does their communityengagement look like? Who is benefiting from it and in what ways? Who is not benefiting and why? The individual academic staff member doing the work of engagement – why, where, and how they do this work are all significant. Her engagement efforts need to become integrated with her teaching and research so that her work moves fully into the realm of academic scholarship. It is through this integration of all aspects of her academic role (teaching, research, service, and engagement) that she meets the
Dr. Elaine Ward requirements of her contract with the academy and fulfils her commitment to a larger civic and community based agenda. I encourage a thinking beyond the broader frame of ‘engagement’ to a more specific frame of ‘community-engaged research and scholarship’ when talking about the work of academics as employees of institutions of higher education. Particularly in the current fiscal climate, we need to talk about what counts and we can be under no illusion that it is research that counts – so how is our engagement research? What does it look like? What purpose does it serve? How can it be measured and assessed as legitimate scholarly research? But we fall short if we merely focus on the engagement efforts of the individual academic. We need to look at how the academic institution supports or inhibits the individuals’ work of engagement. We need to explore the experiences of the community-engaged scholar within their specific institutional context. How is she encouraged to integrate her teaching, research, and community engagement in a way that moves both her work and the work of the institution forward with the community in addressing public problems?—research beyond research’s sake. How does the institution recognize communityengaged scholarship as a legitimate form of research and reward it as such in the promotion of staff? Community-engaged research and scholarship is about individual academic identity – who we are as people and as workers. It is about our motivations towards this work. Communityengaged research and scholarship is about the communities we are rooted in, the relationships we have developed, and the responsibilities we feel to make the changes we want to see take place in the world. Community-engaged research and scholarship is simultaneously about the academic institution within and through which we engage with the external community and work together on issues of collective importance. Community-engaged research and scholarship cannot be sustained by the efforts of individual academics alone, there needs to be institutional structures and systems in place that demonstrate authentic commitment to community engagement by Irish higher education as a fundamental social institution. Individual institutional commitment
needs to be explicitly and publically articulated and externally sustained through the national systems. And individual institutions not following through on an expressed commitment to a community-engagement mission should be held accountable nationally. Such a collective sense of responsibility in implementing higher education’s mission of engagement with wider society is necessary not only for the survival of community-engaged scholarship as a legitimate form of academic research but also for higher education to fulfil it’s public mandate. While the current economic and social climate raises inordinate challenges an opportunity also presents itself whereby a nation can collectively frame the future of higher education by our commitment to community engagement – this is an unprecedented opportunity and hope it can be seized as such.
Profile Dr. Elaine Ward is currently an Arnold F. Graves Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Higher Education Policy Research Unit (HEPRU) at Dublin Institute of Technology’s Centre for Social and Educational Research. Elaine has worked in U.S. higher education as a lecturer, administrator, and community-engaged researcher for more than a decade. Elaine has presented nationally and internationally on community-engaged research, access and success in higher education, and women in higher education. Her work has been published in the New Directions for Higher Education series, and Advances in ServiceLearning. Elaine is a Visiting Fellow at the New England Resource Centre for Higher Education (NERCHE), a board member of the International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement and an Associate Editor for Dissertation Abstracts for the Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement. Elaine recently convened a networking meeting of community-engaged scholars in Ireland. If you wish to learn more about this group of researchers interested in community-engagement and how you might become involved please contact Elaine at firstname.lastname@example.org.
References Antonio, A. L., Astin, H. S., & Cress, C. M. (2000). Community service in higher education: A look at the nation's faculty. The Review of Higher Education, 23(No. 4), pp. 373--398. Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, http://classifications.carnegiefoundation.org/descriptions /community_engagement.php. Jaeger, A., O’Meara, K., Pasque, P. and Ward, E. Perspectives on women andcommunity engagement in higher education: A critical and committed view. Association of the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) Symposium, November 2009. Vancouver, Canada. Ward. E. (2010). Women’s ways of engagement: The scholarship of engagement, gender and institutional rewards policies and practices. University of Massachusetts, Boston.
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Mapping Resource Proves Key Influencer for Building Activities apping Civic Engagement within Higher Education in Ireland highlights a range of activities that underpin civic engagement within higher education in Ireland from diverse perspectives. It is a contemporary record and example of current thinking, experiences and rationale in this area. Contributions have been drawn from those working within policy bodies, universities and community, together with third level students. Themes relating to communitybased/service learning, community university partnerships and broadly, the role of institutions of higher education within society are explored from academic, professional and personal lenses. In addition, the contributions and experiences offered are independent and representative of the authors and not of the editors.
The conversations focused on the role of higher education within society, community-based/service learning as pedagogy for civic engagement and the purpose of civic engagement within Ireland, through a series of seminars and discussion fora. This publication was called for at these events to help those new to the field to gain an insight into the ongoing activities within Ireland. The work that commenced through the ‘Service Learning Academy’ has culminated in the formation of a network called ‘Campus Engage’, a partnership of universities in Ireland that has brought together original Academy partners with the University of Limerick and University College Dublin. ‘Campus Engage’ has been funded by HEA SIF 1 with matched funds provided by each of the five partners. The book sought to provide insights into the range of theories, practices, processes and the varying manifestations of civic engagement activities between communities and institutions of higher education in Ireland at present. Broken into sections, section one focuses on the foundations for civic engagement within higher education in Ireland and takes account of contextual and conceptual issues. Section two looks at case studies, which has been subdivided into five case studies and offers multiple perspectives on a range of models, activities and experiences that underpin civic engagement and partnerships between the community and university. Section three is a selection of conclusions and offers reflections on the main messages emanating from the publication with some thoughts on future implications for the role of the university broadly within society and specifically within community. As a reference publication, it is abundant with real and tangible information useful for anyone who wished to embark of civic activities - be they academic, student or institution. Dympna Casey and Kathy Murphy, both from NUI Galway composed an excellent piece entitled, ‘Facilitating Cultural Awareness in Undergraduate Nursing Students’. They explain the rationale behind the module, how it was developed and clearly track how they set up and managed the service learning placements. The findings from their qualitative study revealed the extent to which a service -learning placement can contribute to student learning. “All students demonstrated enhanced cultural understanding, and personal and professional growth.
It was clear that living and working in a different culture required students to confront their own cultural beliefs and to judge these in light of their new experiences. While a few students remained ethnocentric in their perspectives, most students were open to new learning and were able to articulate the positive and negative aspects of each culture. As noted previously, all students were requested to maintain a reflective diary while on placement. Such a diary is important because it enables students to examine their own beliefs and values in the context of experience and literature. There is clear evidence from students’ accounts that they were sensitive to the needs of people and of the personal growth achieved as a result of the experience. A number of students have maintained their relationship with the service learning sites following placement, and have continued to fundraise for activities there. Indeed, some students intend to go back again when they complete their nurse education. This commitment to the needs of others and the motivation to help those who are less privileged is central to this service learning placement,” stated Casey and Murphy. Within the case studies section, the successful Uaneen Experience in DCU was profiled which provides readers with huge detail on setting up a structured community engagement model. DCU has a strong citizen and community focus. According to DCU’s Jean Hughes and Una Redmond, “While many activities have developed in addition to the ‘traditional’ curriculum, in recent years efforts have been made to integrate related activities into the core curriculum.” The Uaneen model was developed on the back of a woman called Uaneen Fitzsimmons, a DCU alumna. She had carved out a very successful media career but her life came to an end tragically in 2000, when she died in a car crash. The model was in design at the time and named in her memory. “The initial aim of this module was to recognise any student’s contribution to activities outside the classroom, with a long term view to awarding academic accreditation for the learning derived from such activities. Originally, the main goal was to make visible and recognise the many ‘soft’ and/or transferable skills which students acquired by engaging in extra curricular activities, but which were outside of the formal assessment and accreditation processes. While such skills were increasingly seen as necessary graduate attributes, at the time it was still relatively unusual for them to be incorporated formally into programmes of study. The model is now available for academic credit, as well as non-credited recognition of extra curricular activity,” as stated in the AISHE publication.
To finish the report, NUI Maynooth’s Sarenne Magennis provides a reflection on civic engagement in Ireland and on the publication. She provides an excellent synopsis on each higher institution’s activity in an attempt to provide more clarity around the term civic engagement. In her words, “When society has for decades been reduced to economy in the minds and lives of citizens of the developed world, and now facing a time when that economy has collapsed into global crisis, the questions raised in this book, and the answers built through collaborative, community-based dialogue and action, speak to the very future of society, in its many communities and the universities that serve it. Civic engagement is not an added extra, an unnecessary bonus in that relationship. The Glion Declaration, reflecting on the exact nature of the relationship between the university and society emphasises the need to challenge the university “to play a transforming role in society, and thus to transform itself”.
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Putting Ireland on the map for all the right reasons By Gráinne McMahon
In crafting such a mission, understanding the “pattern” of university foundations is essential. So, too, is the use of founding purposes, however and how far they need to e updated, in testing university strategic choices, Understanding their institution’s history is a important part of any university management’s drive to contribute to contemporary society, including on a global scale
ivic engagement has been around for a long time, playing a role in third level education in some means or another. According to David Watson, Principal of Green Templeton College at the University of Oxford until the advent of company or for-profit universities in the late 20th Century, all university institutions grew in some way from the communities that originally sponsored them. “These acts of foundation varied according to a range of local circumstances, in time and location. Many such founding commitments have been transformed positively and perversely - over the ensuing years,” says Watson in an article about public engagement. Studying the charters of Victorian and Edwardian ‘civics’ where there is plenty of evidence of local and regional themes, illustrates the fact that the familiar image of a university as somewhat separate from its community, like an ivory tower for example, is very different to the historical record. “Indeed one of the most powerful ways of organising the history of higher education is to look at the circumstances in which societies established different types of institution to meet their purposes at different times,” he says, explaining that the early foundations were specialist communities such as the late medieval colleges for poor scholars in England (Oxford and Cambridge), and for urban professionals (such as Bologna and Paris in continental Europe). David Watson highlights that the mid-20th Century saw the establishment of local authoritybased public systems of higher education, as in the English Polytechnics, the Scottish Central Institutions, and American state systems; “These were specifically tied to expectations about relevant education and training, with a new element of ensuring both access by groups previously underrepresented, and progression. In many societies, the result was to create what came to be known as binary systems of higher education: a group of traditional university institutions contrasted with a more local, apparently more locally accountable, and apparently more responsive pattern of provision.” Around the turn of the 21st Century, this juxtaposition posed real dilemmas for policy-makers dealing with the advent of mass higher education; “Those with binary systems felt that they had run their course; those without them felt that the only way to re-inject mission diversity was to try to create a polytechnic-style counterpoint to unresponsive autonomous universities; others who had tried the change decided they needed to change back,” explains David, adding that the notion of community interest expanded dramatically with the establishment of mega-universities which made use of open and distance learning technologies to cut costs and speed up participation.
It was around this time, that the real notion of civic engagement came to the fore; “The latter part of the 20th and beginning of the 21st centuries have seen significant action on the frontier activity between compulsory education, optional tertiary provision, and the initial rungs of higher education,” he says pointing to the UK phenomenon of "higher education in further education" and the vitally important American Community College network. According to David, today no self-respecting university or college would dare to lack a civic and community mission; “In crafting such a mission, understanding the "pattern" of university foundations is essential. So, too, is the use of founding purposes, however and how far they need to be updated, in testing university strategic choices. Understanding their institution's history is an important part of any university management's drive to contribute to contemporary society, including on a global scale.”
s a consequence, civic engagement is not a new development, even though it may be a recently coined term. David believes that almost all higher education institutions had an element of community service embedded in their system; “It was often as a direct response to their founders’ intentions, built into their original purposes,” he says. “One of the points I have always tried to get across is that contemporary civic and community engagement by universities is as much an act of re-discovery as of new thinking.” David Watson describes his approach to civic engagement and the vast extent of his research in the area as “both historical and practical”. In 2009, he received the Times Higher Education Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution and he has written extensively on the importance of civic engagement in today’s world, particularly in higher education. He has developed and refined a model for understanding university-community relationships, comprising three axes. First order engagement arises from the university simply being there, second order engagement is structured around contracts and formal agreements of various kinds and third order centres on the relationship between the university and its’ members. Looking at the three orders, explains David, one must look at the role of the university and those behind it. “If universities are to make a steady and positive contribution to their communities, the key holistic concept, and an essential backdrop for questions of leadership and management, has to be the rather old fashioned notion of stewardship, of both the intellectual and moral, as well as the concrete and practical assets of the university itself.
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Putting Ireland on the map for all the right reasons Who is ultimately responsible for the security, the ongoing contribution and the performance of the university?” he asks. “The simplest answer to this question is the university itself through its governance.” However, when it comes to the role of universities and their duties to the local community, one thing must be remembered, particularly when it comes to civic engagement obligations, says David. “Universities are voluntary communities: around the world they are rarely part of the compulsory educational infrastructure of the state (although the state may heavily invest for its own purposes). ). Thus, they should not be regarded as agents of the state in creating citizens (and certainly not subjects). This is, of course, not to say (following the precepts of ‘first order’ relationships) that they do not play a role in ensuring social cohesion, in promoting community solidarity, and in problem solving for policy makers and practitioners of all kinds.” That is not to say that staff and students don’t have a role to play, he explains. “University members have a similar set of obligations inside the tent; there is also the dimension of academic citizenship. To be a full member of a university, you have to contribute to more than completing the tasks that happen to be in front of your nose at the time.” David continues: “For traditional academics, this has meant collective obligations to assessment, to committee membership and to strategic scoping; and there is a growing body of literature about such professional academic practice. In other words, the claim is that there exist value domains that are special to higher education and which, in wider contexts, constitute higher education’s contributions to civil society in all of its endeavours.” How knowledge is effectively and responsibly created, tested and used is important, he explains, while so too is the interaction between university members and their interaction with others outside the institute gates. “A third is about the institutional presence of universities and colleges in a wider society. A simple way of bringing this altogether is to recognise that we are moving towards judgements of
Professor David Watson is Principal of Green Templeton College at the University of Oxford. He has long been renowned as a global leader in civic engagement, writing extensively on the subject and contributing widely to developments in higher education in the UK, including as a former member of the Council for National Academic Awards and the Higher Education Funding Council for England. He chaired the UK national inquiry into the Future for Lifelong Learning, and coauthored its report Learning Through Life (2009). He was knighted in 1998 for services to higher education.
Professor David Watson
good and bad behaviour at the sectoral, institutional, group (departmental?) and individual (staff and student) levels.” David believes that colleges and universities can decide to behave well or not so well but as a society, it is in our moral and social interests to help them to do the former. This, he explains, we could do quite simply; “Perhaps we should think of identifying (and hence warning against) instances where institutions have behaved badly or have been tempted to do so.” From David’s insight Ireland is beginning to get involved in an international movement of revival of the civic role of higher education. “There are several models of good practice, notably NUI Galway,” he says. However, he adds, “There is also the danger that through the medium of state-supported
“citizenship” education, Irish higher education may be encouraged to be closer to state priorities than is healthy in the long term.” He explains that while civic engagement has a role to play in bringing ethical behaviour to the fore, universities alone cannot solve bad behaviour. “Universities can assist societies to deal better with emerging problems such as the bank crisis or tribunals in Ireland. They can’t do the job by themselves.” However, Professor Watson concludes that Campus Engage and other similar projects are putting Ireland on the map for the right reasons; “I have very much enjoyed engaging with colleagues in Irish higher education on these issues, including through speaking at Galway. I believe that there is now a strong and growing movement in Ireland.”
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Volunteering Initiatives Deliver Engaging Graduates to Society By Laura Butler
ost students experience a multitude of things that help mould them into the person they become upon leaving third level education. One meets new feelings, adventure and possibility while balancing the newfound freedom, responsibility and all that awaits beyond those university gates. As a student in Ireland, the opportunities to explore inner passions are abundant. Aside from studying and researching a module of choice, one learns far more about oneself when exploring third level environment and what it has to offer. Institutes of higher education who recognise civic engagement as a crucially important aspect of student life are creating a “character test” opportunity. The wide range of volunteering programs for students to get involved in are essential for social and personal growth and development. Giving back to communities and individuals through time, energy and motivation is somewhat like the mastercard advert, it’s priceless. For many the appealing factor in volunteering is the lack of essential, obligatory or necessary skill sets one must acquire to get involved. There is an abundance of focus areas willing and waiting to be discovered for the greater good. Barriers and perceptions are removed, people from all backgrounds, with varying cultural or religious backgrounds are united. Anybody wishing to give back is welcome. Each Irish college or university involved in civic engagement affirms the message of volunteering - to recognise and celebrate the student role and extracurricular activity within clubs or societies and participation in the wider community. This article will take us through a selection of volunteering initiatives within higher education. Dublin College University (DCU) was among the first to implement a volunteering policy. The Uaneen Module was established in 2004 and can be viewed as an elective or as a noncontributing optional additional. Both separately count for five credits, are included in one’s degree parchment, and enable DCU to award credits under the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).
A key element of this module is that DCU works in co-operation with employer’s organisation IBEC in facilitating the awards for third level graduates. Una Redmond, Manager of Office of Student Life, believes that the continued support of IBEC is critically important for the Uaneen Module. “They have clearly identified that what their members are looking for are graduates who are well rounded and who have acquired a holistic education during their time in university. Our Uaneen graduates meet this need exactly and IBEC’s support for the module gives it additional creditability amongst our students. In addition, their professional expertise and initiatives, such as the recent employer workshop, represent very practical support for the Module.” Fellow Leinster institution, Trinity College Dublin (TCD), has this year introduced the Dean of Students’ Roll of Honour and is highly excited with the reception it has received. “This is our inaugural year and we had 387 applicants for the programme, so we’re very happy,” explains Roisin McGrogan, Civic Engagement Officer at Trinity College. “There is such a wealth and breadth of things going on, from soup runs to fundraiser fashion shows. The bridge from action to engagement is the critical reflection, which helps you to articulate what you have learnt.” Furthermore, Roisin insists that the work generates a sense of college community, a core value of the university. TCD’s easy access to the Roll means that anyone can engage by undertaking extracurricular voluntary activity outside of a seminar room or lecture hall. There
are no limitations to who can apply - students are required to dedicate 20 hours or more of voluntary work allowing them give back to their local areas, be it at home or abroad over an 11-month period. In Munster, University of Limerick (UL) promotes their initiative, the President’s Volunteer Award (PVA), which affectively serves the social and cultural life of the Shannon Region. The faculty of UL strongly encourages their student population to roll of their sleeves and commit to voluntary work alongside their studies. The PVA operates as a support system, helping activists in their endeavour. Like Trinity College and DCU, the PVA scheme does not place any limitations on the students’ chosen locations to earn their hours. Simply requiring a supervisor to sign off on one’s dedicated hours, each participant is then granted a bronze, silver or gold award – depending on their number of hours undertaken. The breakdown of awards is as follows: 20 hours of volunteering amounts to a bronze award, 40 hours equals a silver award and a total of 60 hours of volunteering guarantees a gold award for the individual. Effectively, one can earn four gold awards over a four-year degree course. In other words, there is potential for long-term opportunity. Annually, five Outstanding Achievement awards are presented to those who have shown profound commitment to voluntary work throughout their student life at the university. Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) endorses the GIVE (Guided Initiative in Voluntary Engagement) project, in association with the
Director’s Office and under the guidance of the Access Service. The Access Service trains and assists volunteers by teaching them how to develop skills in both leadership and communication. Developed during the academic year 2007/2008, GIVE blends the service and learning experiences. Former LIT activists Ken Lewis and Carole McLaughlin, say that GIVE was highly regarding for them: “GIVE has given me hours of fun, lots of friends and a feeling of fulfillment,” states Ken. “GIVE means that I can repay some of the support and encouragement I received from LIT,” says Carole, fellow volunteer. NUI Galway recommends their ALIVE (A Learning Initiative and the Volunteering Experience) programme to current and prospective students. According to Lorraine Tansey, Student Volunteer Coordinator at NUI Galway, a total of 700 students on campus are actively engaging in their ALIVE programme. This programme began as a pilot scheme in 2003. In 2011, Lorraine Tansey received correspondence from over 2,000 youths interested in applying for ALIVE. Differing from DCU, NUI Galway does not offer extra credits as part of their volunteering programme. “We do not give academic credit for volunteering as we wish to keep the programme something one does in an entirely voluntary capacity,” Tansey explains. Throughout the process, NUI students are expected to record an online diary portfolio, documenting their progress and what they feel they have learnt. “The reflection element is really important,” says Tansey, “especially to record your individual experiences and see what training you had”. Students can apply at any stage during the academic year, but a minimum amount of 10 hours is required over a semester – from which participants earn a certificate, presented by college president James Browne. While ALIVE does not grant academic credit, NUI Galway’s Service Learning does. Service Learning allows students to take in credits by helping the local community, on the basis that their involvement is related to their own curriculum and has links directly to their specific course. As a nation, we can put our talents to good use, by simply offering ourselves in a professional capacity to the benefit of others.
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Enclosed or Engaged: The Future of our Nation relys on the Education of our graduates
In a hitherto neglected section the Hunt Report argues that, “Engagement with the wider community must become more firmly embedded in the mission of higher education institutions. Higher education institutions need to become more firmly embedded in the social and economic contexts of the communities they live in and serve” (National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030). So what is the higher education sector currently doing about civic engagement? Why might this be important? How can the sector develop civic engagement to position it as one of three core strategic pillars of the future vision of higher education, alongside teaching/learning and research? While teaching/learning and research are all accepted core elements across higher education institutions in Ireland, supported by key performance indicators and quality assurance metrics, civic or community engagement activities are still at a nascent or ad-hoc stage. Moving civic engagement forward into a strategic, sustainable and systematic feature of higher education in Ireland presents us with considerable challenges. The twin objectives, we believe, are to achieve greater cohesion for these vital activities and to ensure their sustainability in a period of resource constraints. The rationale seems clear. From an economic perspective, an engaged higher education sector gives Ireland competitive advantage, promotes critical thinking and encourages innovation (Innovation Task Force, 2010). From a social context, improved civic engagement and participation brings social justice to the fore and promotes and strengthens equality, access and participation. In terms of civil society, civic engagement is key to meeting the needs of wider society and promoting active
citizenship. To deliver on its 2030 vision for higher education, the Hunt Report stresses the necessity to educate students for their role as “citizens who will add to the richness of society – as parents, community leaders and teachers – and in their chosen area of work they will be the productive engine of a vibrant and prosperous economy.” What is clear to both DCU and NUI Galway, from their respective civic engagement experience, is that this work promotes democracy and wider participation, questions, and encourages investigations into the prevailing status quo, as well as helping to develop participatory approaches to research practice. A must for a country at a political and economic crossroads, where graduate brain drain is becoming a daily activity, should be the promotion of critical thinking by our higher education institutions. Civic engagement within higher education is now at a defining moment in Ireland. We have built up some significant experience and there are solid achievements, however uneven these gains might be across the country. Now, for the first time, it has been given equal prominence in a major policy statement with the teaching/learning and research functions of higher education. We need to explore ways to move the civic engagement activities from the periphery to be part of the core business and core values of higher education. If we want engagement to be socially transformative rather than an optional add-on then we need a serious dialogue and action plan that involves all higher education institutions and their community partners, to ensure an inclusive national forum/platform. Compared with international civic engagement activities within higher education, Ireland is at an early stage despite signal advances within some institutions. Drawing from international best practice within the US, Australia and the Arab world, it is evident that national networks to support and buttress civic engagements activities have become pivotal in enabling the realisation of civic engagement. In 2007, the Higher Education Authority (HEA) Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF 1) funded the development of an Irish civic
engagement network, ‘Campus Engage’ which has now completed Phase 1 of its development. The network’s objectives were to strengthen the relationship between higher education and the wider society, through promoting civic engagement activities in higher education in Ireland and facilitating the sharing of knowledge and resources between academic and civic communities. The Campus Engage network, in a short period of time, has supported activity and promoted interest in this feature of higher education, and raised awareness of the benefits, opportunities and challenges. Through Campus Engage, a national survey was conducted in 2010-2011 with 24 higher education institutions including universities, institutes of technology and some teacher training colleges. The purpose of the survey was to map civic engagement activities across the sector, the first of its kind within Ireland. The survey has demonstrated that civic engagement is both supported by senior management within higher education and almost all mission statements and/or strategic plans underpin engagement with community and society. But, of concern is that over 60% indicate that promotion policies do not take civic engagement into account alongside teaching/learning and research. In addition, just three institutions surveyed indicate that they have dedicated civic engagement structures. Meanwhile, barriers to the growth of activities were reported as being both human and fiscal resources. However, resources are scarce and we are now in a period of reduced funding for higher education. So it is now both urgent and opportune to engage in a dialogue about how we develop and embed civic engagement in a cost effective manner to ensure maximum benefit. Campus Engage would like to point to future successful drivers in terms of institutionalisation within higher education in Ireland. Some suggestions include the development of a higher education ‘Manifesto’ or ‘Declaration’ to be endorsed at institutional level by senior representative in the sector. This follows international best
practice such as the international ‘Talloires Declaration’ and within the US the ‘Wingspread Declaration’ that unites 25% of all colleges and universities through the Campus Compact network. The development of a higher education national web portal to document and measure civic engagement would assist in the development of key performance indicators and benchmarks. Further, this portal would enable the sector to report on student engagement as part of the Bologna Process and Diploma Supplement and create an environment for the debate, contextualise and develop a discourse of civic engagement within higher education in Ireland. Funding must be made available for the continuation of this national network and for individual higher education institutions, as dedicated personnel is a key to sustainability. We are calling for a serious debate within higher education, perhaps with the support of the Higher Education Authority. Let us turn a crisis into an opportunity. A strong and coherent civic engagement programme can be another strand to the re-invention of the university to deal with hard times through its research and teaching programmes but also through engagement with their local and regional communities.
If we want engagement to be socially transformative rather than an optional add-on then we need a serious dialogue and action plan that involves all higher education institutions and their community partners, to ensure an inclusive national forum/platform.”
Do universities engage sufficiently with the wider society? Professor Ronnie Munck of DCU and Lorraine McIlrath of NUI Galway look at the current position and describe an initiative under way to secure civic engagement as a key component of higher education.
Campus Engage Post
Service Learning - A Cairde Experience By Dimitrios Zeugolis and Abhay Pandit, National University of Ireland, Galway
ervice learning is the perfect marriage between experiential learning and volunteering; students apply academic knowledge and skills they have gained during their academic curriculum to address genuine community needs. Undeniably, both students and community benefit from the experience. The Community Awareness Initiatives Responsibly-Directed by Engineers (CAIRDE, an Irish word for ‘friends’) Programme became an embedded part of the undergraduate Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering curriculum at NUI Galway in 2003. This programme is the first in Ireland to embed service learning in an engineering curriculum. In 2009, CAIRDE was successfully integrated in the Electrical and Electronic Engineering undergraduate curriculum at NUI Galway. The
Professor Dimitrios Zeugolis completed his PhD at the University of Northampton in UK in 2005. Following that, Dimitrios spent over 2 years at the National University of Singapore, as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow. In 2007, Dimitrios
current intention is to expand and embed community engagement experiences across NUI Galway and engage with multiple schools and colleges. CAIRDE aspires to strengthen the civic mission of higher education and inspire in students a sense of social responsibility and civic awareness. To date, the CAIRDE programme has helped students develop engineering skills through self-directed projects; develop a sense of commitment to local communities by making a contribution of time and expertise; reflect on this experience and share this information with the university community; learn how engineers in-career make contributions to their communities, and meet and interact with people from different backgrounds in a role of service. At the same time, the students have actively facilitated the integration of the academic community within the local community by having established strong relationships with a variety of community partners including Enable Ireland, The Simon Community, National Council for the Blind of Ireland, The GAF (a youth cafe), the Galway County Council and many more. On several occasions, students
joined NUI Galway as a Government of Ireland Research Fellow. Since 2008, Dimitrios has been a lecturer in Biomedical Engineering (Biomaterials) and Principal Investigator at the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) at NUI Galway. His research group (a) uses bottom up approaches to build nano-textured constructs that closely imitate the properties of native extracellular matrix assemblies; (b) utilises recent advancements in scaffold functionalisation through incorporation of biophysical cues and biochemical signals to provide therapeutic interventions for the treatment of soft tissue injuries; and (c) investigates how modulation of the in vitro microenvironment could facilitate cell phenotype and functionality preservation and enable wide acceptance and clinical translation of cell-based therapies.
pursue a personalised project, assisting an individual to address a personal care or quality-of-life need. Over time, more and more local organisations and individuals have approached CAIRDE to collaborate on projects. The role of the university has also been crucial in establishing CAIRDE and ensuring its sustainability. Indeed, the costs of doing the programme are subsumed by the College of Engineering. In addition, NUI Galway and its leaders place great importance on civic engagement and service learning, referenced as a key pillar in the past and current Academic and Strategic Plans. Several members of the various participating engineering discipline are involved in the CAIRDE programme, often assisting students both informally and formally throughout the process. The annual poster reception, the culminating event, is typically hosted by the Dean of Engineering and is attended by staff members from many departments and the national media. More recently, the university has committed to allocating space to accommodate the workshop for the fabrication of the prototypes that the students are developing.
Profile: Professor Abhay Pandit is the Director of a Science Foundation Ireland funded Strategic Research Cluster “Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials” (www.nfb.ie) at the National University of Ireland, Galway. His research programme hosts several
Despite the success and the recognition that CAIRDE has received to-date, it is still at infantile stage where the programme is still developing. Certainly, some students have been involved in volunteering activities before the project and are able to embrace it very fast and ‘deliver the goods’ on time. The vast majority of the 3rd year students are introduced to the concept of civic engagement through CAIRDE for the very first time. The CAIRDE programme is only a module in the current curriculum. Real impact will occur when service learning is integrated in all the course modules. This integration presents several challenges, such as buy in from individual staff and administration. How the overall university mission of service learning will be integrated across all teaching modules needs to be addressed. A thorough implementation plan of the mission needs to be thoroughly investigated. A ‘top down implementation’ can have negative side effects. A benefit to risk analysis may assist individuals to buy into this ideology. There is tremendous work to be done, but we need to start somewhere. patented technology platforms associated with the development of implantable materials for clinical applications. He has published over 90 papers in high-impact factor publications and has authored 300 papers at both national and international conferences in the past eight years. He has raised over ?20 million in grant funding since he has joined academia. Prior to joining in National University of Ireland, Galway he worked in the medical device industry sector in the USA for seven years. He serves on the editorial board of 8 journals, has acted as a Referee for 52 journals and has reviewed grants for 18 funding agencies across the globes. He also hosted the Tissue Engineering Regenerative Medicine International Society Conference – EU Meeting in 2010 and will host The European Society for Biomaterials Conference in 2011 – one of the few groups to host these prestigious conferences in consecutive years.
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Comment&Debate More and more students, less and less money, tighter controls A perfect storm is beginning to form around Irish higher education, and conditions are such that the sector will be in very serious trouble over the coming year. According to an article in the Sunday Tribune, figures to be released by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) this week will show a significant increase in student intake across the sector. If this turns out to be the case, then the income that each student brings to his or her institution will (without any funding cut) decline, as even before any cuts, the resources are taken from a finite pool of money. But given that we are also being told to expect a cut in funding (10 per cent has been mentioned), the drop in funding per student (known as the ‘unit of resource’) could be very significant. In addition, universities and colleges will not be able to recruit staff to teach the additional students, which will add to the internal pressures. One possible method for addressing the funding issues – tuition fees – has been very unwisely taken off the agenda. But not only has the prospect of this diversification of income been abandoned for now, in addition we face the real possibility that the new government commitment to additional school teachers will put further pressure on the education budget, and that higher education will be targeted as a result. While all this is going on, we are also being warned to expect more monitoring and control, so that alongside the growing student numbers and the resulting resourcing issues, we will find that initiative and flexibility will come under threat through centralised bureaucratic controls. If left unchecked, this development would lead to a catastrophe in the sector. However, in order to avoid this, the university (and third level) sector will need to set out its own positive agenda, showing how Irish universities can provide high value support for our current national needs and aspirations. We need to recognise that our case has not so far been accepted, and that therefore we may not have been good at getting it across. It is time to set out our own vision of a higher education strategy that will deliver high quality teaching, research that will transform both industry and society, and civic engagement that will produce stability and equity.
The following are excerpts from University Blog written by Ferdinand von Prondzynski, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland. He was President of Dublin City University between July 2000 and July 2010. He is a lawyer by training, and also has some voluntary and business interests. He is also known as a writer, public commentator and photographer. Universities hold the key to national regeneration – we need to ensure that this is understood and that the perfect storm is averted.
Being a good neighbour Well, here’s a university league table with a difference. It ranks US universities, and for once, there is no sign of Harvard or Yale or Princeton, or even Berkeley or Stanford or Cornell. No, number one is the University of Pennsylvania. In fact, there must be something very special about Pennsylvania, because the Keystone State’s universities make three appearances in the top ten alone. So what does this league table measure? Neighbourliness. These are the universities in America that have demonstrated involvement with the community, the establishment of community services, and investment in community growth. In other words, these are the universities that have pursued active strategies of civic engagement. Universities often find themselves in the middle of, or very near to, urban or suburban areas where there is significant economic and social disadvantage, and where there is a serious need for urban renewal and regeneration. My own university, DCU, is only a few hundred yards away from what at least until recently was one of the most deprived urban areas in Ireland. These districts had huge disaffection; violence, vandalism and alcohol and drug abuse. When eventually it was decided to address these problems and to make a major investment there, the university was a key partner, playing a role in a number of contexts including the provision of access scholarships for disadvantaged students. It is clear that a civic engagement league table won’t supplant the Times Higher Education world rankings, but it does tell us something very important about the institutions featured. Historically, many universities have had uneasy relationships with the communities near which they were located. Nowadays, such a relationship is really not acceptable. Universities
need to be engines of growth and renewal for their regions, and need to be directly engaged in community plans and ambitions. And the communities in turn need to see the potential that a close relationship with ‘their’ university will secure. So it can be said that the absence of Harvard, Yale and the others in the league is not a minor matter. If they are not a good neighbour, then they are missing a vital element in being a university.
Introducing the litigious student In recent years, across a number of countries, there have been occasional court cases involving actions brought by students against their universities. Where such claims concern services and facilities or the like, they will not raise specific higher education questions. However, in a recent English case, a student who had failed her exams claimed that this was the responsibility of the university, and that her failure was due to the inadequate support she had received. She claimed damages based on her assertion that the university had been ‘clearly negligent’. The court did not accept her case, and the judge, Burnett J., ruled that she simply lacked the necessary aptitude, and that the university could not be held responsible for this. It is, of course, important that universities should offer appropriate expertise and support to students, but this should not become a matter for courts to determine. At this current time, funding cuts are placing major additional pressures on universities. If this continues, it is not impossible that such pressures will produce at least some reduction in student support. However, the social contract between universities and their students is to teach them and provide them with the best possible learning opportunities; it is not a guarantee of the student’s success, however, nor could it be. It was important that the court reinforced this point.
Irish higher education: facing a difficult future In a welcome spirit of openness, the Irish Department of Education and Skills has published the briefing that it gave to the new Minister, Ruairi Quinn TD. The document sets out a fairly detailed summary of current issues facing the Irish education system, as well as some of the steps that are being taken or planned by the government. A particularly interesting passage addresses the funding problems, as follows: ‘In the current economic climate, it will be a matter for the institutions to manage their resources in 2011 and where necessary, to effect economies across all levels of activity. In that regard, the HEA is working closely with the institutions, via a steering group, to identify ways of cutting costs. Significant savings have already been identified through the introduction of shared services and collaborative procurement. Notwithstanding this, it is recognised that funding cutbacks are being imposed on already reduced budgets and will necessitate further difficult spending choices at the level of individual institutions such as restricted modular choices for students, impact on tutorial and library services and erosion of the staff-student ratio.’ The document also refers to ‘the use of part-time and flexible options, open and distance learning etc’. It concludes: ‘There is a strong commitment across the higher education sector to accommodate current increased demand by increasing the number of places they offer, to prioritise the maintenance of core teaching and learning activities and to ensure that maximum value is achieved from existing resources.’ The picture painted for the Minister in this briefing is a bleak one, and it may give a slightly benign view of the mood in the sector as it is attempts to accommodate the financial pressures. On the other hand, the writer is correctly stating the willingness of universities and colleges to play their part. What may need to be added, however, is that this scenario, however much it describes the inescapable problems and inevitable steps to correct them, is not sustainable, and will not allow a more vibrant future system to reemerge. It is to be hoped that plans being considered by the new government take this into account.
Campus Engage Post
Why does Engaging with the Public Matter? By Paul Manners
Impact on your university Public engagement enriches teaching, learning and research, helps universities to demonstrate accountability in a climate of increasing scrutiny, strengthens and enriches the university’s brand and identity, and can increase public appreciation of and support for higher education and research Impact on your students and staff Embracing public engagement can transform the educational experience of students and stimulate and develop your staff. Impact on civil society Public engagement helps universities maximise the benefits of their work to society – helping them to keep abreast of public concerns and expectations and to support real-world problem solving. We’ve also developed a much clearer understanding of the
Public engagement helps universities maximise the benefits of their work to society helping them to keep abreast of public concerns and expectations and to support real-world problem solving.
Public Engagement is one of the higher education sector’s best-kept secrets. A baseline survey conducted at the University of East Anglia in 2008 revealed that 84% of academic staff had engaged with the public in some way. However, this work usually falls under the radar and is rarely formally recognised or rewarded by universities. The perception that university public engagement is undervalued and under-supported led to the creation of the Beacons for Public Engagement project in 2008: ‘This initiative aims to create a culture within UK Higher Education where public engagement is formalised and embedded as a valued and recognised activity for staff at all levels, and for students.’ As such, it’s a description of change from the ‘inside-out’: it describes how the HE sector – practitioners, policy makers and funders – are trying to re-invent the sector to be more responsive and effective in its interactions with the non-academic world. So why does engaging with the public matter? We’ve attempted to pull together some of the key arguments in our recently published Manifesto for Public Engagement, ‘The Engaged University ’:
Paul Manners organisational and cultural challenges universities face if they are to embrace engagement effectively. These cluster around three key areas: being clear about your purposes for engagement, and expressing that sense of purpose through your mission, leadership and communications. The other two critical areas are how you develop your processes (such as learning and coordination) to support engagement better, and how you involve your people – staff, students and the wider community – in developing and implementing your strategy. We’ve compiled case studies and practical guidance on all these fronts on our website . Developing a ‘joined up’ approach Our role at the NCCPE has been partly to listen and learn – and to try to make sense of the challenge and how it can best be met. We’ve run a series of events and consultations over the last three years, culminating in a national conference in December 2010. One of our favourite quotes from the evaluation of this event was: The Engage conference really felt like this was a ‘movement’ – we need to build on that energy’ A challenge for universities in Ireland will be how you can
support each other to generate a similar sense of common purpose, and to find ways to support each other: to develop your own ‘movement’. What might help? Work creatively and constructively with funders and policy makers to jointly tackle this agenda. Public engagement matters to everyone with a stake in the future of higher education. Finding ways to ‘nudge’ the tiller of funding and policy makes a significant difference. Recent developments in the UK – such as the Concordat for Engaging the Public with Research (where the funders articulate their expectation that everyone they fund will support engagement) and the inclusion of public engagement within the new Research Excellence Framework – are already making a big difference. Facilitate learning and sharing across the sector. We’ve got a huge amount to learn from each other, and can help with ‘short cuts’ if we’re prepared to share our experiences and approaches. We’ve done this through building e-networks, running events and through building a ‘library’ of case studies and exemplars on our website.
Give a platform for voices from outside the sector. Now is a really good time to be asking your communities and stakeholders what they want from the university sector in Ireland. Have a common cause. Our manifesto has provided a powerful vehicle to generate highlevel support and to help build a sense of a ‘movement’. Although change is never easy, what has encouraged us is how much positive energy the civic agenda can release, inside and outside the sector: people want and expect universities to ‘make a difference’. Giving yourselves permission, collectively, to ask what that difference could and should be and how best to realise it can release a tremendous burst of collective creativity and ambition. That’s probably something the sector needs now more than ever, given the current economic context. Profile
Paul is director of the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement, part of a major initiative to transform universities across the UK. An ex-school teacher, television producer, and BBC commissioning executive, he is passionate about engagement and the role of universities in their communities.
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Insight Necessity for Civic Engagement in Ireland By Gráinne McMahon
Professor Bob Bringle of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis in the United States of America is a renowned expert in the field of civic engagement and has written widely on the subject. Having commenced his education in social psychology, he became deeply involved in service learning because of his experience with an intergenerational service learning project in the early eighties. “That project, which paired college students with senior companions to visit home-bound elderly persons, demonstrated to me that service learning is a very powerful pedagogy. As a result of that initial experience, I decided that I wanted to help other faculty develop service learning courses,” says Professor Bringle. Along with Julie Hatcher, his Associate Director at IUPUI, Professor Bringle initiated a programme of scholarship and research focused on service learning and other forms of community engagement, now recognised as one of the leading programmes worldwide. Professor Bringle is passionate about the value of civic engagement in today’s society and its’ role in third level education; “One of the presumptions of a well-functioning, viable democracy is that citizens are well-informed about community issues, they participate in various ways in contributing to work around those community issues, and the quality of life is improved as a result of their involvement,” he says adding, “Democratic life, then, depends on developing in young adults the inclinations to become involved in civic matters and the capacity to act efficaciously. How can the knowledge, skills, and dispositions for civic involvement be developed to engender a sense of community and empowerment?” Professor Bringle believes that service learning is not only about ‘serving to learn’ but also about ‘learning to serve’ and getting involved in communities in a variety of ways such as through direct service, political participation, or supporting the non-profit sector. “As experts in this field, Dionne and Drogosz stated, ‘Citizenship cannot
Professor Bob Bringle be reduced to service’, but service learning needs to be appreciated and understood as a means for teaching towards civic education objectives,” explains Professor Bringle. He adds, “The case for service learning can be strengthened by understanding its capacity to prepare students to assume a civic-minded disposition in their career and acquire the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to be active citizens in their communities” Applying this to Ireland, Professor Bringle believes that the Emerald Isle has a social and familyoriented culture but because of the economic and social challenges facing the country, Ireland, like the rest of the world, must face the challenge that these qualities continue to be renewed and polished. This, he says, can be applied in the most basic work environment; “Employers value employees who are not just technically prepared for careers, but who also understand how to collaborate with others, who can work and communicate effectively with diverse groups of constituents, who have a broader purpose to their work and lives, and who care about others.” Unsurprisingly, Professor Bringle is adamant that Irish higher education has a role to play in the preparation of students for civic life, as well as civically oriented careers. “The best way to do this is to have the students integrate their academic studies with community activities in ways that enhance their academic learning, as well as their understanding of society and social issues,” he explains, adding that this can be applied across the globe. “All institutions world-wide can improve on the integration of civic engagement with academic work.” Professor Bringle delivered a keynote address at a conference hosted by Campus Engage in Dublin in June 2009 titled, ‘Civic Engagement and Service Learning: What, How, and Why’. Following
that conference, Professor Bringle was invited as a visiting scholar to NUI Galway for three months in 2009 where he worked on Campus Engage projects at the eight participating higher level institutes throughout Ireland. Professor Bringle found that academic staff at all participating campuses demonstrated a commitment to civic engagement, including community based instruction and research. “The projects represented good examples of sustained partnerships with communities that enrich the learning environments of students and beneficial to communities. On the whole, their numbers were small, but they are an important resource to each campus as models of good practice for their work.” Having advised many third level institutes on the value of civic engagement to both staff and students, Professor Bringle was impressed with the Campus Engage programme in Ireland, although acknowledging that Ireland as a country has a lot more work to do in this regard in comparison to the USA, which is generally recognised as a world leader in this area. “Campus Engage at NUIG is a very significant resource to higher education in Ireland. The staff possess the experience, competencies, and resources to assist other campuses. They have demonstrated their capacity to convene key individuals, to organise activities, to develop resources, and to produce scholarships that contribute to the future development of service learning and civic engagement in Ireland and beyond.” While Professor Bringle acknowledges that Campus Engage is “a relatively modest entity” at this stage, he says there is huge potential for the programme. “I know that, at this time, there is a lot of competition for very scarce resources; however, the staff of Campus Engage has demonstrated that they can produce results across all campuses in Ireland. There is a significant opportunity for higher education in Ireland to become an international example for taking seriously its interest in the civic education of its student population in ways that teach democratic skills and develop civic-minded graduates who have an enhanced interest in social issues.” How then is Ireland progressing in the field of civic engagement, by comparison to our American neighbours? “Service learning is much more institutionalised in higher education in the USA than in other countries. The prevalence of service learning courses has increased dramatically in the past two decades in the USA. This has
occurred for all types of institutions of higher education and across the spectrum of disciplines and professional training programs,” says Professor Bringle. However, he is keen to praise Ireland, having spent three months of a sabbatical here and witnessing the work of Campus Engage. “The MacJannet Prize is awarded to exceptional university civic engagement programs and is an international competition. The prize recognised the NUIG Engineering programme, which is evidence of the good work that is taking place at universities in Ireland.” As for the future of Campus Engage and similar projects, this expert in civic engagement is keen that it be continued. “Preparing all students to be involved in the civic life of communities is critical to enhancing the quality of life of those communities and to the viability of democratic processes,” Professor Bringle says, explaining that when this civic preparation can be integrated into the classroom, through service learning, for example, it makes efficient use of minimal increases in resources to develop those courses, as well as delivering a favourable return on investment. He explains that he is so passionate that civic engagement programmes continue to be supported at universities and colleges across Ireland, that he met with Tom Boland, Chief Executive Officer of the Higher Education Authority and Michael Kelly, Chairman of the HEA. “In a letter to them after my visit, I told them that while there is competition for scarce resources, particularly in these tough financial times, if Campus Engage were to be supported in the future, it would produce favourable returns across many years,” he says. “I base this projection on seeing how similar infrastructure in Australia, South Africa, and the US has produced good results, and how Campus Engage has been successful to date. There is a significant opportunity for higher education in Ireland to become an international example for taking seriously its interest in the civic education of its student population in ways that teach democratic skills and develop civic-minded graduates who have an enhanced interest in social issues.” Robert G. Bringle, Ph.D. Phil.D is Chancellor's Professor of Psychology and Philanthropic Studies at Indiana UniversityPurdue University Indianapolis in the United States and Executive Director of IUPUI’s Centre for Service and Learning.
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Back to the Future By Gráinne McMahon
Dr. Rhonda Wynne So how then, does Ireland fare in this regard? According to Rhonda, much work that is conducted in Irish higher education has a civic engagement dimension but more often than not, is not named in this way. “The language of engagement has been adopted in the US for years and is now becoming part of the Irish higher education discourse. Talking about civic engagement is a way of thinking about how teaching, learning and research might be oriented to achieve some of the public purpose goals of higher education.” Thinking and talking about civic engagement in Irish higher education is at a reasonably early stage, she explains but since it was named in the Higher Education Authority’s Hunt Report earlier this year, Rhonda believes there is scope to consider more broadly across institutions what
Learning from work in other institutions and countries presents practitioners with interesting options on how to find a space for engagement in their own contexts, and propel the social interpretation of the engagement discourse forward
r Rhonda Wynne of University College Dublin’s Adult Education Centre has undertaken detailed research into civic engagement, completing a thesis on ‘The Civic Role of Universities: General Concepts and Irish Practices’. It details recommendations on how universities might build a civic campus, educate for citizenship and promote civic engagement. “My interest came about through linking my work in adult education and work on citizenship projects,” explains Rhonda. “From years of working in adult education, we hear stories of how people’s involvement in learning has multiple benefits beyond their enhanced understanding of course content,” she says of the relationship between adult education and civic engagement which are often closely related. However, Rhonda believes that the policy discourse in Ireland generally tends to equate lifelong learning with work life learning, and with little consideration of the wider social and civic benefits of learning. “It seems to me that adult education provision plays a significant role within universities in engaging the public and in creating a learning environment within the university for learners other than those pursuing qualifications, or for those other than the traditional school leaver. These are important public purpose goals and contribute to some of the university’s obligations under the University’s Act.” Rhonda’s doctoral thesis examines how the civic role of universities is conceptualised and interpreted and subsequently practiced in Irish universities. “There is a spectrum of civic engagement from where it is considered a project, or a dimension of university activity that is managed as an add-on, right through to where it is the informing purpose of university activity,” explains Rhonda. Moving from a project approach to having civic engagement as the intellectual approach of the university, she explains, requires consideration of elements such as language and engagement discourse, collaboration in a reciprocal way with communities, partners, leadership, alignment of policies and objectives, reiteration of the values through policy and practice, as well as a commitment to citizenship across all aspects of university life. According to Rhonda, civic engagement is variously interpreted and understood, depending on institution and setting. “It can be dealing with public problem solving at a local level and harnessing the resources of the university to address local needs and issues,” she says adding that civic engagement can also be considered at an international level when universities are concerned with researching and responding to matters of global significance, such as the environment or public health. “For me, civic engagement is how the university uses its expertise and resources to respond the challenges facing society.”
we mean by civic engagement. “Naming civic engagement in the National Strategy is a significant boost – the fact that engagement is presented in this way means institutions will have to think about this dimension of their work. Having civic engagement named immediately
boosts the profile of this work.” However, experience from research work in America and other places suggest that leadership on civic engagement is key. “While we hear institutional leaders talk about science and innovation, we don’t hear so much about civic engagement initiatives,” says Rhonda who believes we need to bring the words ‘civic engagement’ further up the radar. “Strong public statements from leaders about the civic role of higher education and about the important contribution of graduates as citizens, and not just workers for the economy, would help focus attention on civic dimensions of college activities,” she says. Recognition, she believes, is also crucial. “At present, higher education recognition and promotional structures predominantly privilege research and publications in international academic journals. For example, in many institutions, there is little or no recognition for people who develop community engagement projects or contribute their expertise to nongovernmental organisations. These activities take time and commitment and add to the appreciation of the university in the community but go largely un-recognised for promotional purposes.” Rhonda believes it is also important to leverage support for civic engagement activities from policy, legislation and mission statements. “For example, under the Universities Act, there is a requirement on the university ‘to disseminate the outcomes of its research in the general community’.” Rhonda’s research also presents a number of recommendations as to how universities might build a civic campus, educate for citizenship and promote civic engagement. Most of these recommendations rest on a notion that there is a broad coherent institutional mission with buy-in at the most senior level. There are consistent messages about the centrality of values, both implicit and explicit, and how these play out in organisational structures, campus life, community partnerships and in matters of teaching, learning and scholarship.
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Comment&Debate Continued from page 24 The Campus Engage programme has been instrumental in bringing people together to discuss aspects of civic engagement, says Rhonda. “This work is vital, so there is a need for events, conferences and networks on this theme to learn from the existing work and share ideas about what works in an Irish context. Having a network has been essential in furthering this work and in developing a momentum.” Service learning is the most cited vehicle for student engagement in Ireland, according to Rhonda but how it is constructed is critical? “Service-learning has to navigate between traditional academic and theoretical forms of learning and experiential learning, gained through work or a lived experience. This is a problematic zone, most evident around the matter of assessment. Finding a way to balance the need for academic learning outcomes with ensuring a space for effective learning is a dominant concern both in the literature on service learning and also with practitioners, so that rather than student civic engagement taking the form of a
project, or a module, or an add-on in some way, civic values need to be reiterated on multiple fronts so that they are infused and sustained across college life.” It is an exciting time for third level institutions as civic engagement comes to the fore, says Rhonda. “It’s exciting because there is a growing level of interest in civic engagement and a real enthusiasm and commitment from people in this field to open up debates on how universities might engage with their communities, and play a role in addressing social and public problems.” She believes the newness of the field brings with it an air of hope and expectation and a sense of anticipation about what is possible “Learning from work in other institutions and countries presents practitioners with interesting options on how to find a space for engagement in their own contexts, and propel the social interpretation of the engagement discourse forward,” she says adding, “there are possibilities for practical and rewarding work with students and in communities, and for rich veins of intellectual challenge and
stimulation in a myriad of potential research projects.” Unsurprisingly, a severe lack of funding in third level education here in Ireland make it an uncertain time for developing civic engagement past its current status. “Civic engagement work, in its nascent form, is attempting to find a way just at a time when there is a serious downturn in public sector finances. University budgets are being cut significantly,” says Rhonda, explaining that such cutbacks indicate much uncertainty and disequilibrium in Irish higher education for the years. However, a dent in university bank accounts need not spell entire doom and gloom, believes Rhonda. “While this may make it a difficult time to initiate new ideas, it may be an opportune time for a rethink about the informing purpose of Irish higher education.” Rhonda suggests seed funding as a means to helping people develop projects or explore particular community based initiatives. “Some remarkable work has been done on very little. Furthermore, making public engagement work a consideration
or part of the criteria for promotional purposes would give this work enhanced status or kudos and encourage people to become involved.” Asking people to consider the public purpose of their work, or to see how their research findings might be made available in a more accessible format to audiences outside academic circles could get a conversation about this work started, she suggests. The future is bright, says Rhonda but Irish colleges and universities need to keep it that way by igniting the spark. “There are possibilities for practical and rewarding work with students and in communities, and for rich veins of intellectual challenge and stimulation in a myriad of potential research projects.” Dr Rhonda Wynne’s thesis was submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Education, at the School of Education, The University of Sheffield, December 2009. Dr Wynne is Manager of Professional Development at UCD’s Adult Education Centre
are implementing a civic engagement and service-learning project enriching university students learning experiences and, at the same time, increasing the learning opportunities of secondary education students by providing them and their families with more
personal and vocational support. This my way of paying society back for helping me. For me, going back to my community of origin, ten years after I had left, made me realise that within this world are many different little worlds.
Time Out from Dr. Jose Luis Arco, University of Granada
have occupied a position of privilege as a professor at the University of Granada. Fortunately, I could go to college and had access to many learning and developing opportunities both personally and professionally. I paid for approximately 15% of my educational investment. Society paid for the rest. Throughout these years I have explored many different models of organising and delivering higher education. I have met amazing people who have generously explained their way of serving the world. These are intellectuals and professors with more holistic and advanced views of what the University Third Mission should be. These views included civic engagement and service-learning. I learned how both approaches could significantly impact upon my institution and how they can help solve prevailing educational problems such as school failure and dropout rates. This year for the first time we
Some remarkable work has been done on very little. Furthermore, making public engagement work a consideration or part of the criteria for promotional purposes would give this work enhanced status or kudos and encourage people to become involved.
o me, Campus Engage developed the appealing idea to renew the meaning of Higher Education Institution’s third mission perfectly. What a powerful force to initiate thinking, analysing, building and reflecting on the solutions to some of the pressing problems western societies are experiencing today such the decline of democracy, youth participation, immigration, poverty, unemployment. We need to get out of our “Ivory Towers” to update the basics of what we teach, how we teach and research is urgent. By doing this, we might be able to understand and approach those quite familiar problems from a more creative, effective, efficient and sustainable way. We have the innovative theoretical knowledge, refined instructional methodologies and communication technologies to make Dewey´s dream possible. For the last dozen of years I
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Recognising the contribution student volunteers make to their communities Apart from the feeling of giving something back to the community, the experience has improved my interpersonal skills and my confidence, as I was constantly upgrading my social skills and getting involved in new activities. It allowed me to experience new settings, such as the respite centre, which improved my knowledge base. I developed new acquaintances, which may help with future employment opportunities.
Sponsored by Campus Engage, the coordinating group was made up of representatives from various third level institutions who curated students’ volunteering experiences into an exhibit of photographs and imagery. For many students, volunteering is something they never get around to. But for the We Volunteer participants, volunteering was something that impacted on their lives in more ways than just one. St Angela’s College, Sligo student, Neasa Ni Ghallchior was delighted when We Volunteer landed in her campus. “I developed relationships with people who have not only
helped me develop my creative skills, but through sharing similar passions and interests, have become my friends,” she said of her volunteering experience. A third year student of the B. Ed in Home Economics, Neasa was Chairperson of the Creative Crew Club where she worked with teenagers of the Foróige project in Sligo, helping young people to express themselves through fun, creative and educational mediums. She spent nearly two evenings a week during the academic year working within this capacity. For Neasa, who engaged with the teenagers through fashion and textiles, it was a very worthwhile experience. “It opened up new opportunities to individuals both within the college and in the wider community, allowing everyone to develop new skills and freedom of expression through creative arts.” MEP Marian Harkin visited St Angela’s to launch the arrival of We Volunteer. She was instrumental in driving 2011 as a designated year for volunteering. In her address, Ms Harkin reported that recent international research states that for each euro invested in volunteerrelated activity, there is a five to eight euro return on the investment to the community. She stressed the importance of continuing to adequately resource the community and voluntary sector described as 'a modest investment for great returns’. She also emphasised the important role volunteers play in Irish society. “The European Year of Volunteering 2011 is a chance to celebrate and recognise volunteers and the added value volunteers bring to their communities,” she added. Supporting your local community is something fellow We Volunteer participant and University of Limerick student, Ide Curtin, felt obliged to support. “I worked in the disability sector with children aged two years to eighteen years in St Josephs Foundation, Charleville, Co Cork. I worked in a preschool from 9am to 3pm, four days a week and I then did the respite centre from 4pm to 9.30pm twice a week.” She was responsible for the growth and development of
the children with Autism and worked especially with the ABA unit, as well as working in the respite centre where she was responsible for making the children and young adults feel safe so they could relax and socialise with others. Ide said she derived great satisfaction from helping out. “I had already done a lot of volunteer work with children and adolescents and wanted to gain more knowledge and broaden my opportunities for the future. The feeling I experienced from helping a child learn to speak or walk is indescribable. It also allowed me to improve my leadership skills, as I was allowed to facilitate group activities.” While it was very beneficial for Ide, a fourth year student in social studies, she believes her involvement impacted on the lives of those she worked with too. “I believe that I have made an impact on others through my volunteering. I was able to help many children to learn how to communicate with others; I could see the excitement in the children's faces when they were finally responded to by another.”
I have been very lucky in life with my childhood, health and education. I wanted to give something back to those who may not have been as fortunate enough as myself and for that reason, this really appealed to me.
e Volunteer, the mobile and online photographic exhibition organised to celebrate student volunteering, has reached into the heart of third level institutions throughout Ireland. Paying visits to over 20 colleges and universities from the start of this year, it has raised much debate around student volunteering in the year marked as ‘European Year of Volunteering 2011’. The exhibition was created to mark the European Year of Volunteering 2011 and to recognise the tremendous contribution student volunteers make to the lives of their communities.
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We Hear, We Volunteer
ergal’s motivations for getting involved were born by a desire to make a difference, give something back to society and inspire others. He wanted avoid volunteertourism and looked for a hands-on experience with the sole aim to benefit those where it was needed. “I have been very lucky in life with my childhood, health and education. I wanted to give something back to those who may not have been as fortunate enough
“ as myself and for that reason, this really appealed to me.” Fergal is not alone when it comes to overseas volunteering. In March, UCD Volunteers Overseas held a ‘Global Awareness Evening’ to showcase volunteering activities that raise awareness about development issues in India, Haiti, Nicaragua and Tanzania. The "We Volunteer!" photographic exhibition was displayed at the event, where student Ciara Maitra spoke about her time as a volunteer in Haiti. “I'd hope that the children in Haiti grow up knowing that education is a way out of extreme poverty and that they strive to stay in school,” she said of her experience as a teacher with UCD Volunteers Overseas in 2010. Ciara and 27 fellow students spent the month of July teaching Haitian school children, during which time she gained a real insight into a culture she knew very little about. Ciara worked in very deprived conditions, but for her, the experience was one she will never
forget. “It was the hardest and best month of my life. Even though you hear it all the time, you don't realise how privileged we are. We have free education and free healthcare, while most people in Haiti don't even have clean water,” she said. Studying for an arts degree, Ciara hopes to pursue a career in development work and wanted to get some experience first before jumping straight in. “I am very interested in human rights issues, particularly relating to women and children, so the UCDVO experience was perfect as it meant working with children every day. I also think it’s important to be engaged in the world around you and there is no better way in understanding and achieving that than visiting a country that has experienced so much trauma and conflict.” We Volunteer is continuing its tour at a number of campuses and events, as well as at European locations for the remainder of 2011. For more information and to see the online exhibition visit www.wevolunteer.ie.
The experience highlighted the social problems that exist closer to home in our society and has motivated me to get more involved
“Apart from the feeling of giving something back to the community, the experience has improved my interpersonal skills and my confidence, as I was constantly upgrading my social skills and getting involved in new activities. It allowed me to experience new settings, such as the respite centre, which improved my knowledge base. I developed new acquaintances, which may help with future employment opportunities.” Fifth year postgraduate student, Fergal O’Shaughnessy recalls his experience as one that taught him “patience, understanding and empathy”. As part of his medical degree at the Royal College of Surgeons, he undertook a National Pharmacy Internship program in Vietnam. He spent three months volunteering with the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation, whose main role was to care for the children on a day-to-day basis in the centre, providing them with endless love and affection, giving them a childhood that every child deserves, irrespective of their health, social or economic situations. “The experience highlighted the social problems that exist closer to home in our society and has motivated me to get more involved,” he said on reflection. “It has shown me I can make a difference, however small and that volunteering is not necessarily about raising thousands of euro, saving lives or changing the world. It may only take one person, one moment or one act to make a difference. It has shown me that at the heart of volunteering is respect, dignity and love.”
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High to Higher - Volunteering Year Improves Awareness
European Year of Vo l u n t e e r i n g 2011 was o f f i c i a l l y launched in February by Mary McAleese, President of Ireland, who is Patron of European Year of Volunteering 2011. Over 300 individual volunteers and non-profit organisations from all over Ireland came together to celebrate the commitment of up to 1 million active volunteers in Ireland. There are 40,000 volunteer-involved organisations in Ireland transcending every sector of society – from sports, community, children and young people, animals and the environment to arts, culture and media and health and training. The contribution required by organisations and communities from volunteers is evident throughout Ireland. Mary McAleese, President of Ireland, said, "There is a saying that, ‘He who gives when he is asked has waited too long’. Volunteers are people who see a need and say, ‘Let me help’. That offer of help is made without thought of any personal reward beyond the fulfilment that comes from giving.” The primary aim of EYV2011 is to raise awareness of the impact that volunteering activities have on society. In Ireland, it is a celebration of the estimated 750,000 to 1 million volunteers who give their time to countless industries, activities and guises. The year is also about empowering people to volunteer by promotion and facilitation, and to raise awareness of the value that volunteering inherently provides to communities. So what does this mean for higher education? Lorraine Tansey, Volunteering Co-ordinator at NUI Galway is the Higher Education Representative on the Irish Steering group, which was established to co-ordinate activities around the country before and during 2011. As the only representative for higher education, Lorraine feels she has an important role to play in ensuring that there is more awareness of activity at third level and the great work that students do every day to help others.
“My hope for the year as a whole can be summarised very simply in, ‘the creation and continuation of awareness, involvement and investment’,” says Lorraine. “As part of creating awareness throughout 2011, the vocabulary surrounding volunteering needs to be changed. Many students do a huge amount of great work in their communities and do not even realise that it is as important as it is and that they are, in fact, engaging in volunteering. A heightened awareness of the realm of volunteering throughout the year will help those engaging in and supporting volunteering in higher education the bring it forward into
showcase play a huge part in highlighting volunteering, moving around the country and getting the message out there. In many Irish higher education institutions, there is no specific person given the responsibility to co-ordinate day-to-day volunteering projects and support students. Lorraine Tansey sees that the development of student volunteer co-ordinators is a great advantage to institutions and gives volunteering the support and recognition it deserves from the university’s perspective. “I would be delighted if the HEA were so inspired by the great work they see during the European Year
We have a chance to really make our mark, to inspire and put volunteering on the map so that it becomes an even bigger fixture in higher education going forward
By Julie O Leary
the future in a positive and productive way,” Lorraine adds. Awareness must be created on campus for students around the country, as well as for the staff of the institutions that support them. Community awareness of the rich resource of the student body is also important so that organisations in the community tap into the student body. An awareness of the great volunteer work that goes on for those who hold the purse strings in higher education is also vital, because if there is no awareness, there is no appreciation of the need and benefits of investment and involvement. Exhibitions like the ‘We Volunteer’ photography
for Volunteering, particularly with exhibitions like the ‘We Volunteer’ photography exhibition, that they will continue to support students further by providing dedicated personnel to support students”. Lorraine acts as volunteering coordinator in NUI Galway. As one of the dedicated personnel, she feels that her role enables her to keep students engaged with volunteering on campus. Helping others on a voluntary basis has countless benefits for students, according to Lorraine. Getting involved in volunteering has positive implications on health, social engagement and psychological wellbeing for
students. It also helps them to be connected with their communities and stay involved and enriched once they leave university. “After the experience of higher education, there is a big world out there that students must enter into. Volunteering allows them to get a unique perspective on the world, helping them to flourish in very significant ways as people in society.” Fostering volunteering on an ongoing basis does not come without barriers. At present, a lack of investment is a significant barrier at European level. Due to the worldwide economic crisis, there is only a very small amount of funding to support the activities of the European Year of Volunteering. This has put pressure on the steering group to deliver a comprehensive programme without much monetary support. “Voluntary does not mean free, and engaging in volunteering work can be very costly for all involved. It is a challenge to secure investment to support volunteering, but it is imperative that higher education volunteering initiatives are continually supported in the very practical way of investment, in order for the goodwill and spirit of volunteering to thrive. It is disappointing that money can hinder such wonderful work,” says Lorraine. The essence of higher education is to promote the growth and development of learners of all ages from all backgrounds and volunteering is becoming an integral part of the experience. Lorraine sees great opportunity in the EYV 2011. “Everyone that is touched by volunteering in any way should take the chance to highlight the benefits to anybody they can. There is also great enjoyment to be had in the year with fantastic events hosted throughout Ireland for everyone to enjoy. It is fantastic to know that higher education plays such an important role in this momentous year. We have a chance to really make our mark to inspire and put volunteering on the map so that it becomes an even bigger fixture in higher education going forward.” We Volunteer Websites www.wevolunteer.ie ALIVE - www.nuigalway.ie/alive
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Volunteering Facts & Figures About Volunteering and EVY2011* The importance of volunteering for the EU's economy, society and individuals has long been acknowledged by EU policy makers. However, the European volunteering landscape is extremely varied because of different historical, political and cultural attitudes towards volunteering in every EU country. The figures below give a more precise idea about the situation of volunteering in the EU.
General information about EU volunteering Total number of EU volunteers: 92 to 94 million adults are involved in volunteering in the EU (23% of all Europeans over 15 years of age).
Level of volunteering in the different EU Member States The statistics in the table below show the proportion of the population involved in volunteering in various EU countries. The figures suggest that there are big differences between them. However, these are exaggerated by differences in the way volunteering is defined and measured in each country. Misleading results such as these highlight the need for policy-makers to work on improving the availability of consistent, internationally comparable statistics in volunteering. Whatever the questionable state of international comparisons, it is nonetheless clear that there has been a general trend increase in the number of active volunteers and voluntary organisations in the EU over the past ten years. • 3 out of 10 Europeans volunteer and 80% of Europeans say that active participation in society is a crucial part of their life (Special Eurobarometer 273). • 7 in 10 people don’t volunteer and many face barriers towards volunteering e.g. Lack of information, time pressure, finances, negative images, discrimination, legal, visas etc (EYV2011 Alliance). • In 2006, organisations responding to the Hidden Landscape survey reported having a total 1,570,408 volunteers, almost nine per cent of whom (8.7%) were non Ireland based.
Main sectors in which EU volunteers volunteer, according to the 2010 Eurobarometer survey6 • Sport club / outdoor activities club (34%) • Education, arts, music or cultural associations (22%) • Religious or church association (16%) • Charity organisations / social aid organisations (17%) • Trade unions (13%)
Sample Events from EVY2011 Ireland Dublin Social Inclusion Week 3rd - 7th May 2011 Dublin City Council Social Inclusion Week Any socially inclusive work in the community is welcome to participate in the social inclusion week.
2nd EYV Thematic Conference, Brussels 3rd & 4th May 2011 The EYV 2nd Thematic Conference will be ‘Volunteers: the difference they make and the challenges they face’. The pan-European conference will see European Parliament President Buzek, European Commission VicePresident Reding, and European Economic and Social Committee President Nilsson joining between 300 and 400 grassroots volunteers, representatives of volunteering organisations and EU policy makers in Brussels.
CEV Conference: The Future of Volunteering – Register now 4th-6th May 2011 The Future of Volunteering: Concepts, Trends, Visions Registration is now open for the spring 2011 CEV Symposium, “The Future of Volunteering: Concepts, Trends, Visions”, will ltake place in Tallinn, on 4th to 6th May, in collaboration with CEV member organisation Volunteer Development Estonia.
‘Volunteers in Action’ Photographic Exhibition at Drumcondra Library May 2011 January – July, Dublin City Libraries’ ‘Volunteers in Action’ photographic exhibitions, organised by the Dublin City North Volunteer Centre and Dublin City Libraries, will tour from January to July 2011. Maureen McDonnell’s photographs illustrate the variety of ways in which Dubliners volunteer their time and energy.
Register for YSI ‘Creating a Better World’ Exhibition Wednesday, 11th May 2011 With more than 5,000 young people and 300 teachers taking part in YSI ‘Creating a Better World’ Exhibition this year, can your organisation afford to miss this opportunity to exhibit at Ireland’s biggest showcase of social innovation?
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Building a Voice Gives Rise to a Strong Mission To further celebrate European Year of the Volunteer, over fifty 3rd level students from over 16 colleges throughout the country shared their experiences and vision on the impact and advantages of volunteering. The event was called ‘Building A Voice’, and called for the participation of student volunteers. Held on November 12th and 13th 2010 in the Heritage Hotel, Portlaoise, it aimed to shed light on the assets of active youth involvement in society. It succeeded. “There is significant momentum with regard to civic engagement in Irish higher education right now,” says Ann Lyons, Coordinator of Campus Engage. “Indeed there has been a notable increase in student volunteering in Ireland in recent years. Given this upsurge in voluntary activity by students and the policy direction regarding civic engagement in higher education policy, the conference happened at an opportune time.”
A positive outcome from the conference is how everyone is keeping in touch, sharing ideas on where to go nowthat is the crucial point it really refocused me on how I can improve, and more.
The ‘’Building A Voice’ conference is the first of its time and nature – Ann Lyons believes it “augurs well for the future”. Student and activists that took part in the event, have firmly stressed that their involvement in civic engagement has been thoroughly self-rewarding and taught them more about personal development, training and communication skills. First year Physics student from NUI Galway, Sean McHugh, is an active member in his community. Involved in Civil Defence Ireland, Sean has had the opportunity to
meet the public of Longford County through his first aid duties, while also getting to know his unit. He started out doing voluntary work over two years ago with the ISPCA. Now a registered member of the Longford Volunteer Centre, Sean has taken part in a variety of local events, such as road races, marathons and summer camps for the wellness of others. Sean says he attended the ‘Building A Voice’ conference to meet new people who are also actively trying to help in their communities and possibly even to get some ideas from them for future volunteering projects. “I think volunteering is a wonderful thing to do, it allows opportunity to learn new skills with people who are likeminded. It’s very self-rewarding too,” he said. As a result of his training with Civil Defence Ireland, Sean has put skills into practice. “There is no feeling like helping people. I’m really glad I got involved.” Rachel Breslin, a 2nd year UCD student completing a Business & Legal studies degree, got involved in civic engagement because she wanted to help the community that she says has given so much to her. “One of the best things about the ‘Building A Voice’ conference was taking ideas and bringing them to a national level. That’s exciting.” Currently welfare officer elect for the Student’s Union at UCD, Rachel volunteers on campus and at home in the Donegal Youth Council. “Another positive outcome from the conference is how everyone is keeping in touch, sharing ideas on where to go now – that is the crucial point. It really re-focused me on how I can improve, and do more.” Law student David Clear from UL has similarly engaged himself in volunteering throughout his university experience. He has previously volunteered and taught English at a school in Zambia, helping to raise awareness of the dire issues affecting those in third world countries. Deputy Chair of the Class Representative Council at UL, a campus peer mentor and a contributor for the college newspaper An Focal, David is currently undertaking the UL President’s Volunteer Award. David’s desired outcome from the conference was to hear the stories of how other students from various Irish universities are engaging in voluntary activities. His intention was to bring these mixed ideas back to his university to apply to their campus.
Fellow UL undergraduate Gemma Browne, a 2nd year Psychology student and chairperson of Connect, a peer mentoring network at UL, was informed about the conference by her college, “I think our college knew I would be interested in it and so I went to represent Connect, as well as UL.” Aside from her work with Connect, Gemma is also a volunteer for Samaritans in Limerick. “With Samaritans, you are helping those who face suicide or depression by talking and listening. Connect is similar in the sense that you are dealing with students who are going through a difficult time.” Gemma firmly believes that mental health is an important issue and one that we do not know enough about. “I’m very passionate about mental health. Through my undergraduate degree and my roles in civic engagement, I have found you get so much more out of it than you put in.” The ‘Building A Voice’ conference was encouraging for Gemma, as she has the chance to meet others like herself and with familiar interests. “I thought I was taking on a lot in my community, but then I met the other participants at the conference and I was amazed. Some were dedicating double the amount of time that I am.” Campus Engage’s work has influenced Gemma’s life and has led to her decision to seek a job in an organisation that gives back. Recent Health & Leisure studies graduate from the Institute of Technology, Tralee, Sarah Hanngen, focused her final research thesis on community service learning in the third level curriculum. She said she came away from the day with a renewed outlook on how to get active in civic engagement. “The event held a holistic benefit while benefiting us actual students hugely in terms of how we help wider communities.” Ciaran McKay of Institute of Technology, Tallaght, is currently studying an IT Management course and in his 2nd year. “It was brilliant getting to know other colleges who I now contact for help with work and activities.” Ciaran went into the conference in Portlaoise with the intention of gaining fresh knowledge about how to deal with various projects and tasks. Involved in organising football tournaments in conjunction with Campus Engage, he says that many others that attended the conference have joined him in his efforts. “For me it’s all about being part of a good cause,” he stresses.
Emily Brick, from University College Cork, is a veteran of the Lourdes Kerry Pilgrimage and has organised a volunteer group on campus for her fellow students. “We match individuals interested in volunteering with the area they seek.” She found the conference to be helpful in generating plans on how to start up a civic engagement society. Owen McMeel, from Queens University, Belfast is enjoying his 2nd year at college, while acting as president of the Northern Ireland branch of Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE). SIFE is a nonprofit organisation ran by students and with the help of student volunteers, improves the lives of people in the local community. Through his active involvement in SIFE, Owen attended the ‘Building A Voice’ conference and says he thoroughly enjoyed it. “I still keep in contact with those I met. It gave me ideas on how to improve our work and projects at Queens. I want to impact lives and raise money for those who need it. Those genuinely into volunteering are those who get involved because they want to make a change, rather than having it on your CV or seeing it as only an hour here and there. The ‘Building A Voice’ conference aimed to, and effectively provided an open forum for higher-level students to meet together, with an opportunity to share their innovative ideas on volunteering. Focusing on the students themselves as the experts, as those with expertise, they took to the floor and passionately addressed their fellow peers. Voluntary work is a life long gift and you will always gain from it. Let us keep encouraging those from all communities and backgrounds to get involved in the process of creating a better, happier, cleaner world.
Those genuinely into volunteering are those who get involved because they want to make a change, rather than having it on your CV or seeing it a only an hour here and there.
By Laura Butler
Campus Engage Post 31
Shortcuts New member of the DCU ‘In The Community’ team
Super Service Learning at Trinity
Janice Conway has recently joined the DCU ‘In The Community’ team as the Community Maths Programme Co-Ordinator. Janice will be working in Ballymun with community groups and parents to improve confidence in Maths. Janice epitomises the 'engaged and active citizen'; in her spare time, she volunteers with Gaisce and The International Award for Young People - volunteering both in Dublin and London. Since achieving the Gold Gaisce Award in 2007, she has continued to volunteer with the award and also with the International branch of the award, ‘The International Award for Young People’. For the last three years, she has also been involved in extending the reach of Gaisce and The International Award to include Rotary International members. In 2010, she was invited to represent Ireland and The International Award at a youth conference, ‘One Young World’, chaired by Desmond Tutu, Sir Bob Geldof and Kofi Anan.
‘Moving Forward Together’ is a collaborative project whereby trainee interpreters in the Centre for Deaf Studies are placed in deaf advocacy group Deaforward and share the learning of that experience with community mentors and deaf clients. ‘CONNECTing in the Community’ is a conversation partner scheme between Junior Freshman students of Clinical Speech and Language Studies and people with aphasia in the community. During Dr. Patti Clayton’s visit to Ireland in November 2010 (a joint TCDCampus Engage initiative), she worked with seed funding recipients to develop their programmes. In 2011, a further four mini grants will be awarded to support new service-learning modules.
Generous Funding Inspires Summer Community Projects Through the generosity of Trinity Alumni, the Civic Engagement Office in the Trinity Careers Advisory Service is supporting three students to undertake community action projects of their own initiative over the summer of 2011. A Senior Freshman student of European Studies will be running a three-day intensive summer camp for adolescent girls in the Midlands with supervision from Foróige. The summer camp will include workshops on international humanitarian issues, creative skills seminars and some personal awareness inputs. The second project, being led by a Junior Freshman student of Natural Sciences, is an exhibition of Iranian women who are human rights activists. The exhibition will tour the country in association with Amnesty International Ireland. The third project being supported in 2011 is being run by a Senior Sophister student of Business and Political Science in the South East, with the support of ‘Claiming our Future’. This project aims to create civic forums where young people may present the issues that are important in their lives to decision makers, and have them respond directly. For details of funded projects, see www.tcd.ie/Community
Tralee Institute of Technology Show Increase in Student Participation The Institute carried out a survey of students to obtain base line data on student ‘Volunteering and Civic Engagement’, (enabled through Campus Engage seed funding). This established that 60% of ITT students volunteer, committing an average of three hours per week. ‘Doing good to help others’ and ‘Giving something back to society’ are the primary perceived benefits of volunteering. Fifty three per cent indicated that volunteering work supports and enhances their course of study, and 85% of students indicated that they would like to see academic credit for volunteering. These findings informed the development of a college wide elective module Community Service Initiative. While taking this module, students volunteer for a minimum of four months with an organisation/ agency/project, whereby they learn experientially. Students can elect to undertake their volunteering experience during term, or may pursue a volunteering project abroad over the summer months. CAMPABILITIES, a sports development camp for children who are blind or have a vision impairment, had its second successful Easter camp, based in Killarney recently. A unique aspect of this camp is the level of community involvement in the running of the activities. The main cohort of volunteers come from the Health and Leisure course at IT Tralee. However, this year, volunteer recruitment saw students
from the department of nursing, social care and the hotel and catering department staff and students assist with all elements of the catering throughout the duration of the camp.
Community Outreach Shines at IADT Local Education for Adult Progression (LEAP), in conjunction with IADT, created a piece of art for their community garden recently. The group has seen the project through from concept to completion, and engaged positively in a supportive environment. The piece of art – a life size horse called ‘Paper Lady’ has been short listed for the AONTAS Star award and following this, will be brought to their garden and become a lasting feature. The men are eager to be role models for future courses and have indicated they would like to be part of another project. As a side to this project, an IADT Film & TV student captured the project with a view to making a TV documentary. Southside Travellers Youth Group project involved 15 schoolgoing children ranging in age from 9-13 years. The project started with a trip to the National Gallery of Ireland where the group studied various paintings, masters, and artistic styles and were then encouraged to paint. The project was run for two hours after school one day per week for 12 weeks at the Cabinteely Grain Store Youth Arts Centre. The children created a work of art that reflects their own aspirations, dreams and pleasures, as well as their hardships. Team work and decision-making processes are evident in the final piece ‘Happiness’. The painting has vivid colour schemes inspired by old masters and has many cheerful and positive elements, which give an insight to today’s Traveller youth culture. ‘Happiness’ has won two awards recently.
IT Sligo Students’ Union and local Residents Associations Awarded IT Sligo Students’ Union and a Sligo town residents’ association, Mulberry Park/Ashbury Lawn Residents Association, were recognised with an award for their work on the ‘town and gown’ rapport. The annual Corn Sheáin Mhic Mhagnais was awarded to them by IT Sligo for the concerted effort made to improve relations between the local community and the student body, particularly during the annual Raise and Give Week. Corn Sheáin Mhic Mhagnais was
established by a former IT Sligo Chairman and is awarded annually by the Institute in recognition of exceptional achievements or contributions to the institute by individuals or groups. In recent years, IT Sligo has made a concerted effort to deal with anti-social behaviour issues and this resulted in the introduction of a Student Charter/Code of Conduct. The students and local residents, led by Breffni Gorman and Mr Vianney Tully, greatly improved the rapport between the institute and the local community through continuous contact and liaison meetings in the 2009/2010 academic year. President of IT Sligo, Professor Terri Scott, said that the spirit of cooperation developed between the Students’ Union and the local Residents’ Association has contributed to significantly improved relations between the two. “Credit is due to Breffni Gorman and her colleagues in the Students’ Union and all those involved in the residents’ association for working together on a number of important initiatives that have brought about such positive change in the dynamic between the students and the local residents,” said President of IT Sligo, Professor Terri Scott. A number of successful initiatives were introduced and continue to be operated by the Students’ Union during ‘Raise and Give Week’ to minimise any inconvenience for local residents during the week, such as a nightly clean-up operation and a 24/7 Campus Watch Helpline operated by students.
Archaeology Reaching Beyond University The UCD School of Archaeology has launched a number of outreach and engagement initiatives in an effort to give primary and postprimary school students the opportunity to experience the subject of Archaeology. hese include a Transition Year Programme for second level and participation in various access initiatives for both primary and post primary students. Transition year students are invited to gain a week’s work and research experience at the School of Archaeology. While there, they have the opportunity to explore many different aspects of the work the School of Archaeology is involved in. The Primary School Access initiatives are numerous but include work with the UCD New Era access programme and the UCD New Era Summer School.
Campus Engage Post
Longterm Effects of Placement and Engagement By Gráinne McMahon
he University of Limerick has long been renowned for its’ engagement with the community through its’ Cooperative programme, through which some 2,000 undergraduate students are placed with over 1,600 employers both at home and abroad every year. The student placement programme offers students the chance to experience and learn in a real work environment before they graduate, while offering benefits to industry, services and the community. “Cooperative education is an integrated and assessed part of UL degrees,” says Jerry Cronin, Cooperative Education Manager at the university’s Department of Humanities. “It was one of the founding pillars of the university when the first students registers in 1972 and has continued to grow and expand since then,” says Jerry, who explains the placement programme helps students to make decisions about their future career, while allowing employers to assess coop students as potential employees. While the Cooperative programme is part and parcel of life at the University of Limerick today with a dedicated division on campus there to develop and manage all activities related to careers, cooperative education and teaching practice, when it was introduced in 1974, was a first for third level education. “When the University was founded it embodied a number of very new and challenging beliefs and practices in the contest of Irish Higher Education at the time. One such belief was the central importance of close working relationships with industry, services and community as a founding principle of the new organisation,” explains Jerry. From 90 placements in 1974 to thousands today, the Coop placement model combines three and a half years of academic learning with between six to eight months of practical experience, which generally takes place half way through an undergraduate degree programme. Far from an opportunity to ditch the books for a few months, students must perform
UL Students Martin Meany and Fenke Van Der Keeij during the placement, which is assessed and grading with a passing mark a prerequisite for graduation. The Cooperative programme runs through practically every stream of education at the University of Limerick with the exception of certain degrees such as medicine, nursing and teaching, for example, which have their own professional placement programmes. However, although these are quite different to the Coop model, they share the common belief that valuable learning takes place in environments external to the campus. “In addition,” explains Jerry, “many students enrolled on these courses are involved in other forms of civic engagement such as homework clubs, and summer assignments in developing countries.” Civic engagement is a major part of the programme with the community directly benefitting from some 2,000 placements annually. “Cooperative Education placements in the community and not-for-profit areas provide participating organisations with a very energetic and motivated manpower resource,” says Jerry. “It also allows disadvantaged young people in marginalised communities engage with university students and see that going to university may not be such a difficult thing to achieve.” The programme acts as an ‘eye
opener’ for many participants, for example allowing students from middle class backgrounds the opportunity to engage with people who by virtue of circumstance have few opportunities in life, but are no different from them in any other way. “Placements can begin to break down stereotypes and help to address issue of equity and inequality,” says Jerry explaining that it is anticipated that such placements will ignite an interest in social issues among participating students and that that interest will extend beyond graduation. While the community directly and indirectly benefits from the placements, it is the students themselves that are the real beneficiaries from the Cooperative Programme. “Community-based work gives students an opportunity to develop a range of skills that will prove invaluable in their future careers,” says Jerry. By deploying their existing academic knowledge across organisations and sectors in not-for-profit organisations, Jerry says that students become more mature, develop strong abilities in team working, communications, interpersonal skills, and develop an awareness of the workplace culture. “More importantly, employers agree that graduates who have undertaken a period of communitybased activity during their degree
gain the skills essential for success at work. In addition, they have demonstrated a commitment to community issues, a characteristic which is now appreciated and sought after in a highly competitive employment market.” The Cooperative Programme is funded and organised by the University of Limerick and placement preparation begins about a year before the actual placement begins. “We do this to make the students aware of the options that will be available to them the following year and to provide them with a chance to acquaint themselves with the possible options and identify the opportunities that best meet their interests,” says Jerry. The students and employers must both complete paperwork and during the placement, both report to the university on the student’s progress. Jerry Cronin believes that the University of Limerick is meeting its’ civic engagement requirements through the programme. “It is possible to see civic engagement primarily as an obligation, but it is so much more than that. The learning opportunities it offers students make it a must for any third level organisation that sees learning as something that takes place in a range both on campus and external to it.”
Campus Engage Post 33
Service Learning (Continued)
Martin Meany, Cooperative Programme University o f L i m e r i ck English and history student Martin Meany undertook a six-month placement with the Northside Learning Hub in Limerick, organised by the Cooperative Programme office at the University of Limerick. The Northside Learning Hub was founded in October 2007 as a charitable organisation. It was set up with the aim of working in partnership with local education providers, families and young people. “From the very beginning, I believed the NLH was working towards a fantastic idea by solving an obvious problem,” says Martin. “The aim of the NLH is to work towards reducing the levels of early school leavers by tackling educational disadvantage and the bridge between primary and secondary schools, which could also be responsible for early school leaving. This was all done by working with the locality and schools.” Martin was anxious commencing his placement as it was his first time working with children; “It proved to be a challenge during the first week, but after that there was a mutual respect due to my age and we all got on really well. I always thought a class of kids was going to be an impossible challenge, but you realise very quickly that kids want to learn a lot more that you might first think.” His daily tasks included teaching, visiting locals to raise the profile of the Hub, covering for other teachers when needed and generally helping out with the tasks at hand. “I expanded a lot of my own skills. Teaching in a class was one, but I also developed skills like web design and using Photoshop. I saw how kids react to technology too. It makes learning way more appealing to them, and thinking back to my own school, I can see the value of that.” “All of the placement students took it upon themselves to choose projects in which they could make their own. I took on kickboxing and some of the projects that would help me work in a classroom environment such as ‘Around the World in 80 Minutes’ and ‘Stereotyping in the Media’. I found these highly rewarding and I have taken up kickboxing myself and am now a Yellow Belt thanks to the NLH and their facilities,” says Martin of the additional skills he learned. He also engaged in language learning and digital media preparation and set up an adults’ class where he
taught kickboxing. “There were project plans made available to us, similar to a teaching plan. From these, we knew exactly what was expected from us. The high standards of the NLH were great as we really got a fantastic feel for teaching for many ages.” Martin explains that as he spent more and more time at the Hub, his responsibilities increased and he began taking control of classes under the project leader’s supervision. “This was a fantastic experience for us to gain and really allowed us to become comfortable in a class room experience.” The English and History student discovered during his time at the Northside Learning Hub that he wanted to be a teacher. “I was in my course with no clue as to what I would end up doing. At the early stages, I thought I’d have to work in a museum or something exciting like that! Then someone finally mentioned the possibility of becoming a teacher through England. The thought was playing on my mind for a while, and after the Hub I have no doubts about wanting to be a teacher.” Working in an office environment was something completely new to Martin and slightly alien from his experience in the retail environment but he soon got used to it. Although he did not get paid, he found that the benefits of Coop far outweighed the disadvantages. “I’m back studying now, and the clear cut choice over studying and a placement is coop; no library for six months; I was in heaven! I guess I was appreciating the first step towards knowing a career.” Although Martin admits that he didn’t choose to undertake his degree at the University of Limerick because of the Cooperative Programme offered there, he explains that many of his friends did so. Nonetheless, he has benefited all the same. “The skills I gained from the NLH have shown me that Co-op itself is an extremely valuable asset to UL. I’ve grown as a student, as an employee and as a person due to my time spent working there. It has actually shaped my possible future, changing my desire of teaching from secondary level to primary level. It’s a significant change considering it could take up to three or four more years to complete.” Martin also believes that civic engagement plays an important role in college courses. “Although I didn’t do anything on English or History in my time at the Hub, the life experience was priceless. I think universities are coming around to the fact that an absolute genius could be a useless teacher, or whatever career they’re going for, if they don’t have the social skills to work with people.
Personally I can’t say how important civic engagement is as for me - it’s invaluable.”
Femke Van Der Kooij, Cooperative Programme University of Limerick Third year student in voice and dance at the University of Limerick, Femke Van Der Kooij undertook her Cooperative placement at Ntranoa School in Ghana where she worked as a teaching assistant. Femke spent five months on the Cape Coast where she immersed herself in the local culture and founded a remedial facility for students with literacy difficulties. Moving to a West African country for five months may be daunting for some, but it was something that Femke embraced. “I liked learning about the people, the culture, the cooking and opening my mind to the experience,” Femke says explaining that she grasped the opportunity to learn traditional Ghanaian music and performing it. Femke found that she had to adapt to the needs of the local community. “The actual responsibilities of my placement changed several times as I was put in different projects throughout the five months of my stay in Abee,” she explains. “Firstly I was put in childcare in Ahoto because the local schools were on holiday during the period in which I arrived. This position involved taking care of and creatively teaching a group of small children who are under the care the DMJ sisters due to varying circumstances. I was not alone in this as Ciara, another girl from my department at UL, was also doing her Coop placement there. We lived together and worked harmoniously together to try to the best of our ability to entertain and enlighten these children.” Femke found the children to be “adorable, frustratingly stubborn and delightfully open”, although she admits it did take a little longer to gain the trust of some of the older children. She spent her time playing games with the children, taking them for walks and undertaking craft activities, but admits she was limited at times in her choice of activities. “We had a somewhat limited supply of paper at times but we attempted to give them a solid discipline and sense of good manners. There were moments when we ran, climbed trees, played football and drummed with whatever could produce a loud noise. We sang songs and chanted and generally let loose our creativity,” she explains. Although a visitor to the compound, Femke was welcomed as a local. “Working with
the permanent staff and being thus accepted has created a bond with those beloved people that I greeted and spoke to daily,” she says. Femke also helped out in a local village affected by leprosy. “There I taught after-school classes to the children teaching them English, Maths and anything else I felt capable of. I decided after a time, that I would give art and music lessons as well as English so as to broaden the horizons of the people there.” After a time, Femke began teaching adults as well as children. “There was a point at which the schools began to open and so it was time for me to spread my wings and apply all that I had learned thus far to primary school teaching.” Before taking on the challenge, Femke spent a week in the special needs school in Ahoto where she helped to motivate the children of the second class to do jigsaws, sing songs, play memory and listen to stories. Femke then set up remedial classes at Ntranoa School; she believed she would make more of a contribution helping children learn the basics. “While successfully organising my time into productive action, I began to feel a growing sense of fulfilment that could with the results of time could only intensify. I taught classes primary 4, primary 5, primary 6, and form one, as these seemed to me to be the ones in the most difficult situations. For one thing, there were an average of 55 students per class which made it impossible for the teachers to even recognise those having difficulties, let alone give them individual attention, and for another, they must pass exams annually, requiring them to focus on material other than the basics even if those are not fully grasped yet. With each class then, it was my job to find the hole in the foundations, and fill it as best I could in the short time that I was available to them.” Femke taught two to three classes per day and found it challenging, yet enjoyable. “It was a true life experience which broadened my mind and changed my priorities in life.” Now a third year student in voice and dance with one year to go until graduation, Femke believes the Cooperative experience was very beneficial. “Coop gave me a change in perspective, a greater confidence and a broader view of the world,” she says adding, “Civic engagement has a very important role in third level education; there are things that one cannot learn from classroom situations, whereas in a civic engagement, you can learn also what it is to be fulfilled. It is difficult to put into words the life and experiences that I have had owing to my trip to Ghana.”
Campus Engage Post
Poignant Moments Independent consultant and scholar Patti Clayton, reflects on her visit to Ireland in November 2010. and many years, help me see a trajectory or pathway at the heart of my own journey as a practitionerscholar of community engagement. Through the past 12 years I have helped to launch a grassroots service-learning initiative on a large research-oriented campus and then to grow it into an official academic centre; I have been part of interinstitutional scholarship projects focused on generating and assessing learning through service-learning and on understanding and
What messages do we send our students when we speak of the ‘real world’ as a time and a place other than where they and we now are; for that matter, what messages do we send ourselves and those in the presumably ‘real’, ‘outside’ world with whom we partner?
My first pint of cider and my first white hot chocolate...the most amazing view of any classroom I have ever been in St. Angela’s...the excitement of graduation day in Dublin...the mystery and wildness of peat bogs and cliffs...the opportunity to laugh with one old friend as she danced in a fund-raiser, to learn from another as he shared the history and political struggles of the country he so clearly knows and loves deeply, and to watch first-hand as an Irish practitioner-scholar friend of mine wove connections among the work of her colleagues across the country…great music, a generous bartender, and, of course, more cider in ‘Bob’s pub’ in Galway (actually Tigh Coili, a favourite of my friend and mentor Bob Bringle who had spent an enviable three months in Ireland a year earlier). These are but a few of the highlights of my all-too-brief visit to the Emerald Isle in November 2010. Poignant moments as well: a sales clerk’s story of heading abroad soon in search of employment and of hoping to be able to return home in his lifetime … empty houses and buildings and neighbourhoods, halted mid-construction by bankruptcy …young people uncertain about their prospects of accessing and completing an increasingly expensive third level education. What a privilege it was to experience Ireland in the full glory of its people and its land, its hopefulness and its fear, its beauty and its pain. In short, an unusually ‘real’ experience. That last phrase sends my mind back to a talk I gave—my first keynote address, actually, back when I used to ‘give talks’—almost 10 years ago, titled ‘ServiceLearning in the ‘Real World’: The University’. It was my first public engagement with a habit that has troubled me for some time: the tendency to refer to the ‘real world’ as distinct from the university, as a context students enter upon graduation—as if the life of the campus is somehow less full of opportunities for authentic experience, for citizenship and change agency, for seeing and being part of and co-creating the many communities that comprise the university and the many communities of which the university is a part. These look backs, a few months
enhancing partnership dynamics; and I have had the opportunity to visit and collaborate with many campuses at varying points along their own community engagement journeys. Through it all, I have brought my long-held fascination with words, and I have repeatedly found the words we often casually use in and about the academy and in and about the community to be such powerful lenses for helping to unpack our thinking and our ways of being. With my (ever-so-slight!) southern drawl and your musical, rapid lilt, I spent most of the time there delighted by just listening to the sounds of our conversation and perhaps paid less attention than usual to the words themselves, so I don’t have a good sense (yet) of the ways some very important ‘little words’ tend to be used in the Irish community engagement world. I am playing with the notion that some of the most powerful levers for hindering or advancing the paradigm shift I believe to be at the
heart of fulfiling the transformative potential of community engagement, are to be found in some of the shortest words. ‘How can we best prepare our students for the real world?’ ‘Just wait until you get out into the real world – things will be very different!’ What messages do we send our students when we speak of the ‘real world’ as a time and a place other than where they and we now are? For that matter, what messages do we send ourselves and those in the presumably ‘real’, ‘outside’ world with whom we partner? Similarly, the difference between asking ‘Which community partners are you going to use this semester?’ and ‘Who are your student and community partners this semester?’ The difference between asking, ‘What are your students doing for your community partners?’ and asking, ‘What are you and your students doing with your community partners?’ What is behind the choice of one little word instead of another? Several of my conversations in Ireland embodied such ‘reflectionin-action’: a thoughtful, critical, open attention to what we are (and are not) doing/thinking/feeling/choosing/ saying/etc while we are (or are not) doing/thinking/feeling/choosing/ saying/etc it, driven by a conviction that we can learn and in turn, improve ourselves and our practice through such mindfulness. The DEAL Model for Critical Reflection that I co-developed (and continue to refine) throughout my journey with community engagement shares this conviction and offers support in the opportunity-filled and challenging process of learning through critical reflection on experience. Co-created several years ago by students who were serving as Reflection Leaders with their peers inservice-learning-enhanced courses, DEAL is just one example in my own work of the gifts student leaders have brought to me and to the field. I will never forget getting a call one evening from one of my early student partners in all things service-learning who had just developed and tried, to great success, with our students during a reflection session he was facilitating, the four prompts that guide the Articulation of Learning step of DEAL. As I spent the day with
student leaders from across Ireland last fall, I remember listening to their thinking and looking into their eyes and wondering about the specific contributions each of them has been making and will continue to make in advancing community engagement in Ireland and beyond. Will they help to set up new partnerships and deepen existing ones? Will they move their campuses in the direction of greater institutionalisation of this work? Will they co-develop and co-teach courses that experiment with new approaches to service learning? Will they contribute to new policies and procedures that enable easier and higher quality partnering? Will they be part of cutting edge research that helps us all better understand the whys and wherefores of community engagement?
Biography Patti H. Clayton is an Independent Consultant and Scholar (PHC Ventures: www.curricularengagement.com) who has worked with over 50 schools, universities, and higher education organisations in the United States, Canada, and Ireland. Patti co-developed with students and faculty a leading critical reflection and assessment model (the DEAL Model for Critical Reflection), models for student leadership in service learning, and a variety of faculty development and curriculum development processes. In the past few years, she has also been focusing on reciprocity and mutual transformation in community-engagement partnerships, on the Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement, and on the relationship between student, faculty, and community member learning. Patti has integrated servicelearning into all of her own courses for the past ten years, ranging from ‘environmental ethics’ to ‘leadership’ to ‘contemporary science, technology, and human values’. She currently serves as a Scholar Senior Scholar with the Centre for Service and Learning at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), a Visiting Fellow with the New England Resource Centre for Higher Education (NERCHE), and a Visiting Scholar at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Campus Engage Post 35
Structure and Purpose Required for Defining Civic Engagement Programmes
US academic who is head of a learning centre at an LA college from which Barack Obama graduated, believes Irish civic engagement in higher education needs to be better structured for optimum success. Maria Avila is the Mexican director of the Centre for Community Based Learning (CCBL) at Occidental College in Los Angeles. As part of her researchbased PhD into how the US model of CCBL (which is well developed) can be replicated elsewhere, she observed and learned about the initiatives in place at NUI Maynooth (NUIM). Avila has worn several hats at NUIM. She has been a workshop facilitator on two occasions, the most recent of which was for All Ireland Society for Higher Education (AISHE) last December. She first visited Ireland as part of her work in 2005. As a Fulbright Senior Scholar on civic engagement (granted through her research PhD) she was based at the NUIM campus in the Department of Adult & Community Education, from October to December 2010. Through these various roles here, she has learned the ways in which NUI Maynooth engages with the outside world and community, and interacted with other departments involved in CBL such as Sociology, Geography, History, Digital Humanities, Applied Social Studies and several of the science departments. From these experiences, Avila has developed an insight into how the concept of civic engagement has progressed in the Irish environment, and how it can best learn from the lessons of the US model. "From the conferences and gatherings I have attended in Ireland since 2005, and workshops and presentations I have led, it seems to me that civic engagement is now practiced at a number of institutions throughout the Island. The level and depth of
civic engagement, however, varies widely from institution to institution. "The fact that the Hunt report actually includes civic engagement as the third leg of academic work in addition to teaching and research - even if not fully defined, could be used as an opportunity to define just what each academic institution understands of this concept, as well as what specific models make sense institutionally. However, the CCBL director has a major concern about the way programmes have developed in the US, and may develop in Ireland, if their structure and purpose is not defined and evaluated. She referred to a White Paper on Democratic Engagement written by John Saltmarsh, Matt Hartley and Patti Clayton in 2009, that she felt answered the question of the 'what' [or purpose of civic engagement]. It stated, “Higher education in America has a fundamental democratic purpose - both educating for democracy and creating educational institutions that foster the revitalisation of democratic society. Why has the civic engagement movement in higher education stalled and what are the strategies needed to further advance institutional transformation aimed at generating democratic, community-based knowledge and action?”, the authors wrote. Avila believes those, including
I believe that the more clear we are about who we are, our roots, where we come from, or what I call our birthright the rights and responsibilities with which we were born, the more effective we can engage ourselves in the ‘what’ of our work
By Nicola Cooke
Maria Avila herself, who work in the field of civic engagement need to be clear about the purpose, the "desired outcomes of our work, to then determine the models of engagement we create that are relevant to achieving these outcomes, and relevant to our institutions and other stakeholders with whom we partner. "I believe that the more clear we are about who we are, our roots, where we come from, or what I call our birthright - the rights and responsibilities with which we were born, the more effective we can engage ourselves in the 'what' of our work. "The concept of reciprocity as I define it gets at the question of 'how' our civic engagement works. Reciprocity to me means sitting at the table with all stakeholders of civic engagement initiatives - which usually involve academics, community partners, and students and putting on the table the interests, knowledge, resources and expertise we all bring to the project, class or research, through which the specific partnerships are defined by all. "In following this process of reciprocity, we address the ‘who’ question, because if all stakeholders in a partnership define the terms of engagement together, all stand to benefit from the partnership." Avila believes that hammering down the 'what' and 'how' are
central to the success of CBL developments in Ireland and elsewhere. She and other US scholars have been critical of how the area has developed in the US over the years, because of the lack of a "common language" that would provide a "unified framework" to decipher and assess what the field has achieved. She said that in the US, most offices and centres where civic engagement is incorporated at various institutions are "undervalued, under funded, and their work often used mostly for PR purposes," and that the academia has co-opted the movement, rather than the movement "transforming the academia to become more engaged institutions." "I worry that unless Irish academic institutions look at the what and how, the central purpose and outcomes of CBL, civic engagement may evolve into a similar path as it has in the US," she cautioned. Despite these aspersions, Avila said she thoroughly enjoyed and benefited from her experiences and research in Ireland. "At Occidental we have focused civic engagement initiatives with community organisations and schools, whereas at Maynooth, engagement with the outside world can also include partnering with the corporate and government sectors. "It has been an amazingly educational experience, and it has expanded my world view. I have enjoyed the learning exchange with my colleagues, as well as the friendships and professional networks that have developed. Doing my work outside of the US reminds me of my roots in Mexico, where my interest and involvement in creating societal and cultural change began many years ago. "I feel many similarities between my experience in Mexico and in Ireland, especially in terms of the strong sense of community and friendship that tends to underpin even professional work. This does not always happen in the US, at least in my experience as an immigrant there. The pace of life is much more focused on success as defined by high productivity, with little time and space to be in community with each other,” she said.
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Engaging Research - The Science Shop The Science Shop at Queen’s University Belfast is a practical example of how civic engagement between universities and the wider community can see staff, students and community groups all benefit at some level. Over the past ten years, the Queen’s project has seen huge interaction between staff and students at the college and hundreds of community groups across Northern Ireland. Manager of the Science Shop, Eileen Martin works closely with fellow project coordinator Emma McKenna; both worked in academic research and in the community and voluntary sector before taking up their roles at The Science Shop. The project offers a means for universities to make contributions to their local communities, while building student skills at the same time. “Through the Science Shop, students use their academic knowledge to benefit community organisations by carrying out curriculum-based research projects,” explains Eileen, adding that the project enables students to understand how their academic discipline relates to the real world outside the university gates. The benefits to students and the communities are two-fold, according to Eileen. “It encourages students to consider how they might use their academic knowledge in the world of work, while it offers communities who are underresourced a means of getting access to free research resources.” Everyone is a winner then through this project, which has been running at Queens for the past 23 years, having initially been funded through a grant from the Nuffield Foundation Public Understanding of Science. The Science Shop at Queens is now funded by the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) through the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF). It is a collaborative programme between Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Ulster, with Science Shop staff at both universities dedicated to developing links with community and voluntary groups throughout Northern Ireland. “Each Science Shop works with their own students but community organisations can approach either
university with their research requirements, which will then be added to the database at both institutions,” explains Eileen, who has seen the benefits first hand with over 140 students at Queens completing 75 projects for community organisations across Northern Ireland in the academic year 2010/2011. “Working on Science Shop projects enhances student learning and experience by using the curriculum to build their capacity to respond to social, political and economic topics of relevance to communities and organisations,” says Eileen. She believes the work carried out by the students places a premium on understanding what the community or organisation thinks and wants, while making academic knowledge available and accessible to the community; therefore embodying all the elements of civic engagement. The Science Shop plays a key role in supporting staff, students and community partners through the civic engagement process. “It can contribute to local policy and quality research and ultimately can make a positive impact on people’s lives,” believes Eileen. Students at Queen’s have reacted positively too to the Science Shop project. In a recent independent Higher Education Innovation Fund evaluation, 82% of students said that they would carry out another project with the Science Shop and all of them said they would recommend the Science Shop to other students. Furthermore, all of the community organisations surveyed said they would use Science Shop again and 75% of organisations said that the experience was a catalyst to undertake other innovative activities. Over this past academic year, there have been several success stories to emerge from the project at Queens, with benefits to the
It encourages students to consider how they might use their academic knowledge in the world of work, while it offers communities who are under-resourced a means of getting access to free research resources.
By Grainne McMahon
Final year undergraduate students from the Business Analysis module at the School of Management at Queen's who worked with Upperlands Community Development organisation to design a web based marketing strategy for some small business units which the organisation uses to generate revenue for community development. This project was joint winner of our annual student awards and features the students with Prof Tony Gallagher, Pro Vice Chancellor at Queen's University (centre) and Boyd McDowell from DEL NI. community and students. For example, as part of the undergraduate Policy Analysis Paper in the School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, a group of students carried out a literature review to establish whether there was a link between substance abuse and suicide and examined the implications for suicide prevention. The Forum for Action on Substance Abuse used the research to inform their own work with young people affected by drug and alcohol issues, and took the research to the Northern Ireland Assembly’s Inquiry into the Prevention of Suicide and Self-Harm. Under a Business Analysis module at the School of Management, a group of undergraduate students worked with Upperlands Community Development Limited, a group which aims to promote the area of Upperlands, a small rural village in the centre of Northern Ireland. “They carried out a project helping the organisation to design a web-based marketing strategy for some small business units which the organisation uses to generate revenue for community development. All of the students have gone directly on to employment after their graduation,” says Eileen. While civic engagement is a large element of The Science Shop, Eileen admits that some academic areas lend themselves more readily to civic engagement activities than others; therefore it is not always
possible to engage the local community in each project. “While social and environmental sciences have strong outreach elements embedded in the subject areas, subjects such as English and physics may find it harder to identify the community relevance of their disciplines and may not have the same community links.” However, there is always a ripple effect on the wider community, even if not directly involved in a Science Shop project, as it aims to enhance student learning and experience by using the curriculum to build students’ capacity to respond to social, political and economic topics of relevance to communities and organisations. “This work by The Science Shop is part of a broader international movement towards opening up the knowledge resources of universities to organisations who traditionally may not have had access to these resources,” says Eileen. Queen’s University Science Shop is a founding member of the International Science Shop network, Living Knowledge, and is currently working on an EU funded project (PERARES: Public Engagement with Research And Research Engagement with Society) exploring how Higher Education policy across Europe can facilitate and support public engagement work in universities and communities. The PERARES project also plans to set up new Science Shops across Europe, including one at Cambridge University and two in the Republic of Ireland.
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One for All, All for One
By Gráinne McMahon The University of Brighton prides itself on its contribution to communities both in the UK and internationally. The university’s Community University Partnership Programme, established in 2003, has been creating, developing and nurturing mutually beneficial partnerships between the university and its local community. It started as an externally funded project but according to Juliet Millican, Development Manager for Student Learning at the university, CUPP has become central to the institute’s corporate mission. “Through our strong student community engagement programme and a broad range of local and regional projects CUPP encompasses over 130 academics, 1000 students and 500 community partners,” she says. The aim of CUPP is to tackle disadvantage and promote sustainable development through partnership working. Those behind the project say they share a strong belief in the potential for communities and universities to work together. The project has been so successful that it scooped the Times Higher Education Award for ‘outstanding contribution’ to the local community in Brighton in 2008, while the previous year, CUPP published ‘Community University Partnerships in Practice’ which was written in collaboration with community partners. The programme came about when the university was offered funding from a philanthropic trust in the United States to explore what community might mean in a UK context, explains Juliet. “They gave us three years of funding during which a model began to emerge. Eventually, the university took on core funding of CUPP,” she says, explaining that they had received additional project money from other sources, but it was the initial project that allowed them to build a central core unit. There are three elements to the programme; from the community help desk where community members can access university support for a range of activities, which is generally research support. “The help desk often connects community requests to academics who can support them to do their own research or try to link their request with
existing academic research interest,” explains Juliet. Student Community Engagement, on the other hand, operates through the design or adaptation of existing curricula in order to provide students with the opportunity to gain practice experience and to make student resource available to community organisations. “As part of this we have a student community research programme where we broker research requests to students interested in undertaking live research projects as part of their Master’s dissertations,” Juliet says, adding that the third element concerns initial funded projects between communities and universities which explore possibilities of working together. “Throughout CUPP’s life, we have had small £5,000 type projects, larger £25,000 projects, regional projects across the South Coast (UK) working with other neighbouring universities and lately the ‘ON our Doorsteps projects’ which target those organisations in the immediate vicinity of the university campuses.” The benefits of such projects are evident among the community and development of the university’s students; “Our core mission is to establish partnerships that are of mutual benefit to both university and community groups. Although we cannot always ensure this, it is the approach we take in agreeing projects. Unless they are mutually beneficial, they will not be sustainable and one group will eventually drop out. This applies to all of our different strands.” The University of Brighton is so serious about its responsibilities in the area of civic engagement that it has set out a corporate plan which commits the university, by 2012, to become recognised as a leading UK university for the quality and range of its work in economic and social engagement and productive partnerships. Part of this involves supporting other universities and community organisations, particularly those in poor resource countries to set up their own partnerships that address a local development agenda. This helps develop a leading international knowledge base on the subject, which can be further shared among the university communities, publications and civic engagement conferences. It is in this regard that the University of Brighton is leading the way. One current project involves a partnership to build upon current initiatives in University Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD) in Senegal and the Department of Applied Economics (ENEA) at Suffolk University Dakar Campus (SUDC). The aim is to design and pilot a six-month post graduate
certificate in community engagement for employability and entrepreneurship. UCAD has, since 2000, provided twoweek practical periods for students in villages during August. Groups of 50 students undertake activities in the areas of Health, Environment, IT and Literacy. Such has been its success that the programme has partners in13 villages and now place 750 students a year with a waiting list for involvement. “It has been found to have a profound effect on student attitudes, but needs to be more extensive if it is to have a long term effect on the academy, the students and the communities in which they are based,” says Juliet. Still, the benefits are enormous and a conference will be help in Dakar at the end of the project.
There are always opportunities; the difficulty is finding the time to make the most of them. The university is a large beast with infinite communities around it.”
University partnerships take community engagement to higher level
Such partnerships are not just beneficial to universities, but also to students and local communities; “Students always benefit from the chance to apply learning to practice, to learn more about themselves and their skills and aspirations, to build networks in their communities that might later help them to find work,” explains Juliet. “Communities benefit from the resources of a university, academic, human and material resources of a university and academics benefit from access to research sites and community or practitioner knowledge.” Partnerships through the three streams at the University of Brighton evolve through a number of routes. Some begin with projects and move into relationships that involve students, academics, interns, while others start as offers of student projects and move into longer funded projects or larger communities of practice. “Partnerships take time to develop, but mutual benefit is key and students often need support to make sense of them; experiential learning is often transformational,” says Juliet. She is impressed by the work done in this regard in Ireland. “There is a lot of activity in Ireland; Irish universities are
networked in a way that UK universities are not. Canada and Ireland seem the two places where this kind of work makes most use of shared learning.” As for the future of civic engagement and the programme at the University of Brighton, Juliet worries about the future of education in the UK. “I am concerned about the move into privatisation of universities and how this will affect the culture within them. We don’t yet know whether this work can continue in an unfunded environment where students are paying huge fees.” David Wolff, Director of the Community University Partnership Programme at Brighton University believes that partnerships are the way forward “We are completing a threeyear programme called South East Coastal Communities. This was a demonstrator project, funded by the Higher Education Funding Council England to illustrate what the future of university community partnership might be in England. It involved nine universities across the South East Coast of England working in partnership with local communities to enhance health and wellbeing.” The project has worked well and David says important values have been learnt along the way at Brighton; “Seeking mutual benefit between a university and the communities it seeks to work with has been central for CUPP at Brighton as it gives a clear incentive for partnerships to last. Alongside this, we have found that aiming for as equitable power relationships as possible is very important. This is challenging to achieve and is best seen as a lens by which to view and assess the work.” David says these values can be applied to any civic engagement project in Higher Education; “In process terms ‘co-production’ is key, right though project development to project delivery and evaluation, and in governance and dissemination. Above all, we would contend that this work in the early stages (perhaps the first 10 years), is often highly developmental. Early on in the CUPP story ,our Pro Vice Chancellor, Stuart Laing, freed us up to ‘define it in the doing’. This has liberated us to have a go when we weren’t sure, to take risks, and to keep momentum when otherwise we might have got stuck.”
Dr Juliet Millican is Development Manager of Student Learning for the Community University Partnership Programme CUPP, at University of Brighton. David Wolf, Director of the Community University Partnership at Brighton University
Campus Engage Post
Behind the Scenes
A Day in the Life An intriguing insight into two leading civic engagers’ day 10.15 am Gaisce Gold Candidate
9am Community Initiative Fund Panel Meeting As part of a recent initiative of the Civic Engagement Office and with the support of Trinity Alumni through the Trinity Annual Fund, we accepted applications from students for a grant of €2,000 to support them while carrying out an own-initiative project in and for the community. At this meeting, we reviewed applications for a variety of projects from community film making, to mathematics teacher training in developing countries, to technology tuition for older people. The panel consisted of Ms Lynda Stopford, Head of Engagement for Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, Ms Eileen Punch of the Trinity Foundation, Dr. Jeffrey Kallen, Director of Teaching and Learning (Postgraduate) in Trinity’s School of Linguistic, Speech and Communication Studies. The panel allocated the three grants available (information elsewhere in this publication) and decided to run a personal and project development day for all applicants at the beginning of the summer. The panel also identified a number of contacts, with whom I can follow up, to see if they may be interested to advise the successful applicants on elements of their projects.
10.45 am Preparation for Meeting of University Council I was invited to the meeting of Council for the discussion of the First Report on Civic Engagement in Trinity College. This report was prepared over the last year and incorporated information gathered from individual school responses to the college’s Strategic Plan Framework, results of a TCD staff survey, results of the student voluntary activity survey, focus groups held in advance of the Trinity submission to the Campus Engage Survey, as well as information provided by individual heads of schools and information available on school websites at the time of data collection. Alumni Ms. Leah Hunt and Ms. Jade Bailey supported the preparation of this report through statistics analysis of the results of the student and staff surveys respectively.
11.45 pm Attendance at University Council Further to the support received by the college’s Society Advisory Group to Council, the registrar who chairs that group presented the report as the first comprehensive
Roisin McGrogan overview of volunteering and civic engagement activities across college. I had the opportunity to make a few comments before the report was discussed. Council endorsed the report and recommendations therein.
12.30 pm Volunteer Group Constitution Review I looked at a draft constitution with proposed amendments and sent on my comments and suggestions, as I am among a group of staff who are supporting one of the college’s many student volunteering groups to review their constitution and I am helping draft the related agreement with the community partner.
13.00 pm A little Admin Updated www.tcd.ie/Community with the speech delivered by Dr. Martin Mc. Aleese B.Dent.Sc., M.A. (1984) at the Inaugural Dean of Students’ Roll of Honour Ceremony which recognised nearly 400 students for the learning they had gained through their volunteering contribution. Dr. McAleese spoke of the importance of moving outside the comfort zone to make things happen, change things and as an opportunity to change ourselves.
He talked about how instrumental volunteers are in a variety of areassports, advocacy, service provision, social and community and in politics and peace. I followed up with the School of Mathematics in relation to their new service learning module through which students act as classroom assistants in mathematics classes in local secondary schools. Circulated a call for information among TCD staff in relation to civic engagement activities for a forthcoming newsletter.
Dr. McAleese spoke of the importance of moving outside the comfort zone to make things happen, change things and as an opportunity to change ourselves.
Roisin McGrogan, Trinity College Dublin
I met with a Junior Sophister Engineering Student who was interested in undertaking his Gold Gaisce- The President’s Award. We talked through the requirements at Gold Level- 52 weeks (not necessarily consecutively) in which we would undertake at least one hour (not necessarily in concurrent weeks) of three different activities one physical, one community and one skill. As he had previously received his Silver Award, he would not have to undertake an additional 26 weeks of one of the activities. We also discussed the requirements of a five-day, four-night residential experience and an adventure journey covering 80-110km on foot or 300-350km by bike over four days. The student chose his three activity areas - swimming, volunteering with a conservation group and learning Portuguese and filled out his application with me (I will act as his award leader for the duration of the award).
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Behind the Scenes Vicente is on a study visit with Volunteering Ireland in his role as Vice-President of the Andalusian Volunteering Platform and a lecturer in Universidad de Granada. We met to discuss volunteering programmes at our respective universities and considered how students in each access the European Voluntary Service. Vicente had previously sat in on a joint practice group, which I ran with DIT’s Students Learning with Communities on Community Engaged Research for academic practitioners and community partners of both institutions.
15.00 pm Follow up with CIF applicants Contacted CIF applicants giving personalised feedback as to their applications, advising them of the outcome and checking availability for a forthcoming project development day.
16.00 Support for Community Partner Event Localise- Peace Corps are a community organisation with whom I work to further service learning as a lifelong educational experience. They offer service learning opportunities to secondary school students as part of their Civic Social and Political Education in Junior Cycle or in Transition Year. This year, Trinity will host the graduation for 300 school students and so, there is a bit of logistics preparation work and liaison in advance of this event.
16.20 pm Child Protection Training Evaluation I am a trainer for the National Youth Council’s Child Protection Awareness Programme and I deliver this programme for student volunteers in Trinity. I recently delivered the training to an audience of volunteers with the Trinity Access Programme, Voluntary Tuition Programme and others and had to collate feedback. The NYCI Programme is an excellent resource and a pleasure to deliver and the feedback is consistently excellent. Participants in this training identified an additional training need, which I hope to research and cater for in future.
Elena Gamble, Dublin Institute of Technology The Office for the Programme for Students Learning With Communities opens usually at 9am. There are two full-time staff and one part-time staff working on the programme alongside colleagues from the different DIT Community Links programmes (we are one of five Community Links programmes, which all work on civic engagement, widening participation, and alleviating educational disadvantage) in No. 23 Mountjoy Square in Dublin 1. DIT caters for 25,000 students and geographically is spread across six main campuses and several other smaller facilities across Dublin Inner City, so any one of us three programme staff may start the day in any one of the campuses if we are at a meeting with DIT staff or students, or anywhere in Dublin if we are meeting with a community partner. Our role is to support and promote community-based learning (CBL) (or service learning) and community-based research (CBR) across the institute and we may have several interesting meetings each throughout the day introducing staff members and/or students to these pedagogies. It’s stimulating to spend time brainstorming possible coursebased, credit-bearing collaborative projects or pieces of research that they might carry out with community partners. Sometimes staff and students have personal community partners with whom they want to carry out projects and we support them to develop that link, but often staff and students come to us looking for community partners that they could collaborate with. As a result we are lucky enough to get to meet new and existing community partners (on or off campus) learning about their organisations’ strengths and needs, and discussing possible CBL/R projects with them, as well as facilitating meetings between staff, students and community partners. If it is not a meeting we are attending, we might have the opportunity to go into a classroom to contextualise the programme for interested students about to embark on an exciting CBL/R project, or we might be invited to present to groups of enthusiastic staff, heads of departments or directors throughout the institute. We also happily commit some of our time feeding into various committees
Elena Gamble that have to do with relevant issues such as the student experience, rooting DIT in the community, widening participation, civic engagement, quality assurance or learning and teaching strategies.
DIT caters for 25,000 students and geographically is spread across six main campuses and several other smaller facilities across Dublin Inner City.
14.00 pm Lunch with Vicente Ballesteros Alarcón
Daily, we will also dedicate time to organise and/or attend students’ presentations and offer networking and training opportunities for all participants, including a practice group which gathers four times a
year to discuss and inspire each other on the work we are all doing, and a two or three day summer school. Every year, we also host a major event to publicise the work of the programme more broadly and these have ranged from a half day seminar and exhibition located in the community, a cross-campus DIT projects exhibition, as well our annual Students Learning With Communities Awards which celebrates and rewards the exciting course-based work that our students, staff and community partners have engaged in over the year. So there is always much planning and preparation to be carried out on a daily basis leading up to these events. Another aspect of making the work of programme more public is to publish and present it at conferences and we take time most weeks to research and write on particular aspects of our work, as well as developing material and resources to encourage best practice in community-based learning and research. So all in all, a day in the Programme for Students Learning With Communities is a very rich and varied one. We are privileged to work with such a large and diverse group of people on our projects, which also makes it very interesting and enjoyable work.
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Passionate About Creating Change Through and Within Education collaboration partnership and reciprocity. Being involved with civic engagement generates many opportunities for connecting education with practice but does so in way that has real, deep and
Meet the team behind Campus Engage
ampus Engage has gradually grown into a movement that is leading Irish Higher Education through all the peaks and troughs of it’s changing landscape. If brand Campus Engage were an individual human, one would say it’s personality is a powerful influencer who takes action to better the lives of those it lives with. So, who is Campus Engage? In the broader context, it’s everyone who has participated in some aspect of civic engagement and contributed to the findings, insights and recommendations. But behind such a movement is a group of people from a number of high education institutions in Ireland who have worked tirelessly, on behalf of these institutions, to shape the debate and frame the practice. Dr. Helen McQuillan is the development officer for Dublin City University in the Community, responsible for developing community links and universitycommunity partnerships. For Helen, working with Campus Engage allowed her to, “to share our successes and challenges with other people with similar ambitions for their communities." Helen is works closely with community activists and organisations in Ballymun showcasing DCU’s commitment to civic engagement. Lorraine Tansey is the Student Volunteer Coordinator of the Community Knowledge Initiative at National University of Ireland, Galway. Lorraine (BA, LLB) coordinates the university’s student volunteering programme, ALIVE, has developed a number of resources to support student volunteers. Lorraine see’s Campus
Lorraine McIlraith Engage as a great place to engage with fellow universities to develop new ideas; “It has been great to have a place and space to reflect, bounce ideas and re-energise!” Maura Murphy is the Manager of the Centre for Teaching and Learning at the University of Limerick. She is dedicated to heightening the profile and value of teaching activities by providing support advice and recognising and facilitating all those involved in teaching and learning in UL. For Maura, the activity of civic engagement cannot be achieved alone, “It flourishes on
meaningful benefits for all concerned.” She has co-authored ‘How to be a Student’ and ‘The Ultimate Study Skills Handbook’, both published by the Open University Press. Lorraine McIlrath coordinates the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) at the National University of Ireland, Galway. There she is responsible for developing and supporting civic engagement activities across the university. Her work now involves her in a number of international projects including an EU Tempus Funded Project to support civic engagement in Jordan and Lebanon. Working on Campus Engage has enabled Lorraine explore civic engagement. “To be with people who can challenge my thinking and pose new ways for engagement has been enlightening. Also, planning for a sustained effort in Ireland has been a great achievement for us all”, says Lorraine. Professor Ronaldo Munck, Head of Civic and Global Engagement at Dublin City University. He believes that, “networks are crucial towards the development of collective experience and knowledge to advance this work. Major inroads have been made but many more opportunities for advancement exist.” He has authored or edited more than 20 books on various topics related to globalisation, international development and social movements as well as over 100 academic journal articles. He serves on the editorial boards of a number of international journals including Globalizations, Global Social Policy, Global Labour, Labour History and Latin American Perspectives. He represents DCU on the board of the Centre for Cross Border Studies, on NorDubCo, the Ballymun and Whitehall Partnership, the Creative Dublin Alliance and on the Financial Development and General Strategic
Policy Committee of Dublin City Council. Currently Professor Munck is coordinator of the Irish Aid funded inter-university project the Irish African Partnership for Research Capacity Building
Josephine Boland (www.irishafricanpartership.ie), editor of Translocations, an interuniversity online journal on migration and social transformation in Ireland (www.translocations.ie) and is Visiting Professor of Labour and Migration Studies at the University of Linkøping in Sweden. Ann Lyons is Co-ordinator of the Campus Engage project from 2009 until 2011 and is currently Project Manager at the Community Knowledge Initiative at NUI Galway where she has responsibility for civic engagement in the area of community based research methodologies. Ann says she loved this work because, “community-university partnerships are an effective way to share knowledge and resources in ways that contribute to bringing about positive social change.” Saranne Magennis is Director of the Higher Education Policy (HEP) Unit at National University of Ireland, Maynooth which is designed to undertake and foster basic and applied research on national and international higher education policies. She is interested in models of engagement between
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International News universities and communities historically characterised as nontraditional groups for higher education. “I have a commitment to the development of collaborative, fruitful and mutually supportive relationships among higher education institutions and their wider communities to the betterment of society in Ireland and further afield”, she states. She is a founding member and current President of the All Ireland Society for Higher Education (AISHE), a society which promotes the development higher education teaching and learning on the island of Ireland. Dr. Josephine Boland, Senior Lecturer, School of Education, NUI Galway, has taught in further and higher education and worked in education policy development at national level. She currently practices service learning within teacher education (Learning to Teach for Social Justice), is a lead
Lorraine Tansey partner in CORA (Community Engaged Research in Action) and a member of Tawasol (Supporting Service Learning and Civic Engagement in Jordan and Lebanon). A woman whose research activities centre on higher education
Maura Murphy policy and academic practice, she believes being involved in Campus Engage has deepened her level of civic engagement and enriched both her practice and research. “Involvement in the network has given me the opportunity to learn
Ronaldo Munck from colleagues and partners, nationally and internationally and I’ve been able to contribute to our collective efforts to advance civic engagement in higher education’, says Josephine.
A Labour of Love Campus Engage reports both intriguing and revealing
In May 2010, 24 higher education institutions across Ireland completed the Campus Engage survey to take the first national opportunity to take a ‘snapshot’ of and document civic engagement activities across Ireland. Positively, over 75% of respondents indicated that there is a moderate to substantial acknowledgement of civic engagement within their HEI. But worryingly, over 60% indicate that promotion policies do not take civic engagement into account with regard to both teaching and research. If this work is not embedded within the sector, then it’s crucial that it’s deemed a serious and worthy activity for promotion purposes. Having invited all HEIs in Ireland to participate, 24 higher education institutions took up the offer and in May 2011, Campus Engage launched the survey report. This marks the first time that a
survey of this nature has been carried out nationally, representing an initial attempt to map the range of civic engagement activities across Irish higher education. It has happened at a time when civic engagement in higher education is in its early stages of development, providing individual higher education institutions (HEIs) with an opportunity to document and review the nature of their civic engagement activities. It is well recognised that civic engagement can represent a broad church of activities, but for the purposes of this survey, Campus Engage defined civic engagement as; ‘A mutually beneficial knowledgebased collaboration between the higher education institution, its staff and students, with the wider community, through communitycampus partnerships and including the activities of service learning/community-based learning, community engaged research, volunteering, community/economic regeneration, capacity building and access/widening participation. This survey report is published at a particularly opportune moment, following the new emphasis on community engagement as core business in the National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030, which advocates
that HEIs ‘deepen the quality and intensity of their relationships with the communities and regions they serve, and ensure that the emergence of new ideas can better inform community and regional development’. It seems from the survey that there is substantial senior management support for civic engagement, given that all indicate that there is senior management support. And why not? The known benefits are vast to both the students and staff of the HEI and usually to the community that they partner with. However, all report that there are major barriers toward the implementation of civic engagement within HEIs, with resources (human and fiscal) and time cited most commonly as factors. If we are to embed civic engagement in Ireland, as has been done internationally, then it needs proper resourcing. The results demonstrate that there is a growing appetite and interest in Ireland for civic engagement to be formally adopted and recognised across the HEI sector. However, it appears that the extent of civic engagement across the HE sector was under-reported within the majority of survey returns. A major finding from the survey was the need to understand
what is being done through data gathering, systematically ‘joining up of the dots’ and future planning toward implementation. This study is the first in a series of future information gathering phases. We need, at the very minimum, more precise information on the detail of civic engagement activity within Ireland to present a full picture. It is evident that considerable progress has been made in Ireland to develop civic engagement, albeit with few resources and uneven manifestations of strategic vision. In general, growth and developments appear to be ascribable to individuals within the different institutions, who are personally motivated regarding civic engagement so that growth has occurred ‘organically’ through the endeavours of these individuals rather than being driven by institutional leadership. However, it is a concern within Campus Engage, that the ‘labour of love’ underpinning this organic growth will soon reach its limits. With these committed ‘academic citizens’, it is clear that a future for civic engagement within Irish higher education is not only possible, but is a very real vision given the HEA’s commitment to community engagement.
Campus Engage Post
Help Yourself to Community Engagement 6 top books to read about contributing to your community
Civic Engagement: International Perspectives, Ashgate, 2007
Collapse and Revival of American Community by Robert Putnam
There is an abundance of publications relating to community engagement, making a shortlist of six a major challenge! However, represented here is a sample that relates to community engagement and higher education including perspectives on civic engagement from students, academics and the wider community.
1. Global Citizens by Mark Gerzon, Rider Books, 2010
6. Managing Civic and Community Engagement by David Watson, McGraw Hill, 2007
Through individually authored essays, global scholars offer conceptual, institutional and practical examples of community university partnerships through service learning. This is an excellent introductory academic resource for both students and scholars who want to develop a sure foot in this area. It offers a solid theoretical backdrop that explores historical conceptions of the 'civic' and citizens, while also illustrating practical case studies.
3. Mapping Civic Engagement within Irish Higher Education, AISHE and Campus Engage, 2009 New York Time’s acclaimed "expert in civil discourse”, Mark Gerzon underpins personal and contemporary visions on our role within society. Challenging readers to consider global division and diversity - to confront stereotyping and to assess the role we can play within the world - this book is a must. It contains compelling case studies that illustrate simple but powerful arguments. A great read to raise our Global Intelligence (GI).
2. Higher Education and
Community perspectives on university engagement through service learning, whether positive or negative, has as of yet, been untapped. This book adds the most up-to-date contribution written by a collective of service leaning students and academic staff. The findings follow an in-depth community-based research study facilitated by Randy Stoecker and Beth Tryon on community partners’ experiences of services learning. The findings will be of no surprise to practitioners, but it’s so refreshing to have challenges and opportunities evidenced.
For a local flavour, this book is a significant Irish publication that attempts to paint the current landscape of higher education community partnership and the underpinning cultural contexts. Each chapter has been written by the community, students or academics, representing the unification of these diverse voices. Another piece of good news is that it’s free, and available in hardback or as a PDF download from both publishers' websites!
4. Bowling Alone: The
Putman's work follows a study that outlines gradual declines in levels of social capital within the US since the 1950s. While his works have been hailed as often as critiqued, he started a global debate that certainly, within Ireland, prompted the government to reflect on a national level of social capital during the height of the 'Celtic Tiger'.
5. The Unheard Voices: Community Organisations and Service Learning, Temple University Press, 2010 Renowned internationally for implementing his vision of a 'civic university' as Vice Chancellor at the University of Brighton, Sir David Watson, offers his thinking drawing from the historic moving to the contemporary on often complex and competing values that lie at the heart of higher education. This is an excellent handbook that brings to mind the central purpose of higher education - to build cohesive communities enabled by active citizens.
Campus Engage Post 43
The Last Word By Nicola Cooke
ommunity Based Learning (CBL) could form a central plank in a students' third level education experience, and provide graduates with a broader skills and knowledge base, according to HEA (Higher Education Authority) CEO Tom Boland. The Campus Engage programme is a network for the promotion of civic engagement activities, such as CBL, in Irish higher education. An initiative funded by the government through the HEA's Strategic Innovation Fund, the current Campus Engage partners are Dublin City University (DCU), National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG - lead partner), National University of Ireland, Maynooth (NUIM), University College Dublin (UCD) and the University of Limerick (UL). Colleges such as DIT and NUIG are really driving these programmes, which link students with the wider community and provide practical experience of what they study. The concept was recently identified in the Hunt Report [on the state of the Irish higher education system], which said that, "Engagement with the wider community must become more firmly embedded in the mission of higher education institutions. Higher education institutions need to become more firmly embedded in the social and economic contexts of the communities they live in and serve." DIT, for example, has created programmes in the colleges of Engineering, Applied Arts and Tourism, Business and Sciences and Health. These include early childhood education students that give drama workshops to local nursery children; law students that carry out legal research for local NGOs; hospitality management and tourism students who research heritage sites for local community
groups and safety audits and chemical risk assessment done with SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises). In NUIG, Speech and Language Therapy students befriend a person with aphasia [a communication difficulty that a stroke patient] can suffer and learn how it affects them. Third year nursing students have the option of spending four weeks during the summer volunteering abroad, such as in an AIDS hospice in Zambia or shadowing the district midwife - to gain experience for nursing in a multicultural Ireland. Civil law students can work with the Galway Rape Crisis Centre and
internationally.” Boland said CBL had the effect of "broadening and deepening" the engagement of the academic community with the wider community, and provided students with that "extra strand" of education. “The internships provided by UL and DCU -where students go out into the workplace and use their skills - which are then credited as part of their degree programmes, are a good example. But there can be engagement with other elements of the community too - those that are less well developed than industry and business - and these could evolve in
Tom Boland. Chief Executive of Higher Education Authority
others NGOs in the city. The HEA's Tom Boland believes that, to one degree or another, most universities are involved in such civic engagement programmes "but may call it different things". "The main point that emerged from the Hunt Report and National Strategy [on Higher Education up to 2030] is that the third level system needs to deliver a strategy and coordinated approach to civic engagement. What is being done on a somewhat ad hoc basis needs the consideration of a national application, or best practice approach, from Ireland or
a more structured way. "I am not talking about voluntary work, which is invaluable, but very well planned activities that are mutually beneficial to the students and the citizens of the community. Our primary role [at the HEA] is to encourage, cajole and act as an honest broker in a very practical way. We need to address the concept, and how to go about it, and develop a national strategy and national dialogue that we and the institutions as partners are engaged in," he said. Boland said that to date, CBL is
not something the HEA have engaged with heavily "at all" but that it has mostly developed within the third level colleges in an "organic way". While the HEA are not directing CBL programmes, they are funded by the authority, and Boland believes there is lot of value to be gained in HEA institutions being "more visible in the community”. "For a variety of reasons, this is the case. Take access for example. CBL means people living in the community may no longer be under-represented there, or see the university as a foreign place; instead they can connect, learn and provide beneficial insights for students. "Civic engagement learning also contributes to the production of graduates who have a deeper knowledge, broader skills of communication and analysis, and better interpersonal skills," he said. Boland intends to gain a greater insight into CBL projects in Irish and European universities from a number of seminars on the matter this year. One was already held last January, which Campus Engage members attended, with some presenting on their projects. Another seminar will be held by the HEA on 31 May next entitled ‘Enhancing External Engagement in Irish Education: A Strategic Exchange with Higher Education Leaders’, and Boland will also attend an event in Madrid on the area. "The NUIG and DIT Presidents are good examples of leaders on civic engagement in Ireland -they have taken the issue and made it their own. While we are gone beyond 'tokenism' here towards the concept, it is still at an embryonic stage, compared to the US for example where it is well developed. "It is still a learning curve for everyone, and the objective of the May seminar is to take stock of where we are at and how we can benefit from mutual learning. Initiatives such as an online network or forum could be well worthwhile. It is the kind of thing colleges, particularly those such as ITs and universities in the same vicinity, could collaborate on. In a way, when you start unravelling it [CBL], the parameters are endless, and I believe it definitely generates the skills students need to acquire."
Campus Engage Post
Events Around The World June 2011
Third Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on Service-Learning, ‘Make a Difference: Impacts of Service-Learning’. Hong Kong, 7 to 11 June 2011. In accordance with the increasing awareness of Service-Learning, the Office of Service-Learning (OSL) of Lingnan University, Lingnan Foundation, and the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia have joined together to further expand Service-Learning programs throughout the Asia-Pacific Region. The conference aims to gather educators, students, government officials and service providers from around the world to exchange ideas on the development and the role of Service-Learning in making a difference in society. http://www.ln.edu.hk/osl/confere nce2011/introduction.html
Talloires Network Global Conference, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, 14 to 16 June 2011 Presidents, rectors, and vice chancellors of Talloires Network member universities will gather in Madrid, along with other network leaders and partners to discuss the next five years of the higher education civic engagement movement. They will strategise about the future of the network, develop proposals for new projects, assess the current state of civic engagement and social responsibility in higher education, and share knowledge about implementing policies and programs that advance human and social development. http://www.tufts.edu/talloiresnet work/?pid=410 July 2011
2011 AUCEA Conference ‘Next Steps: Building the New Engagement Agenda’. Sydney, Australia, 11 to 13 July 2011. The 8th annual AUCEA international conference will be held in Sydney, Australia from 11 to 13 July. The conference sub-themes are: Leadership, Research, Learning, and Partnerships. Keynote speakers will include Sir David Watson, Alison Page, and Fiona Waterhouse. The conference is being presented Printed in Republic of Ireland
in partnership with Newcastle University, Central Queensland University, and Business Events Sydney. http://www.aucea.org.au/events/c onferences/2011conference/conference-partners/
October 2011 12th Annual National Outreach Scholarship Conference, Michigan State University (USA), 2 to 4 October 2011. The National Outreach Scholarship Conference (NOSC) is composed of higher education member institutions, a mix of state-public and private institutions. NOSC works collaboratively to build strong university-community partnerships anchored in the rigor of scholarship, and designed to help build community capacity. The 12th Annual NOSC will have the following tracks: Methods and Practices of Community-Based Research and Creative Activities Translational Science and the Diffusion of Innovation Globalisation and International Engagement Technologies as Tools for Engagement Leadership and Professional Development for Engaged Scholarship http://outreachscholarship.org/Co nference/NOSC2011Meeting/Confe renceHome.aspx
Pascal 2011: Regional Innovation, Regional Prosperity. Naperville, Illinois, 3 to 5 October 2011. The 10th International Pascal Conference is hosted by the Pascal International Observatory and Northern Illinois University. Each of the following conference subthemes will focus on regional or community practices that yield innovation, inclusive prosperity, and stronger forms of social cohesion. Innovation in regional development Collaborations among local units of government, NGOs, and other strategic partners Socially responsible entrepreneurship and innovation Other successful local initiatives that have generated regional prosperity http://www.pascal2011.org/
November 2011 2011 IARSLCE Annual Conference. ‘Research for Impact: Scholarship Advancing Social Change’. Chicago, Illinois (USA), 2 to 4 November 2011. The conference will highlight research that critically evaluates and illuminates the long-term impact of service-learning and community engagement on students, faculty, and community partners and, most importantly, on the social, economic and political issues they seek to transform. The conference will provide dynamic venue for scholarship that articulates how, when, where and why service learning and community engagement influence critical issues locally, nationally and globally. Veteran, new and emerging scholars from diverse backgrounds and settings will exhibit the highest quality research that advances both the understanding and practice of collaboratively engaging students, educators, and community partners in advancing social change. http://www.researchslce.org/confe rences-awards/
Engage 2011. Bristol (UK), 29 to 30 November 2011. The second national conference hosted by the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement will bring together people from across the UK to celebrate HEI public engagement, and explore ways to support it more effectively. http://www.publicengagement.ac. uk/news-andevents/events/engage-2011
April 2012 Community-Campus Partnerships for Health (CCPH) 15th Anniversary Conference. ‘CommunityCampus Partnerships as a Strategy for Social Justice: Where We’ve Been and Where We Need to Go’. Houston, Texas, USA, 18 to 21 April 2012. (CCPH) is convening its 15th Anniversary Conference, April 18 to 21, 2012 in Houston, TX USA, to
nurture a growing network of community-campus partnerships that are striving to solve our most pressing health, social and economic challenges. Held at a pivotal time in the history of CCPH and the community-campus partnerships’ ‘movement’, the conference will convene hundreds of community members, faculty, staff, students, funders and policy makers from around the world for four days of skill-building, networking and agenda-setting. http://depts.washington.edu/ccph /conf12-overview.html