On 23 November, an exciting new open-access professional development short course was launched by Campus Engage, in partnership with the National Forum, focused on community engaged learning. Campus Engage, based at the Irish Universities Association, promotes and supports civic and community engagement across Irish higher education. This new short course unites the three core roles of higher education, as outlined in the National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030: teaching and learning, research, and engagement with wider society. Taking an evidence-based approach, the course aims to assist those who teach to implement community-based learning in their curriculum and prepare students to address real-world problems in collaboration with community organisations. The course will be delivered online in early 2021 and is available to all those who teach in Irish higher education.
Participants in the launch of the course heard contributions from Joe O’Brien, T.D., Minister of State for Community Development and Charities, Dr Lorraine McIlrath, incoming Chair of Campus Engage, Prof Kerstin Mey, Interim President of UL, Claire McDonnell of TU Dublin, Siobhan Long of Enable Ireland, Prof Gerry Kearns of Maynooth University, Prof Deiric Ó Broin of DCU, Gordon Rumley of UCC, Dr Jamie Goggins of NUIG, and students Thomas Arnold (UCD) and Max Werz (UL).
During the panel discussion, it was generally agreed that those who teach will benefit from learning how to support and embed community-engaged learning across their curricula and their students’ learning experiences will be all the richer for it. Speaking on behalf of the National Forum, Dr Terry Maguire mentioned that through the application of theory and knowledge in real world settings, students have an opportunity to bring their learning to life and make connections between on-campus discussions and activities and the world in which their non-student lives are situated. This was a key motivation for the National Forum in supporting the development of this short course.
This new short course adds to an existing range of open-access professional development short courses hosted by the National Forum. The National Forum’s professional development short courses were first established in 2017 as part of the sector-wide implementation of the National Professional Development Framework for All Staff Who Teach. All courses involve approximately 25 learner effort hours over the 6-week period, including interactive peer learning. There is also a five-hour optional add-on later in the course for those interested in becoming future facilitators of the course themselves. The full complement of available open courses can be viewed here.
Sign-up for the first delivery of the community engaged learning short course in spring 2021 is available here. For queries about the the course, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org