The National University of Ireland, Galway launched a major project in 2001, entitled the Community Knowledge Initiative, which set out to underpin and realise a civic mission as part of its core activities.
The Community Knowledge Initiative’s (CKI) activities were viewed as ‘integral to the University’s strategic mission and involved a fundamental examination of the role of the University in the social fabric’ and were subsequently reflected as a core priority by NUI Galway’s Academic and Strategic Plans.
The CKI aims to promote greater civic engagement through core academic activities, namely teaching, research and service at the levels of students, staff, courses, programmes and the institution as a whole. Up to 2005, the implementation phase, the CKI was supported by the CKI Policy and Executive Boards, which then amalgamated into one CKI Board. The project is guided by an International Advisory Group, whose experience encompasses North America, Southern Africa, and Europe.
Research and Public Engagement: EPIC – Engaging People in Communities
Engaging People in Communities (EPIC) is a new development in CKI and builds on the success of CKI’s partnership with community since its inception in 2001. The role of EPIC is to facilitate community-university research partnerships and public engagement between the university and the wider community.
EPIC acts as a point of contact for community, voluntary and statutory organisations who would like to access research and other collaborative opportunities with the university. It is also a key contact point for staff and students within the university who want information about research and public engagement opportunities with the wider community.
EPIC aims to enhance the relationship between NUI Galway and the wider society through sharing knowledge, supporting collaborative models of research, strengthening links between teaching and research and building capacity within communities.
For further information contact Ann Lyons:
Student Volunteering: ALIVE- A Learning Initiative and Volunteerng Experience
The goal of the CKI is to enable NUI Galway to become a role model in promoting the development of civic and leadership skills in students. To this end a student volunteering programme entitled ALIVE (A Learning Initiative and the Volunteering Experience), was established by the CKI to harness, acknowledge and support the contribution that NUI Galway students make by volunteering. Established in September 2003, over 1200 students have been recognised to date for their volunteering commitment within a variety of pathways including community and non-governmental organisations, through participation within societies and clubs, and mentoring first year students through the Student Connect Programme to mention a few. For further information on student volunteering and ALIVE click here
For further information contact Lorraine Tansey:
The CKI seeks to establish NUI Galway as a pioneering institution in the implementation of service learning programmes across all faculties. Service Learning seeks to reinvigorate the civic mission of higher education and instill in students a sense of social responsibility and civic awareness. It is a pedagogical tool that encourages students to learn and explore issues vital to society inside and outside the classroom. Students learn from engaging with communities by active participation. For further information on Service Learning click here
For further information contact Lorraine McIlrath:
The Knowledge Sharing aspect of the CKI is concerned with the wider dissemination of results of research and scholarly activity, events with community focus, outreach work and collaboration. The CKI has a number of different NUI Galway, National and International Partners. See here for more information.
Inclusive Higher Education Project: Going to College
In 2010, CKI became involved in a civic engagement partnership with the UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement at NUI Galway and the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies to deliver the Going to College Project. The project will support students with intellectual disabilities to participate and actively engage in all aspects of university life at NUI Galway, thus enabling each student to develop the vision, knowledge and transferable skills to live a more inclusive, independent life in their community. Further information on the Going to College Project is available here.
For further information contact Breda Casey: