The CKI project seeks to initiate debate and ascertain the role of
universities in issues concerned with international development; and it
aims to interrogate the role of the university as a
multi-disciplinary/trans-disciplinary agent of social change in terms of
addressing issues related to capacity building within local, national
and international communities, whether developed or developing.
CKI's research on higher education and civic
engagement involves the analysis of the evolution of the varying roles
of the university, from the provision of scientifically produced,
preserved and shared knowledge towards a 'glocalisation' of actionable
The research goal is to develop a better understanding
of internal and external exhortations of universities to engage in
economic and social development through locally and regionally applied
research into various communities. The aim is also to investigate
current and historical models of university-community partnerships at an
international level, and to provide a platform for the
adoption/development of models for local implementation in the longer
The Volunteering Experience
Dr Pádraig Mac Neela, Department of Psychology NUI Galway has been involved in developing a research component in collaboration with the CKI, which focuses on the process of volunteering. In 2005, a survey gathered data from the students on ALIVE and provided some initial findings on the motives and experiences of volunteers participating in the programme. This work continues into the 2005-2006 ALIVE programme. The research will examine volunteering in terms of the benefits associated with the volunteer experience and the challenges volunteers experience in maintaining their involvement. This work was recently highlighted at the Royal Irish Academy’s Third Sector Research Programme
Conference held in Belfast, November 2005.
From September 2006 this work will evolve into a Ph.D. funded scholarship under the supervision of Dr Pádraig Mac Neela, allowing for a focused study into volunteering in Ireland, since our initial research indicates a deficit of research in this area. It is hoped that this scholarship will provide NUI Galway with the opportunity to become a leader within the field and develop a critical mass.
The ALIVE Experience
The CKI has begun to document the learning that emanates for students following their involvement in the ALIVE Programme. Through a service of twenty-five semi structured interviews, conducted by the CKI team in April 2006, questions relating to motivations for volunteering, historical involvement in volunteering, conceptions of civic society and anticipated involvement in civic activities were posed. Plans for the future of this study include its evolution into a longitudinal study with an online survey accompanying the face to face interview process. All of this data can be analysed with the reflection component of the ‘Volunteer Guide and ALIVE Reflection Handbook’ as permission to use the reflection material for research purposes is requested upon submission of the handbook.