HE4U2: Integrating Cultural Diversity in Higher Education (2016-2018)
HE4U2: Integrating Cultural Diversity in Higher Education’ is a European Erasmus +funded project. The Maynooth University team includes Josephine Finn, Camilla Fitzsimons, Bernie Grummell and Maggie Noone.
This project aims to:
contribute to understand the experiences of students from ethnic minority backgrounds in seven partner higher education institutions across Europe to create more diversification, responsiveness and inclusivity.
develop innovative approaches to integrating inclusive pedagogy into existing curricula to mediate obstacles for learners from migrant backgrounds and to value their contribution to the intercultural dimension for all learners.
develop guidelines for Higher Education teachers and other support staff across the system and elaborate a CPD course for staff, as well as engage with the national and European policy agendas.
The Project is led by EUCEN - European University Continuing Education Network (Belgium/Spain), and partners include Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium), University of Turku (Finland), Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece), University of Porto (Portugal), University of Vienna (Austria) and University of Mainz (Germany).
Project website: http://www.eucen.eu/projects/he4u2-
For further information, please contact: Maggie Noone: Tel: +353 1 708 6629; Email email@example.com@mu.ie or Camilla Fitzsimons: Tel: +353 1 708 3951; Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Review of the Certificate in Return to Learning (RTL) (with Maynooth University Access Programme) (2016-2017)
This research offers and overview of the Certificate in Return to Learning (RTL) that is delivered by the Department of Adult and Community Education at Maynooth University (MU). The research is commissioned by the Access Office with the support of the Department of Adult and Community Education. This report has been written as a companion to research by Fitzsimons and O’Neill (2015) which undertook a similar review of the Foundation Certificates in Science and Engineering also offered by MU. This research narrates student and staff experiences of the programme, its development within the structures of Maynooth University and its positioning within a broader landscape of access to higher education in Ireland. It also generates statistics on student progression, retention and completion rates. Specifically the research inquires: in what way is the Certificate in Return to Learning satisfying equity of access criteria? What are the key experiences of students on the programme, what are the progression, retention and performance rates at certificate, undergraduate, and postgraduate level? what is the most sustainable model for Certificate in Return to Learning into the future?
For further information please contact: Camilla Fitzsimons: Tel: +353 1 708 3951; Email email@example.com
EMPLOY: Enhancing the Employability of Non-Traditional Students in HE (2015-2017
Enhancing the Employability of Non-Traditional Students in HE is a European project which promotes the enhancement of the employability of students in higher education from a non-traditional background.
EMPLOY is a European project promoting the enhancement of the employability of students in higher education from a non-traditional background (both younger and adult) through improving the efficiency of transitions into the graduate labour market. EMPLOY centrally aims to improve the efficiency of transition into the graduate labour market of those who enter higher education from non-traditional backgrounds, by developing two European toolkits that presents best practice by HEIs and offers guidance to students on improving their employability. This will be achieved by using the voices, experiences and perceptions of participants (students, university staff and employers) through biographical approaches and in-depth interviews to identify best practices, policies and guidelines to be used in two handbooks. One handbook will be aimed at non-traditional students in higher education while the other will be aimed at employers and university staff. The website and the use of social media, such as Twitter and podcasts, will be important in promoting dialogue and outcomes of the project. EMPLOY has a strong dissemination and exploitation strategy to ensure a wide European impact.
The project will offer new insights into the relationship and different perspectives on employability and competences in relation to non-traditional students in HE. Importantly, this project aims to work for a more inclusive graduate labour market for non-traditional students across Europe.
The partners involved are:
University of Warwick (co-ordinator)
Maynooth University, National University of Ireland,
University of the Algarve, Portugal
University of Seville, Spain
University of Lower Silesia, Poland
University of Stockholm, Sweden
Project Website: http://employ.dsw.edu.pl/language/en/
For further information about the project, please contact: Fergal Finnegan: Tel +353 1 708 6059; Email firstname.lastname@example.org or Jerry O’Neill: Tel +353 1 708 3308; Email email@example.com
Review of NUI Foundation Certificates in Science and Engineering (with Maynooth University Access Programme) (2014-2015)
This research offers an overview of the Maynooth University Foundations Certificates in Science and Engineering between 2002 and 2014. It measures characteristics and performance for FC students, and explores their experiences of participation. It also determines progression pathways, retention, and performance rates at undergraduate and postgraduate level complementing this with insight into experiences as undergraduates gathered through one-to-one and group interviewing. It uncovers challenges they face, and enquires into suggestions for change. The research determines in what way are the FCs satisfying equity of access criteria? what the curricular and wider experiences are for students, what are the progression, retention and performance rates at certificate, undergraduate, and postgraduate level? In what way can the FCs be considered cost effective, and what is the most sustainable model for FC delivery into the future.
For further information please contact: Camilla Fitzsimons: Tel: +353 1 708 3951; Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Research Project TEN HUNGER: Chipulikano Chakuti Pawe Kusintha Pakachitiro Kavinthu / Transformative Engagement Network (TEN), led by National University of Ireland, Maynooth (2012-2015)
The Transformative Engagement Network (TEN) is a research project funded through the Programme for Strategic Cooperation between Irish Aid and Higher Education and Research Institutes. The project partners are Maynooth University (lead), University of Mzuzu, Malawi, Mulungushi University, Zambia and the Zambian Open University. The project seeks to enhance the capacity of universities to better serve the needs of smallholder food producers within vulnerable communities as they cope with the challenges of climate change. The project will seek to initiate new knowledge flows and exchanges of expertise between rural communities, the agencies and organisations that work with each community, and between national and international bodies concerned with agriculture, food security, nutrition and climate change. In doing this, the partners will demonstrate the potential of universities to promote and facilitate a range of participative, inclusive engagements between these stakeholders with a view to enhancing the capacity of food insecure smallholders and agencies working with them to adopt climate-sensitive agricultural techniques and to improve the nutritional status of community members.
A masters level degree and a number of short under graduate courses will be developed for in service policy makers and service providers involved in climate change and food security. A research network and repository about demand-led agricultural production, climate change adaptation and nutritional outcomes will be established in order to provide widespread global access to research generated by the masters’ students and the project in general. The repository will also act as a hosting platform where other relevant research can be shared.
The Maynooth University project team are: Dr Bernie Grummell - Department of Adult and Community Education, Emeritus Professor Martin Downes - Department of Biology, Dr Conor Murphy - Department of Geography and Professor Anne Ryan (PI) - Department of Adult and Community Education. Contact person: Dr. Bernie Grummell, Email: email@example.com
Please visit the TEN website
Lifelong Learning in Palestine (2011 - 2013)
This project seeks to develop Lifelong Learning as a collaborative project in Palestine. It aims to develop Lifelong Learning provision in formal and informal networks across the West Bank and Gaza, linking the work of universities to centres outside of the university in civil society. Seminars and workshops will develop pedagogic partnerships in different settings, facilitating a wide arrangement of adult learning right across Palestinian society. Palestinian institutions will link innovative work in Lifelong Learning to different regions in Europe and the Arab world.
In addition to Maynooth University, the project's European Partners are: University of Glasgow University of Malta, St Mary's University College London. Palestinian University Partners are: University of Birzeit, Islamic University of Gaza, University of Al Quds, University of Bethlehem. The non-university partners are:Centre for Applied Research in Education (CARE),Women Graduates of the Islamic University of Gaza.
The Maynooth University project team are Josephine Finn (PI), Tony Walsh, Dr Bernie Grummell and Michael Kenny. Please visit the Project Website.
SIRUS Project (2009 - 2011)
Josephine Finn was the Maynooth University representative on “Shaping Inclusive and Responsive University Strategies”, or SIRUS, was co-funded by the European Commission’s Lifelong Learning Programme (2009 - 2011). The project addressed various aspects of developing or reframing institutional lifelong learning strategies and their implementation in universities. Based on existing research, the underlying assumption in the SIRUS project was that many universities already contribute substantially to lifelong learning (LLL), but that these approaches are often not guided by institutional strategies and are constrained by national legal frameworks and financial provisions.
Through the further development of institutional strategies for lifelong learning, the aim of the project was to look at the positioning of LLL in different types of higher education institutions in Europe and to demonstrate different ways of incorporating LLL activities into institutional portfolios. Thus the SIRUS project offered an opportunity for a diverse group of universities to develop and enhance their strategic LLL approaches through interactive discussions with colleagues from across Europe. Specifically, the goals of SIRUS were to:
• Support universities in developing, embedding and enhancing lifelong learning strategies
• Test the implementation of the ten commitments adopted in the European Universities’ Charter on Lifelong Learning
• Ensure wide dissemination of existing best practices in the field to universities, governments and stakeholders
• Contribute to the further development of policy recommendations.
Making Climate Change Real (2008 - 2009)
Making Climate Change Real: Developing digital learning resources to enhance local understanding of climate change was an interdisciplinary collaboration between departments in Maynooth University, namely: the Centre for Teaching and Learning (Claire McAvinia), the Departments of Education (Angela Rickard), Geography (Nuala Murphy, Conor Murphy), Adult and Community Education (Bernie Grummell, Michael Kenny, Kellyann Reid). This project created a number of digital learning resources that explored a range of climatic events, linking these with the science of global climate change, in order to promote understanding of the science. The materials were presented on a website to encourage student participation in discussion on the causes of climate change, to address adaptivity to local climate change challenges (including community-based monitoring of climate and adaptation in Ireland). In 2009 we worked with a local secondary school and community council. We developed these activities further by producing a set of enhanced learning objects that introduce key concepts and data about climate change in Ireland and explore their potential significance for local communities.
Please visit the Project Website.
Non-Traditional Student Experiences: Research (2008 - 2010)
Dr Ted Fleming and Dr Fergal Finnegan were the Maynooth University representatives on the RANLHE and the Combat Poverty Agency Projects.
- Want to know about experiences of non-traditional students in European Higher Education? Read this RANLHE report: Merrill, B., Armstrong, P., Alheit, P., Schoemer, F., Rheinlander, K., Bron, A., Thunborg, C., Nizinska, A., Kurantowicz, E., Field, J., Morgan-Klein, N., West, L., Monteaguedo, J.G., Ballesteros, M.A., Finnegan, F. & Fleming, T. (2010). Experiences of Non-Traditional Students in European Higher Education: Student Experiences. Poland: University of Lower Silesia. http://www.ranlhe.dsw.edu.pl
- Want to know about cultural and institutional experiences of non-traditional students in European Higher Education? Read this RANLHE report: Merrill, B., Armstrong, P., Alheit, P., Schoemer, F., Rheinlander, K., Bron, A., Thunborg, C., Nizinska, A., Kurantowicz, E., Field, J., Morgan-Klein, N., West, L., Monteaguedo, J.G., Ballesteros, M.A., Finnegan, F. & Fleming, T. (2010). Experiences of Non-Traditional Students in European Higher Education: Cultural and Institutional Perspectives. http://www.ranlhe.dsw.edu.pl
- What happens to mature students of NU Maynooth after they graduate? Read the report funded by and written for Combat Poverty Agency:Fleming, T., Loxley, A., Finnegan, F. & Kenny, A. (2009). Where Next?: Mapping and understanding the Post-First Degree Destinations of Mature Disadvantaged Students in three Irish Higher Education Institutions. Dublin: Combat Poverty Agency.
DIALOGUE (Opportunities for Dialogue between Researchers, Practitioners and Policy Makers (2010 - 2013)
Josephine Finn, Maeve O'Byrne and Fergal Finnegan are the Maynooth University representatives on the DIALOGUE Project (2010 - 2013). Adult Education and more globally Lifelong Learning are usually recognised as a field where research and practice are closely connected. While the importance of encouraging research which informs policy and practice in Lifelong Learning may be widely acknowledged by individuals and Governments, the ways in which knowledge might be most effectively exchanged and used to improve practices is not clearly understood. A key aim of the DIALOGUE project has been to examine how closer links might be improved through the promotion of a dialogue between researchers, practitioners and policy makers which encourages knowledge exchange and to promote new ways of working.
The general objectives of DIALOGUE are to:
- Deepen in the understanding of the relation and influences of hindering factors in University Lifelong Learning (ULLL) research and practice and explore the barriers and constrains existing in different EU countries and in the Higher Education system.
- Develop recommendations on how the knowledge triangle between researchers, professionals and policy makers can be reinforced and strategically developed in the future
The practical objectives of the project are to:
- Develop the dialogue between research and practice around 4 relevant thematic groups (Access and progression - Quality assurance and enhancement - Learning and guidance - New media)
- Review, develop and evaluate models of good practice in the transfer of research results to professional practice exploring ways of involving practitioners in research
- Identify and explore barriers at national and institutional level to transfer the knowledge, but also existing opportunities
- Encourage networking with partners inside and outside the university to facilitate the transfer of knowledge from and between ULLL and other partner organisations
- Development of final recommendations aiming at the promotion of a sustainable ULLL.
This project has now finished and the AdultEducation_EUCEN_PolicyReportDoc is available to read [PDF format] here.
Further Education teachers’ experience of assessment frameworks (2015-2016)
This research collaboration with the Department of Adult and Community Education, Maynooth University, the National College of Ireland, and a number of experienced Further Education teachers conducted a research project exploring Further Education teachers’ experience of QQI assessment frameworks using participatory workshops. These participatory workshops are ‘change laboratories’ which are designed to encourage cycles of reflective, iterative analysis driven by the practitioners’ own interests and insights. This approach draws on innovative research strategies based on cultural historical activity theory. The research highlights the need for greater consultation with practitioners in developing policy and curriculum and the importance of student and practitioner autonomy.
For further information please contact: Fergal Finnegan, Fergal.Finnegan@mu.ie
REGIONAL (Comparative analysis of Adult Learning (AL) policy formulation) Grundtvig Lifelong Learning Project (2014-2015)
The REGIONAL project is undertaking a comparative analysis of Adult Learning (AL) policy formulation, implementation and financing in 16 regions in six countries across Europe during the period 2014-2015. The project consortium partner, Maynooth University were tasked with reviewing adult learning policy development in three regions and with undertaking a series of interviews to identify progress and gaps in how adult learning policy is devised.
The regions selected for the purposes of this project were:An urban region: City of Dublin Education and Training Board (CDETB), A midland rural region: Longford Westmeath Education and Training Board (LWETB), A border region: Cavan Monaghan Education and Training Board (CWETB).
The term region, within this research project, is defined as an educational geographic area administered by an Education and Training Board (ETB). Education and Training Board (ETBs) were established in 2014 by the amalgamation of a number of existing Vocational Education Committees (VECs) into one area administrative structure. The research was informed by reviewing secondary publicly available data including census information and area annual reports. In each case the data was complemented by seeking further information from adult educators involved in the delivery of adult learning programmes in the region.
Bridging the Gap - Translating Development Research into Practice. Michelle Kinsella and Michael Kenny of the REGIONAL Project presented a paper at the Development Studies Association of Ireland Annual Conference in November 2014. The well received paper critiqued the assumption that in qualitative analysis a research team in one country can sensitively analyse data collected in other countries without ‘colonising’ the data through their cultural situatedness perspective. The paper is available free online at http://eprints.maynoothuniversity.ie/5779/
Learning from Others We can learn a lot from other countries, the mistakes they make and the things they achieve, this is particularly true in our area of further education. The REGIONAL Project has looked at how policy is formed in six countries across Europe (Germany, Italy, Slovakia, Serbia, Hungary and Ireland) to identify why there are such significant gaps in the provision of further and vocational education as noted by the Mind The Gap European Report (2012). Please visit the draft outcomes of our research. You will find it here. If you are interested in the outcomes of a specific country the profiles can be found at the following links; Ireland, Germany, Italy, Serbia, Slovakia and, Hungary. We have summarised these into a brief set of videos available on you tube at following links: Ireland, Germany, Italy, Serbia, Slovakia and, Hungary.
If you would like us to send you a hard copy of the country profile and the upcoming comparative report including the research deliverables which identify specific areas in relation to policy making in the field of Adult Further Education and Training, please contact us at; Michael Kenny, Lecturer email: firstname.lastname@example.org and Michelle Kinsella, Research Assistant REGIONAL email: email@example.com. REGIONAL - European Life Long learning - Comparative analysis of regional policies for adult learning - Project.
Embracing Diversity (Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission) (2017-2018)
is a project funded by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and based in Dublin 15. In this area almost 22% of the population is non-Irish nationals, double the national average. This project will target specifically People of African Descent (PAD) and service providers in the Dublin 15 area. It will garner experiences of diversity from different groupings (based on age, gender, and country of origin) within the PAD community and with different service providers in the area such as schools, ETB, Gardaí, Health Clinics, Churches and other sites of worship, local NGOs and community groups.
The findings will be presented at a community-wide plenary session giving community members an opportunity (i) to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses as perceived by different sectors of their community and by the different service providers and (ii) to focus on the steps needed to build on the strengths and / or address the challenges that have been identified. It is hoped that the project will result in an improved understanding of migrant issues, concerns and perspectives on the part of a range of service providers within the community; and an appreciation on their part of the sometimes subtle and nuanced differences between different groupings within the PAD community. In addition it is anticipated that the PAD community will be better equipped to access services as a result of getting to know individuals involved in the provision of different services and getting a better understanding of the dominant perspectives regarding diversity among service providers. It is also intended that there will be an increase in mutual understanding and acceptance between different sectors and groupings within the PAD community and an enhanced capacity to talk to each other and to reframe their approach to differences.
The project is being implemented by the Department of Adult and Community Education and the Edward M Kennedy Institute for Conflict Intervention in partnership with Wezesha. Wezesha is an African Diaspora-led organisation and has been working to support migrant integration and social inclusion in Ireland since 2014.
For further information please contact: Anne Ryan, Anne.Ryan@mu.ie
CREATE – Competitive Regions and Employability of Adults through Education (2017 – 2019)
Adult Education (AE) policies and strategies are set by the EU and National governments but, in general, are implemented by regional/local authorities. Within the EU, regions are responsible for adult learning (AL) / vocational education and training (VET), but it is at local level that decisions about funding allocation are taken and put into practice. The Directorate General for Education and Culture (DG-EAC) 2012 report “Mind the Gap: Education Inequality across EU Regions” noted major geographic disparities in AL/VET across and within EU regions where “… big regional disparities persist in terms of [AE] opportunities and achievements in the EU”. The report recommends that there is an immediate need to overcome regional disparities and facilitate a greater utilisation of funding available by empowering regional/local authorities with best practice in policy formation and practice implementation. There is an imperative to design effective Adult Education and Training policies and programmes and to embed them in local development strategies particularly with reference to the EU2020 target of 15% participation in AL across the EU.
CREATE originates from the need to identify and exploit tools for improved effectiveness and impact of AL/VET delivery with the overall objective of reducing geographic disparities in AL/VET opportunities across and within EU regions. CREATE’s aims are to:
1) Identify indicators of best practice in widening AL/VET participation and effective ESF funding utilisation.
2) Contrast practice to identify barriers to increased participation and facilitate enhanced cost-effective delivery.
3) Provide tools that increase concurrence between need and delivery policy making in AL/VET programmes
4) Identify AL/VET policy and practice that enhances impact and increases the effectiveness of AL/VET spending for local economic and social development.
Overall CREATE will contribute to enhancing policy formulation and promote evidence-based AL/VET policy and practice across the EU.
For further information please contact: Email Michael Kenny
MICRO (Enhancing Competitiveness of Micro-enterprise in Rural Areas)
The Department of Adult & Community Education is a partner in a European Erasmus Plus funded project entitled ‘MICRO: Enhancing Competitiveness of Micro-Enterprises in Rural Areas (2016 – 2018). MICRO will develop Open Educational Resources (open and widely available training content and modules) tailored to the needs of rural micro-enterprises to enhance their competitiveness. The project, led by Irish Rural Link, comprises partners from six countries (Belgium, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Macedonia and Spain). Project Website: http://www.microsmetraining.eu For further information please contact: Email Michael Kenny, or, Siobhán O’Malley
Unlocking Freedom through Adult Education
The Department of Adult and Community Education is a partner in European Funded Erasmus + research project ‘Unlocking Freedom through Adult Education: The role of adult education in supporting the de-institutionalisation of people with disabilities in the community’ (2015-2018). The Maynooth University team includes Laura Burke, Camilla Fitzsimons, Josephine Finn, and Bernie Grummell.
The project has three key objectives:
- To improve the life-long learning opportunities and social integration of people with disabilities through adult and community education;
- To bring local adult education providers together with local community based services/facility operators with the aim of devising or adapting curriculum to support their new role in including people with disabilities in their activities;
- To address the formal education needs of staff moving from institutional to community based provision in order to challenge the institutional culture of the organisation and to maximise their support to integrate people with disabilities fully into the community.
This project is led by Disability Federation of Ireland, with partners in Ireland (Maynooth University and Stewarts Care ltd), Bulgaria (the Institute for Community-based Social Services Foundation), France (Université Paris XII Val de Marne and Centre de la Gabrielle) and Finland (Kehitysvammaisten Palvelusaatio).
Project website: http://www.disability-federation.ie/index.php?uniqueID=11139
For further information, please contact: Laura Burke: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Bernie Grummell: Tel: 353 1 708 3761 or email: email@example.com
DIMA project - Adult Education Strategies - Erasmus+ 2015-17 programme
The DIMA Project is a European - Erasmus+ project is a consortium of six partners (Ministry of Education and Culture, Cyprus, the Centre for the Advancement of Research and Development in Educational Technology (CARDET), also in Cyprus, the Slovenian Institute for Adult Education, Slovenia, Narodny Ustav Celozivotneho Vzdelavania – National LLL Institute of Slovakia, the European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA) in Belgium, and the Department of Adult & Community Education at Maynooth University) are working on a practical and innovative toolkit for developing, implementing and monitoring Adult Education strategies, policies and practices.
See DIMA Project Website and Facebook page
For further information please contact: Michael Kenny, firstname.lastname@example.org
Enhancing Knowledge Workers Adult Learning Solutions (EKWALS) Project (2009 - 2011)
Michael Kenny was the Maynooth University representative on the Enhancing Adult Learners Workers Solutions (EKWALS) EU funded project (2009 - 2011). The current economic crisis is generating a paradigm shift in the European job market. The assumption that Knowledge Workers, irrespective of their education, are immune from unemployment is no longer valid. In such a context, adult learning needs to adjust to better cope with the double challenge of Ageing Knowledge Workers (AKW) who tend to have lower education and engage in less training than younger workers. Adults vary tremendously in how they acquire knowledge and one single adult learning solution cannot adequately address the diversity of adult learners. Please visit the project website.
BRAC Education Programme Evaluation
DACE has participated in numerous evaluations of BRAC’s education programme in Bangladesh and in Afghanistan. BRAC (Building Resources Across Communities), an International NGO based in Bangladesh was set up in 1974. It is the largest NGOs in the world. BRAC's education programme provides non-formal primary education to those left out of the formal education system, especially poor, rural, or disadvantaged children, and drop-outs. Its schools are typically one room with one teacher and no more than 33 students. Bangladesh’s achievement in improving female enrolment, which has largely been at the primary level, is in part attributable to BRAC. Roughly 60% of the students in their schools are girls.
Please click here to go to the webpage.
Building Resources Across Communities (BRAC) - Dhaka, BRAC Centre 75 Mohakhali Dhaka-1212, Bangladesh
Building Resources Across Communities (BRAC) - Kabul,House # 472, Lane # 2, Hazi Mir Ahmed Street, Baharistan, Karte Parwan, Kabul, Afghanistan.