This commitment has informed my work as a community worker, for the last 20 years and currently as a lecturer at the Department of Applied Social Studies (DAPPSS). I teach modules in community work, professional development, equality and human rights across DAPPSS programmes at undergraduate and post graduate , as well as outreach certificate and continuous professional development programmes. Currently, I co-ordinate the final year of the BA in Community and Youth Work - a dual professional qualification in both disciplines.
|Association||Function||From / To|
|Community Work Ireland||Central Group Member||/|
|Committee||Function||From / To|
|European Community Development Network||Vice-Chairperson||/|
|All Ireland Endorsement Body for Community Work Education and Training||Academic member||/|
|Employer||Position||From / To|
|Maynooth University Department Applied Social Studies||Lecturer||01-AUG-10 /|
|Community Workers Co-operative (now Community Work Ireland)||Development worker||02-MAR-09 / 02-JUL-11|
|Freelance consultant||Community sector facilitation, training & evaluation||02-MAR-02 / 02-MAR-07|
|Galway Traveller Movement||Community and Youth Worker||02-JUN-98 / 02-MAR-02|
|Women's Aid||Trainer||02-MAR-96 / 02-MAR-97|
|Women's Aid||National Helpline Co-ordinator||02-MAR-94 / 02-MAR-96|
|Women's Aid||Womens Support Worker||02-MAR-92 / 02-MAR-94|
|1998||Maynooth University||Higher Diploma in Community and Youth Work||Professional qualification|
|2008||Maynooth University||Masters in Applied Social Studies||Applied Social Studies|
|1991||University College Galway||Bachelor of Arts||Sociology and Politics, Applied Maths|
|2016||Maynooth University||Doctorate in Social Science||Rocking the Boat While Staying in It Praxis, Phronesis and Radical Community Work in Ireland|
|Mental Health Service User, Family Member and Carer Engagement||
Community Development Expert on the National Implementation Group
My ethos of teaching has evolved over many years of life and diverse work experiences.
From my own experience as a student, in different institutions and in different time periods, the teaching characteristics that I most seek to emulate are enthusiasm, energy, helpfulness and openness, allied with current knowledge of and visible interest in the subject being taught and a willingness to go the extra mile in response to student interest. By contrast, those which I most assiduously seek to avoid are arrogance, ‘expertness’ and an unwillingness to acknowledge student contribution and capacity.
However having spent many years working in the community sector, it is inevitable that my teaching ethos is influenced by exposure to these experiences. Thus, working with marginalised individuals and groups has challenged and developed my thinking on power and empowerment at both the political and personal level and stimulated a commitment to social justice. Connecting this understanding and commitment with education processes has led me to a passion for critical education for transformative action. Recognising the influence of my combined experiences, I am confident that at the core of my philosophy of teaching is a commitment to student empowerment and development. However, this is not mindless of the inherent power imbalances between teacher and student but seeks to enable students to take greater control of and responsibility for their own learning, while at the same time expanding my role as a facilitator of learning. My teaching ethos is founded in the recognition of the value of mutuality and reciprocity regarding knowledge and experience exchange. All of this informs my strong belief in enquiry as a core teaching approach and as a means of stimulating a capacity for and recognition of the need for critical thinking towards critical action.
Ethical and effective community work and youth work requires both reflection and action, theory and practice - not as separate components but as inextricably linked dimensions of professional process and purpose: reflective practice, or praxis. In my teaching I continually seek to connect the doing of community work and youth work with analysis and reflection for enhanced practice. My teaching methods involve maximizing the practical experiences and insights of the students where participation, discussion and maximum student involvement ensures that the relationships between theoretical and practical learning are constantly highlighted and intertwined.