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World Congress (2017) on Community Engagement in Higher Level to be held in NUI, Galway

02 February 2017

Community engagement and service learning are an essential ‘pillar’ in the higher education world, providing ‘real-world’ value to learners, teachers, college managers and communities.  Dynamic, community-engaged HE can:

‘enrich scholarship, research, and creative activity; enhance curriculum, teaching and learning; prepare educated, engaged citizens; strengthen democratic values and civic responsibility; address critical societal issues; and contribute to the public good’ (Carnegie Foundation, 2014)

It is also in keeping with the National Strategy for Higher Education 2030 (also known as the Hunt Report) which stresses that; ‘higher education institutions need to become more firmly embedded in the social and economic contexts of the communities they live in and serve’ (National Strategy for Higher Education, 2011:77).

There are numerous examples of such dynamic and creative community engagement projects currently underway in DkIT, many of which were showcased in the ‘Community Connect’ event held on campus in October 2014.  Plans are also underway for a follow-up event in the up-coming academic year.

In addition, there is now a well-established academic network of organisations considering the changing nature of the relationship of HE and the community.  Key among these is the International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement (IARSLCE) which helps to disseminate and promote new knowledge on service-learning and community engagement. 

It is therefore very exciting to note that the IARSLCE World Congress is coming to Ireland this year and will take place in NUI, Galway in September, 2017. 


Following her attendance at last year’s IARSLCE conference in Boston, USA, Dr. Bernadette Brereton of the School of Business and Humanities and CELT, DkIT was invited to serve on the Irish Planning Committee for the forthcoming World Congress with Dr. Lorraine McIlrath, NUI, Galway (Conference Chair and Co-Director of Europe Engage).  ‘Organising any conference is a busy task but bringing the IARSLCE World Congress to Ireland next year will take great team-work and co-ordination.  However, I am convinced that community engagement in higher education is extremely important and valuable and I am delighted to be able to contribute’ says Dr. Brereton.  ‘Through my work with the national community engagement body ‘Campus Engage’ and the DkIT working group ‘Community Connect’, I have become familiar with some on-going excellent community engagement initiatives.  I hope that as many colleagues as possible will consider showcasing their work at the forthcoming conference in Galway.  The presentations, symposiums and keynotes will provide a stimulating academic environment and there will be great opportunities for networking and making contacts with colleagues with similar interests.  Integral to the conference is the mentoring programme which provides guidance on all aspects of community engagement research in higher education.’

So take advantage of this excellent opportunity to share your experiences in community engagement with the wider academic community in Galway next year.  Contact Dr. Brereton at or check out the details at