CELT Conferences 2005

Civic Engagement and Service Learning

The 3rd Annual Teaching & Learning Conference on "Civic Engagement and Service Learning" was held in June and was a highly successful event.

Some 170 delegates enrolled for this event, which brought together colleagues from Ireland (including local community groups), the UK, the US and South Africa. Over two days, presentations, workshops, poster sessions and plenty of informal discussion and networking took place in glorious sunshine, leaving participants with renewed enthusiasm and inspiration.

The keynotes addressed the question of the role(s) of higher education in this era of globalisation. From South Africa (Prof. Ahmed Bawa, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of KwaZulu- Natal) we learned of the potential for links between universities and community organisations, of the difficulties of bringing the civic mission to the core of the institution and the importance of developing an understanding of the complexities of the social construction of knowledge.

From the US (Ed Zlotkowski, Campus Compact) we heard of active engagement and participation of students in voluntary organisations, community groups and NGOs and how this can be embedded within degree programmes.

From the UK (Prof Ron Barnett, University of London; Prof Richard Taylor, University of Cambridge) we heard interesting perspectives on the contested nature of the very terms citizenship and civil society as well as exploring means of reconstituting higher education to focus on the development of being rather than simply serving the perceived economic needs of the nation.

Michael Edwards (Ford Foundation, NY) provided a challenge to explore the boundaries between love and reason and in particular reiterated and developed Martin Luther King's concept of "the love that does justice."

All in all, a fascinating forum that resonated strongly with the concept of the Democratic Intellect, where university education centres on the development of citizens, able and willing to participate actively in civil society and democracy.

2005 Conference Web Pages