What is the Community Knowledge Initiative?

University of Galway launched a major project in 2001, entitled the Community Knowledge Initiative, which set out to underpin and realise a civic mission as part of its core activities. The CKI was funded by the Atlantic Philanthropies and core funded by University of Galway in 2007.

The Community Knowledge Initiative's (CKI) activities were viewed as ‘integral to the University's strategic mission and involved a fundamental examination of the role of the University in the social fabric' and were subsequently reflected as a core priority by University of Galway's Academic and Strategic Plans.

The CKI, based in the Institute for Lifecourse and Society, aims to promote greater civic engagement through core academic activities, namely teaching, research and service at the levels of students, staff, courses, programmes and the institution as a whole. Up to 2005, the implementation phase, the CKI was supported by the CKI Policy and Executive Boards, which then amalgamated into one CKI Board. The project is guided by an International Advisory Group, whose experience encompasses North America, Southern Africa, and Europe.

What is Civic Engagement?

The Community Knowledge Initiative supports and promotes the ethos of civic engagement among students, staff and the wider community. We define civic engagement as: A mutually beneficial knowledge-based collaboration between the higher education institution, its staff and students, with the wider community, through a range of activities including:

  • Service Learning / Community Based Learning

  • Community-Engaged researchVolunteering

  • Community / Economic regeneration

  • Capacity-building

  • Outreach programmes

  • Community-campus partnerships

  • Access / Widening Participation

Engaging People in Communities: EPIC

EPIC is a new development in CKI and builds on the success of CKI's partnership with community since its inception in 2001. The role of EPIC is to facilitate Community-Engaged Research and Knowledge Exchange between University of Galway and the wider community.

EPIC acts as a point of contact for community, voluntary and statutory organisations who would like to access research and other collaborative opportunities with the university. It is also a key contact point for staff and students within the university who want information about research and public engagement opportunities with the wider community. EPIC aims to enhance the relationship between University of Galway and the wider society through sharing knowledge, supporting collaborative models of research, strengthening links between teaching and research and building capacity within communities.

For further information contact Ann Lyons:
Email: ann.lyons@universityofgalway.ie
Tel: 091-492228

Student Volunteering: ALIVE

The goal of the CKI is to enable University of Galway to become a role model in promoting the development of civic and leadership skills in students.

To this end a student volunteering programme entitled ALIVE (A Learning Initiative and the Volunteering Experience), was established by the CKI to harness, acknowledge and support the contribution that University Galway students make by volunteering. Established in September 2003, over 1200 students have been recognised to date for their volunteering commitment within a variety of pathways including community and non-governmental organisations, through participation within societies and clubs, and mentoring first year students through the Student Connect Programme to mention a few.

For further information contact Lorraine Tansey:
Email: lorraine.tansey@universityofgalway.ie
Tel: 091-495346

Service Learning

The CKI seeks to establish University of Galway as a pioneering institution in the implementation of service learning programmes across all faculties.

Service Learning seeks to reinvigorate the civic mission of higher education and instill in students a sense of social responsibility and civic awareness. It is a pedagogical tool that encourages students to learn and explore issues vital to society inside and outside the classroom. Students learn from engaging with communities by active participation. For further information on Service Learning click here

For further information contact Ann Lyons:
Email: ann.lyons@universityofgalway.ie
Tel: 091-492228

Youth Academy

Since April 2012, almost 400 primary school students from across Galway City and County have received certificates of participation on completion of a range of different courses with the Youth Academy at University of Galway.

The Youth Academy is a collaboration between Ms. Mary Dempsey (College of Engineering and Informatics), Dr. Caroline Heary (School of Psychology), Ms. Lorraine Mc Ilrath (Community Knowledge Initiative) and Dr. Colm O'Reilly (Irish Centre for Talented Youth, Dublin City University). It is delivered thanks to funding received through the Bright Ideas Innovation Fund by the Vice President for Innovation and Performance at University of Galway. The Youth Academy works with high ability 4th and 5th class primary school children in Galway City and County to support their learning and academic development. A number of different courses are on offer to these students at University of Galway on a Saturay morning for a seven week period.

For further information contact Geraldine Marley:
Email: youthacademy@universityofgalway.ie
Tel: 086-7910195

University of Sanctuary

The University of Sanctuary initiative at University of Galway aims to increase public awareness of International Protection, migration and Traveller-specific matters, in an effort to address the low levels of participation of underrepresented groups in third-level education. International Protection Applicants, refugees, vulnerable migrants and Irish Travellers are too frequently excluded from participation in education due to inequitable societal barriers, and it is felt that through the actions of a designated University of Sanctuary Galway's community can be made a much more inclusive and equitable space for all.

For further information contact Aidan Harte
Email: aidan.harte@universityofgalway.ie
Tel: 086 0137470


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