Why Get Engaged

In Conversation


Dr. Katharina Swirak on Cork Prison Programme and why she got engaged


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Every day more and more staff across the University are actively embedding engaged learning in to their teaching and curriculum design. Why? Staff are motivated by a combination of personal value and aspirations, a desire to actively respond to societal challenges and an appreciation of the wider policy imperative.

Explore other sections of this toolkit to find out more about how to cultivate core values and how to link with societal challenges.  You can also read more about the policy imperative within the higher education landscape and how civic and community engagement is embedded in national and international policy

Get confident with:

  • An awareness and appreciation of values and attitudes that underpin community engaged scholarship;
  • Understanding why it matters to students, community pratners and teaching practitioners;
  • A good understanding of civic and community engagement within the context of UCC Academic Strategy.

It helped create that spark. Students connected with that sense of wanting to make to a difference. It transformed the teaching and learning experience. It's a win-win for staff, students & community.

Staff Member

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Example: Engaged learning is increasingly in focus as critical within higher education policy and with a view to critical future skills

Example: Kate Morris, Campus Engage, IUA

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The institutional focus on community engaged learning at UCC reflects our commitment to working together with society and community towards the sustainable development goals.

John O'Halloran, Interim President

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Underpinning Values

While engagement can cover a range of interactions, the policy and research literature is clear on good practice in terms of mutual benefits, reciprocity, and addressing power imbalances and inequalities. 

The University's Civic and Community Engagement Plan establishes the underpinning values which guide community enaggement in UCC: 

 Underpinning Values Emphasised in the Research Literature
Citizenship  Engagement is an institution wide effort concerned with the clear civic purpose of the preparation of an enlightened and productive citizenry and the production of independent thinking and scholarship that both addresses pressing problems and holds a mirror to society to facilitate critical self-reflection and self-correction (Hartley, Saltmarsh and Clayton 2010).
Transformative Engagement has a social justice orientation, developing community capacity to solve problems (Cook and Nation 2016) and sharing responsibility for achieving each other’s goals.
Recipricol Staff and students actively involved in community problem-solving, are in circumstances where they are part of community efforts to advance the common good, co-learning with the community (Cook and Nation 2016; Stoecker 2014; Reiff and Keene 2012).
Participatory The level of community participation in institutional planning for public service signals a level of commitment and importance for the role of public service to staff and community (Holland 1999, pp. 67- 70). A collaborative approach that has the aim of combining knowledge with action to achieve social change (Israel et al. 1998).

Why it Matters

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UCC Academic Strategy

UCC's Academic Strategy and Connected Curriculum integrates this third mission of the University with the curriculum.

University College Cork

Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh

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