Why Get Engaged

Every day more and more staff across the University are actively embedding engaged learning into their teaching and curriculum design. Why? Research shows that 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.

In this section we highlight the value and values of integrating civic engagement in teaching and learning. Explore the how-to sections of this toolkit to find out more about the practicalities of cultivating core values and linking with societal challenges

Learn about:

  • Why it matters - to students, to community partners and to educators;

  • The values and attitudes that underpin community engaged scholarship;
  • The policy context for civic and community engagement in UCC, nationally and internationally.

Why it Matters to Me

Dr. Ruth Hally in conversation with practitioners and partners on why community engaged learning matters to them and what it means in practice. 

Students described how the module reignited their passion and their spark for learning, so that had a big impact on me as a teacher and lecturer.

Dr. Katharina Swirak, Inside Out Programme

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Nurturing Graduate Attributes

Community engaged learning significantly contributes to supporting UCC's graduate attributes, the bedrock of the UCC student experience, nurturing socially responsible and effective global citizens, who recognise and challenge inequality.

"Check out our video showcasing 22 student representatives for each of the graduate attributes and values"

Graduate Attribute Programme

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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).

Policy Context

The University’s Civic and Community Engagement Plan outlines UCC's objectives to enact a strategic and coordinated approach, to raise the profile of civic and community engagement activities, to embed a culture of engaged staff and students, and to deepen our presence in the community.

Read the overview national policy context, international context and research context for A Civically Engaged University

Centre for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL)

West Lodge, Main Campus,