Super Diversity and Micro-credentials

16 Oct 2023
L-R: Grace Arnold (UCC), Mags Arnold (UCC), Mairéad Nic Giolla Mhichíl (DCU), Mathias Reckman (UNIC), Jean Van Sinderen-Law (UNIC), Jools O'Connor (IUA), Catriona Nic Giolla Mhichíl (DCU)

UCC Microcreds project team were delighted to host the Erasmus + funded Super Diversity and Micro-credentials event at UCC this week. Held in the Dora Allman Room in the Student Hub, the event was well attended both in person and online. Colleagues from the UNIC project, IUA partners and from across UCC joined.

Dr Jean Van Sinderen-Law, Director of UNIC at UCC, opened proceedings by welcoming colleagues. Dr Van Sinderen-Law introduced the concept of Super Diversity and outlined some of the plans for the next four years of the UNIC project including the development of Micro-credentials. Superdiversity means a high degree of diversity in a population. the term captures the growing complexity of diversity, including complex mixtures of ethnicity, race, gender, sexuality, culture, religion, social status, economic status, legal status, lifestyle and more. It reflects how our cities are home to a rich mix of people of different backgrounds and identities.

The keynote speech was given by Professor Ahmet Içduygu of Koç University, Turkey, who joined the event online. The speech entitled ‘Superdiversity in Learning and Teaching’ outlined the ‘importance of learning how to communicate with others, even if they are different’, As societies become increasingly diverse, how can we ‘manage’ diversity? Professor Icduygu outlined why awareness of diversity in education is so important, to understand different viewpoints, being comfortable with difference, addressing inequality and being culturally aware.

Next, Olive Byrne, Head of Access in UCC presented on the current status of equity of access to higher education. Although Participation in higher education is increasing, there are still challenges in disadvantaged areas. The National Access Plan has made socio-economically disadvantaged areas, Traveller and Roma communities and people with intellectual disabilities a priority.  Olive outlined the student-centred goals of the Access programme.

Joan Osayande then took the podium to give an inspiring talk on her experiences as a Sanctuary scholar. Joan is now a 2nd year PhD student and spoke about the difficulties for refugees and immigrants in accessing higher education, what had helped her and the challenges she faced. Joan’s main message was to show when given the opportunity we can all achieve our potential. Joan has also undertaken research in the field of Micro-credentials and is an advocate of flexible, tailored and stackable qualifications.

Mags Arnold, Project Lead at UCC Micro-creds concluded the presentations with thoughts on what happens when a new and novel idea meets a traditional system. ‘Computer says No’ but UCC says yes.  UCC Micro-creds projects has made great strides as part of the broader IUA National Project.

Our courses developed in partnership with industry now have online approval, a turnaround time of 12 weeks, bespoke application forms, multiple start times, and Recognition of Prior Learning built into the entry requirements.



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