CARL@50 - Celebrating our 50th student-community project
Students awarded for outstanding community engagement projects
This week marked a particular milestone in UCC with the celebration of the 50th student-community CARL project. The celebration brought together community representatives, academic staff and students past and present. Its focus was to grow the network of community organisations that CARL (and UCC) partners with, and highlight the significance of these projects to date.
A keynote address was made by Madge Fogarty from Postnatal Depression Ireland who highlighted the benefits and impact of engaging in these collaborative endeavours.
Three awards were presented to students for Outstanding Community Engagement projects.
UCC Photographer Tomás Tyner From left: Trish Shiel, clinical manager Eating Disorder Centre Cork, Bachelor of Social Science graduate Hazel McDermott and Dr. Siobhan O’Sullivan, Applied Social Studies.
The first to Monica Coll and Siobhan Sully for their work with “Home Share Clare” looking at alternatives to institutional respite services for families. The students presented their findings at two national conferences, and the project report was referenced in a HSE report on alternatives to institutional respite. The community organisation used the project findings to leverage funding of €30,000 for the continuation of the service and it was also featured on RTE’s Nationwide programme in 2012.
The second project was completed by Hazel McDermott in partnership with the Eating Disorder Centre Cork. Hazel’s project involved surveying GPs and professionals to gain greater insight into their understanding of eating disorders. A follow up project with the School of Dentistry has resulted from Hazel’s work, and the recommendations arising from the project are being followed up on by the organisation.
The third project was completed by 6 students undertaking an MSc Corporate Finance in partnership with Carrigaline Lion’s Youth Centre. The project supervisor Dr Steve O’Callaghan collected the award on behalf of the students (Emma Keane, Conor Scannell, Peter Bresnan, Conor O'Donovan, Ruiqian Yan and Sean Lordan).
The Community partners said of the project.
“The students were a huge help in reducing the opacity on the financial question of a commercially viable enterprise operating in the Youth Center. This was a key element of our long term strategic plan that was subsequently revised based on the findings of the students’ research”.
A final award was made on the night to recognise the contribution and support of staff for the CARL projects. Dr Kenneth Burns in the School of Applied Social studies won the award “CARL Supervisor of the Year 2016”. Kenneth is a founding member of CARL and has supervised the greatest number of CARL projects to date and is supervising 3 projects this year. He is a tireless advocate for CARL and constantly challenges the CARL team, students and community partners to innovate and go further with our ideas. This award makes it a hat trick of accomplishments for Kenneth as he won a Team Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning as well as a Team Award for Research and Innovation at the UCC Presidents Awards ceremony in October of this year.
These are the inaugural awards for Outstanding Community Engagement but reflect the increased focus of staff and students in forging partnerships with the broader community and in supporting activities and projects that address questions of broad societal interest.