Lorraine McIlrath, Co-ordinator of CKI at NUI Galway, and member of Campus Engage Steering Committee, in partnership with Pilar Aramburuzabala, UA Madrid Spain have been awarded €345,000 for an innovative EU project - Europe Engage. The project will deliver a number of key objectives to encourage a culture of civic engagement through the mainstreaming community-based learning as a Higher Education pedagogical approach in the EU.
The project will ensure the development of best practice and enable the building of the ‘community’ into the higher education curriculum resulting in significant benefits to the student, academic, university, community and nation.
This landmark invest will let EU students test acquired knowledge and skills in ‘real life’ employment based problem solving, and develop critical thinking in a work place to build applied ‘work ready skills’ . It also encourages student’s sense of civic responsibility, and citizenship. The project will deliver on EU cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices in this field.
“We are living in an unprecedented era of social change with a global economic recession confronting many regions and nations and a recent surge in demonstrations that call for democratic action and change. Service-learning is a key approach in terms of embedding a culture of political and civic literacy among the student population within higher education. This is a pedagogical approach that ‘promotes student attainment of knowledge, values, skills and attitudes associates with civic engagement through a structured academic experience within the community.” Lorraine McIlrath, NUIG, Campus Engage, PI, Steering Committee
Community-based learning connects students and universities to the needs of wider society, maintains and develops student and staff civic identity and encourages healthy levels of social capital across the Europe labour market.
Europe Engage seeks to embed the idea of the civic university through community-based learning and its growth as a pedagogical approach within the participating universities. This dovetails with the ‘Modernisation of European Higher Education’ strategic priority through the Bologna Process and Declaration.
Higher education institutions involved include:
1. National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland (Co-director)
2. University of Brighton, United Kingdom
3. University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany
4. Erasmus University of Rotterdam, Netherlands
5. Instituto Superior de Psicología Aplicada, Portugal
6. University of Zagreb, Croatia
7. University of Bologna, Italy
8. Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania
9. Ghent University, Belgium
10. University of Applied Science-Krems, Austria
11. University of Helsinki, Finland
12. Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain (Lead)