UCC Module: The Dynamics of Public Participation

Contact: Clodagh Harris (clodagh.harris@ucc.ie)

The Dynamics of Public Participation is a civic engagment module offered on the MBS Government and M.A. Politics programmes. Exploring the relationship between democracy and participation this module examines theories of active democratic citizenship, empowerment, and political participation. A core component of this MBS/MA module is the day and a half long ‘training for trainers’ workshop given in conjunction with the Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice (VSPJ).

Students are trained in the VPSJ’s participative and highly respected Active Citizenship/Voter Education Programme (VEP) which is aimed at increasing voter awareness and participation amongst those living in socially disadvantaged areas in Ireland. On completion of the training programme the students become part of the active citizen network run by the VPSJ.

In keeping with the tradition of service learning this project offers students an opportunity to integrate and relate theory to practice.Links have been developed with the Carrigtwohill Saint Vincent de Paul family resource centre to run the programme there in advance of elections.


Discipline: Arts and Humanities, Commerce, Political Science/ Department of Government, Social Sciences
Institution: University College Cork
Activity: Service Learning/Community Based Learning

Additional Information

Academic Discipline: Political Science
Module Title: Political Participation and Mobilisation
Typical number of students: 20
Year(s) of Programme: Module on taught MBS (Government) and MA (Politics
Credits (ECTs): 10
Mandatory: No
Assessment method: Assessment for those choosing the service learning option consists of: 15 service hours (community hours/group discussion hours) completed this accounts for 25% of the student’s overall grade, the active citizenship training and the development of materials for the community (20%), a learning journal on their community experience which contains entries relating to guided reflections (35%), a 1,500 word report making specific recommendations on democratic innovations to enhance political pa
First established: 2008
Typical number of hours: 48
Learning outcomes: The service learning outcomes are to: 
(1) explore the relationship between democracy and participation; 
(2) identify groups that under participate in the political process and explore the reasons why; 
(3) classify and assess obstacles to participation; 
(4) make recommendations on how these barriers can be removed;
(5) analyse and critically evaluate ideas, arguments and opinions to improve thinking, problem solving and decisions and 
(6) apply classroom learning and course materials to addressing community needs.
Case study website/link:
Community Partners: St Vincent de Paul resource centre, Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork
Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice, Mountjoy Square, Dublin 1


Case Study Category: