Achievements/Recognitions for Civic Engagement Activities
Individual programmes within DIT have been awarded recognition in their specific areas, such as: the Programme for Students Learning With Communities, which won the Road Safety Association Leading Light award for Third Level Education in 2010; and the DARE and HEAR schemes for access to Higher Education, operated by the DIT Access and Disability services in partnership with their colleagues in other HEIs, which won a Taoiseach’s Excellence in Public Service Award in 2012.
In 2015/16, over 1055 students across DIT were involved in learning with communities and were supervised by 52 DIT Lecturers. These projects took place across 44 programmes of study, both undergraduate and postgraduate. Approximately 1 in 3 undergraduate programmes had students involved in collaborative projects with communities. Since its beginnings in 2008, the Programme has supported projects involving over 8,000 students in collaboration with over 110 Community Partners.
DIT Societies are run by the students for the students and supported by the staff of the society’s office through advice, administration and finance. They endeavour to develop the “community” on campus through the provision of activities, events, entertainment, and development opportunities. There are over 35 extra annual “special events” both big and small, which students are involved in running. The last number of years has seen a huge increase in society’s membership and the number of events on and off campus.
At DIT the societies staff and the chaplaincy staff coordinate a programme of volunteering activities for DIT students. They offer an array of projects to interested students, from working with children, young people, and the elderly, to campaigns and fundraising, whether in the local community or overseas. Volunteering opportunities include a mix of projects, such as homework clubs, supervised study, mentoring, class reps, soup runs, flat decoration, drama, website building, arts and crafts, dancing, and juggling.
Over 1,100 students were involved in community-based learning and community-based research activities across DIT in 2012/13, on 49 programmes, supervised by over 60 academic staff. These projects involved a wide range of disciplines and activities, from process-based projects such as tutoring children in schools to research-driven projects such as developing a tailgating sensor for motor vehicles. They range from undergraduate to PhD level projects.
Students Learning With Communities involves DIT staff and/or students working with community partners (local groups, not-for-profit organisations, etc) to develop real-life projects. Learning comes alive for the students as they work on these projects with real clients, applying their specialist subject skills, and receiving course credits for their work. The community becomes part of the teaching process and the students’ work furthers the community's goals.