"Just a minute with"…Professor Patrick O’Shea, Irish Universities Association Chair and President of University College Cork

Introducing a brand new segment to the Campus Engage Ezine- interviews with thought leaders on higher education policy and practice. 


In the current climate, why is university community and civic engagement important?

"We operate in a rapidly changing world where we must be agile, sensitive, and proactive in responding to the needs of the community we serve. Increasingly evidence shows that universities that invest in staff to deliver on research with, rather than for, the community, deliver impact. UCC researchers are increasingly working with external partners to understand the systemic cause & effect of societal challenges; providing collaborative solutions and accelerating our research discovery and innovation agenda. In terms of teaching and learning universities must prepare students for life-long and life-wide learning, so that they know how to observe and question, to discern and reflect, to analyse and act, and to be independent thinkers and explorers, competent at navigating and bridging the fissures of faith, politics and perspective that fracture our world today."

How is UCC strategising in this field?

"In December 2017 UCC launched its Civic and Community Strategic Plan, Together with and for the Community to a packed auditorium. This sets out our vision, objectives and targets for staff, students and community stakeholders across engaged research, accredited community-engaged teaching and learning, volunteering, and infrastructure. In line with our ethos, we based our plan on consultations with staff, students and community members, and will be delivered with staff, students and community members."

What do we need to do at national level to increase the visibility of higher education civic and community engagement?  

"We need to communicate the positive societal impact of university-community and civic engagement. Let’s collectively demonstrate how we are working to improve the wellbeing of the community, and how we are working with civic and civil society members to improve all of our public services; develop new ways to improve the quality of life for all locally and globally."

Follow Pat O'Shea on Twitter: @osheaucc