Louth Leader Partnership Celebrates Achievement of
43 Communiversity Students in Maynooth University.
On Thursday 21st January 2016, Louth Leader Partnership, Maynooth University and Louth County Council’s Library Service came together on the University’s campus to recognise the achievement of 43 adults from Dundalk and Drogheda who graduated from our 11 week Communiversity Pilot Programme.
The Communiversity programme is an innovative adult education programme delivered by Louth Leader Partnership in conjunction with Maynooth University, under The Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) 2015 – 2017. The Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) 2015 – 2017 is funded by the Irish Government and co-funded by the European Social Fund and includes a special allocation under the Youth Employment Initiative. The Communiversity programme takes place in Louth County Libraries, one morning per week, and offers participants the opportunity to experience facilitated discussions and debates of higher education in the familiar surroundings of their local community. As part of the Communiversity Programme, students explore subject areas such as Local History, Psychology, Community Development and Youth Work, without the added pressure of exams or assignments.
Acknowledging the success of the programme and achievement of participants, Jacqui Ward, Education & Youth Officer, Louth Leader Partnership said, “The success of this pilot programme in enabling us to break down barriers and open peoples minds to the idea of continuing lifelong education has exceeded our expectations. This programme offers people who are thinking about Third Level Education a chance to test the water and the use of local libraries as a venue is great as it enables us to bring university academic subjects out of campus and into the local community. This is a way for us to break down any barriers that might stop people from considering Third Level Education. This initiative has also given a number of our participants the confidence to progress on their path to lifelong learning, some having already signed up to courses”.
Speaking at the event, Dr. Derek Barter, Academic Coordinator of Continuing Education in the Dept. of Adult and Community Education, explained the rationale behind the programme, “This programme demonstrates real Community Education in practice. One of the aims of this programme is to de-mystify the idea of higher education in the minds of people who may feel alienated from universities and academics, and based on the feedback we are getting from participants we must be doing something right. When particpants are asked what they enjoyed most about the programme, many spoke about the variety of subjects covered, the passion and professionalism of lecturers and their ability to put them at ease, giving them the confidence to believe that you are never too old to learn. They also spoke about the fact that they were being taught to think, and not being told what to do”.
On presenting the participants with their certificates, Dr. Tony Walsh, Head of Department, Adult & Community Education, Maynooth University, congratulated all on their achievement to date, stating “I am delighted to see so many people here today taking the initial step on their educational journey”.
Also speaking at the event were two of our participants, Mark (Maxi) Kavanagh who took part in the Communiversity Programme in Dundalk, and Sarah Clarke who took part in the Communiversity Programme in Drogheda. Mark stated that having left school at 11 years old he wanted to lead by example and pave the way for his children in progressing into further education. Sarah spoke about this programme giving her the confidence and direction to progress her educational journey, informing us that she has recently completed her CAO application, applying to do a Bachelor of Science Degree, Psychology Through Science, in Maynooth University. A direct result of having participated on our Communiversity Programme.
Dundalk Communiversity Programme.
Back Row L-R: Jacqui Ward (Education & Youth Officer, Louth Leader Partnership), Patrick Quinn, Laurena Rafferty, Orla Crilly, Mark (Maxi) Kavanagh, Colin McDonnell, Brian Casey, Damien Keenan, Michael Crilly, Kane Oakes, Dr. Derek Barter (Academic Coordinator of Continuing Education, Maynooth University) & Dr. Tony Walsh (Head of Department, Adult and Community Education, Maynooth University).
Front Row L-R: Angela McGinn (Lecturer of Psychology, Maynooth University), Caroline Hughes, Edel McKeown-Sloan, Nicola Dolan, Stacey McVeigh, Anne McKevitt, Ena McGrath, Elaine McGurk & Orla McDonnell.
Drogheda Communiversity Programme
Back Row L-R: Jacqui Ward (Education & Youth Officer, Louth Leader Partnership), Dr. Tony Walsh (Head of Department, Adult and Community Education, Maynooth University), Lorraine O’Neill, Sarah Clarke, Mick Rogers, Caroline Brogan, Dr. Derek Barter (Academic Coordinator of Continuing Education, Maynooth University) & Vanessa Harte.
From Row L-R: Angela McGinn (Lecturer of Psychology, Maynooth University), Rachel Thompson, Nuala Skelly, Moe McDonagh, Mary Reynolds, Ann Finger & Catherine Lacey.