Friday, 19 March 2010

Studying with us

The reputations of the Dept of Adult & Community Education and the Dept of Sociology at NUI Maynooth place them at the forefront of the field of critical adult and community education, and critical social and political analysis respectively. The Dept of Sociology has long had research and teaching strengths in areas such as critical social analysis, the study of inequality and social movement studies, and with the addition of its recent Politics degree has added a new focus on the politics of inequality and the practice of active citizenship. The Dept of Adult and Community Education for its part has a long experience in working with practitioners in community organisations, minority groups, NGOs and state agencies for change. The two departments are collaborating on this course to develop thinking about critical pedagogy in community education; power and praxis in social movements and understandings of equality, transformation and sustainability.

Our commitment to the public use of academic knowledge is a long-standing one and we have a wide range of practical experience as well as research-based knowledge. This includes involvement with social movements, community activism and issue-based campaigning; media work and public debate; active involvement in political parties, trade unions and lobbying groups; community education and literacy; development and human rights work. Our student body is very diverse, with a wealth of different experiences and a strong tradition of involvement in community development and social activism.

Both departments have a long history of attracting students who are concerned about social and global justice and keen to draw on their analytical skills to develop a professional life in these areas. This includes a body of mature students who have already had such an engagement and want to develop their practice further. This programme is designed to meet the needs of this diverse cohort of potential or continuing students. This includes those involved in adult learning, community development, social movements, grassroots activism, workers in NGOs and state agencies, and advocates with minority groups.

The course is geared to bringing together the best of practitioner skills in the field with the best of academic research. Our workshops are not traditional classroom experiences but draw on our extensive experience with community, popular and radical educational practice to bring out and work with participants' existing knowledge. We bring our own lived experience into the classroom, and encourage other participants to do the same, creating a conversation between practitioners in which students are not passive learners and teachers are not unquestioned experts.

Staff teaching on the course in 2010 - 2011 include Brid Connolly (ACE), Laurence Cox (Sociology), Tony Cunningham (Sociology), Fergal Finnegan (ACE), Bernie Grummell (ACE) Michael Murray (ACE) and Theresa O'Keeffe (Sociology). Visiting lecturers / presenters have included John Bissett, community activist Jean Bridgeman, independent scholar Laurence Davis, media activist Mimi Doran, Margaret Gillan of Community Media Network, a group from Longford Women's Link and Peter Hussey among others.