About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 1645-1656
Publication year: 2009
ISBN: 978-84-613-2953-3
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain

RESEARCHING COMMUNITY-UNIVERSITY PARTNERSHIPS: RESULTS FROM AN IRISH STUDY INVESTIGATING COMMUNITY UNIVERSITY AND STUDENT COLLABORATION

R. Mc Menamin, M. Mc Grath

National University of Ireland, Galway (IRELAND)
Background:
The Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) at the National University of Ireland Galway (NUI, Galway) aims to promote civic engagement across the institution and strengthen links with local, national and international communities. CKI activities include embedding Service Learning (SL) as a pedagogical approach in curricula at NUI Galway. SL aims to link service to the community with academic work.The disciplines of Occupational Therapy and Speech and Language Therapy integrated SL into their undergraduate curricula in 2005/06

SL provides an opportunity for communities and universities to work collaboratively to address important social issues. Studies from the United States suggest that students’ civic awareness is developed through community participation (Eyler & Giles 1999). Additional benefits for students participating in SL include enhanced academic performance, increased civic awareness and improved personal and professional skills ( Eyler & Giles 1999;Claus & Michel 2000).

Preliminary investigations of our SL modules show consistent impacts those reported in the literature (McMenamin & Mc Grath 2007; 2008) however there is a lack of empirical evidence to support this finding. The aim of this research is to investigate the impact of SL on undergraduate healthcare students, educators and community partners.

Methodology:
We adopted a qualitative approach to investigate the impacts of the collaboration on all stakeholders. We conducted focus groups with students and graduates (n=24), interviews with educators (n=8), and focus groups and interviews with community partners (n=10). Topic guides for the interviews and focus groups were developed based on a systematic review of the literature relating to the impacts of SL. Purposeful sampling techniques were used to ensure richness of data. All interviews and focus groups were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data was analysed by an independent researcher using thematic analysis.

Results:
Data analysis identified five themes for students i.e. (professional development, personal development, academic development, employability and civic awareness/engagement); three themes for community partners i.e. (access to students, access to services and community-university relationships); two themes for educators i.e. (mission of higher education institutions and grounding academic practice in the community). Subthemes were identified for each of the main themes.

Conclusions:
Impacts of SL in an Irish context are largely consistent with findings from the literature (Eyler 2001; Furco 1993) however we identified challenges relating to the discourse of ‘service learning’ in an Irish context including (1) the culture of service and education, (2) confusion around roles and responsibilities and (3) the nature of University-Community collaborations

Acknowledgments
This research was funded by the National Academy for the Integration of Research & Teaching & Learning (NAIRTL) and is supported by the CKI at NUI, Galway.
@InProceedings{MCMENAMIN2009RES,
author = {Mc Menamin, R. and Mc Grath, M.},
title = {RESEARCHING COMMUNITY-UNIVERSITY PARTNERSHIPS: RESULTS FROM AN IRISH STUDY INVESTIGATING COMMUNITY UNIVERSITY AND STUDENT COLLABORATION},
series = {2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2009 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-613-2953-3},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Madrid, Spain},
month = {16-18 November, 2009},
year = {2009},
pages = {1645-1656}}
TY - CONF
AU - R. Mc Menamin AU - M. Mc Grath
TI - RESEARCHING COMMUNITY-UNIVERSITY PARTNERSHIPS: RESULTS FROM AN IRISH STUDY INVESTIGATING COMMUNITY UNIVERSITY AND STUDENT COLLABORATION
SN - 978-84-613-2953-3/2340-1095
PY - 2009
Y1 - 16-18 November, 2009
CI - Madrid, Spain
JO - 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2009 Proceedings
SP - 1645
EP - 1656
ER -
R. Mc Menamin, M. Mc Grath (2009) RESEARCHING COMMUNITY-UNIVERSITY PARTNERSHIPS: RESULTS FROM AN IRISH STUDY INVESTIGATING COMMUNITY UNIVERSITY AND STUDENT COLLABORATION, ICERI2009 Proceedings, pp. 1645-1656.
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