Diversity to be focus of NUI Galway's Annual Conference on Teaching & Learning

Monday, 29 May 2006

June 8th – 9th, 2006

The topic of NUI Galway's 4th Annual Conference on Teaching & Learning in Higher Education is 'The Challenge of Diversity: Teaching, Support & Student Learning'., Speakers from around the world will focus on the key issue of student diversity and how approaches to teaching, learning and assessment can take into account an increasingly varied student population. The emphasis will be on practical, real world solutions and include an examination of international experience and best practice.

The conference is being hosted by the Centre for Excellence in Learning & Teaching (CELT), NUI Galway. "The needs of non-traditional students are different to those of the traditional student body and teaching methods must adapt to provide the best level of education possible," according to CELT's Director, Dr. Iain MacLabhrainn. He added, "There is an increasing emphasis on widening participation in third level education and we must prepare for the new challenges that presents".

Non-traditional learners include socio-economically disadvantaged students, mature students, students with a disability, part-time students, students who are members of the Traveller community or other minority ethnic groups, and international students. This conference brings together the leading minds and practitioners in the field of third-level education to share knowledge, experience and methods.

"The time has come to extend the focus from widening access towards the facilitation of full participation, engagement and success in higher education of all students. This requires an examination and reconceptualisation of teaching, learning, assessment and student support practices, and our conference will address these key issues", added Elaine Keane, the Conference Organiser and CELT's Researcher in this area.

Keynote speakers will include: Dr. Mary-Liz Trant, the Head of National Office for Equity of Access to Higher Education; Dr. Liz Thomas, Senior Adviser for Widening Participation at the Higher Education Academy (UK); Dr. Kerri-Lee Krause from the Centre for the Study of Higher Education (University of Melbourne, Australia); Professor Alan Hurst (University of Central Lancashire), Professor Dai Hounsell ( University of Edinburgh) and Dr. Janette Ryan ( Monash University, Australia).

The conference has proved to be extremely popular and is over-subscribed, with over 250 individuals registered from educational institutions in countries including South Africa, England, Scotland, the USA, Belgium, New Zealand, Australia, Norway, and, of course, Ireland. The conference is in association with the National University of Ireland, Maynooth and the Dublin Institute of Technology. For further information contact Elaine Keane, Conference Organiser at 091 493621 or elaine.keane@nuigalway.ie

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