Nov 04 2010 Posted: 00:00 GMT
A new degree programme in Community and Family Studies at NUI Galway is the first of its kind in Ireland where adult learners are given the opportunity to study community and family work policy and practice through the medium of distance learning. The first cycle of the four-year, part-time degree programme were recently awarded their Bachelor of Arts degrees during the Adult Education Graduation ceremony held at the University. The attainment of the Bachelor of Arts in Community and Family Studies marks a significant milestone for the NUI Galway Community Education Centre, who is a core component of Adult and Continuing Education in the University. Furthermore, the award of this degree is testament to the effort and commitment of the 45 students who recently graduated. Helen Casey and Deirdre Hardiman, Community Education Officers and programme managers of the BA in Community and Family studies highlighted the ever increasing significance of education in light of the fundamental challenges now facing both our economy and society, and more particularly the role of educational institutions in assisting communities to respond to these challenges. Helen Casey said: "Over the past 10 years or so, the NUI Galway Community Education Centre has actively supported community development and family support best practice. This BA programme was therefore designed to meet identified needs in the community, and build on Adult Education's track record of community engagement and the promotion of life-long learning. Undoubtedly, the first graduates of this noteworthy programme will be the true agents of change in Irish society and beyond." Deirdre Hardiman added that: "The Community Education Centre are currently undertaking a four year impact assessment study of the first cycle of the degree programme which will be reviewing the impact of the programme to date from the student, community and programme management perspective. The findings of this study will indicate the impact that the BA in Community and Family Studies has produced in areas such as improving educational opportunities for these adult learners and fine tuning their employment skills which has caused a positive ripple effect in many communities over the last four years." Focussing on key areas such as community development, family support, youth work, childcare, health and general political and socio-economic studies, the BA in Community and Family Studies seeks to respond to the requirements of our ever changing society, and also to the requirements of a broad spectrum of adult learners seeking recognised qualifications in formal education. Further information on this innovative, adult friendly programme is available from the Community Education Centre at 091 495241 or http://www.nuigalway.ie/courses/adult-and-continuing-education-courses/community-family-studies.html.