NUI Galway Launches the Going to College Project

Monday, 10 January 2011

NUI Galway will launch the Going to College Project, an inclusive education initiative to support the civic engagement of persons with intellectual disabilities, on Monday, 17 January 2011. Registrar and Deputy-President, Professor Nollaig Mac Congáil will officially launch the project which will take place at 11am in the Bailey Allen Hall on campus. Conor Pope, TV Presenter, journalist with The Irish Times and NUI Galway graduate, will be Master of Ceremonies for the event. Through a University/community partnership, the UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement, NUI Galway, the Community Knowledge Initiative, NUI Galway and the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies are leading this innovative project. The project is also supported by the HSE. The aim of the two-year project is to support the civic engagement of persons with an intellectual disability through access to inclusive higher education at NUI Galway. Students with an intellectual disability will chose to study particular subjects (or subject modules) they are interested in and will be individually supported to participate in classes with their peers in the University. Students will also be supported to volunteer in their own community, get involved in community activities and community projects, experience internships in departments at NUI Galway, undertake external work placements linked with their area of study and participate and engage in college clubs and societies. There will be a flexible accreditation process to acknowledge each student's individual achievement, resulting in a Certificate in Arts and Civic Studies. Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair for Children, Youth and Civic Engagement and Director Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway explained: "This pilot will provide an opportunity for the students to fully engage with college life, develop social connections with their peers and harness the knowledge and skills to determine their own future." The project will also include collaborations with other Universities both nationally and internationally. Bruce Uditsky and E.Anne Hughson from the Alberta Association of Community Living (AACL) /University of Calgary will attend the launch. AACL have been involved in the development of inclusive higher education for persons with intellectual disabilities for over 20 years in Alberta, Canada. As part of their visit, they will provide workshops for academic staff at NUI Galway, for parents and families and for service providers. The project will also be supported by a number of community and employer patrons including Mary O'Malley, poet and writer; Padraig O'Ceidigh, CEO Aer Arann and Tina Roche, CEO Business in the Community. Conor Pope will also be patron of the project. Recruitment and selection for the Going to College pilot programme will take place during February/March/April 2011.
ENDS

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