Opening the Sociological Association of Ireland (SAI) Postgraduate Conference 2014 the Roundtable will address the wider role for Higher Education in society
An NUI Galway roundtable discussion will address the role of universities in the development of citizens, and their role in making a better society for all. The discussion will form part of the Sociological Association of Ireland (SAI) Postgraduate Conference 2014 supported by the School of Political Science, the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway and the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) at NUI Galway
The roundtable discussion, open to the public is titled “The role of the university as porous in the contemporary development of citizens?” and will take place on Friday 7th March 2014 at The Ruby Room, The Kings Head, 15 High Street, Galway from 7pm - 9pm.
Creativity, as a driving force for economic growth has had a profound effect in the last ten years on a range of social institutions, especially in education. This new creative ethos is linked to unlocking talent through the teaching of entrepreneurial modelling and programmes that encourage employability, particularly in higher education institutions.
Although the university’s role in the area of creativity, innovation, and technology transfer has been much addressed and catered for, there is neglect amongst experts, policy makers and university leaders as to the university’s broader role in contributing to and producing an open and tolerant social climate through civic or community engagement activities.
Dr Jennifer Dagg, School of Political Science and Sociology, NUI Galway said “The effect of neo-liberal values eroding the education system is a very current debate in Irish society. The activities, by universities for example, with their surrounding communities often get sidelined in these types of discussions. We want to discuss the role of the university as embedded in the communities in which it is located, and the value of this form of activity.”
According to Professor Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class, regional creativity and economic growth is partly dependent upon the integration of the third level education sector into the broader creative ecosystem. Professor Florida says, “The old model of a university pumping out research results and educated students or even commercial innovations and start-up companies, is no longer sufficient for the era of creative-knowledge-based capitalism.”
The National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030 states that "Engagement with the wider community must become more firmly embedded in the mission of higher education institutions. Higher education institutions need to become more firmly embedded in the social and economic contexts of the communities they live in and serve."
This roundtable discussion session will bring together academics working in the field of education, civic engagement, technology, and development, to discuss the role of the university as porous in the contemporary development of citizens.
Roundtable attendees will hear about the role of the University and Higher Education Institutions in serving public interest values from Professor Kathy Hall from University College Cork. Dr Su-Ming Khoo from NUI Galway will talk about the role of the University and the (global) ethics of engagement, while Dr Brendan Smith from the Insight Centre for Data Analytics at NUI Galway will talk about how NUI Galway is making a positive contribution through web technologies. Lastly, Lorraine McIlrath from the Community Knowledge Initiative at NUI Galway will talk about the ‘civic university’. This will be followed by a Q&A session.
For more postgraduate conference details see www.sociology.ie.