DIT Community Learning Programme attracts Government funding

17 June - CLP Launch and Reception

The Community Learning Programme, a teaching initiative of the School of Hospitality Management and Tourism in DIT's Faculty of Tourism and Food, has been identified as an example of best practice in higher education and has been awarded government funding of €330,000 for a three-yearpilot project.

Minister of State, Noel Ahern TD

Minister of State, Noel Ahern TD, announced this week that the CommunityLearning Programme (CLP) will receive €110,000 per annum over a three-year period as part of a package of supports aimed at developing a volunteering infrastructure in Ireland.  Making the announcement, Minister Ahern said "The DIT Community Learning Programme is an example of a new teaching method called service-learning, which works by integrating classroom learning in any subject with suitable volunteering activity... my Department will support the Programme as a pilot project to be assessed as a possible model for Irish third level education."

 The CLP programme has been in development in the Faculty of Tourism and Food since 2001.  Starting with 12 students, there are now 65 students involved, carrying out a wide variety of volunteering projects.  The programme enhances the teaching of any subject by building relevant volunteering activity into the teaching method.  The integration of the theory and the practical volunteering significantly improves the quality of student learning of any subject.  The government proposes to support the growth of the CLP in DIT in Stage 1 of the project, and in Stage 2 will assess CLP as a possible role model for the Irish third level sector.

Dr. Michael Mulvey, Director of the Faculty of Tourism and Food said that the Minister's decision will place the programme on a sustainable footing for the coming three years, funding a development officer and an evaluator for the further development of the programme. He congratulated colleagues in the School of Hospitality Management and Tourism, who have been involved in a number of innovative teaching developments heretofore, and he thanked colleagues in the Community Links Programme, the Learning and Teaching Centre, DITSU, and others throughout the Institute who have supported the development of the Community Learning Project.

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