Minister launches Campus Engage Charter on Civic and Community Engagement

20 Presidents of Higher Education Institutions sign a national charter to underscore their commitment to the civic and community engagement role and responsibilities of their institutions

16 June 2014: At a landmark event in Dublin Castle 20 Presidents of Higher Education Institutions in Ireland came together to publicly sign up to the 10 point Campus Engage Charter on Civic and Community Engagement. Under the charter the presidents underscore their commitment to the civic and community engagement role and responsibilities of their institutions.

Launching the Charter, Minister for Education and Skills, Mr. Ruairi Quinn T.D said, “Today is an important recognition of commitment by Ireland’s higher education institutions to build on what has been achieved to date and place Ireland at the fore internationally in terms of promoting civic and community engagement by higher education.  The importance of ‘engagement’ is recognised in the National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030, and in the HEA’s performance framework, which both ask higher education institutions to engage openly with their community and wider society and for this to infuse every aspect of their mission.   I congratulate all involved in the realisation of the Charter, and specifically to the Presidents for their commitment.“

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Pictured at the launch of the Campus Engage Charter on Civic and Community Engagement, Minister for Education and Skills, Mr Ruairi Quinn T.D with Presidents and Representatives of 20 HEI’s who signed the Charter on behalf of their institutions, Dublin Castle June 16th 2014

Campus Engage is a national initiative promoting community-based research, community-based learning and volunteering.   It is a HEA-funded national initiative with representation from higher education institutions, the Irish University Association (IUA) and Institutes of Technology Ireland (IOTI).   Hundreds of community-based organisations currently work with the staff and students of Irish higher education institutions in these fields. Through practical experience students across all disciplines have an opportunity to develop ‘work ready’ skills while Campus Engage  also promotes new knowledge exchange between academic, community service providers, policy makers, and the public.

Commenting after the launch, Professor Brian Norton said he was delighted to make a formal commitment on behalf of DIT to sign up to the Charter.  “As the Minister mentioned in his remarks, DIT has been active in civic and community engagement for many years, and I am very proud of the many achievements of colleagues and students through a wide range of projects.  This is a very important aspect of our students’ experience and we will ensure that we build on the involvement of students across DIT.”

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A landmark moment as Prof Brian Norton, signs the Campus Engage National Charter on Civic and Community Engagement on behalf of Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin Castle June 16th 2014.

The launch of an Irish Charter for Civic and Community Engagement builds on the pioneering actions taken by other countries including Australia, UK and the US, who have signed up to similar agreements at national level to support and strengthen the civic role and responsibilities of higher education  Campuses across the country are building capacity and activating ‘bottom up’ student and staff-led initiatives such as community- based learning, community-based research and volunteering, to tackle the  skills deficit, contributing community-based research to inform public policy, engaging in political debate and providing evidenced-informed media debate on matters of public policy and public concern. 

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