CIRTL: Dr Ruth Hally

Staff Member: Dr Ruth Hally, Civic Engagement Programme Coordinator.
Department: CIRTL (The Centre for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning).
Case Study Title: Incorporating a global development education perspective into Civic Engagement teaching approaches in University College Cork.


In my role as Civic Engagement Programme coordinator, I foresee several options for integrating a GDE perspective into my work. GDE aligns very closely with the principles and values of higher education civic engagement; a transformative focus on social justice, developing community capacity to solve problems, and sharing responsibility for mutual goals etc. In practice, this close alignment makes it easy for me to continuously push for a GDE perspective and approach when carrying out my own civic engagement activities and when supporting colleagues to make progress in this area. There are three main categories of opportunity that I have identified as the most fertile at the present time, these are:

Community-based Participatory Research (PG6025) Module

Incorporating what I have learned as a member of the Praxis project, within the classroom-based discussions with students, I will begin to pose wider, critical questions about why our community partner exhibits certain characteristics, face particular obstacles etc. I will draw attention to global trends and developments (historical and current) that contribute to or are of relevance to this community and encourage students to examine the cause and effect of geo-political activities, including those of Ireland and its closest neighbours. I will also highlight how similar communities internationally respond to trends and developments and invite students to hypothesize what we can learn from these responses in relation to our local community partner.
Students will be invited to explore how particular policies, societal developments and cultural factors contribute to conditions for community organisations and individual citizens and to problematise how to reverse or begin to address these. If appropriate will we feed these comparisons back to our community partner and invite their opinion and reflections.
In sourcing community partners, I will actively try to engage communities from diverse or marginalised areas or at the very minimum encourage the community organisations with whom I am working to include and welcome diverse communities to contribute to their organisation and to the project/partnership at hand. If community partners have a heterogenous membership I will invite them to reflect on why this is and how they can have greater representation from all pockets of Irish society.
If appropriate, for some module iterations, I will invite guest speakers to provide input that can give an international perspective to the focus of the work.
I will review the course readings with a view to incorporating more international viewpoints and surfacing the voices of people and regions which are less represented in Irish and European higher education literature.
I will continue to emphasise experiential approaches that support all participants to challenge assumptions and think critically.
I will continue efforts to connect more with the International Office in UCC so that we attract more international students to this module. I will focus greater attention on my interactions with international students so that they feel confident and equipped to share examples and scenarios from their home country and offer a critical comparison for the wider learnings of the group.

Staff development: integrating community-engaged learning into the UCC Curricula

When working with staff I will ask the question: to what extent does your work include a developmental education perspective? I will give them some context and examples and ask them can they spot any opportunities to weave dev. Ed into their teaching approaches.
I will use the Self Evaluation Framework developed as part of the Connected Curriculum to assess how dev. Education can be incorporated into part of teaching staff’s work.
Where class groups have a large international cohort, e.g. postgraduate programmes in Medicine and Health, I will support the lecturer in bringing out these international perspectives and contributions to their classroom activities and overall student learning.
I am developing a Civic Engagement in the Curriculum webpage which will function as a toolkit and knowledge hub for staff interested in integrating civic engagement into their teaching. I am writing a series of articles which illuminate the wide range of activities occurring in this space. The intention of these articles is to illuminate the many different styles and preferences for carrying out high quality community engagement and to sign post staff to resources and tools so that they can adopt similar strategies in their own contexts. To make the clear link between Civic Engagement and GDE, I will seek out stories of where lecturers have successfully incorporated a GDE approach into their civic engagement efforts. These articles will provide detail on how it was done, why it was done and what was actually done and thereby make GDE as part of Civic Engagement more explicit and accessible to a wider cohort of staff.

Development Education and Civic Engagement

Development education can be an attractive and relatable entry point for many staff who are curious about civic engagement but unsure how to bring it into their teaching. I will work with the CGD or Praxis members to develop a 2 – 3-hour workshop on dev. ed. and civic engagement. The workshop will focus on the interlinkages between the two and aim to enrich teaching and learning.

Campus Engage working group

As co-convenor of the Community Engaged Teaching and Learning National Working Group, I will push for the inclusion of international perspectives, particularly to critique and enhance the focus of our work. For example, I will research and connect with international network who have similar aims and objectives to our Campus Engage working group but who are making strong advancements in GDE. I will invite them to present their work as well as giving them an overview of activities in Ireland and ask for an evaluation of sorts to be carried out.
I will champion any opportunity to develop Development and Global Citizenship Education in Irish higher education policy and strategy. This includes making greater connections to the entities most active in this area in Ireland.

Campus Engage Short Course Facilitator

I am a facilitator on Ireland’s first online short course for Community Engaged Learning. In my role as facilitator of this course which has both institutional (all Universities) and national reach, I will direct participants to GDE resources and information. Through my teaching and mentorship, I will impress upon participants the importance of thinking globally while acting locally.
In this short course, there are webinars once per week. For one workshop, I will incorporate the theme of Development and Global Citizenship Education to generate ideas and stimulate the thinking of participants so that they can bring their learnings back into their Community Engaged Learning professional development plans. I will draw from the structure and materials created for the UCC staff workshop mentioned above.



Praxis plan

Hally, Ruth_case-study-Praxis-Plan (PDF opens in a new tab/window)



Dr Ruth Hally

Dr Ruth Hally is the Civic Engagement Programme Coordinator in UCC and actively works to support staff to integrate civic engagement into their teaching approaches.
Ruth graduated with a PhD in Higher Education Strategic Planning in 2015. Prior to working in academia, Ruth worked for Enterprise Ireland in Toronto growing business leads for Irish companies. Ruth coordinates a Community-Based Participatory Research module for multi-discipline PhD students. She is the Co-Convenor of IUA Campus Engage national working group for Community Engaged Learning and Teaching and co-developed the first Community Engaged Learning short course launched in February 2021.
Passionate about social and climate justice, Ruth is a member of the University of Sanctuary working group and the MaREI Public Engagement Advisory Board among others. Ruth is a voluntary board of director for the Westgate Foundation, Ballincollig, since 2017.


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