We use cookies to improve your experience on this website. Read More Allow Cookies
+

 

As we all know, society is becoming increasingly diverse. Higher education campuses are now home to students from different backgrounds, experiences, and viewpoints. In response to this increasing student diversity however, higher education institutions have tended to rely on specialist staff, as well as the commitment of particular academic faculty, who often assume the role of ‘access champion’. This often leads to access, participation, and success being ‘owned’ by the few, rather than the many: this in effect runs counter to national access policy, which envisions the student population as reflecting the diversity of Ireland’s population [1]. In line with this vision, the Higher  Education Authority (HEA) recommends that “the next step is to integrate the principle of equity of access more fully into the everyday life of the HEIs so that it permeates all faculties and departments, and is not marginalised as the responsibility of the designated access office” [2].

 

In CIT’s Strategic Plan, inclusivity is specifically listed as the first of five core values whereby ‘we strive to support and nurture inclusivity, diversity and equality, recognising the value they have to the future of our students, staff and the wider community’. Furthermore, we identify the engagement and empowerment of staff as a strategic enabler, committing to actions and initiatives that seek to ensure and promote a culture of inclusion, diversity and equality where staff and students are respected and valued across the Institute.

 

With this in mind, the TLU and CIT’s Access Office in association with the Athena SWAN Office, Human Resources Department and International Office came together to organise what we hope will be the first of many Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Awareness Weeks for staff. The aim of this week was to increase awareness among staff of the issues around equality, diversity and inclusion in higher education and in doing so it is hoped that we can continue to effect positive change within CIT to ensure that the principle of equal access to higher education for all is firmly embedded within our institute creating a fairer society in which everyone can participate and has the opportunity to fulfil their potential.

 

The following was the schedule of events for the week – each session, apart from the Pop-Up Christmas Art Sale/Exhibition, took place in Seminar Rooms 1 & 2, Melbourn Building, CIT Bishopstown Campus.

 

Monday, 16th December 2019

Time

Title & Description

09:30

Opening Address by Dr Barry O’Connor, President, CIT

10:00-12:30

Traveller Cultural Awareness Training

 

White Irish Travellers are an Irish ethnic group, making up almost 1% of the Irish population. Travellers have their own unique culture which was based on travelling around the country. As a society Ireland needs to work in partnership with Travellers to address the issues that face the Traveller community, such as education, housing and health. There is a need for public services to respect the cultural and ethnic identity of Travellers when they access services. Less than 1% of the Traveller population progress to third level education.

 

The programme was delivered by Traveller Community Workers who have been trained in facilitation skills to deliver the programme.

 

The aims of the TCAT programme were:

  • To raise awareness of Traveller issues
  • To provide information on Traveller culture and how this impacts on educational opportunities
  • To identify the main barriers experienced by Travellers in accessing education
  • To identify ways of moving forward to improve access and uptake of education

View Resources

12:30-14:00

Our Challenges in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion:

In conversation with Dr Amanullah De Sondy, Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Islam at UCC

Introduced by Dr Orla Flynn, Vice President for External Affairs, CIT

 

Dr Amanullah De Sondy is a senior lecturer in Contemporary Islam at University College Cork. Amanullah holds a B.A in Religious Studies and Education Studies with the Diploma in Education from Stirling University. This led to a career as a secondary school teacher of Religious Education (RE) in Scotland where he taught in many different schools, held senior positions in national RE organisations, led a number of in-service events for teachers, consulted the Scottish Government's non-departmental public body, Learning Teaching Scotland (LTS), authored two key texts on teaching Islam and lectured part time at Strathclyde University's teacher training courses on RE at Jordanhill College, Glasgow.

 

Amanullah then completed an MLitt in Islamic Jerusalem studies at the University of Abertay, Dundee, which focused mainly on the history of the city and its religious connections. Amanullah then returned to his home city, Glasgow where he completed his PhD in 2009 in Theology and Religious Studies with a specific focus on Islamic Studies. While at Glasgow, he was short-listed for the Teaching Excellence Award and was the lead researcher on "Philanthropy for Social Justice in British Muslim Societies," a project funded by the Ford Foundation. Amanullah moved to the USA thereafter, where he taught Islamic Studies at Ithaca College (1 year) and the University of Miami (5 years) in 2010.

 

He has studied Arabic and Islam in France, Jordan, and Syria and has particular interest in Urdu and Punjabi poetry, or ghazals. His first book, “The Crisis of Islamic Masculinities”, was published with Bloomsbury Academic in January 2014.

 

Amanullah has played a significant international role in the public understanding of Islam. He has contributed articles and interviews in the print media and has also been invited to present radio and TV. In 2008, BBC Radio Scotland broadcast a full-length program ‘A Life in Question - Amanullah De Sondy’ hosted by Colin McKay.

 

Tuesday, 17th December 2019

Time

Title & Description

10:00-12:00

"UDL – Learning and Sharing” – practical and easy ways to create more innovative and inclusive practice in lectures and assessments

 

Facilitated By

  • Laura Coleman, Disability Support Officer, CIT
  • Ruth Murphy, Disability Projects Coordinator, CIT

 

Universal Design for Learning is an educational framework based on research in the learning sciences, including cognitive neuroscience, that guides the development of flexible learning environments and learning spaces that can accommodate individual learning differences.

This workshop focused on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in CIT - if you are looking for ways to ensure that your classroom is as inclusive as possible and create a teaching and learning environment that is accessible to all, then this workshop helped to give you some tools and ideas on how to make this a reality!

In the context of UDL, attendees:

  • Examined and reflected on their own lectures and/or assessments
  • Gained some insight into current best practice
  • Obtained some practical and easy ways to create a more inclusive teaching and learning environment

View Resources

 

 

Wednesday, 18th December 2019

Time

Title & Description

10:00-12:00

Recognising and Challenging our Unconscious Bias

 

Facilitated By

On behalf of the Athena SWAN Office, CIT

  • Maria Cullinane, Lecturer, Process, Energy & Transport Engineering, CIT
  • Mary Cooney, Lecturer, Applied Social Studies, CIT

Unconscious bias refers to the stereotypes, both negative and positive, that exist in our subconscious and affect our behaviour. It can affect workplaces and organisations and can introduce unintentional discrimination which results in poor decision making. Unconscious Bias can be a huge setback in creating a truly diverse and inclusive workplace.

 

The main goal of this workshop was to raise awareness of this important issue amongst staff and give a flavour of further training that is planned for the coming year, in response to CIT’s commitment to Athena SWAN. It is hoped that by encouraging us all to recognise and challenge our own unconscious biases that we can effect positive change within CIT and create a truly diverse and inclusive workspace to the benefit of all.

 

Those attending this workshopl:

  • Gained an understanding of what unconscious bias is
  • Were exposed to some of their own unconscious biases
  • Were provided with some simple tools/techniques to adjust these automatic patterns of thinking

View Resources

12:30-14:00

Other Voices

 

A space to hear other voices, telling other stories, from other perspectives which included:

  • Nura Hagi, graduate of CIT and promotor of the Cork City of Sanctuary initiative
  • Leanne McDonagh, graduate of CIT and now CIT Traveller Education Coordinator
  • Emma Barrow, Social Care student, The Student Voice
  • Dr Pio Fenton, Head of Marketing & International Business, CIT - LGBT issues in the Digital Age
  • Ailbhe Barret & Rosaleen Moore, CIT Crawford College of Art & Design students, who will talk about their art practice and what it is like to attend CIT Crawford as a member of Crawford Supported Studios

 

Thursday, 19th December 2019

Time

Title & Description

12:00-14:00

Assistive Technology and Learning Resources for All

 

Delivered By

  • Fiona Downey, Learning Support Advisor, Disability Support Service, CIT
  • Mark Burleigh, Assistive Technology Officer, Disability Support Service, CIT

Assistive technology (AT) tools and resources were once meant for students with learning disabilities, but there is clear, documented proof that these tools are beneficial to everyone.

This session introduced staff to the various AT that can be used by both students and staff to support academic study including dictation, mind mapping and narration technologies. In addition, some useful learning resources, developed within the CIT Disability Office, were shared that can be used to support all students not just those with disabilities.

 

View Resources

 

Saturday, 14th -Friday, 20th December 2019

Time

Title & Description

11:00-16:00

Pop-Up Christmas Art Sale/Exhibition

46 Grand Parade will host a Pop-Up Christmas Art Sale/Exhibition offering a fantastic opportunity to purchase art for Christmas from GASP and Cúig Artists. CIT Crawford is proud to work in partnership with the GASP and Cúig artists as they continue to gain a strong reputation for their work with an extensive exhibition record. Crawford Supported Studios is a partnership between CIT Crawford, Crawford Art Gallery, Cope Foundation and Cork City Council.

 

References

  • National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030 (Hunt Report). Dublin: Department of Education and Skills.
  • National Plan for Equity of Access to Higher Education, 2015-2019. Dublin: Higher Education Authority.

Let's get social