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At University of Galway, we believe that the best learning takes place when you apply what you learn in a real world context. That's why many of our courses include work placements or community projects.
Tuesday, 30 March 2004
A pioneering intergenerational programme, established by NUI Galway's Adult and Continuing Education Office is celebrating its fifth birthday this year. The programme called "Living Scenes", which is the only one of its kind in the country, has been piloted with the Presentation Secondary School, Galway and Active Retirement Groups city-wide. A celebration of what the group has achieved will take place this week in An Taibhdhearc Theatre, Galway (Wednesday March 31; 7pm). The 'Living Scenes' project is co-ordinated by the Adult and Continuing Education Department at NUI Galway and involves a core group of fifty retired adults working with the transition-year students (16 year olds), for a two and a half-hour weekly slot on four identified modules, namely Music, Art, Drama and Writing. Learning is facilitated by Tutors who adhere to University-defined operational guidelines. Presentation Secondary School has appointed an internal Co-ordinator for this project. The aim of the project is to promote the sharing of culture, heritage, tradition and experience between older and younger members of society in an educational setting. Participants are encouraged to discover common links between both generations, to foster mutual respect for each other and to promote active and experiential learning. "Living Scenes has endeavoured to respond to evident "gaps" emerging in the fabric of our communities", says Mary Surlis, Project Officer, NUI Galway. "This is evident in the disintegration of the family unit and in particular that of the extended family, where increasingly, grandparents and grandchildren are alienated from each other by a constantly changing cultural and social environment". Presentation Secondary School Principal Michael McCann, says that "the non-judgmental attitude of the older adults, has an empowering effect on the transition year students, facilitating them to feel secure and confident in themselves in a learning environment." He went on to say that, "in keeping with the ethos of transition year, this project sees experiential learning taking place in an active and informal environment, which greatly enhances the holistic development of the students." Ann De Búrca, "Living Scenes" school-based co-ordinator says, "As a teacher co-ordinating the project in the school for the last three years, I have seen the project enhance the self-development and maturity of each group of students in turn. Perhaps the most significant and evident contribution of the project has been the enabling and empowering effect of the older adults' participation on the transition year students". According to Ms. De Búrca, the adults in their dedication, enthusiasm and zest for life and living, has greatly enriched the five transition-year classes who have been privileged to be part of the project. "It has been a liberating and positive learning experience for all of us involved with "Living Scenes"", she says. Academic research has been carried out on "Living Scenes" to evaluate the project in a developmental curricular capacity and to identify its contribution in an educational context in a transition year secondary school programme. The findings of this research have implications for policy makers, as well as school and community groups interested in initiating change in a curricular context. Ends
Monday, 29 March 2004
The implantation of prosthetic or artificial heart valves in patients suffering acute cardiovascular problems has taken place for many years. Each year around 275,000 patients worldwide receive replacement heart valves, of which 55% are mechanical prostheses. An innovative technique to aid design of these implants has been developed by a research team at NUI Galway. "One of the many engineering challenges prosthetic valves present is the difficulty of avoiding clot formation," says Dr. Nathan Quinlan, of NUI Galway's Department of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering and the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science, which is also based on the Galway campus. "The valves can give rise to unnaturally severe fluid dynamics in the blood that flows through them. This in turn aggravates blood cells and can trigger the coagulation process." Many artificial valve recipients require lifelong drug therapy to prevent clot formation. Understanding of dynamics of blood flow in all kinds of heart valves is therefore crucial to development of better valves. The NUI Galway team studied heart valve flows with an experimental fluid dynamics technique that had not previously been widely used for this purpose. "The technique allows us to visualise and measure the flow of an artificial blood substitute without disturbing the flow, and at a level of detail that was more difficult to attain by existing methods," says Dr. Quinlan. "Specifically, we have demonstrated the technique in a realistic model heart system to study the flow from two types of mechanical prosthetic valve into the ventricle." The research team found surprising complexity in the flow in the ventricle itself, which may have some clinical significance. "Our visualisation of the flow in the model ventricle raises some interesting questions" says Dr. Quinlan. "What we have developed is an improved tool for developers and designers of artificial heart valves. This should aid understanding of complex fluid dynamics in the next generation of replacement heart valves." The research team of Dr. Quinlan, Dr. John Eaton and postgraduate student, Donal Taylor, were awarded the Bronze Medal for the best paper at the annual conference of the Bioengineering Section of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland, in January. Their paper was entitled "Measurements of three-dimensional unsteady flow in a model left ventricle with prosthetic valves." The work draws on the expertise and facilities of the Aerospace Research Centre, which since 1990 has been a centre of excellence for fluid dynamics research in the University. Other projects underway in the Biofluid Dynamics Laboratory in the NCBES include investigations of air flow in the lung and of microscopic blood flow around individual cells. The heart valve research was funded by the HEA Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI). Ends
Wednesday, 24 March 2004
National University of Ireland, Galway has today announced two senior appointments to Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge. Seosamh Mac Donnacha has been appointed as Comhordaitheoir Acadúil (Academic Co-ordinator) of an tAcadaimh and Caitlín Nic an Ultaigh has been appointed as Ceannasaí Bainistíochta (Head of Management). Seosamh Mac Donnacha is from an Cheathrú Rua, Co. Galway. His current post is as Development Manager with Oifig na Gaeilge Labhartha at NUI Galway and he has previously worked with Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge and with Glór na nGael. Caitlín Nic an Ultaigh comes to NUI Galway from Comharchumann Shailearna Teo. where she has completed a three year period as Manager of the Co-operative. She has previously worked with Gaelscoileanna and with Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge. Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge is being established by NUI Galway to further develop the range of Irish-medium third level educational opportunities available on campus and in the University's Gaeltacht education centres. The mission of An tAcadamh is 'through academic and research activities, to demonstrate and inspire leadership in the Irish speaking community, within the Gaeltacht and elsewhere, and contribute to the social, cultural, economic and linguistic development of that community and of the country as a whole.' Ends
Wednesday, 24 March 2004
The second annual lecture series in memory of Martha Fox, who has supported the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway, will take place this week and next in the United States. Dr. Niall Ó Cíosáin, of the University's History Department, will deliver a lecture on "Print and the Irish Language", in New York, Boston and Chicago on March 23, 25 and 29, respectively. Each lecture will be introduced by NUI Galway President, Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh. Upon her death in 1999, Martha Fox, a Wakefield Massachusetts schoolteacher, generously endowed NUI Galway with funding for Martha Fox House as home to the Centre for Irish Studies and for scholarship programmes. Her support provides the Centre with an opportunity to foster and develop institutional relationships with academic and civic institutions in the USA and to showcase and highlight aspects of the work of the University's Centre for Irish Studies. Dr. Ó Cíosáin's lecture will trace the culture of print in Irish and explore its complex relationship with the wider questions of language and cultural change. Ó Ciosáin has published Print and Popular Culture in Ireland, 1750-1850 (Macmillan/St Martin s Press 1997) and a number of articles on popular literature, printing and language shift in Ireland. Ends
Tuesday, 16 March 2004
Professor Chris McCrudden of Oxford University will deliver the Annual Distinguished Lecture in Law at NUI Galway on Friday 19th March 2004. His talk, entitled 'Buying Social Justice – the Role of Law', argues whether a State should exploit its market power to achieve ends other than purely economic ones. At present, there would appear to be extremely limited room for States and international organisations to demand a social perspective in their economic dealings with companies. McCrudden also traces the rise of the State both as a regulator of markets and a player in its own right. Dr Maurice Manning, President of the Human Rights Commission of Ireland, will deliver a formal response and is expected to address the plans of the Commission in the whole field of economic social and cultural rights. McCrudden will pose the question whether the primary role of law is to facilitate open markets or to temper market forces with considerations of social justice and will also review the current state of the law from international and European regional perspectives. Professor McCrudden is widely acknowledged as a leading thinker in the broad field of international trade law as well as non-discrimination law. His work has inspired the imposition of a novel duty on public bodies in Northern Ireland, to take positive steps to promote equality. For example, while the International Labour Organisation (ILO) is attempting to ensure that building contracts for the reconstruction of Iraq, benefit local Iraqi workers, the World Bank (which is a major development aid donor), on the other hand, sharply limits the extent to which such a local preference can be given. In the late 1990s, the US Supreme Court ruled that Massachusetts did not have legal authority to force companies registered under Massachusetts law, not to do business in Burma which was widely regarded as an oppressive regime. Professor Gerard Quinn, Faculty of Law, NUI Galway says, "we are delighted to have someone of Professor McCrudden's international standing to inaugurate this important lecture series. Our vision is to raise important law reform issues in the public's mind through this series. We aim to make this series the premiere event on the legal calendar in the West of Ireland and to choose topics that have either a national or international significance." The lecture will take place at 7.00pm in the Arts Millennium Building. It will inaugurate a series of annual public lectures hosted by NUI Galway's Law Faculty and designed to highlight contemporary law reform issues of concern to the general public as well as the legal profession. Ends
Monday, 15 March 2004
A poster exhibition, illustrating the work of NUI Galway's third-year Biomedical and Mechanical Engineering students who have engaged in voluntary work, will open today (Monday), at 5.00 p.m., in the University Art Gallery. The posters are the product of an initiative, which encourages students to get involved in voluntary community-related activities. It is the first year of this project in which 50 students have participated. "Assignments that Inspire and Distinguish Engineers" (AIDE), is the title of the unique programme, which is the first of its kind in engineering in any university in Ireland. It is co-ordinated by Dr Abhay Pandit of the Department of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering. The project is part of the academic programme for students and is supported by the University's Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI), which is co-ordinated by Jacinta Barrins. It is designed to encourage students to voluntarily commit some of their time and energy to the benefit of local communities and individuals outside the family. The AIDE project included a number of lecture modules in which guest speakers addressed the students on the principles of volunteering, corporate and social responsibility, and the relevance of volunteering to the engineering profession. Students were then asked to identify a need in their locality and volunteer thirty hours of assistance towards it. "At first the students were sceptical of the relevance of the initiative to their lives," says Dr. Pandit. "They felt their only responsibility was to pass their exams and get on with their careers. Very quickly, however, they discovered that volunteering brought a very important dimension to their lives and that making a contribution to society by way of volunteering was a most fulfilling experience. The students also realised that they didn't have to look very far in their own communities to identify areas where a helping hand was needed." "We are planting a seed here", continues Dr. Pandit. "University students are in some form privileged and need to be aware of the social needs of their communities. They need to reach out across race, class and gender and share their skills and their time with people in need. We hope that participating in AIDE will make a lasting impression on them and make them responsive to the needs of whatever community they are part of throughout their lives." Some students got involved in groups such as Lions Clubs, Alzheimers groups, Cancer Care West and local sport groups, while others assisted people recovering from serious illnesses by providing support or building assistive devices.
Tuesday, 9 March 2004
Dr Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, President of NUI, Galway today (Tuesday) launched a major fundraising initiative entitled the People & Place Campaign, to secure €50million in private support for the continued development of the University. At an event to launch the campaign, the President, gave details of 24 projects, which will require a total investment of €250million over five years. Commenting at the launch of the campaign, Dr Ó Muircheartaigh said "We have facilities in this University that are in urgent need of investment and we require €250million to deliver on this development plan. NUI Galway is committed to delivering one-fifth of this investment from its own fundraising programme. Fundraising is not intended as a replacement for public funding but to provide seed capital for new areas of research and teaching and to make an often vital contribution toward major buildings and facilities," he said. Dr Ó Muircheartaigh also spoke about the need to remind people about the important role of philanthropy as an agent for change. "We have a job to do in Ireland to educate this generation to the benefits of philanthropy. We still lag behind the United States and other European countries in terms of our overall giving. In terms of this campaign, we are encouraging people to consider the private gain that comes from education and are in turn, urging them to give something back." The €250million development plan for NUI Galway is based on extensive consultation with faculty members and feedback from corporate and community partners. It includes major new buildings for engineering, business and law, as well as new research centres and student facilities. "This ambitious capital development plan can only be realised with financial support from Government and other sources", said Ó Muircheartaigh. New academic programmes to be funded include fine arts, film, music and a radical new initiative to provide recognition for student voluntarism. One of the major aims is to develop the Irish language centres in Gweedore, Carraroe and Carna. The People & Place Campaign will be led by Galway University Foundation (GUF) and will constitute an ongoing high profile outreach to graduates, friends and supporters worldwide. John McNamara, Chairman of GUF, said that a great deal of work had gone into planning the campaign and he was confident a strong team and mechanisms were in place to achieve the €50million goal. He extended an invitation to all who share an affection for Galway and who believe in a strong and vibrant University in the West of Ireland, to become involved in as meaningful a way as possible. Pledges and commitments totalling €27million, raised in the pre-launch phase of the campaign, were announced. Mr Gerry Hanley, Chairperson of the Alumni Association, said that graduates would be delighted to see the University drive forward in this way, as much of the physical infrastructure is in need of upgrading and investment. He invited the more than 50,000 graduates worldwide to participate themselves as donors. Tony McDonnell, President of the Students Union said that he was proud that the students (nearly 14,000 in total) had given their backing by endorsing in a recent referendum the payment of a levy which would help provide a key element of the financing for the new sports and cultural facilities. Further information is available on www.nuigalway.ie/foundation ends
Thursday, 4 March 2004
The Centre of Bioethical Research and Analysis (COBRA), Department of Philosophy, NUI Galway, in association with the Irish Council of Bioethics, will hold a Symposium on Genetics and Disability in the Siobhán McKenna Theatre, NUI Galway from the 10th-12th, March 2004. Internationally acclaimed experts in the fields of genetics and disability who will be speaking at the symposium include John Harris, Julian Savulescu, Janet Radcliffe-Richards, Tom Shakespeare and Jonathan Wolff. Each will give a public lecture. Lectures open to the public will be held at lunchtimes and early evenings throughout the symposium. It is hoped that there will be wide interest in the lectures, which will tackle important ethical questions to do with advances in genetic technologies and their relation to disability issues. "This is simply a world class event", commented COBRA s Director, Dr Richard Hull. "Many important ethical questions are raised given that advances in genetic technologies might affect how we respond to or treat impairment, both medically and as a society. They might even affect how we define disability to start with. We are delighted to have such an excellent line-up of speakers tackling this critical area of bioethical debate." Issues which will be addressed at the Conference include the following: How should society treat people with disabilities? How and to what effect should genetic technologies be employed in the future? Is there a moral obligation to eradicate disability where we can? Is it wrong to deliberately create a child with a disability where we could instead have created a different child without a disability? How should research on those with disabilities be properly conducted, if at all? Is it possible or desirable to define an acceptable range of human capability when considering the potential uses (or abuses) of genetic technology? Ends