NUI Galway Conference to Look at How to Build a More Collective Sense of Academic Citizenship

Jun 19 2017 Posted: 11:22 IST

The Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching at NUI Galway will host its 15th Annual Symposium on Higher Education on Friday 23 June. The event will explore a wide range of issues around the nature of the ‘scholarly community’ that is meant to be the hallmark of universities and other higher education institutions.

The conference, entitled “Learning Communities, Collaboration, and Collegiality”, will try to explore what we mean by ‘learning community’ and ‘collegiality’. These questions are particularly pertinent in the current context of mass higher education, the pressures to focus on research outputs, highly constrained funding, and increasing workloads. Our systems of reward are often based on individual achievement which raises the question of how to build a more collective sense of academic citizenship. Participants will also discuss ways of supporting staff and students to work together to develop creative, collaborative solutions to some of these challenges, and to adapt to the changing nature of society and educational participation.

Professor Iain MacLaren, Director of the Centre for Excellence and Teaching at NUI Galway, said: “I am delighted to be hosting such an event. Given the various challenges and pressures faced by contemporary higher education institutions, it is important for us to take time out to look at the impact on institutional culture, individual well-being, and academic achievement. This event provides just such an opportunity and brings together researchers, teachers, students, and support staff to tackle the issues collectively.”

The conference will feature keynote speakers:

  • Professor Gail Kinman, Professor of Occupational Health Psychology, University of Bedfordshire – Professor Kinman has researched extensively the working conditions in higher education and the issues of stress, and will highlight those factors that challenge attempts to flourish in academia and how to overcome them.
  • Professor David Harper, Principal of Van Mildert College and Professor of Palaeontology, University of Durham – Professor Harper will describe how the college-based model of education, where undergraduate students spend time in ‘living learning communities’ can help with developing academic, personal, and professional confidence.
  • Professor Catherine Manathunga, Victoria University, Melbourne – Professor Manathunga has researched issues around intercultural communication and education and will discuss how this impacts in the supervision of research students.
  • FFlur Elin, President of the National University of Students, Wales – Ms Elin is an advocate of ‘liberating the curriculum’ and ways in which institutions can live up to the aspirations of being responsive and reflective of an increasingly diverse student population.
  • Representatives from Céim, the highly successful student peer-learning initiative run by NUI Galway Student’s Union and the University. They will share experiences and innovations, and participate in workshops around educational leadership and professional development.

The Symposium will conclude with a panel discussion with additional contributions from the research community by Professor Abhay Pandit, Scientific Director of CÚRAM at NUI Galway, and a national student perspective from Jack Leahy from Union of Students in Ireland and the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning.

To register, visit:

The conference will take place at Áras Moyola in NUI Galway on Friday 23 June at 9.30am.


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