Community Knowledge Initiative at NUI Galway hosts major international conference on University-Community Engagement

May 29 2017 Posted: 12:03 IST

7th annual International Symposium on Service Learning (ISSL)

NUI Galway will welcome over 200 international delegates from South Africa, Egypt, Vietnam, Ireland, UK, Germany and across the USA, to the 7th annual International Symposium on Service Learning (ISSL) which will take place from the 14-16 June 2017.

The ISSL is a partnership between the University of Indianapolis, Stellenbosch University and NUI Galway. For three days the delegates will discuss the role of higher education within society through service learning. 

 Service learning is a teaching approach that connects student learning to the needs of community. Since 2004, NUI Galway has been offering up to 2000 students the opportunity to connect their learning to community. Lorraine McIlrath Director of the Community Knowledge Initiative at NUI Galway and Co-Chair of the ISSL said: “Students at NUI Galway have an opportunity to use their knowledge to connect with real world problems - engineering students design and build prototypes for people with physical disabilities, nursing students address the implications of nursing in an Irish multi-cultural context and law students offer pro bono legal information to community partners. We feel that this type of learning can open students’ minds to their role as agents of change within community and society.”

The theme of the 2017 symposium is “Service Learning as a Response to Global Transitions in Higher Education: Opportunities for Transforming Higher Education on Advancing Social Impact.” Delegates will share knowledge across different cultural contexts on what matters and works when using service learning as a teaching approach. 

Lorraine McIlrath also said: “It has been a fantastic opportunity for universities in South Africa, Europe and the USA to come together to showcase form international perspectives the challenges, opportunities and impact that service learning can have in terms of transforming the higher education experience and that of impact within community and society.”

When reflecting on the 7th ISSL, President Robert L. Manuel from the University of Indianapolis said: “Service learning encompasses much more than providing on-site educational experiences or featuring community leaders in the classroom. It represents a true partnership to not only educate students but also instil in them the mind-set and thoughtfulness necessary to enhance their community - no matter where their life takes them. The inspiration ignited today will help us to translate these experiences to the next generation of influencers and community leaders.”

For more information contact Lorraine McIlrath Director of the Community Knowledge Initiative at NUI Galway at or phone 0877682099


Marketing and Communications Office


Featured Stories