Diversity of Education Symposium at NUI Galway

Dr Manuela Heinz, School of Education, NUI Galway; Professor Anne Scott, Vice-President for Equality and Diversity, NUI Galway; Professor Liz Thomas, Keynote Speaker, Director and Chair, Widening Participation Research Centre, Edge Hill University, England; and Dr Elaine Keane, School of Education, NUI Galway.
Nov 19 2019 Posted: 14:09 GMT

NUI Galway’s School of Education recently hosted a Diversity in Teaching research symposium. Building on their previous Diversity in Initial Teacher Education (DITE) project funded by the Irish Research Council (2013-2015), the Diversity in Teaching event was Ireland’s first research symposium on the topic.  

Professor Anne Scott, Vice-President for Equality and Diversity at NUI Galway, opened the event and welcomed over 60 participants who were in attendance from higher education institutions all over Ireland, as well as from Canada, the US, and the UK.

Professor Liz Thomas of Edge Hill University, England provided the keynote address, examining the role of professional passion in improving diversity and success in teacher education. The symposium was organised by Drs Elaine Keane and Manuela Heinz, who further contextualised the symposium’s work by examining the rationale for diversifying the teaching profession.

The remainder of the day featured 18 papers presented by national and international participants, many drawing on projects funded under the Higher Education Authority’s innovative Programme for Access to Higher Education (PATH), Strand 1 (Equity of Access to Teacher Education), which in 2017 committed €2.4 million to projects to diversify the teaching profession in Ireland. Chaired by Dr Rory McDaid, Marino Institute of Education, the day closed with a panel session looking to the future in the area, with contributions from Neil McDermott, Higher Education Authority; Eilish Bergin, Department of Education and Skills; Owen Ward, Professional Master of Education student; and Drs Elaine Keane and Manuela Heinz, School of Education, NUI Galway.  

Dr Elaine Keane, School of Education at NUI Galway, said: “We were delighted to welcome so many colleagues from the national and international contexts to Ireland’s first research symposium on Diversity in Teaching here at NUI Galway. Diversifying the teaching profession has long been a core research focus for us here in the School of Education, and the symposium’s work here today has laid the foundation stone for the progress of this important work into the future.”

Dr Manuela Heinz, School of Education, NUI Galway, said: “The research symposium offered teacher educators, representatives from the Department of Education and the Higher Education Authority, teachers, student teachers and education researchers the opportunity to discuss ways forward. Our previous DITE research identified a significant ‘diversity gap’ between student and teacher cohorts. Now that we are supporting the recruitment of a more diverse student teacher cohort, we need to provide the necessary supports for teachers from currently underrepresented groups, an important focus for research.”


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