St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra is one of the largest Colleges of Education in Ireland with approximately 2,500 taking courses in Education and Humanities at undergraduate and postgraduate level. Since 1993, the College has been a College of Dublin City University and all courses are accredited by the University. Currently, a major programme of refurbishment and extension is under way and by the time of its completion in 2015, the capacity of the college will be doubled and the facilities enhanced and modernised.
The Faculty of education is responsible for a range of programmes from Bachelor to Doctoral level. The flagship programme is the B.Ed. which prepares students for teaching in primary schools. This year, the programme was extended to four years and the applied component was extended thus guaranteeing that graduating students would have a balanced preparation in an academic and practical sense. This change together with the high calibre of students entering the programme ensures a highly motivated student body. There are a variety of other programmes including the Master of Teaching programme which is distinctive in the Irish context because of its explicit focus on teachers’ classroom practice. The research degrees at Master’s and Doctoral level are especially focused on the most salient educational issues including educational disadvantage, special education, literacy and assessment.
The staff in the Education Faculty combine a practical expertise (most have been teachers) with academic and research training. Their development is enhanced by the linkage of the college with institutions overseas, particularly in the EU and the US. There is also a programme involving developing counties and several staff have had opportunities to work with colleagues abroad.
The Faculty of Humanities organised programmes from Bachelor to Doctoral level and provides an exciting range of courses that engage with many of the central knowledge areas shaping the world around us. Pursuing the degrees in Humanities degree equips students with a range of key skills for understanding, interpreting, and contributing to modern society. Each subject-area provides students with an opportunity to gain an in-depth knowledge and understanding of a particular academic discipline. In the course of being introduced to the knowledge base and skills which are intrinsic to each discipline, students are invited to read widely, critically and perceptively, and to reflect on their reading and articulate their responses to the challenges posed by these areas of study. Students are free to choose subject combinations from across the range of disciplines offered on the BA Programme and thus tailor their degree experience to their interests and personal requirements.
An active involvement in research is a crucial feature of the ethos of the College. This is enhanced considerably by the fact that the National Centre for educational research is located in the College (the Educational Research Centre). This centre has an international reputation for research on assessment and interventions to address educational disadvantage. In addition, the vast majority of the College staff are actively involved in publishing research and the annual report of research demonstrates that a great many articles are published by staff in high-impact refereed journals. The domains in which high quality research is being produced include special education, ICT, science education, teachers’ resilience and assessment and evaluation.
Professor Mark Morgan is g co-director of Growing up in Ireland (the national Longitudinal Study of Children) at the Children’s Research Centre, Trinity College and Cregan Professor of Education and Psychology at St. Patrick’s College. He is a graduate of the London School of Economics and a post-doctoral Fellow of Stanford University. Having qualified as a teacher in St. Patrick’s college, he was a teaching Principal following which he was a lecturer in the College and subsequently head of the Education Department. He is the author of over 80 scholarly publications among which are a number that focus on teachers’ motivation, stress and resilience. He has also evaluated several major national projects including substance use prevention programmes, the Relationship and Sexuality programme as well as a number of interventions that seek to address educational disadvantage. In 2010, he was awarded the President’s prize for research by Dublin City University.
Dr Margaret O’ Donnell is a lecturer in St Patrick’s College, Dublin. She has wide experience in the field of special education, teacher education, curriculum studies, assessment and educational policy and practice. She has held the post of Director, Curriculum and Assessment, with the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) where she was responsibility for advising the Minister on all matters relating to special education policy at primary and post-primary level. Her primary responsibilities related to the production and redrafting of the Guidelines for Teachers of Students with General Learning Disabilities, the production of Guidelines for Teachers of the Exceptionally Able Student, developing a DVD for parents – The What, How and Why of your Child’s Learning and advising on all matters relating to equality of access to and participation in curriculum and assessment for pupils with special educational needs. The area of teacher education has long been a topic of interest and study. Her Doctorate studies examined teacher efficacy – the extent to which teachers believe they were adequately prepared with the knowledge, skills and competencies to work in inclusive classroom in mainstream schools. In addition, she has wide research experience, both at a personal and national level, gleaned through her own studies and through her involvement in major national commissioned research projects.