UCD Access Symposium 2019

On Thursday 30 May, UCD Access & Lifelong Learning (ALL) celebrated its fourth annual access symposium. The theme of the Access Symposium was ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ and the keynote speaker was criminologist, academic and social justice campaigner Phil Scraton, was introduced by Professor Grace Mulcahy, Chair of the UCD Widening Participation Committee. Professor Scraton is best known for his investigative research into the 1989 Hillsborough disaster and his work on social justice campaigns. His keynote address focused on the challenges involved in bearing witness to the pain of others in a social, political and economic rights context.

The welcoming address was delivered by UCD President, Professor Andrew Deeks. President Deeks highlighted the importance of creative an inclusive university, where all students feel welcome, and that their experience, perspective and opinions are respected and valued. “In UCD, we pride ourselves on the diversity of our student population, and on our progress in creating a University for All.”

There was a celebration of UCD’s Controm na Féinne scholars and graduates. It is the largest access scholarship programme in the country, named after our University motto, ‘justice and equality’. This scholarship programme is made possible through the generosity of the UCD Alumni and supports students who may not traditionally be in a position to access third-level education. These include students from low-income backgrounds, lone parents, people with a disability, refugees, and members of the travelling community, amongst others. In 2018, UCD awarded 135 Cothrom na Féinne Scholars.

The UCD Access Symposium also saw the launch of a collaborative publication between IADT and UCD. The Inclusive Assessment and Feedback publication included case studies of good practice from both institutions and was edited by Dr Lisa Padden, Julie Tonge, Dr Therese Moylan and Associate Professor Geraldine O’Neill. Both IADT Registrar Dr Andrew Power and UCD Deputy President and Registrar Professor Mark Rogers launched the publication. Professor Rogers said “It is encouraging to see the contributors showcase such varied and integrated approaches, highlighting the importance of creating space for deeper learning
and opportunities for feedback.”

With over 100 delegates in attendance, the UCD Access Symposium successfully highlighted the ongoing work to create a diverse and inclusive community and focused on the institution’s commitment to creating a ‘University for All’. As ALL Director Dr Anna Kelly stated: “We believe that the population of our students should reflect the wider population, and we work to achieve this by not only ensuring students from diverse backgrounds are given the opportunity to attend UCD, but are continuously supported during their time here.”

Listen back to Phil's keynote: Regarding the Pain of Others