The PATH Initiative at UCD

PATH: Programme for Access to Higher Education

UCD leads a six-college consortium comprising, Institute of Art and Design (IADT), Marino Institute of Education (MIE), National College of Art and Design (NCAD), Trinity College Dublin (TCD), and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) in a HEA-funded initiative to collaboratively promote and advance equality of access to higher education for under-represented groups.

This Consortium, chaired by Dr Anna M. Kelly (UCD), oversees five projects: Creative Arts Summer School, led by NCAD; Open Learning, led by UCD; Community Mentoring, led by TCD; Dublin Learning City, jointly led by IADT and MIE; and the 1916 Bursaries, led by UCD.

All six colleges have a long tradition in the development of measures to address issues of educational inequality, and engagement with communities that are distant from higher education. In adopting a collaborative approach, the Consortium is building on this platform of experience, to identify opportunities to create synergies, to develop approaches to sustainability, and to contribute to knowledge and practice in the field of equality of access and participation.

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1. Institutional Representatives

  • Dr Anna Kelly, UCD (Chair)
  • Professor Dervil Jordan, NCAD (Deputy Chair)
  • Linda Darbey, TCD
  • Holly Foley, MIE
  • Denis McMorrow, IADT

2. Project Leads

  • Kathleen O'Toole-Brennan, TCD, Community Mentoring
  • Finola McTernan, NCAD, Creative Arts Summer School
  • Fiona Sweeney, UCD, 1916 Bursary
  • Holly Foley, MIE, Dublin Learning City
  • Denise McMorrow, IADT, Dublin Learning City
  • Dr Bairbre Fleming, UCD, Open Learning

3. Community Representatives

  • Eamonn Nolan
  • Michael Foley
  • Louise Lanigan
  • Dr Eve Corbain
  • Valerie Maher

4. Administrative Staff

  • Irina Pilos, UCD, PATH Coordinator
  • Samantha Litwinczuk / Emilie Keegan, TCD, Community Mentoring

PATH Projects

UCD leads the consortium in implementing the following 5 projects under PATH 2 and 3:

1. 1916 'Leaders and Learners' Bursary

The 1916 Bursary is a HEA funded initiative supporting students from target groups who are currently under-represented in higher education. The fund will provide them with a bursary of €5,000 per academic year to support them in their studies. A significant proportion of these students will be lone parents and those studying both part-time and full-time are eligible to apply.

2. Creative Arts Summer School (CASS)

The Creative Arts Summer School is linked with further education, DEIS schools and a range of cultural institutions to raise awareness of creative qualifications and the opportunities within creative industries. The summer school is delivered across the five institutions within the cluster and provides scope for intergenerational participation to facilitate those with caring responsibilities.

3. Open Learning

Open Learning is a programme of cross-institutional study based on a modular and student-centred approach. Open Learning modules are offered on a part-time, individualised basis. Learn more about Open Learning at:

4. Community Mentoring

Community Mentoring aims to extend the existing mentoring programmes within the cluster HEIs, and through an inter-institutional and cross-community approach, harness the power of access students and graduates to support the development of bridging capital. A mentoring toolkit and database will be developed, and an annual Summit for Access Mentors will take place.

5. Dublin as a Learning City

Dublin as a Learning City involves collaboration with community, education and government partners to develop intergenerational learning communities. 

Dublin Learning City Festival took place between the 8 -12 April 2019. There was a range of events taking place all over the city, including talks, demonstrations and activities. Each event was free and open to the public.