Lorraine McIlrath, Biography
Since 2004, Dr. Lorraine McIlrath has coordinated the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) at the National University of Ireland, Galway. There she is responsible for developing civic engagement activities with the CKI team. Lorraine has led a number of national and international projects to further the civic and social role of higher education. She founded and was Principal Investigator (PI) of Campus Engage and its current Chair (2021) funded origionally by the Higher Education Authority (national Irish network to support civic engagement within higher education). She cofounded the Youth Academy, a mini-univeristy for 10-12 years olds in need to academic challenge at NUI Galway that is now a mainstream activity. She co-led the national project to pilot the Carnegie Foundation Framework for Community Engagement in partnership with the University of Massachusetts and Merrimack College Boston supported by the Ireland Funds and the Talloires Network. This work has subsequently prompted an international study. She spent a decade in Northern Ireland lecturering at the University of Ulster's UNESCO Centre teaching courses on the Northern Ireland conflict and peace process. She developed the opening of a new community cafe concept based at ILAS called Saol Cafe (Irish for Life) in partnership with SCCUL Enterprises giving people marginalised from employment an opportunity to work. She is a founding member in a number of networks including the Tawasol Project and co-directed the Europe Engage Project in partnership with the Autonomous University of Madrid. Lorraine has published on the broad theme of civic engagement in books and journals and has keynoted on her work internationally.
In 2014 she was elected to the Steering Committe of the Talloires Network. She co-directed the Europe Engage Project in partnership with the Autonomous University of Madrid. She has consulted for the British Council in Russia - supporting the development of the College for Multicultural Education in Sochi and worked for the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs (HECUA) as Programme Director in Northern Ireland.
She spent a decade in Northern Ireland lecturering at the University of Ulster's UNESCO Centre teaching courses on the Northern Ireland conflict and peace process and within an action research project exploring peer mediation as a process for conflict resolution with the EMU Peer Support Project. In addition, she was worked on the development of the Northern Ireland curricula framework for ‘Local and Global Citizenship' in partnership with the Citizenship Foundation, UNESCO Centre and CCEA.
Lorraine has published on the broad theme of civic engagement and higher education in books and journals and is co-editor of a number of books including Mapping Civic Engagement within Higher Education in Ireland (2009), National Survey of Civic Engagement within Higher Education in Ireland (Campus Engage 2011), Civic Engagement and Higher Education - Comparative Perspectives (2012), Higher Education and Community Based Research (2014), and recently published Embedding Service Learning in European Higher Education - Developing a Culture of Civic Engagement (2019). She is peer reviewer on a number of higher education journals and reviews a number of international university civic engagement awards.