Impact & Opinions | Tionchar & Tuairimí

Connecting with Community for Sustainable Education 

Connecting with Community for Sustainable Education 

20 July 22
 | 4 MINS

Community-engaged learning with a focus on sustainability is central to the curriculum at NUI Galway’s Civil Engineering, Energy Systems Engineering and Project & Construction Management degrees. Prof Jamie Goggins and Dr Magdalena Hajdukiewicz discuss the impact on both society and the students who partake. 

Education and working in partnerships are central to achieving a sustainable future. With sustainability at its core, community-engaged learning is embedded in the curriculum at NUI Galway, providing students and researchers with real-world learning problems to solve.

Since 2014, over 300 community-engaged building engineering projects have been completed by more than 800 students in NUI Galway as part of the Civil Engineering, Energy Systems Engineering and Project & Construction Management degrees.

The community-engaged building engineering projects are based around the student groups developing solutions for real-world problems, with a large focus on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. These include: Sustainable Cities and Communities, Good Health and Wellbeing, Affordable and Clean Energy, Industry Innovation and Infrastructure, Reduced Inequalities, Life on Land, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action and No Poverty. 


Connecting with Community for Sustainable Education 
Figure 1. The development of core engineering competencies through United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs)

A report on the positive experience of facilitating over 300 community-engaged engineering projects at an Irish higher-education institution was undertaken by Prof Jamie Goggins and Dr Magdalena Hajdukiewicz. The projects are framed by a research orientation, a commitment to civic engagement and building university–community partnerships, city–university partnerships, and partnerships with other official agencies, so that community users can provide real learning problems and contexts for students and researchers and benefit from the results. Students recognise the long-term value of engaging with community partners, understanding their future role in the community as engineers, reinforcing the idea that their work can respond directly to real needs in the community, while promoting the sustainability agenda at the same time.

Read the full report – The Role of Community-Engaged Learning in Engineering Education for Sustainable Developmentby Prof Jamie Goggins and Dr Magdalena Hajdukiewicz

Connecting with Community for Sustainable Education 
Figure 2. The gears of community-engaged building engineering projects

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