The Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) fosters community university partnerships that aim to promote the principles and practices of civic engagement and democracy.

Irish Carnegie Pilot

The Irish Pilot of Carnegie Foundation’s Community Engagement Classification Nears Completion in 2016

The Irish Pilot of Carnegie Foundation’s Community Engagement Classification was conceived in 2013 by the NUI Galway’s Lorraine McIlrath in partnership with Professor John Saltmarsh at University of Massachusetts and Dr. Elaine Ward at Merrimack College Boston and was subsequently funded by the Talloires Network and the Ireland funds with support also offered by the two Universities. This project marked the first time that a national pilot of this highly respected measurement tool was to take place with the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning offering full support. Following an introductory workshop on the project process to all institutions of higher education in Ireland and invite to institution Presidents, 12 joined forces and created a critical friendship group to support the pilot and discussions therein. A significant part of the pilot is a research dimension in that the process may allow for the development of a national measurement tool that could be created and adopted to allow higher education institutions in Ireland measure community and civic engagement.

In July 2016, following an intense institution-wide data gathering process, the 12 institutions submitted their classifications. Bernie Quillinan, Civic Engagement Champion from the University of Limerick said, “It was a great opportunity to discover and celebrate the good work that is being done at UL but a chance to work with colleagues across the sector nationally in a collaborative way. While we uncovered fantastic work locally, it was a great moment to have interesting discussions with colleagues across the sector. It gave us a chance to look at how we might capture and measure our work and develop next steps”.

One of the main aims of the process was to bring the disparate parts of an institution together in a way that advances a unified community engagement agenda. At the same time it allows for the identification of promising practices that can be shared and built upon. The aspirations of the 12 institutions involved in Carnegie has been to ‘test’ the classification for its appropriateness within and Irish context and to ascertain if the tool could be developed in such a way that it might enable higher education institutions in Ireland to measure, map and develop community engagement practice. In November 2016, the Carnegie Classification Peer Review Team will visit Ireland and meet individually with each campus and offer feedback on their submission. In addition, during this tie the 12 institutions will collectively share their experience of the instrument and its appropriateness within an Irish context. The pilot has supported by the Higher Educational Authority and Campus Engage at the Irish Universities Association and Campus Engage, and will inform future measurement agenda.

Participating Irish Institutions


Institute of Technology Carlow

University College Cork

University of Limerick

Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology

Athlone Institute of Technology

Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

TU4Dublin Alliance

Including DIT, IT Blanchardstown and IT Tallaght

Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin

NUI Galway

Institute of Technology, Tralee

Further information