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


The Community Knowledge Initiative has made great developments in terms of embedding and institutionalising a civic engagement ethos and practice across NUI Galway. The following represents a number of strategic and policy developments that place our work at the core of the university.

NUI Galway Vision 2020

The NUI Galway Vision 2020 centralises the importance of civic engagement, volunteering, service learning, research and engagement with communities as hallmarks of the university experience and practice.

The NUI Galway Vision 2020 acknowledges that the ALIVE volunteer programme continues to grow, and is giving more of our students practical applications to their learning, boosting civic engagement and supporting local organisations to a value of at least €1 million in work hours annually. The University wishes to remain proactive in collaborating with external community partners for our mutual benefit.

Teaching, Learning and Assessment Strategy

The current NUI Galway Teaching, Learning and Assessment Strategy and designed to achieve, on behalf of all students and staff, the highest standard of educational resources for access to knowledge, development of critical thinking, and methods that assure a fair evaluation of success

Civic Engagement is major feature of this strategy under Section 9 (p21) and goes onto state that NUI Galway, based on the response by staff and students in support of the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI), has an excellent opportunity to distinguish itself as Ireland's leading university in the area of civic engagement.

IRIS (Institutional Research Information System)

NUI Galway has recently launched a new institutional research information system. IRIS (Institutional Research Information System) enables researchers and academic staff at NUI Galway to easily maintain an up-to-date CV and showcase their research expertise.

In 2012, IRIS was upgraded to include a new Community Engagement section under the Professional tab. This section holds information on a range of community engagement activities that both researches and academic staff may be involved in and these are categorised as follows: Advocacy, Board Membership (Boards of Community Based Org, NGO), Consultancy (Pro-bono), Outreach, Policy Development, Research (e.g. Community based research) and Teaching (e.g. Service learning / community based learning).

College Representatives for Civic Engagement

Under the NUI Galway Teaching, Learning and Assessment Strategy, each College has nominated a member of academic staff with responsibility for Civic Engagement & Service Learning.

Their responsibilities include ‘championing' the civic engagement agenda within their broad cognate areas, supporting colleagues (in constituent Schools) in the implementation of relevant programmes and activities and act as a point of contact for the College on these issues.

NUI Galway Child Protection Policy

The NUI Galway Child Protection Policy ensures that the institution and CKI are committed to safeguarding the well-being of all the children and young people with whom we work.

The University's policy on Child Protection is in accordance with "Children First - National Guidelines for the Protection and Welfare of Children - 1999" which was published by the Dept. of Health and Children. NUI Galway is committed to promoting the rights of the child including the participation of children and young people in matters that affect them.

The CKI is fully committed to safe guarding the wellbeing and welfare of the children involved in all our programmes on campus and off campus in schools, homework and youth clubs by protecting them from physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Students and staff of NUI Galway engaged through ALIVE, the Youth Academy and serivce learning should show respect and understanding for the rights, saftey and welfare and conduct in a way that reflects the values of the CKI. The following CKI documents are available in hardcopy from the CKI office. View a FAQs of our Garda Vetting Policy Also view a PDF of our ALIVE Volunteers: Handbook for Homework Clubs and Youth Activities which includes the Code of Conduct for NUI Galway students and the CKI Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy.

NUI Galway Quality Review

The Universities Act 1997 obliges Irish universities to assess quality and performance within all academic and support units. In collaboration with all other Irish Universities an internal periodic review process has been developed.

This internal review process is itself reviewed periodically through an external review body. The internal quality process within NUI Galway is overseen by the committee for quality and innovation, chaired by the vice president for Innovation and Performance and that reports to the Universities Governing Authority.

The creation of a Self Assessment Report is fundamental to the process and allows an academic and administrative unit to document a critical self-assessment of services and performances, and to generate new ideas for change. Importantly this report is a real opportunity for all units at NUI Galway to reports on community and civic engagement activities. The report typically includes strengths, weaknesses, benchmarking results, unit goals, unit performance, change actions, services, staff profiles and contributions to the broader community. Under the ' Public Impact' section of the report, academic units are encouraged to document public events, teaching, research, outreach and community. Include self-assessment and reflection commentary.

CKI Community Partnership Policy

CKI is built on positive community partnerships. We strive to respond to emerging needs and challenges in enabling university-community projects. The following CKI policies help guide our work.

CKI projects are aimed at non-profit, voluntary, charitable status organisations. We work across NUI Galway to support engagement and direct queries to relevant departments. As partners NGOs are invited to read our CKI Community Partner Terms and Conditions, which outline the role of the CKI clearly. The Guide for External Organisations is a source of contact information for groups, companies and members of the public.

Fundraising Policy for Students and Community

Our committed, enthusiastic and ambitious staff and students fundraise extensively across the campus. Please contact the CKI if you hope to plan a fundraiser at NUI Galway.

Within the NUI Galway Fundraising Policy is a helpful guide to successful event planning and links to national fundraising networks. Fundraising events are reviewed via the Application Form. Helpful support documents can be found on the Student Services Policy website.

Insurance for NUI Galway Students

Our students are insured by NUI Galway to engage with community and voluntary organisations through volunteering and service learning.

Here is a copy of our insurance letter for ALIVE NUI Galway's student volunteering programme and Service Learning that you can download.

Sending International Student Volunteers

Our students travel from Ireland to international locations as volunteers, as researchers, as part of course work and as part of placement. The CKI support this engagement with policies and practices that seek to enhance two-way partnerships.

The Comhlámh Code of Good Practice (CoGP) for Volunteer Sending Agencies is the cornerstone of our engagement practices. The Volunteer Charter is a helpful tool for to help guide thinking and points to consider if volunteering internationally. Congratulations to three NUI Galway societies, which send students volunteering internationally during the summer months, for their recent national accreditation achievements!

Future Policy Development

As our practices grow and stregnthen our policies will continue to support and shape our work.

Watch this space as we develop our code of coduct for images!