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 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 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.

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.