We are now coming up to the halfway point of the CIRCLET project, which is a good time to pause and take stock. 

We’ve done a lot of work as a consortium on developing and running two activities to support educators who want to embed community engaged research and learning (CERL) into their modules, hosting a Learning Circle in each partner institution and running an online Continuing Professional Development (CPD) module. Participants have come from an extensive range of academic areas including computer science, dentistry, engineering, food science, languages, management, medicine and politics amongst others. 

Each partner has held three Learning Circle meetings alongside peer-support triads to support educators to develop their own ideas for reimagining their modules. So far, 50 educators have taken part. TU Dublin has also developed and run an online 5-ECTS CPD module with 10 participants from partner institutions. It has provided an intensive learning experience, examining topics such as community engagement principles and practices, partnership working, and supporting student reflection and assessment 

Feedback from participants across project activities has been encouraging. They identify feeling more knowledgeable about CERL and feeling energised and enthused about implementing what they have learned in their own academic context. Many are starting small scale pilot CERL projects with a view to extending these in coming semesters.  

We are proud that participation continued despite the pressures brought to bear by the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the next six months, we will be bringing you examples of how CERL projects are being implemented and evaluated with students and CSO partners. We will also be launching a new call for participants in early spring. Contact us if you’d like to be put on a mailing list to take part.