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Registrar’s Civic Engagement Award

L-R: Registrar Prof Paula Murphy, Vivian Rath, Dr Patricia McCarthy and Prof Michael Shevlin.

The second annual Registrar’s Civic Engagement Award was announced at a reception in Regent House on June 18th. Thirteen nominations were received from across the three Faculties showing the breadth of civic engagement activities and the variety of ways the College works with our wider communities. The quality and valuable impact of all of the initiatives that went forward to full application made the task of selecting a single awardee impossible for the review panel so this year joint awardees were announced, going to two separate initiatives addressing different aspects of intellectual disability:

Professor Michael Shevlin, Director of the Trinity Centre for People with Intellectual Disabilities and the IDS TILDA Research Team led by Professor Mary McCarron.

Speaking at the award ceremony the Registrar congratulated all of the nominees and noted the exemplary work being carried out by all. The benefit to society of the various projects highlighted through the award nominations is wide and significant. In addition to the joint awardees this year, other projects addressed social innovation, public access to science research at the highest levels and science education, healthy living and public health, peace and reconciliation, smart city innovation and research-led teaching in the area of public advocacy.

In the words of his nominators, Michael Shevlin is an inspirational leader of educational and social inclusion in Ireland. He has been to the fore of every major development in relation to special educational needs and inclusion in Irish education. As Director of TCPID he has established an educational and work readiness programme that is of national significance, and international repute. The programme has been designed to equip young people with intellectual disabilities with the requisite education and training for independent living (see The core mission of the TCPID is to address the educational disadvantages experienced by people with intellectual disabilities through the provision of a high-quality programme designed to enhance the capacity of learners to participate fully within society. The Centre has established a national network of higher education providers and business partners to develop its mission and it engages with national policy makers in order to address the systemic barriers experienced by people with intellectual disabilities in achieving successful post-school lives. It is a founding member of a European network of higher education providers committed to the establishment of equal opportunities for education and societal participation for people with intellectual disabilities. 

Addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and fulfilling the obligations from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, TCPID has adopted a Theory of Change approach and has developed a prototype in Trinity comprising a strong educational foundation (Level 5 Certificate) nested in a series of business and community partnerships that can be replicated both nationally and internationally, thus helping to reshape national educational policies in relation to intellectual disabilities and enabling Ireland to make a significant contribution to reducing inequality in education.