Student Parent Support Coordinator
Mary Immaculate College has a part-time Student Parent Support Coordinator (SPSC) who is the first and coordinating point of contact for student parents, expectant students and students experiencing an unintended pregnancy. The SPSC offers information, guidance and direction, providing a safe and welcoming space for students to discuss their queries/concerns and identify the supports/information they may need, supporting and empowering them to continue their studies and reach their academic potential. MIC is the only Irish third-level college with designated support for this cohort of students, which has been in existence since 2007.
The SPSC is a key role within the suite of MIC support services and aims to support the engagement and integration of this diverse cohort of students within the College through the provision of individual support and collaboration with other student supports.
The main objective of this role is to ensure students are aware of, and able to access all of the supports that are available within the College and externally. Students have access to the SPSC for guidance, information and signposting throughout their studies.
In a College that has at the core of its mission a commitment to provide "an environment where all have freedom and opportunity to achieve their full potential", the SPSC aims to achieve just that, offering student parents and expectant parents practical support, information and guidance to empower them to reach their academic potential.
The SPSC is available to students during semester time on a part-time basis. Service delivery is through a blended support model and the SPSC works in partnership with other supports, both within the College, and externally.
For up to date information on service availability or if you wish to make an appointment, please email Nicola.Hurley@mic.ul.ie. Students are encouraged to keep an eye on the SPSC’s Facebook and Instagram pages (@micstudentparentsupport) for relevant updates and to stay connected with the College.
Individual Support by Appointment
The SPSC offers a confidential and non-judgemental space for students to discuss their queries and concerns, providing up to date information, guidance and direction in relation to the following:
- Academic Support: General academic queries, linking with academic staff to support individual students, college options (eg ‘I’ grades, leave of absence, deferral), placement queries and other college-related concerns.
- Non-Academic/Practical Support: Financial assistance, emergency funding, bursaries, social welfare entitlements, childcare issues, practical concerns that may arise due to unforeseen or changed circumstances personal/family circumstances.
- Sign-posting and Referral: The SPSC provides a safe and welcoming space, working collaboratively with students to explore and identify the supports they require in order to continue and complete their studies. This may involve assisting students in accessing the relevant supports and signposting/referral to the most appropriate student support service/external support, if necessary.
The Student Parent Support Service was originally established in Mary Immaculate College in 2007, following a successful funding application to then Crisis Pregnancy Agency (now incorporated as part of the Health Service Executive). Since its establishment, the service has developed and evolved in response to student needs and has been mainstreamed within the College as part of the suite of support services.
The SPSC is a key role within the MIC support services, supporting the engagement and integration of a diverse cohort of students within the College through the provision of individual support and collaboration with other MIC support services, in addition to external supports, as appropriate.
Research & Development
The experiences of the service have been disseminated nationally through an Information Guide for Expectant Student Parents and Student Parents at Third Level, which was launched in November 2012. In addition to the Information Guide being circulated to all third level colleges in the country, it was also published on the HSE Crisis Pregnancy Programme website.
In November 2018, a revised version Handbook for Students who experience Crisis Pregnancy and Expectant Student Parents at Mary Immaculate College has incorporated the personal experiences of current and recently graduated students with a greater focus on self-care, building resilience and encouraging support seeking and engagement with support services. This focus has become central to the work of the service in empowering expectant and student parents to achieve their goals.
"I found that the service was readily accessible and inclusive, it allowed me to connect with other student parents and learn about their experiences. The service helped me through many difficult times, in terms of both finance and emotional support."
"The support of the service Coordinator was invaluable to me throughout my time as a student, it provided me with a place where I could talk about anything that might be on my mind or causing me stress, the knowledge that I was not alone in my struggles and the confidence to believe I would be successful."
Lawlor, J. et al (2015.) Student Parent Support Service at Mary Immaculate College: An Outcome Evaluation for the HSE Crisis Pregnancy Programme. School of Nursing and Midwifery. Dublin: Trinity College.
- Research & Development
- Student Feedback