Mary Immaculate College has a long tradition of making connections with nearby communities, whether immediately adjacent to our campuses, locally in Limerick and Tipperary or in the broader region. MIC achieves this through a variety of outreach initiatives and events—organised and led by staff, students and our Director of Enterprise and Community Engagement, Dr Maeve Liston.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths)
As the leading third-level institution in Ireland in the provision of programmes in the teaching of STEM and STEAM at primary and second level, MIC is committed to promoting STEM among primary and second level students, teachers, parents and the general public through a wide range of outreach activities, some of which include summer courses.
As well as STEM evenings in schools and interactive STEM workshops, MIC plays an active role in Engineers Week, SPACE Week, Maths Week and Limerick Lifelong Festival activities both onsite and in other venues. MIC founded and manages the Limerick Festival of Science in collaboration with LIT and UL (see festival Facebook page here) in addition to founding and managing the Tipperary Festival of Science (see festival Twitter and Facebook pages) with LIT Thurles and Tipperary County Council.
The RDS Primary Science Fair has taken place at MIC Limerick annually since 2016 and will continue to do so as the ESB Science Blast (renamed for 2019). All STEM and STEAM Education and Outreach initiatives at Mary Immaculate College are organised in collaboration with key stakeholders nationally and internationally along i.e. education organisations, industry and enterprise.
MIC hosts CoderDojo sessions, Scratch workshops and other ICT initiatives for children. Three weeks of LEGO summer camps take place in MIC in July along with schools workshops in LEGO throughout the year. The College a dedicated LEGO Education Innovation Studio, and was the first for Ireland and for Europe. This initiative uses LEGO as a means of developing problem-solving capacity in children.
Mary Immaculate College is now offering training to MIC students and teachers in VEX Robotics, in partnership with DELL EMC, Cork Institute of Technology and the Irish American Partnership. It involves many different workshops, activities and events for MIC students as well as teachers and children. As well as robotics, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses are available for teachers in STEM Strategies and Methodologies. This is just a taste of the STEM-related activity at the College.
MIC aims to deliver programmes that develop entrepreneurship skills across all levels- primary to third level education and CPD for teachers on entrepreneurial education, in particular primary and second level teachers. Examples of outreach in the College’s involvement in the Bank of Ireland Regional TY Academy, the ITLG Irish Technology Group Young Innovators Event, the BizWorld Programme and the Junior Entrepreneur Programme. Another initiative is the EMPOWER Entrepreneurship Summer Programme—a collaboration with Limerick Institute of Technology. This novel week-long summer camp for second level students is designed to inspire and foster a culture of engagement, creativity, innovation, adaptive leadership and enterprise among young people with a diverse range of life-experiences and from different socioeconomic backgrounds. Camps ran successfully in 2017 and 2018, in both Limerick and Tipperary. Business and Accounting pre-service teachers in MIC, St Patrick’s Campus, Thurles recently engaged with the Economic Development Office of Tipperary County Council and the Thurles Town Centre Forum to do a Marketing Study of Thurles. First year Business students then presented their ideas for the development of the town at Thurles Library to over 100 people from the wider business community.
Arts & Culture
The year 2018 marked the 13th occurrence of Culture Night on the MIC Limerick campus. This event continues to grow in popularity, with venues and public spaces across the island of Ireland opening their doors to host a programme of free entertainment, as part of an all-island celebration of arts, heritage and culture. The College runs a number of events annually. Past events have included:
- Bróga Nua—Ceardlann Rannta agus Scéalta/Rhymes and Storytelling with Áine Ní Shúilleabháin—an event aimed at children, hosted by Roinn na Gaeilge at MIC and Oifigeach na Gaeilge in partnership with Comhluadar Luimnigh
- Multicultural performances by MIC students and the Irish Traditional Musician Artist in Residence, Desi Wilkinson
- Rapping with Manuscripts—a collaboration between MIC’s Irish Department and the Limerick Diocesan Archives, which looked at the little known collection of 18th and 19th Century Irish manuscripts, songs, psalms and stories from Fr Tomás De Bháll
- An art exhibition by Maeve Clancy, MIC’s Visual Artist in Residence
- A performance of the music of Leonard Cohen, Van Morrison and David Bowie as Gaeilge by Brad Pitt Light Orchestra (a band whose members include MIC alumni Ann and James Blake)
- A Young Musicians’ Concert
- An Evening with the MIC Community Choir
- Exhibitions on diverse subjects like Limerick City and County Churches and Irish books and relics
- Drama workshops for children
The Faculty of Education’s work with schools forges strong links with the community. Not only are students on work placement with schools as part of their programmes but there are a number of opportunities, through elective modules, to work in community settings and with groups. These include:
- MIC Children’s Choir—a partnership between the Department of Arts Education and Physical Education and the Transforming Education through Dialogue (TED) Project at MIC with Music Generation Limerick City (MGLC)—sees students undertake active voluntary engagement with selected primary schools from the PLUS network in Limerick City (representatives from numerous local DEIS schools). This work builds to large and small-scale performances throughout the school year.
- The Cas Amhrán le Chéile (CALC)—a four-week exchange programme where B Ed students conduct interactive singing workshops with school children, which build up to public performances.
- As part of Visual Art electives, B Ed students often work with professional artists and school groups, culminating in end of year exhibitions.
- The annual League of Legends soccer competition is hosted by MIC Limerick by the TED Project, a College initiative that works directly with primary and post-primary schools, and the PLUS schools network.
One-off events events draw people of all ages to the campus. In past years, these have included Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival and the Limerick Diocese Family Fun Day.