Mary Immaculate College (MIC) lecturer, Dr Órla Slattery, has been announced as the new Chairperson of the Inclusive National Higher Education Forum (INHEF). Dr Slattery, who works as Inclusion Co-ordinator for Adults with Intellectual Disability at MIC, takes over the position from the inaugural Chair, Mr Des Aston (TCD).
The INHEF is a national interest group comprised of representatives of higher education providers interested in supporting access routes and inclusive education initiatives to learners with intellectual disabilities in Ireland.
Reflecting on her appointment as INHEF Chairperson, Dr Slattery said: “As a long-standing member of the Inclusive National Higher Education Forum, it is a great honour for me to be taking up the role of INHEF Chair from Mr Des Aston, whose pioneering work has led to significant change throughout the sector. At this pivotal time when we welcome the introduction of PATH 4 Phase 2, which aims to enhance course provision for students with intellectual disabilities in our colleges and universities it is more important than ever, that we continue to uphold the mission and values of the INHEF as we work together to create a more equitable higher education landscape in Ireland.”
Dr Slattery has worked within the Faculty of Education since 2011, and has established strong community links with agency partners such as Enable Ireland and the Brothers of Charity to support the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities at MIC. Under her leadership, the Certificate in General Learning and Personal Development (CGLPD) received formal accreditation in 2017. The CGLPD is a level 4 QQI award which is accredited in partnership with the Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board, thereby representing an innovative cross sectoral partnership between the FET and HE sectors.
In additional to her work in the local community, Dr Slattery has actively championed the inclusion of people with intellectual disability at a national level as a member of the INHEF Steering committee.
The INHEF has become a powerful driver of change within the landscape of higher education in Ireland, and has provided a dedicated platform to address the systemic barriers to inclusion for people with intellectual disability wishing to pursue post-secondary education. The INHEF membership is comprised of several higher education institutions, including TCD, UCC, MTU, ATU Athlone and DCU. INHEF has become a collaborative space where higher education providers join forces to drive strategic development, inform policy debates, and enhance capacity within institutions to establish and deliver initiatives for students with intellectual disabilities across the Republic of Ireland.
You can find out more about the INHEF by clicking here.