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About

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Events

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Dr. Carol O'Byrne

Title:

Lecturer in Education

School/ Department:

Education and Lifelong Learning

Telephone:

+353 0 051306354

Room Name/ Num:

TL240 Tourism & Leisure Education Building

Campus:

Main Campus

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My Biography

Originally trained in Languages and Linguistics (I hold a first class honours BA (Joint Honours) in French and German and a first class honours MA in Applied Linguistics, both from University College Cork), I have always been interested in education, and in particular in teaching and learning.  Undertaking a professional doctorate in Education at the University of Sheffield allowed me to develop that interest, and since completing the doctorate in 2009, the major focus of my work has shifted to Education.  In addition to my teaching and research, I have served on Academic Council and on various institutional committees, as well as representing WIT on national committees including the Royal Irish Academy’s Modern Languages Committee, the Learning Innovation Network and the HEI FET Forum.  I have also been programme leader on the Teaching Council accredited Postgraduate Diploma in Teaching in Further Education since its inception in 2012.

Research

My early research work focused on learner strategies for second language acquisition and on the development of learner autonomy in language learners.  In the early 2000s, my research focus shifted from language education to education more generally and I undertook an Ed.D. in the area of higher education and lifelong learning with the University of Sheffield in the UK.  My doctoral thesis, completed under the supervision of Professor Melanie Walker, focused on the nature and evolution of academic professional identities in the IoT sector of Irish higher education and examined these identities in the light of socialist realist conceptualisations of identity and of the structure-agency relationship drawn from the work of Margaret Archer. 

My research interests include: professional identities and working experiences in education; interaction of structure and agency (policy and practice) in academic working contexts; modes of reflexivity and their impact on individuals and organisations.  I am also very interested in the areas of Further Education and Further Education teaching, and am currently supervising a funded doctoral candidate whose work explores the professional identities of further education practitioners in Ireland. 

Teaching

I began my lecturing career as a language lecturer.  In the 1990s I lectured in French at WIT and UL, and in German at IT Tralee, before taking up a permanent position as a lecturer in German here at WIT in 1999. Based in the Department of Languages, Tourism and Hospitality, I taught both on specialized language programmes, including the BA in Languages and Marketing and the BA (Hons), and on language programmes for specialists in other disciplines, working with students of computing, engineering and business at various points.  As demand for languages declined during the economic boom, I branched out into other areas, teaching Intercultural Communication and Professional Development and Effectiveness across a range of programmes in the School of Engineering, as well as modules in areas such as Pedagogy and Research Methods in the School of Education.  On completion of my doctoral work in Education, I moved to the School of Education, where I now teach on both the PG Diploma in Teaching in Further Education and the M.Ed. in Education.

Publications

Conference Papers and Publications

  • O’Byrne, C on behalf of the HEI FET Forum (2019) ‘Surviving or thriving in challenging times? Tales from Ireland’s first FE TEQ graduates’ HELLIN Conference, WIT, December 11th
  • O'Byrne, C (2015) 'Policy, profession and person: the formation of reflexive academic identities in an Irish Institute of Technology' in Evans, L and Nixon, J (eds) Academic Identities in Higher Education, London: Bloomsbury​.
  • O’Byrne, C (2014) ‘Structure and Agency in an Irish Institute of Technology’ in Gornall, L, Cook, C, Daunton, L, Salisbury, J, and Thomas, B Academic Working Lives: Experience, Practice and Change, London: Bloomsbury
  • O’Byrne, C (2011) ‘Against the odds: researcher development in teaching focused HEIs’ International Journal of Researcher Development, 2 (1) pp 8-25
  • O’Byrne, C (2011) ‘From technical competence to ‘thinking’ competence: developing a capacity for reflective practice in postgraduate engineers’ All Ireland Society for Higher Education Conference, DCU, August 25th – 26th 
  • O’Byrne, C (2010) ‘Life as a lecturer: the nature and evolution of academic professional identities in the Institute of Technology sector of the Irish higher education system’.  Society for Research in Higher Education Annual Conference, Newport, Wales, December 14th – 15th
  • O’Byrne, C (2010) ‘A student-led approach to personal and professional development: a case study of a level 9 module in professional development and effectiveness for graduate engineers’ NAIRTL / LIN Annual Conference, Royal College of Surgeons, Dublin, October 6th
  • O’Byrne, (2010) ‘Academic Lives through a Lens: Applying Archer’s Theoretical Tools to the Professional Life Stories of Irish Academics’ European Conference of Educational Research, University of Helsinki, August 25th – 27th
  • O’Byrne, C (2009) ‘Academic identities in transition: responding and reacting to change in the Institute of Technology sector of Irish higher education’ European Conference of Educational Research. University of Vienna, September 28th – 30th
  • O’Byrne, C (2009) ‘Plus ça change, plus ça devient la meme chose:  the convergence of academic professional identities in the Institute of Technology sector and the implications for teaching and learning’ All Ireland Society for Higher Education Conference. NUI Maynooth, August 27th – 28th
  • O’Byrne, C (2009) ‘Daichead bliana ag fás: how the role of the lecturer has been (re)defined over the lifetime of the Irish technological sector and how this (re)definition impacts on the professional development pathways of academic staff in Institutes of Technology’ Educational Studies Association of Ireland Conference. Kilkenny, April 2nd