Dr Anne Graham Cagney Wins Prestigious Fulbright Scholarship

Education

Dr Anne Graham Cagney, a lecturer in the School of Lifelong Learning & Education was named as one of the recipients of the prestigious Fulbright scholarships, which were announced at an awards ceremony in Dublin on 12th July, 2013.

Dr Anne Graham Cagney, a lecturer in the School of Lifelong Learning & Education was named as one of the recipients of the prestigious Fulbright scholarships, which were announced at an awards ceremony in Dublin on 12th July, 2013.

The awards are jointly funded by the Irish and US governments under the Ireland-United States (Fulbright) Commission for Educational Exchange. Fulbright scholarships have provided Irish students, scholars and professionals with the opportunity to study, lecture and research at top universities and institutions in the U.S. since 1957.

Dr Graham Cagney will lecture and research on how American transformative learning theory and practice can inform professional education development programs in Ireland while at the University of South Florida and the University of Georgia.

Dr Graham Cagney said ”During my stay in the US, I will work with world renowned scholars at the University of South Florida and the University of Georgia to explore how higher education institutions (HEIs) provide professional development programmes that prepare adult and further education teachers to engage deeply with ways of thinking and practicing that are unique to the world of adult learning.  This research is particularly pertinent given the requirement for a professional teaching qualification (TEQ) in order to register with the Teaching Council of Ireland.

My research will inform the development/evolution of professional TEQ programmes for adult and further education teachers within the HEIs’, including Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT). The TEQ programmes must recognise the distinctive nature of an adult learning experience that will often conflict with their world. Adult learners very often have to overcome substantial personal, emotional and learning barriers to change and move forward in their adult lives.  In the end their understandings and perspectives change.  Such changes are not always obvious; they may not be revealed within the usual classroom, assessment and student evaluations”. 

The TEQ programme must also train teachers to create, offer and facilitate a supportive teaching-learning environment (TLE) for such transformative learning opportunities to occur.  This is the fundamental challenge facing anyone who wishes to engage fully with the world of the adult learners; and for those responsible for the design and delivery of TEQ professional programmes for the sector.”

Dr Graham Cagney also added “This research will continue my work of building a model of transformative learning spaces within professional development in higher education. It contributes to the economic and cultural wellbeing of Ireland through the provision of excellent teacher education programmes for educators in adult and further education at a national level.  The overall research findings should provide insights for HEIs and education policy makers into how they can adapt current policy to approach teacher training and professional development in an innovative and creative way that meets the needs of Irish society into the 21st Century thus improving educational opportunity for all.  Our Adult learners stand on the threshold of a new world offering new opportunities, new capabilities, new interests and dreams.”

Speaking at the launch of this year’s Fulbright Awards, Mr Patrick McDermott, Chair of the Fulbright Commission Board, said, “year after year, the Fulbright Awards attract Ireland’s top researchers, professionals, and graduates. With the breadth and expertise seen in this year’s winners, I know that these current and future leaders will gain invaluable experience that they can share upon their return to Ireland.”

Ms Colleen Dube, Executive Director of the Fulbright Commission, said, “In this Gathering year we are especially delighted with the Fulbrighters’ role as cultural ambassadors while in the U.S. With 37 Irish awardees going to the U.S. and 13 Americans coming to Ireland this autumn, we are thrilled to be a part of the ongoing cultural and educational exchange between the two countries.”

The next round of applications for Irish Fulbright Awardees will open on Wednesday, August 28th, 2013. Interested applicants in all disciplines are encouraged to visit the Fulbright Commission’s website, www.fulbright.ie, for more information. All applications for the 2014-2015 academic year will be due on Wednesday, November 13th, 2013.

For further information on the School of Life Long Learning & Education goto www.wit.ie.
 


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