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School of Human Development


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School of Human Development
Academic Staff
Phone number:
01 700
St Patrick's Campus
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Academic biography

Dr. Catherine (Kay) Maunsell is Associate Professor of Psychology, Human Development and Education in the School of Human Development, DCU Institute of Education. She is Programme Chair of the landmark Department of Education-funded Level 9 Graduate Diploma in SPHE/RSE. From 2019-2021 Kay was the Principal Investigator on the TEACH-RSE Research Project on Teacher Professional Development and Relationships and Sexuality Education, funded through an IRC Coalesce Research Award (2019/147) with the support of the HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme. 

Kay lectures across a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes offered within the Institute of Education, including the BAJH (Human Development) and the PME Post-Primary Education. She is Chair of the Level 9 Graduate Diploma in SPHE/RSE, the first specialist teacher professional learning and development programme in SPHE/RSE in Ireland which is supported through funding from the Department of Education.  

Until 2021, she was the Subject Co-ordinator of Developmental and Educational Psychology on the BSc Psychology and MSc Psychology (Conversion) programmes offered through the DCU School of Psychology. 

Dr. Maunsell supervises students' research from undergraduate through to doctoral levels, and welcomes enquiries regarding Masters and Doctoral supervision in areas pertaining to the interface of Psychology, Human Development and Education, with particular interest in supervising research on themes relating to Relationships and Sexuality Education RSE and Teacher Professional Development and Child/Adolescent Rights. She is fully committed to supporting her students' development and, in turn, learning from them.

Dr. Maunsell maintains an active research profile in the broad fields of developmental psychology, education, social justice and human rights. She is currently pursing her research interests in the rights of children and young people and those most marginalised to comprehensive, right-based, inclusive Relationships and Sexuality Education.
Kay has also been engaged as Irish Co-ordinator on a range of large-scale EU  projects and national research on  themes, inter alia the role of the education system in social inclusion and and teachers’ role as enablers of human rights in the education system.   

Kay is a founding and current member of the Steering Committee of the Centre for Human Rights and Citizenship Education CHRCE, a DCU Research Centre in the DCU Institute of Education.   

From 2012 to 2016, she was the St. Patrick’s College, Director of Quality Promotion and Assurance and following Incorporation until 2019 was the designated representative of the Institute of Education to the DCU Quality Promotion Committee. 

Dr. Maunsell is an active member of national and international organisations devoted to research on child and adolescent development and education. 

Research interests

Child and Adolescent Sexual Development; Relationships and Sexuality Education RSE; Child and Adolescent Rights; Child and Adolescent Wellbeing; Teacher Professional Development