News at DCU
Fiona Naughton, Prof. Brian MacCraith, Minister Simon Harris, Prof. Daire Keogh and Prof. Anne Looney
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DCU announces The Naughton Family Chair in STEM Education

Today Dublin City University is announcing The Naughton Family Chair in STEM Education.

The Chair was launched by the new Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris at DCU’s Institute for Education on its St. Patrick’s Campus this morning.

The Chair will be the first in Ireland to focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education at primary level and in early childhood education and will be based at DCU’s Institute of Education, Ireland’s only University Faculty of Education. The Institute is already home to the LEGO Innovation Studio that leads pioneering work on robotics for girls and young women and the world’s only Minecraft Education Suite focused on the development of engineering mindsets.

Traditionally, initiatives in STEM education have targeted post-primary education. Recent research is pointing strongly to the fact, however, that experience in primary classrooms and in early years settings is critical to the development of positive dispositions towards STEM.

DCU plays a leading role in STEM education through its Centre for the Advancement of  STEM Teaching and Learning (CASTeL), Ireland’s largest STEM education research centre, and the person appointed to the new Naughton Family Chair will add further to the work of that centre, which includes researchers and faculty members from three DCU Faculties - The DCU Institute of Education, The Faculty of Science & Health and The Faculty of Engineering & Computing. 

The DCU Institute of Education graduates over 500 primary teachers every year, and almost 100 early childhood specialists.  The new Chair will be closely involved with all those who work in the preparation of our future educators.

The new Chair will build on the world-class research already established across CASTeL, will strengthen significantly DCU’s ability to develop inspiring STEM teachers, will drive innovations in education policy and, overall, will catalyse a step-change in the quality of STEM Education in Ireland.

Minister Simon Harris said

“I want to congratulate DCU for this excellent initiative. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our children have proven their ability to understand the most complex of situations and to adapt to the challenges it brings. Through this exciting appointment, we will be able to begin to talk to our children about the complexities of science, technology and maths from an early age and crucially, they will begin to challenge us to do better."

Prof. Brian MacCraith, President of DCU, said

“This is a hugely important development not only for DCU but also, more significantly, for Ireland. Providing STEM Education of the highest quality is essential if Ireland is to deliver on its ambitions to be a hub of technological creativity and an innovation leader. 

We are immensely grateful to the Naughton family for their generosity and vision. The Naughton family has been synonymous with support for STEM education in Ireland for many years and I am particularly pleased that their name will be associated with this important Chair in perpetuity.”

Prof. Daire Keogh, President-designate of DCU said 

“DCU’s new Naughton Family Chair in STEM Education will be in a position to engage with those preparing to teach and lead across all sectors of the education system — from early childhood to further and higher education. 

The Chair will become part of a dynamic and active research culture at DCU, joining other world-leading researchers at our Institute of Education.”

Prof. Anne Looney, Executive Dean of the Institute of Education said 

“The appointment of Ireland’s first chair of STEM education focused on our youngest learners could not come at a better time. In the last few months, we have seen how ready children are to be engaged by complex scientific ideas and information, to think about statistics and other data, and to formulate challenging questions for scientific and political leaders. 

This new Chair will help to ensure that we can build on this spirit of inquiry and create the next generation of STEM leaders for Ireland and beyond.”

Martin Naughton, The Naughton Foundation said

“The Naughton family has been supporting initiatives in STEM education for more than a decade. This Chair is the brainchild of Prof. Brian MacCraith.  

He and Dublin City University are to be congratulated on this initiative which we are very happy to support, as we believe it will ensure that the excitement of science and technology will be carried into our classrooms and will inspire the next generation of STEM leaders for Ireland and beyond.”  

About the Institute of Education

The DCU Institute of Education (IoE) represents the largest body of expertise in education in Ireland. The Institute delivers programmes in education and training, early childhood education and teacher education at all levels of the education continuum, providing graduates with the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to excel in a variety of educational contexts such as preschools, schools, vocational, adult and community settings.

The IoE has six constituent schools: School of STEM Education, Innovation and Global Studies; School of Language, Literacy and Early Childhood Education; School of Inclusive and Special Education; School of Arts Education and Movement; School of Policy and Practise; School of Human Development.

In establishing the Institute of Education, DCU has brought together Ireland’s leading colleges of education: the Church of Ireland College of Education, Mater Dei Institute of Education and St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra together with its own School of Education Studies to create the country’s first university Faculty of Education. Located on DCU St Patrick’s campus, it is home to internationally-recognised experts in teaching and learning who work closely with students in an innovative environment for 21st century learning.

https://www.dcu.ie/institute_of_education/ 

About The Naughton Foundation

The Naughton Foundation was established by Martin and Carmel Naughton in 1994. It is a private family foundation and its goal is to support worthwhile causes in the arts and education. In 2008 they created the scholarship programme to increase their support for Leaving Certificate students who would like to study engineering, mathematics, science and technology at third level in Ireland. Originally, the scholarship programme only applied to students from counties Louth, Meath and Monaghan however it has now expanded nationwide and students from all counties in the Republic of Ireland are eligible to apply.

https://www.thenaughtonfoundation.com 

Photo (L-R) Fiona Naughton, Prof. Brian MacCraith, Minister Simon Harris, Prof. Daire Keogh and Prof. Anne Looney