DCU News
News at DCU
Fiona Earley and Matthew Smith
Fiona Earley, Dublin City University's Autism Friendly University Coordinator and Matthew Smith, who studied Early Childhood Education in DCU

DCU’s Autism Friendly University and the ISL STEM glossary and The Gnomes feature in new series of My Uni Life

The programme showcases life on campus and goes behind the scenes at eight Irish universities as staff and students navigate the academic year

First episode airs tonight (Friday 16 February) at 8pm on RTÉ One and the RTÉ Player.

The Irish Universities Association (IUA) has partnered once again with RTÉ and New Decade to create a second series of My Uni Life. Filmed over the course of the 2022/23 academic year, this nine-part series provides an authentic insight into campus life and the experiences of students and staff across the country, as they navigate the challenges and opportunities of a university year. 

Autism Friendly University, ISL STEM glossary and The Gnomes

Featuring in the series are Fiona Earley, the Autism Friendly University coordinator and Matthew Smith, who studied Early Childhood Education in DCU. Matthew is autistic, so when it came to third-level education Matthew’s choice was influenced by the University’s student support system. 

Matthew said “In particular, the Autism Friendly University programme was the deciding factor that made me put the course as my number one choice in my CAO.”

Dr Elizabeth Mathews
Dr Elizabeth Mathews

Dr. Elizabeth Mathews from DCU’s Institute of Education is working on the first Irish Sign Language (ISL) STEM glossary. She’s one of the leading researchers in Ireland in deaf education. The first phase of the glossary contains over 200 videos, including 25 newly coined signs for terms. 

Speaking about the project Dr Elizabeth Mathews said: “The absence of agreed signs for technical STEM vocabulary inhibits the teaching of STEM subjects at all levels of education and presents difficulties for those working in sign language interpreting”.

There are approximately 5,000 people in Ireland who use Irish Sign Language as their first language. For people who are deaf or hard of hearing (DHH) to fully engage in STEM related subjects there must be an agreed lexicon in ISL for STEM terms, a resource which has been absent, until now.

The Gnomes
The Gnomes

The Gnomes is a social enterprise which consists of a team of hard-working, green-fingered friends who have built a successful business from their work in DCU’s Community Garden. Since 2015 the team have transformed a 1.6 acre off-grid garden on the Glasnevin campus into a thriving micro farm consisting of two polytunnels and sixty eight garden beds. Looking after the soil and using organic methods they produce a wide variety of vegetables that they sell locally.

With sustainability at the heart of what DCU does, the community garden has become a vital resource for teaching, research, education, training and community engagement. It is open to staff, students and DCU alumni along with members and organisations from the local community.

You can learn more about My Uni Life on the IUA website.