Helen Maher, Programme Director & Lecturer on the B.A. in Social, Political & Community Studies
“In many cases we think of equality as treating everyone the same and yet the basis of our society is that we are in fact different from each other in multiple ways. For me, the foundation of equality is to understand how we are different, to value and celebrate that difference instead of judging it. This automatically means that sometimes we have to treat people differently to accommodate their needs. For example, if you have a disability you may need different physical or intellectual supports and resources. If you come from a minority ethnic community, you may have different religious or cultural needs. I welcome being able to work in an educational setting where we have the opportunity to embrace diversity, respecting all members of our learning community regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, ability, ethnicity and family/marital status. Our starting point for achieving a more equal society is firstly, to believe that it is possible and worthwhile, and secondly, to respect all the different members who are part of it.”
Dr Derek Coyle, Lecturer in English
“I have worked in Carlow College, St Patrick’s for over sixteen years. I am delighted to work in an environment where each student is valued and cherished. I respect the fact that so many of our students come from such diverse backgrounds. We have many first-generation learners. That is, students who are the first members of their family to attend college. I appreciate working in a place where there is such a range of people from a variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds. We all learn from each other. The more diverse our students are, and the more varied our staff are, the richer our learning environment is.
A healthy regard for diversity informs what I teach at the college. I teach Feminist critiques of poems, for example, which explore the politics of gender in provocative ways. I teach Marxist analyses of novels, which explore how we represent people from different social groups. I use post-colonial theory to look at the representation of indigenous persons from diverse cultures.
We must do more than just analyse, as we must attempt also to imagine and create more inclusive structures and a more humane politics so that we all may live more fully and deeply, truly human lives. Education is one of the areas where we can be imaginative and creative like that. And this is just one of the many reasons that I am proud to work at Carlow College, St Patrick’s.”