DCU announces first chair in Ireland focused on STEM education
Dublin City University (DCU) has announced the launch of The Naughton Family Chair, the first chair in Ireland to focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education at primary level and in early childhood education.
Based at Ireland’s only university faculty of education, DCU’s Institute of Education, the individual appointed to the new Naughton Family Chair will contribute to the work of DCU’s Centre for the Advancement of STEM Teaching and Learning (CASTeL), which is Ireland’s largest STEM education research centre. The new chair will also strengthen DCU’s ability to develop inspiring STEM teachers, drive innovations in education policy, and catalyse a step-change in the quality of STEM education in Ireland.
Over 500 primary teachers and 100 early childhood specialists graduate from the Institute of Education every year. The new chair will be actively involved with all those who work in the preparation of our future educators.
Traditionally, initiatives in STEM education have targeted post-primary education. However, recent research has indicated that experience in primary classrooms and in early years settings is critical to the development of positive dispositions towards STEM.
“The appointment of Ireland’s first chair of STEM education focused on our youngest learners could not come at a better time,” said Prof Anne Looney, executive dean of the Institute of Education. “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.”
“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,” added Prof Brian MacCraith, president of DCU.
“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.”