A SCHEME rewarding students with academic credits for extra-curricular activities is to be put in place for September 2009. Through the new scheme, students will have the opportunity to be rewarded five credits, in place of an elective module, for participation in non-academic activities, such as working with a society, club or UCD based charity.
It is proposed that factors such as the level and range of involvement in activities and possible assessment such as refl ective diaries, logs of activities and portfolios relating to activities would be considered, however the exact criteria that students must satisfy to qualify for the credits has yet to be finalised.
Whilst recognising student participation, the system also aims to encourage a greater number of students to partake in extra-curricular activities as the number of students participating in societies and clubs has decreased since the introduction of the Horizons modularised system in 2005.
Students’ Union (SU) Education Officer, Paul Lynam, helped to secure accreditation for participation and believes it will postively impact on student life in the university. “This says you can put time into those things that are so important to the college experience without damaging your degree,” said Mr Lynam. “You’re going to get five academic credits for it. It’s going to be academically sound and it gives the students a great option to get involved.”
The decision to implement the proposal has so far received positive feedback from societies on campus. Auditor of the Arts Society (ArtsSoc), Jonny Cosgrove, fully supports the new scheme, saying that, “I think it’s some sort of recognition for the hard work you put in during the year. You learn so much in societies, and you get that bit more out of college.”
DramSoc Auditor, Conor McKenna, echoed this statement, commenting that “I think the new system would be fantastic… and [acknowledge those] who give more to the university than just attending lectures. It’s going to encourage people not to just come to lectures and leave straight away after college, it will encourage them to do something else and the university will be a much more vibrant place.”
The idea was proposed in collaboration with the Recognition of Voluntary Engagement (ROVE) programme, which promotes volunteering in UCD through public recognition of the contribution students make to UCD community life. On campus co-curricular activities include participation and involvement in societies, sports clubs, the SU, Peer Mentoring, Orientation, New Era voluntary tutor scheme and the Student Ambassadors programme.
Dublin City University (DCU) currently employs a similar system and was the first third-level institution in Ireland to introduce such a scheme. Successful completion of either a fi ve credit elective or an optional, additional five credit module means that students are awarded credits that contribute to their degree.