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Research Strategy Mission Statement

Hibernia College is committed to the creation of new knowledge.

This stems from a strong belief in the importance of using evidence based research to improve practice in education and training. Through its research activities Hibernia College employs a diverse range of methods to conduct impactful studies in teaching and learning across the education and health science disciplines. This is turn contributes to the College’s mission to deliver distinctive technology enhanced educational opportunities for our students in order to prepare them for complex professional roles in a rapidly changing technological world.

Hibernia College is committed to supporting its staff, faculty and students in their engagement with high quality research endeavours.

The College is dedicated to developing effective, responsive scholars, graduates and practitioners who use theory and effective research to enhance their work in a global, diverse and technological society. To achieve this mission, the College is dedicated to fostering research-based professional practice that enables people to achieve their highest potential.

Hibernia College is committed to achieving national and international prominence for the quality and relevance of the research it conducts.

Through Hibernia’s links with education institutions throughout the world our research community is networked into a national and global research community. Our faculty and researchers present at national and international research conferences and are members of EU funded research consortia.

The college has identified key research areas of interest:

  • Teaching Learning and Assessment
  • The use of ICT and digital pedagogies in education
  • Sociological, psychological and historical aspects of education
  • Social inclusion in education
  • Teacher Education
  • Comparative education and internationalisation of postgraduate programmes

Research projects that we engage in will be

Professionally Relevant

Hibernia is committed to the highest standards of professionalism and quality in all areas of academic activity.  We seek to continuously improve our practice as a result of evidence based self-assessment and bench-marking against international best practice.  Through this process we are able to validate the impact of our work and ensure that professional currency is maintained.


Through our focus on data-based discovery, we drive innovations in teaching and learning and contribute to innovations in the science and practice of our professions.  Interdisciplinary and collaborative endeavours are necessary, valued and encouraged.

Student Centred

The best interests of our students are the principal consideration in all we do. Our commitment to student success is explicit.  Student outcome data is continuously gathered and analysed to ensure our objectives for student success are being met.

Research Aim and Objectives

Research aim

The development of excellent quality research outputs and research active staff, faculty and students, supporting the college’s aim of using evidence based research to improve practice in education and training.

Research objectives

Promotion of a research ethos and culture across the College

    • Identification of potential research projects within the College, and with partners outside the College
    • Conducting research in line with the stated research objectives for the College
    • Dissemination of research in academic peer reviewed journals, chapters in books, books and other educational outlets
    • Identifying potential research partners and potential sources of funding
  • Hibernia-Plymouth University Research Node – including the support of the full and part time PhD candidates
  • Further development and maintenance of the Hibernia College Research website
  • Organisation of the Hibernia College annual research conference

Mary Kelly, PME Primary Programme Director

Mary graduated from St Patrick’s College Drumcondra in 1989 and received a first-class Masters Degree from UCD in 2003. She worked as a primary school teacher before being seconded by the Department of Education and Science in 2001 to provide professional development in the area of Learning Support. She then went on to work as Deputy National Co-ordinator of the Primary Curriculum Support Programme, with responsibility for the implementation of numeracy and literacy programmes under DEIS.

Mary’s research interests are in the area of Literacy and Early Childhood Education. She has worked as a literacy consultant for the past four years with the Childhood Development Initiative (CDI) on their intervention programme, Doodle Den; a literacy programme targeted at children in disadvantaged communities. A recent evaluation of the programme showed strong evidence of the effectiveness of the Doodle Den programme in improving children’s literacy outcomes.

She has presented at national conferences including the INTO Education Conference, the Reading Association of Ireland Conference and at a conference for School Completion Co-ordinators on the area of early literacy interventions.  Most recently she has been invited to speak at the United Kingdom Literacy Association International Conference in July on creative approaches in teaching literacy.

Dr Aoife M. Lynam, Head of Research

Dr Aoife M. Lynam is a qualified primary school teacher and researcher who is currently Head of Research for the Primary Programme at Hibernia College.  Aoife holds a B.Ed. from Froebel College of Education, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Trinity College Dublin. Throughout her studies, Aoife was awarded the Trinity College Dublin Gold Medal (2008), a Trinity College Dublin Faculty Scholarship (2012) and a Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship (2013) by the Irish Research Council (IRCHSS).  Aoife’s research interests include exploring how young people cope with loss (i.e., bereavement, separation, and divorce), SPHE, well-being, and pre-service teacher training and education. Aoife has presented papers at national and international conferences discussing pupil well-being in education.  Aoife is a board member of the ICBN Advisory Panel and the education sub-group, as well as a member of the SPHE Network.

Dr Michael Hallissy, Tutor

Michael Hallissy graduated from Coláiste Mhuire Marino with a BEd Degree (1986) and he subsequently completed his honours degree in TCD the following year (1987) where his research project focused on managing the microcomputer in the primary school. He subsequently enrolled as a graduate student in the Boston College School of Education (1989) where he obtained his MEd (1992) where his work focused on the use of education technology. On returning to Ireland (1994) he was seconded by the Department of Education as a researcher to work on developing their first ICT in schools policy, Schools IT 2000 (1997). He later worked (1998) in the newly constituted National Centre for Technology in Education (NCTE) as a National Coordinator for Interactive Software in the Curriculum from 1998 to 2002. On leaving the NCTE, he and his colleague John Hurley established H2 Learning to focus on ICT in education initiatives. During that time he has worked with a range of organisations such as The Digital Hub Development Agency, TeachNet, Discover Science and Engineering, The World Bank, Microsoft, Intel and others on ICT initiatives.

Michael recently completed his doctorate with the Institute of Education (IOE) in London where his research is focused on the professionalism issues associated with online tutors.

Current Research Interests

  • 21st century teaching, learning and assessment
  • Teacher professional development
  • Teacher professionalism online

Selected Presentations and Publications

  • Casey, L., Bruce, B. C., Martin, A., Reynolds, A., Shiel, G., Coffey, L., Brown, C. and Hallissy, M. (2009). Digital literacy: New approaches to participation and inquiry learning to foster literacy skills among primary school children. Dublin: Centre for Research and Innovation in Learning and Teaching, National College of Ireland.
  • Fastrack to Employment, City of Dublin VEC, Hallissy, M. and Hurley, J. (2010). ETQF Framework, A Framework to Support Teachers’ CPD in the Use of ICTs. [Online]. Available at: [Last accessed February 2011].
  • Global e-Schools Community Initiative, Hallissy, M. and Hurley, J. (2009). Planning Toolkit for ICT in Teacher Professional Development. [Online]. Available at: [Last accessed February 15 2011].
  • Hallissy, M. and Hurley, J. (1996). Classroom of the Future – Guide to Using the Internet in Irish Schools. Dublin: Broadcom.


  • Hallissy, M. (2011). Teaching in an online environment: strategies for engagement. Dublin eLearning Summer School: Challenging the 21st Century Learner, Dublin Institute of Technology.
  • Hallissy, M. (2011). Designing CPD interventions to increase student & tutor interactions in synchronous tutorials, an EdD Thesis Proposal. Learning and Sustainability: The New Ecosystem of Innovation and Knowledge, University College Dublin, EDEN.
  • Hallissy, M. (2010). Developing Self-directed Teachers. National Academy for Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (NAIRTL) Conference Presentation. College of Surgeons, Dublin.

Teresa McHale, CPD and Summer Course Programme Director

Teresa McHale graduated from Sion Hill, Dublin in 1982 with the AMI Diploma in Montessori teaching. In 1983, she graduated with a B.A. in Psychology and Special Education, from the College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, Minnesota. Teresa then taught in mainstream and special education for over twenty five years, teaching pupils with mild, moderate and severe/profound learning disabilities. Recently, Teresa received a Postgraduate Diploma in the Education of Pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). She taught for over ten years on the St. Nicholas Montessori teacher training course, tutoring in special education. Teresa has also worked with Hibernia College, as an onsite tutor in special education and classroom management, and as a teaching practice supervisor on the HDAPE programme. Teresa is currently the CPD and Summer Course Programme Director at Hibernia College, and is carrying out research in the area of CPD delivery and participation. Teresa is also the manager of the Hibernia College Westport office in Co. Mayo.

Dara Cassidy, Director of Online Learning

Dara holds a BSocSc (Hons) from University College Dublin and an MA (Film and Television studies) from Dublin City University. She is currently studying for a Doctor of Education (EdD) in Queen’s University, Belfast. She has previously worked as a writer and instructional designer for e-learning company Knowledgewell (1999-2001), where she collaborated with a team at the University of Kansas to develop an innovative pilot programme to create one of the first computer-based business degree courses. She was later engaged as an instructional designer in an R&D initiative at Smartforce (2001-2002) focused on maximising engagement in the delivery of online IT and business skills courses. Since joining Hibernia College in 2002, she has dramatically expanded the online development capacity of the college. As Director of Online Learning, she has established a cross-functional R&D team to ensure that Hibernia College is at the leading edge of e-learning provision and that student engagement is at the heart of the development and delivery of all the College’s courses.

Current Research Interests

  • Forming and sustaining online communities of practice
  • Learning technologies and the hidden curriculum
  • Pre-service teacher profiles as predictors of teaching success

Research Papers:

An exploration of the relationship between background profile and the School Experience performance of trainee primary school teachers.

Keeping Them Clicking: Promoting Student Engagement in MOOC design, at ICEP conference (Dec 13th, 2013)

Blended Learning at Hibernia College, at the HECA Conference (April 11th, 2014)

Hibernia College Education Papers

On our Professional Master of Education in Primary Education programme, students complete a 10,000-word dissertation, which forms 10 credits of the assessment of the “Advanced School Experience: Using Evidence-Based Research to Inform Professional Practice” module. Student teachers choose a research topic from four different theme areas: (1) Teaching, learning and Assessment, (2) ICT, (3) Psychological and Sociological and (4) Inclusion and Differentiation. The purpose of the research module is to enable students to work independently and demonstrate the ability to plan, implement and evaluate an empirical investigation that integrates concepts, theories, knowledge and skills central to the curriculum on their programme of study. As well as being supported by the Head of Research throughout this module, students are also assigned a research supervisor, whose role is to provide a support framework and critical analysis of their work as it develops.

This publication provides an overview of the research of some of our PMEP student teachers from the September 2014 cohort. These students were the first group to complete the research module as part of our programme. For many of our students, this was the first research project they had ever completed, and we are delighted to disseminate their work to highlight excellent examples of student research being undertaken on our PMEP programme.

To view the Education Papers, click here.

Hibernia College Research Conference 2016 - Mind the Gap! Forging links between theory and practice in Teacher Education

The Hibernia College Research Conference, was held on Thursday 3rd November 2016.

This year, the conference will share insights from a wide range of perspectives in teacher education. This will include contributions from national and international speakers and practitioners including world renowned scholar in the area of Self Study, Professor Anastasia Samaras (George Mason University, Virginia, USA), academics from Hibernia College’s School of Education and our Master and PhD students.

Concurrent parallel workshops will showcase research by students, staff and faculty and demonstrate how the College is forging links between theory and practice in its teacher education programmes.


Hibernia College Conference 2015 – Integrating Research into Teacher Education

Panel 1: Setting the scene – what is driving the research agenda in policy?

In this session the contribution of research to professional standards was explored, providing the context for the renewed emphasis on research in teacher education and in ongoing professional practice.

Link to video and summary of Panel 1: Setting the scene – what is driving the research agenda in policy?

Panel 2: Generating research – how do teachers do research in the school setting?

This discussion provided each panellist with ten minutes to outline classroom or school based research projects and discuss the impact of the research. This was followed by an opportunity for questions from the audience.

Link to video and summary of Panel 2: Generating Research

Panel 3: Diversity and Inclusion in Schooling

In this session the panellists provided brief description of their research with diverse groups and the impact of this type of research. There was then an opportunity for questions and discussion from the audience.

Link to video and summary of Panel 3: Diversity and Inclusion in Schooling

Breakout Panel: ICT in the classroom

In this session the panellists provided a ten minute description of their involvement with research into ICT in the classroom and why it is important to do this type of research. There was then an opportunity for questions and discussion from the audience.

Panel 4: The challenges of implementing research in education settings.

Given the increased role of research, this session explored some of the challenges faced by teacher educators, student teachers, schools, principals and parents in bringing research into the classroom.

Link to video and summary of Panel 4: The Challenges of Implementing Research in Education Settings 

Research Posters

Hibernia College Conference 2013 - Sharing Knowledge: The Role of Research in Teaching and Learning

Conference Summary

The Hibernia College Education Conference 2013 was opened by Minister for Education, Ruairí Quinn, TD, who also announced the launch of the new Hibernia College PhD programme at the event. He commented:

“I am very pleased with this development which will enable Hibernia to fast track its research strategy. The 2012 report on the structure of Initial Teacher Education provision in Ireland highlighted the crucial role that high quality research plays in informing best practice in teacher preparation. Today’s announcement by Hibernia College is therefore very welcome and I look forward to the strong contribution to education research that the College will no doubt be making over the coming years.”

Please click here for a full summary of the conference, including keynote speeches, research workshops and presentations.

Hibernia College Conference 2012 - School Partnerships

Hibernia College hosted its inaugural research conference in November 2012, entitled “Accessing Funds of Knowledge in School Partnerships: Great Expectations in Hard Times”.

School partnership between Higher Education Institutions and schools has long been considered as best practice to ensure Graduate Teachers are fully cognisant of the professional roles and responsibilities they will assume as teaching professionals. The aim of this conference was to situate the concept of school partnership within the international and national debates for such partnerships. Participants were invited to identify issues that, for them, both support and challenge the implementation of such partnerships. A further aim of the conference was to identify a framework for school partnership between Hibernia College and schools. This framework supports the development of teacher professional learning communities so that teacher education is, as described by Bob Lingard, both research informed and research informing.

Please click here for a full summary of the conference, including details of speakers and their research interests.


EUPATI stands for ‘European Patients Academy on Therapeutic Innovation’. This innovative patient-led academy will lead an ambitious project to develop educational material, training courses and a public Internet library to educate patient representatives and the lay public about all processes involved in medicines development. It will address topics like personalised and predictive medicine, design and conduct of clinical trials, drug safety and risk/benefit assessment, health economics as well as patient involvement in drug development. The educational resources will be provided in seven European languages (English, French, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian and Italian), targeting twelve European countries.

Hibernia College is designing the IT infrastructure to deliver EUPATI information and learning systems. Hibernia  College will use its extensive knowledge in the area of distance learning to enable EUPATI information and courses reach EUPATI’s pan European audience and provide an online learning environment to teach EUAPTI students about areas of therapeutic innovation in a 30 ECTS programme.

Please click here for a full summary of the project.