Mater Dei Institute of Education is a foundation of the Archdiocese of Dublin, a College of Dublin City University and a designated higher education institution under the Higher Education Authority.
The Institute was established in 1966 as a third-level Catholic College of Education specialising in the academic and professional formation of Religious Educators and Teachers for post-primary schools in Ireland. The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin is the Patron of the Institute. In 1999 the Institute became a College of Dublin City University. In the context of its linkage with the University, the Institute's strategic plan - Religion, Education and the Arts: Teaching and Learning in a Changing Ireland 2003-2008 was launched by An Taoiseach, Mr Bertie Ahern TD.
The Institute is distinctive in its adoption of the concurrent model of teacher education. Over many years the Institute has developed several postgraduate programmes to further enhance its contribution to schooling, pastoral care and chaplaincy. In the years since its foundation the Institute has had an important and positive influence on the development of Irish education - primarily, albeit not exclusively, in the area of religious education - in terms of its on-going work of teacher education, the very significant contribution of its graduates and the research and publications of its staff. Mater Dei Institute has responded to the changing needs of the educational sector by pioneering the professional training of school chaplains. Its involvement in this area has led to its development of professional training for other forms of pastoral care. Moreover, its awareness of the enormous changes that have occurred in Irish society in the last 30 years has prompted the Institute to promote critical reflection and research on the themes of 'Religion and Education' and 'Religion and Culture'. The Institute, through its linkage with Dublin City University, can also award the M.A. and Ph.D. for research.
The Institute is proud of its contribution to the Irish teaching profession over the past thirty-five years and is a willing partner in seeking to maintain and enhance the quality of teacher education. At a time of difficulty for the profession, both nationally and internationally, the Institute commits itself once again to value-added teacher education in terms of recruitment, professional formation, induction and in-career service of teachers. It intends to form teachers who are self-reliant, critically aware and committed to ever improving quality in both teaching and learning in second-level education in Ireland.
In recent years, the Institute has developed the area of Irish Studies in its BA programme. The study of the relationship between religious and cultural identity is particularly appropriate in the Irish context. The hope for reconciliation expressed in the Good Friday Agreement needs intellectual and analytical foundations. This programme of studies will produce graduates who can contribute to the national aim of renewing Irish identity through a dialogue that is enriched by Irish literature, history and religion. The careful intellectual analysis of these areas should yield an understanding predicated on respect and tolerance of difference. The combination of Religious Studies and Irish Studies is particularly appropriate. In few countries has the influence of religion been so pervasive as in Ireland. Both for good and for ill, religious consciousness has permeated the minds of the Irish both at home and in the diaspora. This degree will give graduates insights into the interface of religion and society.
In our strategic plan, we reflect on what it is to be a Catholic College in a changing world. "Mater Dei Institute asserts its unique position as a mediator between Irish Catholicism and Irish culture rather than simply embracing the latest trends of society, whether they are driven by the market or ideologically. The Institute is an important site where Christianity can negotiate openly with a plurality of other cultures, attitudes and systems of belief and no belief, and advocates the necessity of this negotiation by inviting people of all persuasions to participate in it."
I hope that this site will give you a flavour of the various aspects of the life of the Institute.
Andrew G. McGrady
Mater Dei Institute of Education
Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland