DCU campus is full of support for budding entrepreneurs and creators, from lecture halls to the community gardens, business ideas can grow and prosper. DCU as a university is an innovator – its the first autism friendly campus and believes in making education as accessible as possible for all types of students – something close to the heart of the ISL STEM Glossary team making subjects more accessible for the deaf and hard of hearing community. 

Meet Matthew Smith and Fiona Earley in an autism-friendly campus

DCU are committed to supporting and celebrating students and staff who are on the autism spectrum. Through adapting the environment, raising awareness and acceptance, and building initiatives to make it easier for autistic community members to participate in university life, DCU has become one of the world’s first designated autism-friendly universities.

In this series we meet Fiona Earley, the Autism-Friendly University Coordinator and Matthew Smith, a student studying Early Childhood Education in DCU. Matthew is Autistic, so when it came to third-level education Matthew’s choice was influenced by the University’s student support system. He recalls “In particular, the Autism Friendly University programme was the deciding factor that made me put the course as my number one choice in my CAO.”

The people on his course were very friendly and the teaching staff were open and approachable. “Everyone there is just really enthusiastic about wanting everybody to succeed. There’s lots of support and it was just a really cool experience,” says Matthew how has gained a new perspective on college life.

Meet The Garden Gnomes, at the Community Garden

The Gnomes is a social enterprise which consists of a team of hard-working, green-fingered friends who have built a successful business from their work in the Community Garden. Since 2015 the team have transformed a 1.6 acre off-grid garden on the Glasnevin campus, into a thriving micro farm consisting of two polytunnels and sixty eight garden beds. Looking after the soil and using organic methods they produce a wide variety of vegetables that they sell locally.

With sustainability at the heart of what DCU does, the community garden has become a vital resource for teaching, research, education, training and community engagement. It is open to staff, students and DCU alumni along with members and organisations from the local community.

Meet Dr. Elizabeth Mathews and the ISL STEM Glossary

Dr. Elizabeth Mathews from DCU’s Institute of Education is working on the first Irish Sign Language STEM glossary. She’s one of the leading researchers in deaf education.

The first phase of the glossary contains over 200 videos, including 25 newly coined signs for terms. Speaking about the project Dr Elizabeth Mathews said: “The absence of agreed signs for technical STEM vocabulary inhibits the teaching of STEM subjects at all levels of education and presents difficulties for those working in Sign Language interpreting”.

There are approximately 5,000 people in Ireland who use Irish Sign Language as their first language. However, for people who are deaf or hard of hearing (DHH) to fully engage in STEM related subjects there must be an agreed lexicon in Irish Sign Language for STEM terms, a resource which has been absent, until now.

About Dublin City University

Dublin City University (DCU) is a young, dynamic and ambitious university. Since admitting its first students in 1989, DCU has grown and now accommodates over 19,000 students and is a multi-campus university. DCU has three academic campuses located in Glasnevin and Drumcondra, on the north side of Dublin City. The University develops highly sought-after, well-rounded graduates who are ready for the workforce and eager to apply their knowledge and skills in a broad range of settings.