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Séamus Ó Tuama

Séamus Ó Tuama

Hall of Fame Class of 2022

Séamus Ó Tuama is director of Adult Continuing Education (ACE) at University College Cork (UCC), Ireland's oldest university center for the delivery of adult and continuing education. His current research is focused on applying theories of respect, recognition, dignity, and rights in the field of adult education. His other research interests include democracy and the social contexts of science and technology and the law. He is a professionally trained journalist and was formerly a professional youth and community worker.

Ó Tuama’s contributions to the field of adult and continuing education are extensive. He led a major strategic reform for ACE. This involved a total relaunch, recruitment of key team members, new branding, new quality assurance processes, stakeholder engagement, access and progression, teaching, research, and scholarship, making ACE the largest and most innovative provider of university adult education in Ireland. He is Chair of the Asia-Europe Education and Research Hub for Lifelong Learning, a key intergovernmental network for university cooperation in lifelong learning research and policy, the hosting of which he helped secure for Ireland under the patronage of the government of Ireland and University College Cork . He has played a major role in other international agencies, including the advisory group for the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) and Shanghai Open University (SOU) global survey. Until 2022 he served on the board of the European University Continuing Education Network; as Ambassador to the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education. He is a member of the Singapore Workforce Development Applied Research Fund Expert Review Panel; of the review panel for George Moore Scholars to support study in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom; and is an evaluator of the EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) post-doctoral fellowships.

He a founder of the Higher Education Ireland Lifelong Learning Network (HELLIN), the major cross-border group that advocates for the interests of the adult and mature student populations in universities and institutes of technology across Ireland. In addition, he serves on the board of the Higher Education Research Centre (HERC), Dublin City University; the board of St. John’s College; and as an external examiner, Trinity College Dublin Access Programmes. He assisted in securing the prestigious award for Cork as a UNESCO learning city (2015) and the hosting of the UNESCO Global Conference on Learning Cities (2017). He plays an active role in relevant scholarly publications including serving on the editorial board of the Journal of Continuing Higher Education and founding editor of the Irish Journal of Public Policy, a special issue editor of Administration as well as contributing extensively to international literature.

Ó Tuama established The Bertram Windle Award in 2016 to honor outstanding contributions to adult education. He established the Alfred O’Rahilly Lecture, an annual public lecture to explore the public mission of the university, especially in such areas as adult education, access, and community engagement.

A former manager and PI at the Centre for European Social Research, Ó Tuama has extensive experience evaluating research proposals for the European Commission and national research agencies in Poland, Romania, Cyprus, and Singapore. He has led international workshops and delivered keynotes across the world, including Belarus, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Egypt, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Vietnam.