Home Founders
pender 2015 bio shot

Dr. John Pender

Spark Awards Founder

Senior Lecturer in EU Social Policy and Politics at the Institute of Technology, Sligo.

View John's Biography

Dr. John Pender is a Senior Lecturer in EU Social Policy and Politics at the Institute of Technology, Sligo. During the period 1993-2004 he was Senior Lecturer in EU Social Policy and Politics at Leeds Metropolitan University, UK.

His current research interests focus on the experiences of minority ethnic groups in Ireland, Superdiversity and the impact of technology on the futures of care and society.  He has a lengthy and sustained interest in social innovation, social entrepreneurship and political entrepreneurship

His most recent research is a collaborative undertaking with Dr Breda McTaggart and Ms Tamsin Cavaliero on the impact of ‘smart’ technologies and early childhood education provision. Results of Phase One of the LITtLE (Linking Innovative Technology to Learning in the Early years) project were delivered to participants at the 66th World Organisation for Early Childhood Education conference held at University College Cork, Ireland in July 2014. Phase Two is on-going.


Dr. Colm O’Doherty

Spark Awards Founder

Lecturer in Applied Social Studies at the Institute of Technology Tralee.

View Colm's Biography

Dr. Colm O’Doherty  is a lecturer in Applied Social Studies at the Institute of Technology Tralee. He began his career as a social worker in Coventry. After eighteen years front line practice in social work, family support and community development he took on a pivotal role in community and social work education at University College Cork.   He is the author of A New Agenda for Family Support –Providing Services that Create Social Capital (2007) and co-editor (with Dr. Ashling Jackson) of Community Development in Ireland –Theory, Policy and Practice (2012) and Learning on the Job: Parenting in Modern Ireland (2015). He teaches social entrepreneurship at undergraduate level and supervises post-graduate research into the training needs of social entrepreneurs and the activation of social entrepreneurship in youth work organizations.

He is committed to enhancing social entrepreneurship teaching, learning and research capacity at third level through the development of the SPARK competition.

spark-awards-founders-roisinRoisin McGlone

Spark Awards Founder

Lecturer, Department of Social Sciences, Institute of Technology, Sligo.

View Roisin's Biography

Roisin has been a lecturer in Management, Leadership and Entrepreneurship on the Social Care and Early Childhood Care and Education programmes at the Institute of Technology, Sligo since 2003, and was a founder member of the Accelerating Campus Entrepreneurship initiative in 2008 and is currently a member of the founding board of Campus Entrepreneurship Enterprise Network. Through her involvement in these Entrepreneurship Education networks , Roisin has  jointly delivered the Semester 6 Innovation and Creativity for the Social Sciences programme to non business students and enjoyed the opportunity to work with Entrepreneurship educator colleagues in Babson College in the US and nGee Ann Polytechnic in Singapore.

Prior to academia, Roisin worked for a range of multi national corporations in a strategic marketing role in Australia, the US and the UK and has also worked in a mentoring role with SMEs in the tourism and early childhood sectors.

Her current research interests are in constructing the entrepreneurial ecosystem to create entrepreneurial graduates and she is believes that all students should have the opportunity to discover their inner entrepreneurial self.


Judy Doyle

Spark Awards Founder

Senior Lecturer, Department of Social Science, Dublin Institute of Technology.

View Judy's Biography

Judy Doyle

Senior Lecturer in Department of Social Science


Dip SC (DIT), MSc Economics (University of Wales)

Judy has worked as a Social Care Practitioner for seventeen years, this work involved workingwith; members of the Travelling Community, children and young people living in state care, young people in transition to foster care, foster parent training for same-culture fostering, aftercare and management of a residential care unit.

As a graduate of the Dublin Institute of Technology, Judy was awarded a distinction in her Social Care diploma and received an award for the best dissertation. In 1998 Judy was awarded a Masters degree in Social Science and Economics from the University of Wales.

Research Interests

Anthropology and the use of ethnomethodology as a method to collect data on minority culture groups, and marginalised communities; The Travelling Community, the importance of culture and cultural identity to young people living in State care, and on Women in minority culture groups. Examination of the equality principle of the Affective Domain to the lives of children and young people who have; Lived in State Care, and to their lives after care. Irish Managers role in Social Care Work survey.

Additional Activities

Lecturer in Professional Practice in Social Care, Cultural Diversity and Management Practice in

Human Services.

Reviewer of literature publications and articles, for FESET, the European Association of Social Care Educators, and for Gill and Macmillan.

External Examiner to Carlow College, (2007-2010).

External Examiner to Institute of Technology Sligo. (2012- to date).

Member of IASCE, Irish Association of Social Care Educators.

Member of HETAC (QQI) Expert Group on Social Care Work Award Standards (2009-2010).

Member of HETAC Expert Group on College Programme Validation in Social Care (2010-on going).

IASCE representative member of DOHC Social Care Qualifications Equivalency Committee 2009-on going.

Advisory Group Member on current research on Seldom heard Young People.

Recent Publications/Consultancy

Doyle, J. and Lalor, K. (2009). The Social Care Practice Placement: A college perspective. In P.Share and K. Lalor (Eds). Applied Social Care. (2nd Ed.) Dublin: Gill and Macmillan.

Doyle, J. and Gallagher, C. (Eds.) (2006). In A Changing Ireland had Social Care Practice Left Religious and Spiritual Values Behind? Dublin: CSER DIT.

Lalor, K. and Doyle, J. (2005). The Social Care Practice Placement: A college perspective. In P.Share and N. Mc Elwee (Eds.) Applied Social Care. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan.

Team facilitation HSE North East. 2004.

Evaluation Report on Traveller Health Unit and Local Advisory Committees. (2004).

Evaluation Report (2005), on residential care service provision.

Monitoring and supporting managers in residential care service, identifying training needs and gaps in service provision. (2005).

Investigation into care, management and team practices in non-statutory service provision sector. (2006).

Investigation into care and welfare of Unaccompanied Minors (2009).

Professional Social Care Practice training provided on; Team work, Cultural Competency, Ethics and Principles of Professional Practice in Social Care Work. (2005-2011).

Social Care team training facilitation on; Team Building, Placement Plans for Minority Culture Care, Models of Care Practice, and Mission Statements. (2006-2011).

Supervision of Managers in residential social care practice, and community social care practice (2005-on-going).

Conference Presentations

IASCW Conference, (2008). Moral Development of Children in Care – Who’s Obligation?


IASCE Conference, (2003). When is Mark On? Dublin.

FESET (2002). Residential Care for Children from an indigenous Irish minority culture. Italy.

Social Service Inspectorate (2001). Working with Children from the Travelling Community in residential care. Sligo.

Registration and Inspection (2000). Paper1; Placement Planning in Residential Care. Paper2;

Monitoring Progress in Residential Care. Paper 3; Application of methods to practice.

Danish Social Pedagogue Union Representatives, (2000). Working with families from a minority culture in residential care. Wicklow.

Trinity College Dublin, (1998, 1999, 2000). Living in Residential Care. Residential Care for Children and Teenagers. Young People in the care of the State. Dublin.


Anne Marie Shier

Spark Awards Founder

BSocSc., MSW, NQSW, PG Dip Learning and Teaching.

View Annes's Biography

Anne Marie Shier is a lecturer in Professional Practice at the Department of Social Science, Dublin Institute of Technology.  Anne Marie was a member of the Spark Steering committee in its first year in 2014.

Anne Marie has previously worked in IT Tallaght and has worked as an Adoption Social Worker and as a Community Care Social Worker.

pat-mcgarty-spark-awards-founderPat McGarty

Spark Awards Founder

Senior Lecturer, Department of Humanities, Institute of Technology, Tralee.

View Pat's Biography

Patrick McGarty is a Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Technology Tralee. He has extensive experience in the development of social care education programmes at Athlone, Blanchardstown and Tralee Institutes of Technology.

He is a past President, and founder member of the Irish Association of Social Care Educators. He was Chairman of HETAC National Standards Committee on Social Care, and was recipient of Social Care Ireland’s National Award in 2013.

Research interests include social and public policy, social enterprise and the management and development of leadership in organisations.