Ethos Statement

Carlow College, St Patrick’s Ethos Statement

Carlow College, St Patrick’s strives to be a place of active citizenship, a site of engaged critical thought, and a forward looking and responsive learning community for the twenty-first century and beyond. To this end, one of our principal aspirations is to foster a sense of civic responsibility amongst our students. We pursue this aim through educational programmes directed towards social understanding and transformation, the participation of our learners in the decision-making structures and processes of the college, and through lively debate on college and societal issues. In all this, we are motivated by the values of compassion, care, and mercy, as we are equally inspired by the rich spiritual traditions of Christianity.

Given the college’s firm conviction that education is a public good, we perceive our learners as partners in the enterprise of knowledge building and critical understanding. All members of our learning community are equal citizens and collaborators in the college’s educational endeavours.

The core values of Carlow College, St Patrick’s include:

  • the pursuit of academic excellence
  • to be a model for the open and just institution,
  • and to be a celebratory and caring one.


We aspire to foster a culture of democracy within the college. This is modelled in our participatory governance style, which sees all members of the community dynamically involved in the shaping of the college, and through the culture of reciprocal respect that pervades every facet of college life.

Carlow College, St Patrick’s recognises that the human person lies at the centre of all our efforts, and that the nurturing of human beings and their ideas is at the core of what we do. We understand the human to be a spiritual, psychological, emotional, social and physical being. We also recognise our responsibility to the wider environmental ecosystem within which we all co-exist. We strive to inspire creative and innovative minds that are outward looking, and which appreciate the value of community involvement and leadership, just as much as the role of the autonomous citizen. As an active expression of our vision, and as one embodiment of our values, we will always welcome, possess, and celebrate a diverse student cohort, whilst providing quality educational programmes that respond to the widest possible needs of a changing society.

In Carlow College, St Patrick’s, we recognize that higher education is a place and a process of transition, where individually and together, we strive to support our learners in their development towards finding their own means of being in the world. We recognize the responsibility and reciprocity of the educational process. This recognition lies at the heart of our self-characterization as a community of learners, and we hold that education is one vital expression of the human endeavor that is our searching and our desire for relationship. We accompany each other on the journeying that is self-discovery and the unfolding of our various life-callings.

Following in the tradition of our founders, Carlow College, St Patrick’s recognises the Catholic expression of Christianity as central to its self-understanding, motivation, and mission. Respecting this tradition, we strive to produce wise citizens who recognise the social nature of the human being, the interdependence of humanity, and the necessity of regard for the general welfare of all creatures on our planet, as essential to human flourishing and for the common good of all humanity into the future. At Carlow College, St Patrick’s we value actions founded on truth, which strive towards justice, and are animated by love.