Associate Professor, School of Human Development
Institute of Education



CATHERINE (KAY) MAUNSELL is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Human Development at the Institute of Education, Dublin City University DCU. Kay maintains an active research profile in the broad fields of developmental psychology, teacher education, social justice and human rights.  Her research, to date, focuses on the role of education in addressing inequality and promoting inclusion, and in particular, on the rights of children and young people, especially those most marginalized, to holistic, inclusive Relationships and Sexuality Education RSE. Kay is currently the Principal Investigator on an IRC Coalesce research project entitled TEACH-RSE: Teacher Professional Development and Relationships and Sexuality Education (Coalesce Award 2019/147 Strand 1E supported by HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme). She is also an active member of national and international organizations devoted to research on child and adolescent sexual development.


While I already input on social justice themes across many of the modules I teach, particularly on issues related to gender, sexuality and access to quality sex education, I want to further advance my capacity to do so.  In my teaching, I am committed to exploring and enabling students’ reflections on issues of equality/inequality/ies, inclusion/exclusion, privilege/discrimination, empowerment/disempowerment. I am motivated to address challenges, through my teaching, in respect of how my own and my students’ attitudinal/belief systems and actions have the potential to limit/enable the realisation of equitable outcomes for all.

I am also very aware that I am engaged in a privileged position in my role as an academic in higher education and of the potential of the students that I teach to engender positive change in their own and the lives of others. That privilege and potential behoves a deeper, critical examination of higher education, through the lens of social justice, which I believe my involvement in the DISCs project can offer support and guidance with. I welcome the involvement with and opportunity to learning together with the DISCs project team and fellow DISCs colleagues.

  • To gain a better understanding of how social justice approach/es inform my own teaching and research
  • To plan for the redesign of part of a module on the Psychology of Adolescence  (On working positively with adolescents) to include input on social justice approach/es and embed opportunities for student engagement with social justice issues pertinent to adolescent development
  • To engage actively with the DISCs management team and fellow DISCs colleagues, in my own institution and others, to both gain and deepen the sense of ‘community’ in this endeavour


To learn more about Kay’s course development and planning for the Spring 2020 semester, please choose from one of the links below.


To learn more about Kay’s pedagogical orientation and approach as well as her experiences of participating in the DISCs Project, please click on one of the links below.

What is the purpose of Higher Education?

What does it mean to incorporate social justice principles into my teaching?

Reflections on the DISCs Project