Teaching and Learning Awards - December 2018

There was a great sense of celebration at the Teaching and Learning Awards reception held in the College of Arts and Humanities last night. Nominated by students, these awards honour the achievements of some of the College’s very best teachers. At the reception, hosted by Associate Professor Naomi McAreavey, VP for Teaching and Learning, Professor Sarah Prescott, College Principal, presented each award winner with a certificate.

Teaching Excellence Category

Martin Brady, School of Classics

Martin Brady teaches in the area of Roman literature, classical epic poetry, and Greek and Roman mythology. His teaching is based on the fundamental belief that learning works best as a social activity in which students and instructors share their knowledge of and enthusiasm for their subject, and so he has developed a range of classes that are based around group work, in which students may attempt to discuss, debate, and solve problems in a collaborative and encouraging environment. In nominating Martin for an award, one of his students wrote:

"Engages superbly with the classes and is a wonderful speaker... Is always around for any queries or worries students might have, excellent level of communication and support... Made every lecture entertaining."

Catríona Clutterbuck, School of English, Drama and Film

Catríona Clutterbuck teaches mainly in the area of contemporary Irish poetry, and she also has extensive experience in dissertation supervision. In her teaching, Catriona emphasizes potential for inspirational impact in her delivery of material, along with persistent eliciting of students’ ideas by varied means. Her reusable teaching resources (such as ‘Questions to Ask of a Poem’ and ‘Close Reading Memory Aid’) may be of use to other teachers of poetry. Catríona received an enviable number of nominations from students, all of whom characterized her as dedicated, caring and motivational teacher who does everything she can to support her students and help them learn. Among her nominations one student wrote:

"I could listen to Dr Clutterbuck all day long. She is a tour-de-force; a phenomenal teacher and so passionate about her subject. Her help throughout the term was invaluable. Dr Clutterbuck is simply an inspiring teacher, I actually cannot describe how much she impressed me."

Aude Doody, School of Classics (in absentia)

Aude Doody teaches across the Greek and Roman Civilization and Latin degree programmes. She uses technology-enhanced learning strategies to enhance student learning experiences in Beginners' Latin modules, developing reusable eLearning resources for game-based learning. Aude’s approach to the design, delivery, and review of these extremely useful and highly adaptable resources was underpinned by a careful consultative process and indepth pedagogical research. But her impact on students extends far beyond these resources, with one of her students writing:

“Dr. Doody has an outstanding knowledge of her field and of academia as a whole. Her feedback for our essays was always clear and helpful as she illuminated what we did well, how we could have improved our work and what is expected of academic writing in general. In her classes she engaged with us in an enthusiastic way and spoke with passion when referring to her subject.”

Mary Farrelly, School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Mary Farrelly came to UCD in 2017-18 as a lecturer in Spanish Studies, and she teaches modules on Spanish poetry, theatre, film, and Iberian mysticism, as well as the Spanish language. Her teaching style is characterised by support for learner autonomy and a mix of online and in-class activities, and she has made careful and informed use of the scholarship of teaching and learning in the development of these resources. Particularly exciting is her ‘Shut Up and Write’ initiative for postgraduate students. In nominating Mary for an award, one of her students wrote:

“Mary is not only a great teacher, but motivated and passionate about what she is teaching - which makes her classes that bit more interesting. She has a way of motivating her students and gets them to engage in every aspect of the class. She has a great understanding of what her students want, what they are capable of, and how to modify her teaching accordingly. The best teacher I have had in UCD so far”.

Many congratulations to Mary on her College award for Teaching Excellence.

Deirdre Flynn, School of English, Drama and Film

Deirdre Flynn teaches in Contemporary Drama and literature, with a specific interest in Irish and world literature, dystopia, ageing, and gender. Deirdre’s student nominations characterized her as a motivational and inspirational teacher, with one of her students writing:

“She's a wonderful, enthusiastic professor who enjoys what she does and loves engaging with the students and the texts on the course. She makes me genuinely interested in the information she's teaching whether it's dystopian fiction novels, contemporary drama, or Irish media. I love talking to her and listening to her lectures, as well, and having a professor who makes any course she teaches interesting, makes me fall in love with my program--English--all over again”.

Deirdre is involved in a bold and ambitious collaborative teaching innovation on the topic of cultural representations of addiction, and we look forward to learning more about its impact on students. Many congratulations to Deirdre on her College award for Teaching Excellence.

Jorie Lagerwey, School of English, Drama and Film

Jorie Lagerwey is a Film Studies lecturer whose teaching focuses on race, gender, and politics in contemporary popular television and online. She is committed to student-led teaching, and has developed a wide range of innovative and effective teaching methods, all of which are models of good practice. In nominating Jorie for an award, one student wrote:

“In my 3 years at UCD Jorie is the best professor I’ve had. She is knowledgeable, kind, open, and funny. She allows for in depth and open discussions in class and urges students to participate in discussions. Her assignments are thought provoking and useful... I feel lucky as a student to have had her as a professor… I look forward to attending her classes every week and I never want to miss a day…”

As School head of Teaching and Learning, Jorie has introduced teaching skills workshops for tutors and pedagogy seminars for faculty, which focus on building a teaching community within the School where colleagues with all levels of experience can learn, discuss, and experiment with new modes of teaching and assessment. Many congratulations to Jorie for her College award for Teaching Excellence.

Cormac O’Brien, School of English, Drama and Film (in absentia)

Cormac O’Brien has developed cutting edge research-led modules on gender and sexuality studies, Irish studies, queer theory, biopolitics, and medical humanities, with one of his key innovations his development of protocol for supporting students in dealing with sensitive material. He received enthusiastic nominations from a number of his students, including one who wrote:

“Dr O'Brien confronts students with difficult subjects and challenges our perceptions of ourselves and the world around us. One of the most amazing lecturers UCD has to offer and seriously working to make students aware of the positions they have in the world. Not only educating us academically, but equipping us with skills and knowledge sets that will stand to us long after we have graduated.”

Tadhg Ó hAnnracháin, School of History

Tadhg Ó hAnnracháin was Head of the School of History in 2017/18 when they launched the Stage One module ‘Creating History’ (which he also co-ordinated). ‘Creating History’ was not just a new module but a new way of thinking about teaching History at first year, and as such is a model for other Arts and Humanities subjects interested in finding new ways of easing the transition from second to third level study; developing key discipline-specific proficiencies and generic skills; and engaging and motivating students. Its objective was to ensure that every first year student was given access to the expertise, guidance and encouragement of a member of faculty in a small-group teaching context immediately on their entry into the subject. While extensive efforts were made to ensure uniformity of workload and assessment, the module was designed so that each member of faculty was teaching in their own research field. The module has been a great success, with one of his students writing that Tadhg:

“Created something fun and educational when making the module creating history. He helps people understand and introduces people to areas of history people would have never thought of entering before. Really brings history to life”.

Sabine Strumper-Krobb, School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics

Sabine Krobb teaches German language and literature with a particular focus on translation and adaptation. In her work both inside and outside of the classroom she aims to provide a supportive environment for students as they learn to communicate across cultural and linguistic boundaries. She has made a significant impact in developing beginners programmes and cross-cultural curricula and has been active in the development of good practice for supporting students on outward mobility programmes. Sabine’s teaching, learning and assessment methods engage, motivate and inspire students of all levels and abilities, which is clear from one of her students who wrote:

“Sabine throws herself into her teaching with gusto and never lets you feel as though you aren't good enough to succeed in her classes. Her sharp wit kept me entertained while her compassion encouraged me to keep trying as well as the support and encouragement she gave me motivated me to give my course my all”.

Nerys Williams, School of English, Drama and Film

As a teacher of 20th and 21st Century American Literature, Nerys Williams has a strong sense of the kind of teaching and learning environment she wants to create, and adopts effective pedagogical strategies to support that vision. One of her students wrote that Nerys:

“…is a rare gem in university-level teaching, adding the in-depth knowledge and next-level curriculum of university to the individual care and engagement of secondary school. Her tutorials are not only fun and informative, but an absolutely invaluable part of learning in this module, digging deeper into the material to teach me significantly more than the lectures do”.

In her current role Nerys is doing crucial work in considering PhD supervision as a pedagogical practice, and her work may provide invaluable support for other PhD supervisors.

Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning Category

Zeljka Doljanin and the Writing Centre

Zeljka Doljanin is the Manager of the Writing Centre, a support unit that offers individual and group tuition in writing to all undergraduate and postgraduate students in UCD. In 2017/18 the team engaged in nearly 1,700 individual writing sessions and delivered 69 workshops on a variety of writing topics, as well as offering writing skills workshops for 5th year students from disadvantaged schools. In nominating the team for the award, one mature student wrote:

“The Team in the writing clinic have been a huge help to me going back to studies after thirty years. It was a great support and I couldn't have completed my studies without them. Zeljka had fantastic resources from which I could work from and was always at the end of an email”.

Many other students have testified to the transformative impact of the Writing Centre. Congratulations to Zeljka and her Writing Centre team – Audrey McNamara, Scott Hamilton, Niamh Kelly, David McKinney, Leanne Waters, Katie Mishler, Conor Heffernan, Anne Cormican, Orla Ni Cheallachain and Edwin Alblass – for their College Award for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning.