These prestigious awards celebrate the achievements of colleagues who make an exceptional contribution in the pursuit of teaching excellence and the enhancement of student learning.
There are two award schemes, tiered, with awards at college and university level. Teaching Excellence Awards recognise individual faculty for sustained commitment to teaching excellence and student learning. Awards for Exceptional Contribution to Learning recognise individual UCD employees, who are engaged directly in teaching and or facilitating student learning. The scheme allows the UCD community including students, faculty and staff to nominate faculty and staff for an award.
Information on the 2021-22 awards including the criteria and process is available on the UCD Teaching and Learning Awards 2021-22 page.
Between November 2019 and the end of August 2020, 3050 nominations were submitted by students, faculty and staff. This was an increase of 22% in nominations submitted compared to the last awards in 2017-18. The increase in the number of nominations is particularly noteworthy in light of the challenging year experienced by all members of the UCD community. Many students gratefully highlighted the additional support they received due to the pandemic. The content and volume of their nominations is a testament to the huge achievement of UCD faculty and staff in creating such a positive impact on so many lives.
Nominees were invited to apply initially at college level. Following a competitive process there were 81 awardees at college level. The results of the 2019-20 stage two awards were notified to applicants in early December 2020. Congratulations to all awardees on their remarkable achievements.
Each of the college adjudication panels then made recommendations from their pool of college awardees to put forward for consideration for a university level award. Following a competitive process, 13 of those awardees were selected to receive prestigious University Teaching and Learning awards.
The formal announcement of the UCD University Level Teaching and Learning Awardees 2019-20 was made by the President of UCD Professor Andrew Deeks on 2nd February 2021 by email to all UCD staff.
The UCD 2019-20 University Teaching and Learning Awards were presented by the Dean of Graduate Studies and Deputy Registrar Professor Barbara Dooley at an online ceremony on 24th March 2020. The awards are the highest honour bestowed by the University for teaching and learning. UCD’s national and international reputation for educational excellence has been built over many years by the passion, innovation and commitment of its faculty and staff. The ceremony honoured eleven individuals and two teams, all of whom have had a transformative impact on their students’ learning experience.
In their nominations students attested to the care and effort invested in their development and to the outstanding teaching qualities and skills of the awardees. They wrote of the impact of the awardees on their confidence and overall university experience. They also highlighted exceptional communication skills, ability to explain difficult topics and inclusive teaching approaches which respond to students of different abilities enabling them to feel comfortable in the UCD learning environment. Students appreciated cross-disciplinary and real-life learning experiences and the ability of the awardees to bring clarity, challenge and inspire. Congratulations to all.
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This team award is presented to the staff involved in Architectural Design VII - Open Hearts City. The focus of this architectural design studio is on a broad and expanding vision of the role of the architect in society, illustrating that the discipline of architecture fits within a broad framework of associated disciplines of the spatial environment. An architectural design studio relies on learning through doing within the context of a project; in this case the project focused on the former Convent and Magdalene Laundry in Sean Mac Dermott Street and the surrounding area of the northeast inner city of Dublin. Particular emphasis was placed on facilitating students to understand this complex piece of city and its difficult history, and to achieve this, support was sought from other disciplines from within and outside the university. The team that came together have exceptional and diverse skills which were made available to students in innovative ways. These skills supported high quality learning by employing the practical arts of drawing, model making and engaging with communities, to unlock the potential for learning in real life contexts.
The 7-week study culminated in a presentation of students’ work to all teaching contributors, the local community and QUB students who were also working on the site. The students’ work was disseminated online and through published articles.
The members of the team:
Dr Mary Laheen, Module Coordinator; Professor Hugh Campbell; Mr Michael Pike; Mr Marcus Donaghy; Mr Paul Arnold; Ms Merlo Kelly; Ms Denise Murray; Dr Dearbhla MacManus; Ms Jennifer O’Donnell; Mr Jonathan Janssens; Dr Elizabeth Shotton.
Dr Anthony Cronin is a mathematician in the UCD School of Mathematics and Statistics. He lectures on Linear Algebra and he is also the Manager of the Maths Support Centre. Anthony utilises technology-enhanced learning to involve, engage and motivate students in large lecture settings. He has effectively leveraged the e-assessment and e-learning environment, Bolster Academy, allowing him to tailor the learning experience for students of different abilities, and provide them with personalised learning materials, assessment and feedback. Anthony has also participated in piloting peerAssign, where students assess their classmates and use peer feedback to improve their own work based on rubrics provided by the lecturer. This affords students opportunities to learn from their peers in addition to developing reflective skills.
Anthony adopts a systematic approach to enhancing students’ learning which is research informed and highly attentive to student feedback and performance. He has used this approach to great effect to redesign traditionally challenging modules. Anthony has published on his innovations in teaching and learning and was recently invited as a reviewer of a UK mathematics education journal. Anthony’s teaching philosophy is influenced by John Mason, focussing on entering the student world as opposed to the student entering the lecturer’s world.
Dr Sarah Fulham-McQuillan is an Assistant Professor in the UCD Sutherland School of Law where she lectures and researches in Tort Law, Constitutional Law, Public Law and Medical Law. Now in her third year at UCD, she has taught nine different modules and 1,600 students. Sarah fosters inclusivity and sparks critical thinking in law by creating caring relationships and innovative engagement. In nominating Sarah for an award, students spoke of her compassion for them as individuals, her own passion for the subject matter which inspired them to ‘love law’, and the effectiveness of her teaching approaches that led to deeper understandings of complex materials.
Sarah uses technology to enhance student engagement and to encourage students to become active and independent learners. She accommodates students’ different learning preferences through the creation of multi-media learning resources. Student interaction and discussion are valued in all her classes, even in large first year modules, and she is adept in creating a safe space for students to express their opinions, put forward ideas and engage with diversity of thought.
In 2020 Sarah developed the first module in UCD Sutherland School of Law on ‘Medical Law’, leveraging inter-disciplinary teaching, research and scholarship.
In her own words, integrity guides Sarah’s teaching.
Dr Melinda Halasz is a physician-scientist teaching Pathology in the UCD School of Medicine. Her aspiration is to train patient-centred, empathic physicians who master their specialties. Key features of Melinda’s teaching approach include student-centred active learning; interactive case-based discussions; and perspective-taking exercises through invited patient speakers. She has successfully redesigned a number of modules, informed by research-based approaches, students’ feedback, and reflective practice. Her students attest to her dedication and commitment to help them succeed in their learning and future careers.
Melinda developed a new postgraduate module in Precision Oncology, that bridges a gap in medical education. This module enables upskilling of scientists and healthcare professionals in this cutting-edge field and equips students with an interdisciplinary mindset.
Melinda is chair of the Student EDI Group in the School of Medicine, which is a first student/staff EDI group in UCD. She engages with students as partners in enhancing their educational experience and has been active in raising awareness of the hidden racism in Medicine that affects patient care. As a result, a series of recommendations have been introduced to remove unconscious bias from the medical curriculum.
In nominating Melinda for an award, students highlighted her hard work and commitment to providing an exceptional teaching and learning experience.
Dr Olive Lennon is an experienced physiotherapist and clinical educator, specialising in neurology, in the UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science. Her understanding of the required competencies for effective health-care provision, including interprofessional collaborative working, informs her teaching practice. She uses student-centred and active learning approaches to foster student empathy and clinical reasoning skills including negotiated learning, patient-as-educator sessions, authentic case-studies, site visits and peer-led assessment. Olive has spearheaded an interprofessional education initiative for UCD medicine, nursing, dietetics, radiography and physiotherapy students during their clinical placements at the Beacon Hospital. An interprofessional PBL teaching approach is used. Students from different disciplines experience interprofessional collaboration by working as a group to resolve the problems presented during placement.
Olive’s skills and profile as a researcher play an important role in her focus on Evidence-Based Practice in physiotherapy teaching. She has published her approach as the Lennon-Barrett conceptual model of congruencies between problem-based learning and evidence-based practice and has co-authored a publication with colleagues in the UCD School of Medicine outlining the research-teaching nexus as a curriculum development tool in a graduate taught programme.
Olive is also actively involved in leadership activities at school, programme and professional body levels.
Marion Maher is an Assistant Professor in Diagnostic Imaging in the UCD School of Medicine. She is a stage coordinator for the undergraduate Radiography degree programme and she is also a postgraduate programme director. Through her teaching Marian aims to inspire students to not only meet the graduate standards of proficiency for radiographers, but to become life-long learners stretching beyond the subject boundaries. Marion’s teaching is rich in real life, clinical case studies challenging students to consider a range of clinical, ethical and professional issues. She employs a range of innovative assessment strategies focusing on key graduate attributes, such as, critical thinking, research and analytical skills, communication and collaboration skills. Examples include a team-based debate in her ultrasound imaging module and a pictorial diary as part of a clinical practice module.
Mentorship forms an important part of Marion’s role in the School. As stage coordinator she liaises with all the relevant module coordinators and the students to coordinate the assessment workload across the trimester and to ensure open lines of communication on any issues arising. She also mentors individual students experiencing challenges, taking a holistic approach to supporting them to reach their academic potential, whilst also managing their health and well-being.
Dr Deirdre McGillicuddy is lecturer and researcher in UCD School of Education. Her teaching philosophy has been heavily influenced by her time working as a primary school teacher in one of the most marginalised communities in the country and is underpinned by values of respect, equality, social justice and wellbeing. The primary focus of Deirdre’s teaching is to promote an interactive, dynamic and positive learning environment using creative, holistic and student-centred approaches. Deirdre emphasises the importance of creating time and space to nurture creativity, community, wellbeing and leadership through her Flourish initiative. Flourish creates a safe space at the start of each lecture for students to pause, take notice and engage in practices which supports their wellbeing and creativity. The initiative has been scaled up within the School of Education, creating a ripple effect as these students use the tools in classrooms across Ireland.
Deirdre is a co-convenor of the UCD Rights Education Network. She represents UCD on Campus Engage Community Engaged Learning Working Group and has established an associated community of practice within the University.
In nominating Deirdre for an award, both students and staff spoke of her qualities as a teacher and colleague, referring to her as ‘inspirational’, ‘passionate’, ‘knowledgeable’, ‘caring’ and ‘committed’.
Dr Neal Murphy has been highly active in the design and delivery of taught modules to Engineering students in the area of Mechanics of Solids and related disciplines at both undergraduate and graduate level for over 30 years and as such has had a dominant influence on the teaching of this fundamentally important subject to a generation of engineers. Neal uses a variety of teaching and learning approaches, which he adapts to suit different teaching contexts, student needs and the nature of the content. With early-stage students he uses problem-based learning to engender active engagement and encourage them to develop independent learning skills. He is also skilled in technology-enhanced learning and has developed a bespoke online learning environment to support student learning in a particularly challenging module. Neal’s research interests play an important role in later stage modules where he creates opportunities for students to engage in authentic, industry-based research projects. Neal engages in an iterative process of module enhancement, informed by his own critical reflections and students’ feedback.
Neal makes a significant contribution to student formation at school and college levels, through his role as Stage One Programme Director and more recently as Graduate School Director for the College of Engineering & Architecture.
Dr Lisa Padden is a member of the UCD Access and Lifelong Learning team and is Project Lead for UCD’s University for All initiative. She has co-created the initiative and has led the delivery of the project, engaging with a wide range of stakeholders across the University. Throughout her time in UCD Lisa has strived to improve the student experience through development of workshops, resources and supports for students as well as providing training and support for faculty and professional colleagues. She has demonstrated leadership within UCD and nationally in design and delivery of training in Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Most notably she has developed the Digital Badge in UDL in collaboration with AHEAD, which has already been awarded to 250 individuals working in higher and further education and more recently rolled out to almost 1,000 participants nationally.
Lisa has also developed resources for UCD students including an extensive online academic skills and well-being programme for all students. She led the University for All component in the virtual orientation for all incoming students in 2020. She has collaborated with UCD Teaching and Learning and IADT in producing two collections of teaching and learning case studies demonstrating good practice in Universal Design and Inclusion.
Dr Mark Pickering has been a lecturer in anatomy in the UCD School of Medicine since 2016, having previously been a lecturer in physiology. He is primarily involved in teaching preclinical neurosciences as part of the medicine programmes but has also taught students in science, engineering and radiography. Neuroscience is often perceived by students as a difficult subject, which has led Mark to rethink his approach in order to make the subject accessible, engaging and responsive to students’ needs. In nominating Mark for an award, students were fulsome in their praise for his ability to make complex material easy to understand, his enthusiasm and innovation in teaching and above all, his care and compassion for students.
Mark leads an extra-curricular summer programme where medicine students have the opportunity to develop their own 3D printed teaching models, under the guidance of anatomy faculty. The co-creation approach leads to the development of unique teaching resources and the programme has generated a significant educational resource pool. Working with colleagues in Engineering, Mark is expanding the co-creation concept to have 3D printed teaching resources developed by collaborative pairings of a medicine and an engineering student. Mark believes partnership and collaboration with other educators and between educators and learners, is a vital ingredient in achieving successful educational outcomes and developing a vibrant learning community.
Dr Catherine Redmond is an Assistant Professor in the UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems. Her undergraduate teaching is in the bioscience, primarily physiology, and in applying the biopsychosocial framework to health-related topics. She also contributes to advanced health assessment and pathophysiology teaching in postgraduate programmes. Catherine has made a distinct contribution to bioscience education in the school, championing simulation, particularly virtual simulation, as an effective pedagogy. Catherine has developed the first school Virtual Patient to enhance student learning alongside a series of Reusable Learning Objects to promote the application of bioscience knowledge into nursing practice. These resources have been sought by nursing faculty worldwide and are now openly accessible on a web-based platform as she believes strongly in sharing expertise and resources. The added value of these resources is their potential to be used on a wider basis as the development process is clearly outlined and is highly transferable.
Catherine's teaching practice is student-centred and inclusive of diverse learners. She takes great care in selecting and utilising tools to enhance student engagement and carefully constructs formative assessment and feedback opportunities. Catherine has been Director of the BSc. General Nursing programme since 2016 and actively advocates for and promotes the use of technology and simulation to support student learning.
Emmett Scanlon is Programme Director of the Master of Architecture programme at UCD School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy. He co-ordinates and teaches the Design Thesis Modules and the Reflective Portfolio programme. He established a live-project teaching programme in design and co-founded the Rising Home housing research studio. His teaching practice is focused on enhancing engagement with the social and cultural role of architecture, devising new and innovative ways to inspire students to develop academic agency, balancing technical and transversal skills, supporting individual trajectories in architecture, enabling academic excellence in the discipline.
Emmett’s approach places emphasis on the individual students’ strengths and academic ambitions. He builds a collective studio culture, promoting parity of esteem between teachers and learners, while affording students the opportunity to find their voice and be listened to. He is active in developing reciprocal relationships between the academy, the profession and civil society, which he draws on to enable and sustain novel approaches and innovation in his teaching practice. Examples include the student-led ‘Ways and Means’ lecture series, UCD Master of Architecture Lecture Series and Masterclass programme, and public exhibition of student work.
Emmett’s teaching work has been presented internationally and funded by several public agencies.
The UCD Centre for Safety and Health at Work is a recognised national leader in professional education for the Occupational Safety Health and Environment sector for thirty years. The team works in unison to deliver innovative and flexible learning experiences for professional adult students, many of whom are experiencing university for the first time. All of their programmes incorporate strategies to engage adult learners and empower them to become lifelong learners. The team enables students through bespoke activities that orient them to their learning journey, developing understanding through problem-based and peer learning while also facilitating them to acquire work-related skills through assessment, such as presentation / interview skills, workplace ethics challenges and team-building exercises. Curriculum content has been designed with input of key national and international stakeholders, their accreditation body, industry experts and external teaching contributors. To date, close to 10,000 students have graduated from UCD OSH programmes and alumni play a significant role in promotion of their programmes and through contributions to teaching as national OHS experts.
The team are recognised educational innovators for developing the first undergraduate and postgraduate blended online programmes in the UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science as well as for continuously developing their accredited professional safety and health programmes to meet the educational needs of an evolving and demanding sector.
The members of the team:
Professor Anne Drummond; Dr Conor Buggy; Dr Penpatra Sripaiboonkij; Mr David O’Dwyer; Ms Anna Noble; and Ms Gemma Larkin.