Provost's Teaching Awards 2012
28 May 2012
I am delighted to welcome you all here this evening for the 2012 Provost's Teaching Awards.
I would like to extend a special welcome to the nominees for this award and to their families and friends.
The Teaching Awards are a special opportunity to publicly acknowledge and celebrate those academic staff who are making an exceptional contribution to the education mission of the College.
The Awards are overseen by the Teaching Awards Review Panel and I would like to thank them for their support of this important scheme.
I would like to extend a special word of thanks to Professor Aine Hyland who has done an exceptional job on the review panel for the past four years. The awards scheme has been significantly developed over that period and we were able to call upon Professor Hyland's expertise as one of Ireland's leading educationalists – and specifically her experience as Chairperson of the Teaching Awards Committee of the National Academy for the Integration of Teaching and Learning. Professor Hyland is also a member of the European Universities Association Evaluation Team and in that capacity has been involved in university evaluations in Italy, Portugal, Turkey, Slovakia and Bosnia Herzegovina, as well, of course, as Ireland. We also appreciate her tireless work in the area of reforming admissions to higher education. Therefore, it is my great pleasure to present her with a special gift this evening as a token of our appreciation of her contribution to our awards scheme. I thank also the Senior Lecturer, Dr Patrick Geoghegan.
On behalf of the Provost's Teaching Award Review Panel, I would like to thank and commend each of the 32 candidates who took part in the nominations process this year.
I would like to present the 11 candidates shortlisted with a certificate of commendation:
- Ms. Emer Barrett, School of Medicine
- Dr. Neil Docherty, School of Medicine
- Dr. Roja Fazaeli, School of Religions, Theology & Ecumenics
- Ms. Caroline Jagoe, School of Linguistic, Speech and Communication Sciences
- Dr. Nicholas Johnson, School of Drama, Film & Music
- Dr. Vincent Kelly, School of Biochemistry & Immunology
- Ms. Michelle Leech, School of Medicine
- Dr. Carol Newman, School of Social Sciences & Philosophy
- Dr. Irene Walsh, School of Linguistic, Speech and Communication Sciences
I would like to commend each of the nominees for this achievement. It is a serious tribute to be singled out for a teaching award by students and colleagues and it should be taken as a great compliment and source of pride.
It now gives me great pleasure to announce the 6 recipients of the Provost's Teaching Awards for 2012:
1. Dr. Daniel Faas from the School of Social Sciences & Philosophy
Dr. Faas is a deserving winner of the Early Career Award. Committed to developing independent learners, Dr. Faas believes that learning is a shared experience, occurring in multiple ways and contexts inside and outside the classroom, and that it is about developing interaction and interest in a particular topic. Particularly impressive is his dedication to acting as a facilitator of learning, and he encourages students to learn from one another. To quote an alumni nominee:
‘His professionalism, good humour and courteousness have had significant impacts on the way I carry out my current job. Over two years after I graduated, I still consider him an inspiring mentor, and am proud to support his nomination’.
2. Prof. James Wickham from the School of Social Sciences & Philosophy
James Wickham is a deserving winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award. He admits that after nearly forty years, he still gets an adrenalin rush in the classroom, and he sees teaching as not just training, but the transmission of the codified knowledge of a discipline and the development of the student as an independent, critical but tolerant person. This stems from his belief in the university's public role. Prof. Wickham does not believe that teaching and research are contradictory, and he has shown great leadership in his own subject area and within College to ensure that both are combined in a rich learning experience.
To quote a peer reviewer of Dr Wickham's ‘His enthusiasm for teaching in general and for teaching his specific topics is infectious’.
3. Mr. John Kubiak from the School of Social Work & Social Policy
John Kubiak considers that all students deserve the chance to learn in the best environment possible and be taught by methods informed by rigorous empirical research. His research influences his practice, and his students collaborate in his research. Mr. Kubiak has played a key role in the development of the innovative curriculum for the Certificate in Contemporary Living (CCL) that is offered by the National Institute for Intellectual Disability. Feedback from past and present students has informed the current development of the CCL towards a Level 5 award, and, once completed, will be a unique course for people with intellectual disabilities within a third-level educational setting both within Ireland and internationally. As a peer reviewer noted:
‘John teaches with great passion informed by the belief that empowering students with an intellectual disability to become active participants in their own learning will enable these students to become confident, capable learners. He takes a holistic approach and on a daily basis goes that extra mile for all who cross his path’.
4. Dr. John Rochford from the School of Natural Sciences
John Rochford's career in Trinity has spanned generations of students and his contributions to the Science curriculum, student welfare, innovations in assessment, implementation of student feedback and his general engagement with student issues over the years, make him a worthy recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award. He pioneered anonymous marking and promotes a collegial partnership between academic staff and students. His philosophy of teaching is based on enthusiasm and approachability as he facilitates the process of discovery and exploration. Dr. Rochford has ensured that Biology, and Science generally, is accessible to all. He was instrumental in introducing a Science component to the Trinity Access Programme for Mature Students in 1997. As a peer reviewer noted:
‘He is an amazing, meticulous and intelligently inventive manager and improver of all aspects of teaching…….. Put together with his perpetual striving to change our practices for the better and improve, update and deepen the impact of all the courses he runs, makes John an all-round educationalist who works ceaselessly for the good of the students. He is an inspiration to me, and a superb colleague’.
5. Prof. Orla Sheils from the School of Medicine
Orla Sheils is an enthusiastic and innovative teacher within the School of Medicine. She has responsibility for training undergraduate medical students in Laboratory Medicine, a key aspect to successful diagnosis and the implementation of patient care. She approaches the subject material in an integrated manner so that the students appreciate the discipline in the context of the entire patient. Prof. Shiels has made a major contribution to the development of medical jurisprudence in the School and has been instrumental in establishing computer-assisted instruction within the medical jurisprudence modules. This innovation facilitates medical students who are often obliged to move between hospital sites while undertaking clinical rotations and has been welcomed by the students. Throughout her teaching portfolio Prof. Shiels has introduced interactive, challenging and thought provoking courses that are fresh, student friendly, interesting and accessible to all. As a peer reviewer noted:
‘ I can think of no other teacher who brings to the role such enthusiasm, interest, innovation and inspiration and those who best judge our teaching – our students – respond wholeheartedly to both her extensive knowledge of her subject but also to her inspiring tuition style’.
6. Dr. Paul Delaney from the School of English
Paul Delaney believes that education is at the heart of his work as an academic. He invites students to actively engage with the content of the curriculum through a variety of learning strategies (including in-class discussions, group-work, and formative or non-assessed exercises); and it is through these strategies that he helps to generate a research ethos in class, as students learn about the production of knowledge, inquiry-based activities and the research process. He believes that teaching in such a way encourages a sense of agency amongst students. It helps to foster a culture of independent thought and critical articulacy, and it promotes the development of discipline-specific competencies as well as personal, generic and transferable skills. To quote a student nominee:
‘His passion for literature was more than evident and was shared by all of us due to his teaching’. As a peer noted ‘Paul is an academic who thoroughly understands the centrality of undergraduate teaching... his impact on ‘collaborative curriculum development’ has been monumental’.
I'd now like to share a short video which very briefly introduces this year's winners in action. We'd like to thank Gary Baugh from the School of Engineering for his excellent work in filming the dvds for all the shortlisted candidates.
I think you will all agree the video provided us with a tangible sense of why our 6 awardees were selected for this year's Provost'a Teaching Awards. My congratulations to you all again.Thank you.