Teaching Awards recognise outstanding commitment teaching and learning

Posted on: 28 May 2018

The Dermot McAleese Teaching Awards were presented to teaching assistants in the School of Social Sciences and Philosophy recently, in recognition of their outstanding and inspiring commitment to achieving excellence in teaching and learning.

The recipients from the School’s four disciplines were Stefano Ceolotto of the Economics Department, Matthew Shearer of the Philosophy Department, Stefan Müller of the Political Science Department and Sara Singleton of the Sociology Department.

Now in their seventh year, the awards were presented by the Dean of Graduate Studies, Professor Neville Cox. The awards are named in honour of former Whately Professor of Political Economy, Dermot McAleese and were established thanks to the generosity of graduates of the School who donated to Trinity in recent years. Professor McAleese has provided further generous financial support to sustain these awards for the decades to come.

Dr Gillian Martin, Senior lecturer and Prof Neville Cox, Dean of Graduate Studies congratulate this year’s Dermot McAleese Teaching Awards winners, Matthew Shearer, Stefan Müller, Sara Singleton and Stefano Ceolotto

The winners were selected through a nomination process which involved assessing their creativity in delivering tutorials; the role of their tutorials in stimulating critical thinking amongst the students; their responsiveness and engagement with students; their organisation and problem-solving skills; and the contribution of tutorials to the overall delivery of the course.

Speaking at the awards, Dr Gillian Martin, Senior Lecturer, commented: “Today’s award winners have helped make Trinity a more welcoming community for our freshman students. They have created a stimulating learning environment, encouraged students to debate and discuss ideas and to gain a deep understanding of their disciplines. I am delighted that these talented teaching assistants are being recognised for the positive impact they have made, as role models and mentors.”

The Dean of Graduate Studies, Professor Cox, added: “I would like to congratulate this year’s winners who are being recognised for the invaluable contribution they make to the education of undergraduate students. All of the nominated teaching assistants have demonstrated a great commitment to their teaching roles and it is encouraging to see the next generation of educators demonstrating a professional and innovative approach to teaching practice.”

2018 Dermot McAleese Award Winners:

  • Stefano Ceolotto (Economics) – Stefano is a teaching assistant for the Mathematical and Statistical Methods module. His first research paper will be titled, ‘The Impact of Moral Licensing on Pro-Environmental Behaviours’ and it seeks to understand whether making a pro-environmental action makes people less willing to engage in subsequent pro-environmental behaviours.  This will be investigated with an online experiment featuring a coordination game for the provision of environmental public goods. Stefano was awarded one of the School’s prestigious Grattan Scholarships which aim to advance high-quality social science research and teaching in Trinity.
  • Matthew Shearer (Philosophy) – Matthew is a teaching assistant for the first year History of Philosophy module.  His research is in virtue epistemology, currently titled: ‘Virtue and Cognition’ and looks at the effect of the intellectual virtues on cognitive processing. Ancient philosophers and some modern virtue epistemologists make the claim that cognitive output is improved by conscious engagement with the intellectual virtues. For this to be the case, the cognitive processes which generate such output must be enhanced or refined by these virtues. His research looks to unconscious processes to identify this functional improvement.
  • Stefan Müller (Political Science) – Stefan is a teaching assistant for the modules Research Methods for Political Science. His thesis ‘The Coding, Communication, and Strategic Use of Election Pledges’ focuses on the circumstances under which political parties and candidates decide to make promises, claim credit, or attribute blame. He analyses party manifestos, newspapers, and televised leaders’ debates by combining crowd-sourced coding and quantitative text analysis.
  • Sara Singleton (Sociology) – Sara is a teaching assistant on the Introduction to Sociology module. Sara’s thesis is titled ‘Trust Processes and Collaboration across the Interorganisational Networks of Peacekeeping Missions’. She is a research assistant on the H2020 Gaming for Peace project (GAP), a project designing a soft skills curriculum for peacekeeping staff embedded in role-playing computer game. Her research methodology involves in-depth qualitative interviews and vignette experiments.

The selection committee was very impressed with the overall standard of nominations and was pleased to also present certificates of achievement to the following nominees who have played an invaluable role in delivering high quality teaching in the School of Social Sciences and Philosophy: Mischa Kleis (Economics), Alan Duggan (Political Science), Ciaran Devlin, Egle Gusciute and Robert O’Keeffe (Sociology).

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