Teaching awards recognise outstanding postgraduate educators

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

The recipients from the School's four disciplines were Margaryta Klymak of the Economics Department, Peter West of the Philosophy Department, Liam Kneafsey of the Political Science Department and David Cichon of the Sociology Department.

Now in their sixth year, the awards were presented by Professor Neville Cox, Dean of Graduate Studies. They are 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 provided further generous financial support to sustain these awards for the decades to come.

At the awards ceremony, from left, winner Peter West, Prof Dermot McAleese, winner Margaryta Klymak, Director of Undergraduate Teaching and Learning, Dr Elaine Moriarty, Head of the School of Social Sciences and Philosophy, Prof Gail McElroy, winner Liam Kneafsey and Dean of Graduate Studies, Prof Neville Cox

Speaking at the awards, Professor Cox, Dean of Graduate Studies, commented: "I would like to congratulate this year’s winners who are being recognised for the exceptional contribution they have made to undergraduate student education. They have demonstrated a great commitment to their teaching roles and it is rewarding to see the next generation of educators already displaying such strong teaching, problem solving and organisational skills.” 

Head of the School of Social Sciences and Philosophy, Professor Gail McElroy, added: “The School is delighted to recognise such talented teaching assistants. They have not only helped make Trinity more welcoming for our freshman students, they have created a stimulating learning environment, encouraged students to debate and discuss ideas and gain a deeper understanding of their disciplines.”  

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; good organisation and problem solving; and the contribution of tutorials to the overall delivery of the course.

2017 Dermot McAleese Award Winners:

  • Margaryta Klymak (Economics) – Margaryta is teaching assistant (TA) for the Econometrics module. Her research "Essays in Development Economics and International Trade" focuses on the role of the private sector and international trade in the developing economies. The first chapter of her thesis examines the effect of naming and shaming of child and forced labour on international trade. The second chapter of the thesis investigates the role of networks of small firms in Vietnam facing an expansion in foreign trade. Margaryta was awarded one of the School's prestigious Grattan Scholarships which aim to advance high-quality social science research and teaching in Trinity.
  • Peter West (Philosophy) – Peter is a TA for Central Problems in Philosophy and History of Philosophy. His research focuses on the philosophy of George Berkeley and, more broadly, intellectual history in 18th century Ireland. His aim is to evaluate some epistemological concerns with Berkeley's 'immaterialist' philosophy including his claims about what our ideas are like and how we gain knowledge of other minds.
  • Liam Kneafsey (Political Science) – Liam is a TA for the Political Violence module. His thesis titled "Media Ownership, Differential Coverage, and Attitudinal Change" aims to determine whether and how media ownership structures influence the content their outlets produce and whether this, in turn, affects the attitudes of citizens. It combines experimental, quantitative and interview evidence to examine how this causal mechanism functions in practice.

  • David Cichon (Sociology) – David is the TA for Power, State and Social Movement Module. The title of David's thesis is 'Confronting Global Capital: How are workers organising for higher wages in Cambodia's globalised garment industry?". The research explores the strategies of national and international trade unions organising for higher wages in the Cambodian garment industry.

David was in Cambodia as part of his research and was unable to attend the awards presentation.

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: Luciano Ayala-Cantu, Michele Crepaz, David Dunne, Egle Gusciute, Robert O'Keeffe.


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Sally-Anne Fisher, Head of Communications | fishers@tcd.ie | +353 1 896 3606