New Staff Spotlight

Tugba Boz
Tugba Boz

Tugba is joining the School of STEM education, Innovation, and Global Studies. She completed her PhD in the Department of Educational Theory and Practice at the University of Georgia, USA. During her PhD, Tugba worked as a researcher in nationally funded research projects including the Collective Argumentation Learning and Coding Project, where she worked with in-service elementary school teachers and aimed to understand their teaching of programming and robotics through using argumentation in a rural school district.

Favourite thing about working in DCU

I love the building and the location.

Something interesting you would like to share

Most recently, I and my colleague, Dr. Hyejin Park, who is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education at James Madison University (JMU), have been awarded a grant of $2,260 from JMU internal funding program. This grant allows us to design a series of learning modules for K-8 prospective teachers to explore fundamental mathematical concepts through programming and robotics (Edison robots).

Greatest achievement to date

Gaining the trust and love of children regardless of their culture, nation, and background

Future aspirations

I would like to be a prominent researcher in the field of K-8 coding/programming education and an influential resource for pre-service and in-service teachers in terms of integrating emergent technologies into classes.

Damien Burke
Damien Burke

Damien is joining the school placement team (primary) within the School of Policy and Practice. He has broad experience as a mainstream / SEN primary school teacher, a teaching principal and an administrative principal before initially working as a teacher educator at Marino Institute of Education. Damien has contributed to many national and international research projects on diverse topics ranging from differentiation in mathematics teaching and learning, to comparative audits of international curricula. He holds an M.Ed degree in mathematics education, and his EdD thesis focused on curriculum leadership models in Irish primary schools.

Favourite thing about working in DCU

The diversity of people, opinions, ideas, and, the new thinking this all creates.

Something Interesting you would like us to share

School leadership is a keen interest of mine - I have recently undertaken research which examined the phenomenon of teacher leadership in specific curricular disciplines; this form of teacher agency holds immense potential.

Greatest achievement to date

I am very grateful to the many schools and other settings that I have worked in, and the expertise I have witnessed first hand - I hope to bring this experience and this learning to the benefit of my role at DCU IoE.

Future aspirations

To play a part in the teaching and research offering of the school of Policy & Practice, and the broader provision of the Institute of Education.

Patricia Burke
Patricia Burke

Patricia is joining the School of Human Development as a Teacher Fellow. She is on a career break from Donabate Portrane ETNS where she is a member of middle management, holds an Assistant Principal II position and is responsible for the school's remote learning policy and move to cloud computing.

Favourite thing about working in DCU

It is great to be surrounded by such wonderful colleagues and to have the opportunity to engage in so many different professional conversations and to speak to people from all types of fields and backgrounds. The diversity of staff and specialism among the staff is definitely something I am really enjoying.

Something interesting you would like to share

As part of my role in DCU I have had the opportunity to pursue my own studies and have started a Masters in Education Training and Management (leadership).

Greatest achievement to date

My greatest achievement to date in terms of my career is probably being one of six people chosen to be a Teacher Fellow. I know there were hundreds of applications for the position and it is a really exciting opportunity. This is the first initiative of its kind in Europe and it is wonderful to be chosen and to welcomed to the DCU team.

Future aspirations

For the moment I am more than happy just to embrace the opportunity I have been given. I'm sure I will have a much clearer picture as the two years continue but for now I'm just focusing on the present.

Patrick Burke
Patrick Burke

Patrick is joining the School of Language, Literacy and Early Childhood Education. He worked as a primary school teacher in Balbriggan and with the Professional Development Service for Teachers as an advisor, which involved the design and delivery of professional development on the Primary Language Curriculum (English/Gaeilge). Prior to joining DCU, Patrick lectured in Language and Literacy Education at Mary Immaculate College. He completed his M.Ed in Literacy/Reading Education in the Children's Literature Centre at Frostburg State University, Maryland, USA.

Favourite thing about working in DCU

There is a particularly strong research culture in DCU, which is evident in both my own discipline (literacy education) and across the university. Some of the most noted experts in education work in the IOE and it is a privilege to work alongside them.

Something interesting you would like to share

I love working on research projects with undergraduate students. I think it is crucial that pre-service teachers are equipped with the skills that they need for critiquing the research basis for their teaching. Though all that we do with student teachers is research-informed and up-to-date, they need to be able to interrogate their own practice long after they graduate. Last year I shared some of my experience on this topic in an article published by the International Literacy Association, see: http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/a577adea#/a577adea/14

Greatest achievement to date

I really value my work with pre-service student teachers. It might sound glib to say it, but through them, we have an enormous impact on the children and classrooms of the future. Last year I was nominated by some of my students for a Teaching Hero Award, presented by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. Having spent hours (and days, and weeks) a pivoting to online teaching, I was chuffed to learn that the students had deemed my efforts worthy of recognition.

Future aspirations

Literacy is sometimes seen as the "curriculum bully", swallowing up the time available for other curriculum subjects. My own doctoral research focusses on how literacy is taught through disciplines like visual art, science and history, across both primary and post-primary schools. I look forward to defending my thesis and publishing my findings more widely in the coming year.

Leanne Coll
Leanne Coll

Leanne is joining the School of Policy & Practice as the new Director of School Placement for PME, Science Education and Physical Education. Leanne has over 10 years’ experience working across the continuum of teacher education and leading externally funded research projects at a national and international level. A key driver in her work is her passion for and dedication to working with rather than for key educational stakeholders (especially young people) to carve a new order of experience in education. 

My favourite thing about working at DCU

Students. The same commitment to active student involvement that inspires my research also propels my work with student teachers. Working at DCU I’m provided with invaluable opportunities to support and encourage student teachers to be critical creative thinkers with the capacity and the desire to go on learning long after their university days are over.

Something interesting you would like us to share

I’ve recently returned home to Ireland to begin my new role at DCU having worked as a Senior Lecturer in Education in Australian for the past 7 years in the area(s) of health education, sexuality education and social justice in education. Some highlights of my time here include:

  • Central Investigator on an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage funded research project which focused on transforming sexuality education with young people.
  • Co-convenor of the Gender & Sexualities SIG for the Australian Education Research Assocaition (AARE).
  • Receiving a Teaching Excellence Award in 2018 for my innovative practice in blended and online teaching and learning.
  • Academic lead for the North Geelong School Alliance which focused on innovative models for building school-university partnerships and supporting school placements
  • Co-authored an edited collection with esteemed international scholars 'Uplifting Gender & Sexuality Education Research' (Jones, Coll, VanLeent & Taylor, 2019)  which includes chapters from global researchers (Australia, Germany, Israel, Kenya, Norway, Russia, Taiwan, Canada, United States of America and the United Kingdom) across early and advanced career points.
Greatest achievement to date

In 2019, in my role as central investigator on a project focused on feminist collectives & creative activisms in Australian schools, I had the pleasure of working with young people in the co-design and coordination of the first student-led feminist conference in Australia. The 'Your Voice' conference was attended by over 300 secondary students. The conference — programmed for and by students — was the first of its kind in the country. The conference consisted of three sets of four parallel sessions, featuring everything from workshops on the alternatives to ‘toxic masculinity’, to panels on ‘Women in Leadership’, ‘Feminism as a Person of Colour’ and ‘Feminism and the Queer community’, to sessions on self- defence, feminist ‘Sex Ed’ and ‘How to Start Your Own Feminist Collective’ and Mindfulness. The atmosphere on the day was magical: there was a powerful and positive sense of community and togetherness. Being able to support young people in this way to respond to issues that matter most to them is something I’m incredibly proud of.

Future aspirations

To continue to build on my research and scholarship focused on the possibilities of working with young people and educators to transform approaches to Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) in schools and across the continuum of teacher education.

Leanne Connolly
Leanne Connolly

Leanne is joining the School of Inclusive and Special Education, where she will work with qualified teachers in Post-Grad programmes on a wide range of SEN. Leanne previously worked with the Professional Development Service for Teachers, where she was an Advisor in Health & Wellbeing and a Team Leader. Leanne holds a Masters of Arts in Special Education Needs (Autism Spectrum Disorder).

Favourite thing about working in DCU

Collegiality within my team.

Something Interesting you would like us to share

I will be shortly commencing my PhD studies with DCU in the area of Career Guidance and post school pathways for students with SEN in Irish Special Schools. 

Greatest achievement to date

Personally, starting a new job and having two daughters under two, during a Pandemic!
Professionally, leading a nationwide team in a variety of areas through national roll out of CPD such as Child Protection and LCPE/SCPE.

Future aspirations

Upon completion of my PhD, continue to research in the area of post school aspirations and transitions and I aim for my work to contribute to national policy and CPD for teachers in Special Schools. Within my role in DCU, contribute to the development of new and innovative programmes for teachers and be at the forefront of inclusive practices for academics.

Avril Egan
Avril Egan

Avril joins the School of Policy and Practice, as a Teacher Fellow.

Avril Egan has been teaching French and English at Post Primary level since 2007 and has worked in Coláiste Bhaile Chláir, a Microsoft Showcase School for the past eight years where she has held an assistant principal's post in teaching and learning.

Avril holds a BA International and an M.Ed (School Leadership) from NUI Galway, a Graduate Diploma in Education from UCD and a Postgraduate Diploma (School Leadership) from University of Limerick and is beginning a PhD with DCU.  She is now in her first year of her PhD at DCU.

Throughout her teaching career she has been an advocate of education reform and has worked with many educational bodies in a variety of areas. She has worked with JCT as a Whole-school associate facilitating CPD on Junior Cycle curriculum reform and has also worked with the NCCA, the Droichead Mentor Program and the SEC as a Leaving Certificate French oral examiner. Over the past year Avril has lead webinars in Education Centres in areas including ICT to enhance teaching and learning, feedback, and the development of positive learning habits in students.  

She is passionate about researching and implementing initiatives and pedagogies that are innovative and enhance both student's learning and teachers' pedagogical practice. 

Favourite thing about working in DCU

Working across a variety of teacher training programs at DCU I’m provided with opportunities to work with students to support and encourage them on the beginning of their journey as a teacher. I am able to access the wealth of knowledge and expertise of staff on the programs that allows me to challenge and deepen my own thinking and knowledge in various areas.

Something interesting you would like to share

I have presented to the Digital Online Working Group in Brussels on ICT in the classroom and the use of E-Portfolios and also the author of a Junior Cycle French textbook. 

Greatest achievement to date

As someone who is a walker not a runner, completing the Inis Iron Meáin.

Future Aspirations

I’m not entirely sure where the new career path I’m on will lead but I would hope that in five years I’m at the final stages of my PhD and still working with teachers and students in some capacity as it is where my passion lies.

Emma Gallagher
Emma Gallagher

Emma is joining the School of Language, Literacy and Early Childhood Education as a Teacher Fellow. Emma is a Post-Primary Irish and English teacher. She worked with Junior Cycle for Teachers in the area or English and Arts. Emma holds an MSc in Education and Training Management (e-Learning) and a Masters in Creative Writing.

Favourite thing about working in DCU

Being part of a diverse learning community

Something interesting you would like to share

I worked with JCT and Fighting Words on the POW! pilot project, providing an opportunity for teachers to connect with their own creativity and develop a creative writing practice. You can learn more about the project at https://www.artsinjuniorcycle.ie/pow-portfolio-of-writing

Greatest achievement to date

The greatest achievement for any of us in education is watching students flourish. I've been lucky enough to play a small role in helping my secondary students flourish.

Future aspirations

Hopefully, to help new teachers to flourish in and improve our education system."

Laura Gormley
Laura Gormley

Laura is joining the School of Special and Inclusive Education. Laura was a postdoctoral fellow with the Behavioural Research Unit (BRU) in the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) and also worked in St. Nicholas Montessori College directing their B.A. in Montessori programme. Laura's PhD focused on the dissemination of evidence-informed practice to staff working with adults with intellectual disabilities.

Favourite thing about working in DCU

The support and understanding from colleagues

Something interesting you would like to share

I would like to share one of my most recent publications, which was an invited submission to a special edition of the International Journal of Developmental Disabilities (IJDD). This paper is particularly interesting because it was published despite (or maybe because) of the null finding. Gormley, L., Penrose, H., Bracken, M. & Barron, B. (2020) Training Behavioural Therapists in Presession Pairing Skills to Evaluate the Impact Children's Life Skill Acquisition Rates. International Journal of Developmental Disabilities, 66(5) : 339-347.

Greatest achievement to date

Working with the Department of Education to establish a group-based, funded model of education for autistic children, aged 3-6 years, in Ireland. This initiative set the foundation for our current programme of work, which seeks to establish an inclusive preschool setting, based on international standards of best practice that aims to support the strengths and development of all children who will attend.

Future aspirations

I will strive to provide transformative experiences for the students I work with so that they can be agents for positive change, in the settings that they work. This will involve continuing to foster an increasing level of cross-over between my community work and my classroom work.
I will seek to undertake high quality research and within the next year I am planning to co-produce research with members of the autistic community, which will seek to examine issues of importance based on their lived experience.
I want to expand my active engagement with the community and create channels of mutual benefit.
I aspire to overcome the challenges associated with starting in a new position during a pandemic by initiating, establishing and fostering meaningful relationship with colleagues within my school and across the university, more generally.

Ronan Gubbins
Ronan Gubbins

A graduate of the B.Ed in Education programme at MIC limerick, Ronan started his career working as a primary school teacher in Dublin City. This experience occurred in the DEIS 1 context where he worked as class teacher and special education teacher. Immediately before joining DCU, he worked for six years in St. Cillian's National School in Bluebell. Here he taught in a four-class multigrade context and performed in the roles of Deputy Principal, Acting Principal, and school board member. He completed an M.A in Applied Linguistics in Mary Immaculate college where he studied student's written language in a DEIS 1 primary school. Currently, Ronan is undertaking PhD research in the DCU Institute of Education focusing on school self-evaluation in Irish primary schools under Professor Joe O' Hara and Associate Professor Shivaun O' Brien.

Favourite thing about working in DCU

Ronan's favourite thing about working in DCU is the collaborative teaching and learning atmosphere in the IoE. Here it is possible to draw on the wide expertise of staff, enhancing the student experience.

Something interesting you would like to share

Ronan enjoys playing music and plays the guitar in his spare time.

Greatest achievement to date

Becoming a Teacher Fellow in DCU.

Future aspirations

I hope to have a meaningful impact in my current role. I am hopeful of graduating from the PhD programme and publishing some of my work.

Mairéad Holden
Mairéad Holden

Mairéad joins the School of STEM, Innovation & Global Studies as a Teacher Fellow. She is a B.Ed. graduate of St. Patrick’s College, from which she also holds a Master of Teaching. Having been awarded a post-graduate certificate in 21st Century Teaching & Learning from Trinity College, Dublin in 2019, she is currently engaged in Ph.D. research with the University of Lincoln, focused on the use of online Lesson Study as a vehicle to foster teachers’ achievement of agency, for which she was awarded an INTO Educational Research Bursary in 2019. This research is aligned with her previous role as a Primary STEM curriculum advisor with the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST). She has led a variety of collaborative education projects and industry partnerships including with Science Foundation Ireland, the Primary Science Teachers’ Trust (UK), and the European Space Agency.

Favourite thing about working in DCU

Being able access to the wealth of knowledge and expertise on staff.

Something interesting you would like to share

In 2021, Mairéad led and facilitated the first online Lesson Study ever conducted in Ireland.

Greatest achievement to date

Getting the opportunity to work with and learn from so many amazing colleagues in my various roles over the years.

Future aspirations

In words of Michelangelo-Ancora imparo- and yet..I am learning! I wish to continue to develop my own understanding and practice in teaching and learning, in order to better support the work of teachers and future teachers.

Paula Lehane
Paula Lehane

Paula is joining the School of Inclusive and Special Education. She was a primary school teacher with special responsibilities for technology and inclusion. Paula completed her PhD with DCU's Centre for Assessment Research, Policy and Practice in Education (CARPE), which was funded by the Government of Ireland IRC scholarship programme and explored the design of digital assessments.

Favourite thing about working in DCU

I really enjoy the collegial and friendly atmosphere here in DCU. Everyone I've met since joining has been so welcoming and kind.

Something interesting you would like to share

In June 2020, I worked with two of my colleagues in CARPE to better understand how school leaders managed the abrupt change to remote learning in Spring 2020. Working with the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals, we managed to capture a snapshot of digital learning in post-primary schools before the COVID-19 pandemic while also documenting school leaders' experiences of remote learning during the pandemic. The article was published in the Journal for Technology, Pedagogy and Education in 2021 and you can see it here: https://bit.ly/2Z92q7y

Greatest achievement to date

The Leaving Certificate programme successfully introduced its very first computer-based exam in May 2021. The white paper I authored in 2019 for the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) outlined some of the main issues that needed to be considered prior to this exam's deployment. I'm really proud of how this research directly informed Irish educational policy and practice.

Future aspirations

I haven't updated my 5-year plan just yet! However, I know that whatever work I do in the future, be it in relation to educational assessment, inclusion or technology, I want it it to have a real and positive impact on education and society. I was always told to aim high!

Colette Maloney
Colette Maloney

Colette is joining us as an Assistant Professor of Theology and Spirituality at DCU Institute of Education and the Mater Dei Centre for Catholic Education. Colette lectured in moral theology and Christian ethics at Trinity College, Dublin and in theology at St. Patrick's College, Maynooth. Colette completed her doctoral dissertation at St Patrick's College, Maynooth focusing on the area of integration between theology and spirituality in the work of Sandra Schneiders, Jon Sobrino and Donal Dorr. Her master's thesis was on the 'option for the poor' and the history of social encyclicals in the Catholic church. Colette is also a qualified teacher of mindfulness and incorporates Christian forms of contemplation and meditation into her own practices.

Favourite thing about working in DCU

Having the opportunity to spend time with students who bring a wonderful energy along with them. They are creative, passionate and enthusiastic in their work, in their lives and in relation to important issues of social justice.

Something interesting you would like to share

The most fulfilling project and collaboration I have worked on in recent years is the annual conference to mark world AIDS day. In conjunction with Dr Suzanne Mulligan and Trocaire, we inaugurated the first conference at St. Patrick's College, Maynooth to mark World AIDS Day and this became an annual event with guest speakers from the United Kingdom, Ireland and Africa.

Greatest achievement to date

My greatest achievement to date is, without any doubt, making the decision to travel to Lima, Peru in 2010 to work at a home that cares for children who are sick and disadvantaged called the 'Hogar San Francisco de Asis'. I have returned almost every year since and the doctor who runs the home, the nurses and children who live there have changed my life forever and continue to help me in so many more ways than I could ever have imagined! I was given the gift of a second family! While in Peru, I also work and help out with a variety of community projects designed to help women and their families in the most disadvantaged areas of Lima. It is always wonderful to be welcomed with open arms into such communities. I am also very grateful to have had the opportunity to learn more about the indigenous spirituality of Peru from the Quechuan community and people themselves.

Future aspirations

To improve my own Spanish, Quechuan and Irish much further! To continue to work on social justice issues with groups/communities in both Ireland and Peru. To continue to work on my own areas of research, particularly in the field of Spirituality.

Rita McCartan
Rita McCartan

Rita is joining the Mater Dei Centre for Catholic Education . Rita did a Degree in Arts, followed by a graduate programme in finance where she worked for many years before moving into the education sector.

Favourite thing about working in DCU

I love that there is always something new to learn, whether that's by talking to a colleague in another department or an event at the university.

Something interesting you would like to share

I'm one of the coaches on my daughter's camogie team and it's a pleasure to watch them develop as players and people.

Greatest achievement to date

I like to think that I am constantly evolving and hopefully bringing kindness wherever I go.

Future aspirations

To continue to learn and be curious about people and the world.

Ursula Mhic Cárthaigh
Ursula Mhic Cárthaigh

Ursula is joining the IoE Faculty Office team. She has worked with Fiontar & Scoil na Gaeilge, in DCU. Ursula has a great passion and love for Irish, which she travelled to Belfast to complete her degree in.

Favourite thing about working in DCU

Running into some of my young neighbours on campus who are studying here!

Something interesting you would like to share

During my time with Fiontar I embarked upon a Masters Degree with St. Patrick's College, Drumcondra. This was pre-incorporation when St Pat's was an independent institution. My final thesis was on a motley group of poets and scribes that lived in my parish in the 1820s. My thesis directors were Dr. Deirdre Nic Mhathana and Dr. Padraig O'Liathain. It was a great privilege when post-incorporation in 2019, when I did another temporary stint as school secretary with Fiontar & Scoil na Gaeilge, I was able to count these two people as my esteemed work colleagues.

Greatest achievement to date

On a work/professional basis, probably achieving my Masters Degree from St Patrick's College, Drumcondra in 2013.

Future aspirations

To finish out my working life with DCU and to remain as happy in my work as I am at present."

June Murray
June Murray

June is joining the School of Inclusive & Special Education as a School Assistant. She previously worked in target management and stock controls for a large number of pharmacies in Ireland.

Favourite thing about working in DCU

The never ending choices of training programme's.

Something interesting you would like to share

Trained for my new position for 1 year via ZOOM.

Greatest achievement to date

Getting a hold on Agresso, SRA and Payroll SOP's.

Future aspirations

Take as many DCU courses as possible.

Máire Ní Láimhín
Máire Ní Láimhín

Máire is joining the School of Language, Literacy and Early Childhood Education. She was a teacher in Scoil an tSeachtar Laoch, Ballymun and also Scoil Chaoimhín Naofa, Hollywood, Co. Wicklow. Máire also worked with the Professional Development Service for Teachers designing and delivering training on the Primary Language Curriculum to primary school staff in English-medium, Gaelscoileanna and scoileanna sa Ghaeltacht across the country. Máire is currently undertaking doctoral research in DCU, where she previously completed a Bachelor of Education and Master of Education.

Favourite thing about working in DCU

For me, it is the people. Those within the School of LLECE, particularly our Head of School Dr Geraldine French and mo chomhbhádóirí in Teagasc na Gaeilge - Lorraine Ní­ Gháirbhith, Dr Aisling Ní­ Dhiorbháin, Jacqueline de Brún, Deirdre Ní­ Chonghaile and Professor Pádraig Ó Duibhir have taken me under their collective wing in a way and for that, I am grateful.

Something interesting you would like to share

I am currently working on a systematic review of research in relation to Literacy (including Digital Literacy) and Numeracy as part of the development of a Successor Strategy to the National Literacy and Numeracy Strategy (2011-2020) and Interim Review (2017- 2020). Along with Dr Tara Concannon-Gibney, Jacqueline de Brún, Dr Aisling Ní Dhiorbháin and Professor Pádraig Ó Duibhir, I am completing a systematic review of pedagogical strategies, approaches and methodologies to support literacy and digital literacy development for Gaeilge and English as an Additional Language.

Greatest achievement to date

My greatest achievement to date is succeeding in securing a full time position in DCU. The opportunity to complete further research and to undertake a Doctorate in Education at DCU has helped me to achieve my goals.

Future aspirations

I look forward to engaging with future opportunities that arise as a result of working with DCU, post-doctorate and not postdoctorate...! Well for now at least!

Sarah O'Grady
Sarah O'Grady

Sarah is joining the School of Language, Literacy and Early Childhood Education. She taught modern languages at Post-Primary level. Sarah worked in the Initial Teacher Education and Induction Section of the Teaching Council and focused on the development of national teacher education policy. Sarah completed the Doctor of Education in DCU.

Favourite thing about working in DCU

My favourite thing about working in DCU is having the opportunity to work with student teachers as they begin their lifelong journey on the teacher education continuum. I find my students to be enthusiastic and hardworking, and I really enjoy having the privilege of witnessing their ongoing development as future post-primary teachers. In the not too distant future, their own pupils will be very lucky to benefit from their curricular and pedagogical expertise, their dedication and sense of professionalism - knowledge, skills and attributes that have been honed during their time in the Institute of Education, DCU. I also really enjoy collaborating with new colleagues from across the six schools in the IoE on various research projects, and on a regular basis with colleagues on the post-primary school placement team.

Something interesting you would like to share

Since joining DCU, I have been afforded several opportunities to collaborate with colleagues from various schools across the IoE. I am currently involved in a number of funded research projects. As a new member of staff, I am delighted to have been afforded these opportunities to develop my research skills, to gain experience and to engage in collaborative research with colleagues from across the IoE.

Greatest achievement to date

Apart from my family, my greatest professional achievement to date was successfully completing my doctorate in four years while teaching modern languages to 1st - 6th year post-primary students on a full-time basis. Not an easy task, to say the least!

Future aspirations

That my research will have an impact on teacher education and practice more generally.

Natalie O'Neill
Natalie O'Neill

Natalie is joining the School of Policy and Practice. She was a Science Teacher in Athy College for 20 years and involved in many national programmes. Natalie is a recipient of  the John Coolihan Research grant and holds an M.Lit in Science Education.

Favourite thing about working in DCU

Working in the field of Education.

Something Interesting you would like us to share

My PhD research into how we teach practical work at upper secondary biology will be completed during this academic year. It is a design based project that encompasses several iterations of design cycles to develop a Framework for Teaching Enquiry Activities (FTEA) that has been trialed successfully at second and third level.

Greatest achievement to date

Being brave enough to make the transition from second to third level.

Future aspirations

I would like to continue my career as a science educator at DCU.

Stephen Quirke
Stephen Quirke

Stephen is joining the School of STEM Education, Innovation and Global Studies. He is a Post-Primary teacher and also taught at the University of Limerick. Stephen completed the BSc. in Physical Education and Mathematics with concurrent Teacher Education from the University of Limerick.

Favourite thing about working in DCU

Being able to work with extremely helpful and collaborative experts in the field of mathematics education.

Something interesting you would like to share

Goos, M., Bennison, A., Quirke, S., O., Meara, N., and Vale, C. (2019). Developing Professional Knowledge and Identities of Non-Specialist Teachers of Mathematics. International Handbook of Mathematics Teacher Education. London, United Kingdom: Brill.

Greatest achievement to date

Presenting at the International Conference on Mathematics Instruction Study 24 in Tsukuba, Japan.

Future aspirations

To positively impact mathematics education at DCU and to support the work of the School of STEM Education, Innovation and Global Studies.

 Vivek da Silva
Vivek da Silva

Vivek is joining the School of Human Development. He began his career in India where he taught at both Primary and Post-Primary level. Vivek worked in different parts of Africa in the areas of secondary education, religious formation, human development, spirituality and leadership. Most recently, he worked with Veritas as a catechetical writer and produced digital audio-visual resources for Religious Education programs in primary and post-primary schools In Ireland and the US. He completed his Masters in Christian Leadership in Education at Marino Institute of Education.

Favourite thing about working in DCU

I am enjoying the sense of collegiality among the staff, and the engagement with students. I am enthused by the fact that DCU recognises the transformative power of education for both the individual and the larger community. I like that the DCU community is so diverse and representative of the contemporary plural society.

Future aspirations

I want to strive towards empowering critically reflective and community-engaged
student voices in religious education. I wish students to acquire the skills and capacity to
dialogue critically, through a Christian faith lens, with contemporary secular and multi-belief culture and lived experience. I seek to nurture students personal faith experience, so that they are accepting and understanding of the many varied expressions of faith and belief in the contemporary world.

Ruth Thomas
Ruth Thomas

Ruth is currently a Teacher Fellow where she supports the development of students across a range of teacher education programmes. She works for the School of Inclusive and Special Education.
Ruth is a qualified primary school teacher with experience teaching in a range of special educational needs settings. She has worked as part of multidisciplinary teams in classes for children on the Autism Spectrum and in a class for Specific Speech and Language disorders. Through her experience she has gained specific teaching approaches on language interventions, communication and behaviour management. Ruth graduated from DCU with a Post Graduate Diploma in Special Educational needs in 2014 where she then supported her school in Special Education practices. Ruth Graduated from University of Limerick in 2020 with a Professional Post Graduate Diploma in School Leadership. She acted up as an Assistant principal 2 coordinating S.P.H.E, Digital Learning and Religion within her school.
She is a Droichead trained mentor and has used her experience in Special Ed to support NQTs in their new roles. She is bringing this mentoring into her current position as a Teacher Fellow. 

Favourite thing about working in DCU

The variety of my daily schedule, getting to work across programmes and modules.Improving and developing my own practice in the interim as I learn from others. I am enjoying mentoring and supporting students during placement. Developing the students' perspectives further on inclusion. I am enjoying working with post graduates in Special Education on the concept of holistic profiling and applying my own own practical experience in SEN.

Something interesting you would like to share

I am a keen advocate for Lego® Serious Play® method. I have used it within my teaching as well as through the Droichead Mentoring scheme. I am currently using it as an active creative methodology in reflective tutorials to develop student teacher personal insights and further develop their reflective skills. We reflect as we construct. Ruth has an interest in Digital Learning and was responsible for achieving a Digital Schools of Distinction award for her school through her work on the framework as well as through being the Lead coordinator for a Creative Cluster from Creative Ireland, leading a community of practice on developing digital literacies in their school. Ruth has been a Green Schools Coordinator for a number of years, achieving numerous flags and developing partnerships with community groups through her redevelopment of outdoor spaces to create an outdoor classroom and a multi-sensory garden.

Greatest achievement to date

Achieving both my postgraduate degrees.

Future aspirations

I am currently completing my masters research on Specific Speech and language class teachers perspectives in the Irish context and I hope to continue my research to PHD level in SEN specifically in the field of speech, language and communication needs.

Sarah Ward
Sarah Ward

Sarah is joining the School of Arts Education and Movement. Prior to working at DCU, she has worked in the field of Arts, Culture and Heritage, predominantly in informal education settings of galleries and museums. She is currently a member of the National Gallery of Ireland’s guide and artist panel. Sarah completed her MA in Arts and Learning at Goldsmiths University of London, UK.

Favourite thing about working in DCU

I love working with the students in the classroom, talking with them about their art marking, encouraging their creativity, and seeing their development each week.

Something interesting you would like to share

I am a passionate about contemporary art. My own praxis research as an art educator explores the relationships between space, place, embodiment and learning. I have exhibited nationally and internationally. www.sarah-ward.com

Greatest achievement to date

I was a recipient of Fingal Artists Support Scheme. I secured funding to travel to Connecticut in the United States where I was an Artist in Residence at Weir Farm National Historic Park. I spent a month living in the woodlands of Wilton, responding to the natural surroundings and developing a new body of work.

Future aspirations

I am looking forward to working alongside the wonderful team of academics in the School and University wide, continuing to develop my own research and practice, to soon pursue a practiced based PhD and contribute to the field of contemporary arts practice and learning.