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President's awards for Teaching and Learning 2011

6th May

President's awards for Teaching and Learning 2011
Rosemary Clancy, Sean Donnelly, President of DCU - Professor Brian MacCraith, Theo Lynn, James Fitzgerald, Yvonne Crotty

Professor Brian MacCraith today presented the annual President's Teaching and Learning awards to Yvonne Crotty from the School of Education Studies (academic winner), James Fitzgerald from the School of Law and Government (new lecturer), and to Rosemary Clancy, Sean Donnelly and Theo Lynn from Techspectations research project (academic support team).

The awards are presented annually to DCU staff members who have made outstanding contributions to the teaching and learning mission of the university. Nominations are made by students and staff which are then adjudicated by a panel appointed by the University Teaching and Learning Committee.

Yvonne Crotty teaches on the Masters in Career Guidance and Counselling, the BSc in Physical Education and Biology Education, the BSc in Science Education, the Graduate Diploma in Higher Education, and the Masters in Education and Training Management.

Speaking at the ceremony, Prof MacCraith cited Yvonne's committment to empowering her students, her creative values and her ability to inspire confidence as just some of the reasons for the award. He quoted from the many testimonials which were submitted by her students in support of her nomination, one of which said, "Yvonne's approach to teaching is one of inspiration and enablement. She inspires confidence and a 'can do' attitude. Her creative attitude instils enjoyment in to each module and challenges the student to reach beyond what is mediocre. Her understanding of the theoretical process and analysis of new knowledge presented to the student, enables her to deconstruct what for many at the outset appears inaccessible."

The winner of the New Lecturer/Tutor award is James Fitzgerald, a PhD student in the School of Law and Government. Together with colleagues in Purchase College, State University of New York, James has been responsible for the development and delivery of a collaborative module on Terrorism, which is the only course of its kind on the study of Terrorism, not just in Ireland and the US, but globally.

Professor MacCraith cited his student-centric approach to teaching, his quiet authority, his challenging and engaging manner, his pride in his subject, and his encouragement of independent thinking, as just some of the reasons for his award. Prof MacCraith said, "The added challenges of managing cross-cultural interactions dictate that he maintains a careful and open approach, both in face-to-face and e-learning environments, while at all times embracing student-centred learning through encouraging interaction and discussion. This is particularly important with respect to such a potentially sensitive topic".

Finally, the Academic Support award was presented to the Techspectations team, based in the DCUBS - Rosemary Clancy, Sean Donnelly and Theo Lynn. Techspectations is a digital participation project in which industry partners, thought leaders, entrepreneurs, business owners and students share knowledge and educate each other on the theory, application and practice of digital marketing and sustainable business practices.

The Techspectations team is dedicated to forging industry links so that students' academic learning is supported with the practical experience required for securing and creating jobs. The team's innovative and energetic approach to learning is exemplified by the events, training and online seminars organized by them. A series of five mini-conferences held in DCU between September 2010 and March 2011 are testament to this. Each conference had an attendance of between 250 and 400, including staff, postgraduate and undergraduate students and business affiliates of the designated research centres in DCU. Topics covered included digital marketing; mobile marketing and mobile commerce; international marketing; entrepreneurship; and civic and social engagement.