November 17th is International Students’ Day, a day focused on the student community worldwide, and the National Forum marked this significant day by launching a call for nominations for the 2020 Teaching Hero Awards. The Teaching Hero Awards are national, student-led awards for all those who teach in higher education. The Awards are organised by the National Forum in collaboration with the Union of Students in Ireland and other students’ unions nationwide. They provide an opportunity for students across the country to recognise and celebrate outstanding teaching in our higher education institutions. Teaching Heroes are nominated by individual students, who submit a short personal piece that explains why the person is their ‘Teaching Hero’. Based on student nominations, all Teaching Heroes identified, with their agreement, will receive national recognition.
The promotion of the Awards will be led by students’ unions across the country, as well as the National Forum’s new Student Associate Assembly. This Assembly is made up of 44 student associates from 30 different higher education institutions. The Assembly is operated in partnership with the Union of Students in Ireland, and other student unions, and through it students will support teaching and learning enhancement both within their institutions and at a national level by providing their views and opinions on higher education teaching and learning activities and developments. The student associates will work collaboratively to bring a strong student voice, informed by their lived student experience, to national teaching and learning enhancement in higher education.
In addition to promoting initiatives such as the Teaching Hero Awards, the student associates will ensure that student partnership remains at the core of the National Forum’s work. The core role of student partnership and engagement in decision-making is reinforced by national policies such as the National Strategy on Children and Young People’s Participation In Decision-Making, 2015 – 2020, which was the first national strategy of its kind in Europe. Since the establishment of the National Forum in 2013, students have played an active part in all of our work, serving on the Board of Directors, the Executive, funding review panels, recruitment panels and advisory/steering groups, as well as collaborating on important national projects and events.
Almost 4,000 students submitted nominations for the first two iterations of the Teaching Hero Awards. A report exploring what they had to say about how teachers made a difference to their learning experiences can be accessed here.
More information on the upcoming Teaching Hero Awards, and the nomination form, can be found here.
The deadline for submitted nominations is 22 December 2020 and the Awards will be presented in spring 2021.