Teams of staff from three Irish higher education institutions who were successful in their applications for the National Forum’s Disciplinary Excellence in Learning, Teaching and Assessment (DELTA) Award, in December 2021, were recognised at an in-person award ceremony at the offices of the Higher Education Authority on 06 April.
The DELTA Award is granted to discipline groups who demonstrate a record of excellence in teaching and learning enhancement and who commit to an ongoing, clearly articulated, shared process of continued enhancement.
The DELTA Awardees were as follows:
Section of Midwifery, Department of Nursing, Midwifery and Early Years, School of Health and Science, Dundalk Institute of Technology
The Section of Midwifery in Dundalk Institute of Technology are a disciplinary group within the Department of Nursing, Midwifery and Early Years. The group is a semi-autonomous academic alliance of evidence-generating and evidence-focused individuals who share a common ambition to create, disseminate and utilise current research findings to inform professional practice and education. The team has consistently championed improvements in and enhancement of learning and teaching praxis that enthusiastically adopts student-centred, life-long, reflective and authentic learning approaches. The Section of Midwifery also strives to develop collaborative synergies with colleagues within local, national and international arenas.
The awarded team included: Emily Boshell, Dr Anita Byrne (Team Lead), Jill Atkinson, Leasa Murphy, Ellen McCarragher, Chloe McCrickard, Margot McNelis, Jean Carragher and Kathleen Nallen.
Marketing Discipline, Department of Marketing and International Business, Munster Technological University, Cork
The marketing discipline team at MTU began as an informal community of practice around authentic assessment for marketing. However, the DELTA process has resulted in a much broader focus that centres on teaching, learning and assessment across the discipline. The team includes individuals with a mix of both academic and industry experience who recently also won an Education Award for Best Business Collaboration in recognition of the extensive level of business engagement each year in line with their authentic assessment practices. The team has been actively involved in the overall growth of their department over the past eight years, an experience which has shaped their craft, moulded their thinking and positioned their expertise as being of recognisable value to their students and collaboration partners.
The awarded team included: Michele McManus (Team Lead), Dr Pio Fenton, Dr Breda Kenny, Dr Rose Leahy, Lisa Scannell, Conor Kelleher, Elaine O’Brien, Mike Falahee, Zahid Aslam, Vivienne Griffin, Colm Smyth, Ríona Flood, Colette Murphy, Stephen Ryan, Dr Máire OSullivan, Anna Horan, Jack Foley, Nikki Joyce and Harry Tyrrell.
Pharmacy Technician Studies Team, School of Food Science and Environmental Health, TU Dublin
The Pharmacy Technician Studies Team received their DELTA Award in 2018 and was receiving a renewal of their Award at the recent ceremony. The team prepares students for the pharmacy technician profession in hospital/community pharmacy settings. Since 2018, they have implemented a three-year DELTA action plan under two overarching themes: ‘widening participation (diversity and transition)’ and ‘high-impact and experiential learning activities’. The renewal of their Award recognised the ongoing importance they place on quality, evidence-based enhancement of the curriculum.
The awarded team included: Dr Gemma Kinsella (Team Lead), Karen Casey, James Curtin, Julie Dunne, Dr Seána Hogan, Swarna Jaiswal, Louise Kearney, Renee Malone, Mary Therese McGrath, Christine O’Connor, David O’Connor, Denis O’Shea, Carl Sullivan, Ciara Walsh, Kathy Young, Dr Tao Zhang; Also, from professional support services, Jill Barrett and Ethna McGowan (Careers Development Centre), Scott Ahearn and Sarah Gilligan (Student Counsellors), the TU Dublin Educational Model (Academic) Lead, Dr Barry Ryan, and students Simon Tee Carter (year 2 rep in 2020/2021), Torijade McGinnity (year 1 rep in 2020/2021) and Cillian Murphy (year 1 student in 2020/2021).
Congratulating the three awardees, Dr Lynn Ramsey, Chair of the National Forum, said: “On behalf of the Board of the National Forum, it is a pleasure to honour the dedication of these three discipline teams. Their commitment to the enhancement of their subject area and of their students’ learning experiences is to be commended and especially so as they have invested their efforts into this important area at a time of many competing priorities.”
Speaking at the awards event, Mr Tim Conlon, Head of Policy and Strategic Planning at the Higher Education Authority, added: “The enhancement of teaching and learning within subject areas has been a strong focus of investment and strategic attention for the HEA and National Forum in recent years and I’m delighted to see the evidence of the impact of this work in practice, as exemplified by these award-winning teams across the areas of business, science and health. Well done all!”
The DELTA Awards form an integral part of the overall enhancement approach of the National Forum, recognising the discipline as a key unit of change in the achievement of meaningful impact. The Awards amplify good practices for the benefit of wider local and national audiences, fostering development, innovation and collegiality within higher education communities. All discipline groups across Irish higher education who can demonstrate specific achievements in teaching and learning enhancement and a clear commitment to future enhancement of teaching and learning are eligible to apply for the DELTA Award. See more details here.