About the DELTA Award

The DELTA Award will

  • provide national recognition to disciplines
  • award demonstrated discipline-specific achievement in and commitment to teaching enhancement
  • support discipline units in demonstrating a strategic, systematic, integrated, engaged approach to teaching and learning enhancement
  • provide a capacity building and planning tool for forward-looking discipline groups
  • enable the sharing of good practice in teaching and learning enhancement within disciplines, across the sector
  • contribute to a valued and informed teaching and learning culture in Irish higher education

What are the benefits of achieving a DELTA Award?

The initiative provides an opportunity for a discipline group to achieve national recognition for existing achievements and for their ongoing commitment to enhancing teaching and learning.

Discipline groups who achieve a DELTA Award will benefit from

  • national recognition for the value they place on teaching and learning in their discipline – this is likely to be of interest to current and potential students
  • an opportunity, through a structured process, to draw upon expertise and to consolidate local practice with relevant strategic planning documentation as part of a recognised national award framework
  • a framework to respond to the many pressures they face in dealing with quality assurance requirements, strategic and operational plans, staff development and student engagement
  • an opportunity to make the most of existing expertise and bring demonstrable benefits to teaching and learning enhancement in their discipline
  • an opportunity to contribute to and share practical, sustainable ideas for promoting enhancement in teaching and learning in their discipline

Applying for a DELTA Award

All discipline groups 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 Award. A discipline group can be a school, department, a programme team or any established collaboration/group of teachers within a subject/discipline recognised by their host institution.

Eligible groups may apply for the Award by the specified collection date using the DELTA Award interface accessed through the National Forum website.

There are four key elements in the DELTA Award interface which teams must use to apply for the Award.

1. Identifying the team: Who is involved?

The first step in applying for a DELTA Award is identifying the team that will collaboratively agree to make the submission. Once the team has established that it wishes to apply for the Award it needs to register its intention to apply with the National Forum. This registration process will involve the provision of some details about the team. It may include a short description of the team, details about who is involved (names, contact information, roles, experience), the current offerings by the team (number of courses/programmes, level – undergraduate/postgraduate/other, student numbers), the team’s situation within the institution (faculty/school), its rationale for engaging with the DELTA Award (why and why now, and what it means to the department), an account of the process associated with applying for the DELTA Award, etc.

2. Taking stock: Where are you now?

This stage of the process involves mapping which aspects of enhancement of teaching and learning have already been implemented and positioning the team using provided rubrics. As part of this process the team must demonstrate that it has taken stock of its current approaches, plans, practices and achievements in teaching and learning across the five components of the DELTA Framework. This process will involve individual work by team members and collaborative efforts, including meaningful consultation with students.

3. Looking to the future:  Where do you want to be?

In the third stage of the process the team uses the findings from the taking stock process combined with the DELTA Framework to identify the agreed future focus for teaching and learning enhancement for the period of the Award (3 years). In this stage the team declares key enhancement priorities under each/some of the five categories outlined in the DELTA Framework. The enhancement priorities should be context- and team-sensitive, authentic and achievable.

4. Planning for the future: How will you get there?

In the final stage of the process the team develops an action plan which they will use in the achievement of identified future teaching and learning enhancement for the period of the Award. The team should build a considered, well-resourced plan which shares responsibility across the team, incorporates and prioritises specific components of the DELTA Framework and which includes how their identified foci and priorities will be evaluated, with key indicators of success. The plan should include milestones and review points to assist the team in managing and fulfilling the enhancement goals. The evaluation of priorities should be mindful of sustainability, collaboration/community, and the institutional and disciplinary context.

All DELTA Award applicants must indicate an openness to dialogue with other institutions/other discipline groups/others around their development plans. They should be open to sharing their experiences, approaches and processes with colleagues in professional conversations and potentially in other more formal formats and settings.

The review of applications will consider the overall clarity and quality of each application. Other criteria against which the applications will be reviewed will include

  • excellence – the submission should be distinctive and should showcase excellent work by the team
  • exceptionality – the submission should demonstrate the knowledge and understanding of teaching and learning enhancement in the discipline and where the project team is located; the project team should be planning to do more than would be expected of a good team/department – the forward planning should be both ambitious and achievable
  • impact and evidence the impact on student learning should be clearly stated as should the impact on the team – this will include current impactful practice and that is planned; the key targets, indicators of success and their achievement should be specific, measurable, coherent, authentic and achievable; robust evidence which supports the submission will be required
  • communication – the submission should be written in plain English and the key features communicated unambiguously to the reader
  • authentic to the discipline – the submission should be authentic to the discipline, although it may challenge discipline norms
  • situated – the submission should articulate a sense of context – institutional, national and international; practice, strategy and policy
  • collaborative – the submission should demonstrate a commitment to, and the enactment of, partnership with a range of stakeholders particularly with students
  • community – collaboration within the team and how the team works together should be evident and celebrated; the submission should recognise and foreground the relational nature of teaching and learning enhancement; it should reinforce the centrality of building the team as a community, which in turn is part of the broader institutional and higher education community
  • sustainable – the submission should reflect that T&L enhancement is an ongoing and evolving process; the planning elements of the submission in particular should reflect a commitment to T&L enhancement which is sustainable.