The National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education in partnership with the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) presented 37 Teaching Hero Awards to teachers from Ireland’s higher education sector on Thursday 27 October 2016. The Awards marked the culmination of a 2016 Teaching Hero campaign that saw over 800 higher education teachers nominated by their students for these awards.
Students described their most impactful teachers as being outstanding, knowledgeable communicators and again emphasised the human touch as being an essential characteristic. Focused on innovative, creative and inspiring teaching and its impact on student learning, the 2016 awards honour the best of Ireland’s higher education teachers for the influence they have on the development of their students and the part they play in promoting educational excellence in higher education. The award recipients honoured come from universities, institutes of technology and private colleges.
Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD said “I congratulate all the 2016 Teaching Heroes. The Teaching Hero Awards programme is a valuable initiative that actively supports and promotes excellence in teaching. This year’s awards honour outstanding teachers who bring about exceptional learning for students, who thrive in an environment of innovation, creativity and inspiration. Teaching excellence brings out the best in both teacher and student. I wish the National Forum and USI the very best in this Awards partnership that is committed to achieving and maintaining best practice in teaching and learning in our higher education sector.”
Commenting at the 2016 Teaching Hero Awards, Dr Terry Maguire, Director of the National Forum said: “The National Forum, in partnership with USI, is delighted to present these awards to very worthy teaching heroes. We have had a fantastic response from higher education students all over the country. These Awards provide students with direct opportunities to recognise excellence in teaching and to have their voices heard as valuable partners in their own education. The Forum congratulates the 2016 heroes who will now become the latest addition to the growing Teaching Hero cohort.”
What Students said:
My Teaching Hero is simply incredible!! Aside from passionately (and successfully) completing her role as a lecturer, she has always gone the extra mile. She knows more than anyone I’ve ever met and is always there to help. I can approach her with any questions I have about the course material and even the struggles of what I plan to do once I graduate. My Hero inspires me to be the best I can be. My Hero deserves this award!
My Teaching Hero is an amazing lecturer who is interactive and respectful of every student in his class. He is friendly and allows for class discussions on many topics which allows us to understand the modules better and grow our own opinions on many topics. On many occasions if difficulties arose he would listen, help and resolve any issues in a swift and respectful manner. He makes going to class fun and interactive and has genuinely motivated me to do great work all year round. An amazing person and lecturer who should be acknowledged for his great work, friendliness and interactions.
Commenting for the National Forum, Professor Sarah Moore, National Forum chair said: “Irish students want us to know the ways in which great teaching impacts them. Through a rigorous and reflective process they have identified and are celebrating teachers throughout the higher education system who are making a huge difference to their learning and in their lives. We commit to recognising and learning from the excellent practice of the teachers our students celebrate.”
Commenting for USI, President, Annie Hoey said: “The fact that these awards are the only student-led awards in Irish higher education underlines their authenticity and their standing within the sector. The teachers being celebrated tonight are the people behind genuine student experiences and are hugely valuable in helping to shape Ireland’s future thinking and policy on effective teaching and learning in higher education. USI congratulates all of the 2016 heroes.”
Since its foundation in 2013, the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education has focused on enhancing teaching and learning for all students in higher education. Engaging with leaders, managers, teachers and students, the Forum mobilises expertise and inputs from across the entire sector to extend and shape best practice. The partnership model, bringing teachers and students together at a national level is one of the key features of the National Forum’s work.