Nov 25 2009 Posted: 00:00 GMT
Dr Aisling McCluskey from the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Maths at NUI Galway has been awarded a National Teaching Award by the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese. The awards were presented at a special ceremony in Dublin Castle on behalf of the National Academy for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (NAIRTL). More than one hundred guests attended the ceremony on 18 November including Higher Education Authority representatives, senior management of many higher education institutes as well as family and friends of the award winners. Jennifer Murphy, Manager of the National Academy, welcomed the guests and highlighted the significance of the awards programme in recognising and rewarding teaching in Higher Education. Winners of the five Awards were nominated by senior managers within their institutions and selected by a committee which included international representatives as well as representatives of the Irish University Association, the Institutes of Technology Ireland and the Union of Students in Ireland. The committee was chaired by Professor Áine Hyland, Chair of the Academy's international advisory board. Awards were also presented to Helena Lenihan, University of Limerick;; Amanda Gibney, University College Dublin; Susan Bergin NUI, Maynooth; and a team from the Dublin Institute of Technology - Michael Seery, Claire McDonnell, Christine O'Connor and Sarah Rawe. Bettie Higgs and Marian McCarthy from University College Cork received a Special Commendation. Despite the diversity of disciplines and Institutions represented, the award winners shared an enthusiasm for teaching that combines with their own research expertise to create an exciting learning environment for students. The Award comprised a crystal vase, a certificate and €5,000, which can be used for further professional development and enhancement of teaching. President McAleese presented the awards highlighting the significant role of integrating research, teaching and learning in the recovery of a sustainable economy. She encouraged teachers to lead by example and to provide innovative and creative teaching and learning opportunities in our higher education institutions. She added that the National Awards were a significant and welcome development in Irish Higher Education. Michael Kelly, Chairman of the HEA closed the ceremony, saying: "This morning I was inspired and inspiration runs throughout the approaches adopted by the award winners which make for attention grabbing teaching".