Nov 15 2010 Posted: 00:00 GMT
NUI Galway Academic Dr Dagmar Stengel recently received a 2010 National Academy for Integration of Research Teaching and Learning (NAIRTL) Annual Award for Excellence in Teaching. This is the third year in a row that an NUI Galway academic took an award, something that no other Higher Education institution has achieved. Five awards were presented nationally this year by Hon. Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness who noted the outstanding contribution of the award recipients to both teaching and research in Higher Education. Dr Dagmar Stengel, Lecturer in Botany and Plant Science in the School of Natural Sciences NUI Galway and a researcher in the Ryan Institute for Environment, Marine and Energy at the University received specific praise for her approachable and empathetic manner with students, which encourages them to strive for her high standards of excellence. Her inclusion of new research in lectures and her ability to relate marine botany and plant science to the local area was also noted particularly as this enables the students to investigate the topics for themselves and greatly enhances their own learning and their interest in the subject. Dr Stengel says "I am absolutely delighted to receive the award and am overwhelmed by the support from staff and students at NUI Galway that I have received. It is great that teaching is recognised within Higher Education besides research. It is essential to integrate research into undergraduate teaching at an early stage. It takes personal and institutional investment, but is essential if a research community is to be built up, i.e. to train future researchers but also develop students' problem solving skills." The winners of the Awards were nominated by 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 award winners come from diverse disciplinary backgrounds but display a shared commitment to and passion for teaching while also being innovative researchers. These Awards testify to the fact that excellence in teaching and in creative and scholarly work go hand in hand. Dr Gerry Morgan, former Dean of Science and former Acting Head of Botany at NUI Galway says: "Dr Dagmar Stengel represents all that is best in a student-centred, research-intensive University. She has a natural ability to integrate her excellence in research with her teaching. She enthuses students to achieve while interacting empathetically with them. It is always a pleasure to discuss science and science teaching with Dagmar." In the three years since the introduction of the National Academy Annual Awards for Excellence in Teaching, awarded to staff from any of Ireland's 37 recognised institutions of Higher Education, NUI Galway has won a disproportionate number of honours. Previous winners of the award are Dr Aisling McCluskey (Mathematics), Dr Ray Murphy (Human Rights) and Dr Peter Cantillon (General Practice).