Pictured are Professor Don Barry, UL President and Dr David Brancaleone, Critical and Contextual Studies (Fine Art), Limerick School of Art and Design, LIT.
At a ceremony at the University of Limerick today, the region's most outstanding teachers were recognised for their excellence through the Shannon Consortium Regional Award for Excellence in Higher Education Teaching. The award process celebrates and showcases excellence in teaching and learning within the four Third Level institutes which make up the Shannon Consortium: the University of Limerick (UL), Mary Immaculate College (MIC), Limerick Institute of Technology, (LIT) and Institute of Technology Tralee, (ITT).
The recipient of this year's award is Dr David Brancaleone, Critical and Contextual Studies (Fine Art), Limerick School of Art and Design, LIT, who was commended for his significant contribution to teaching and learning, his unique and innovative teaching techniques and his huge commitment to student learning, guiding students through skilled questioning and activities to critical learning insights.
There were four shortlisted candidates from the University of Limerick: Dr Michael Walsh, Mechanical & Aeronautical Engineering and Lawrence Cleary, Regional Writing Centre, who collaborated on a joint submission; Dr Deirdre O'Loughlin, Department of Management and Marketing; Dr Anna Ryan, School of Architecture, and one from Mary Immaculate College: Dr Anne Dolan, Department of Learning, Society & Religious Education. The Adjudication Panel, which was composed of international experts in the field of Higher Education comprised of Prof. Alan Mortiboys, an Independent Educational Consultant, formerly of Birmingham City University, Dr Steve Walsh (University of Newcastle) and Dr Ciara O'Farrell (TCD); Dr Sharon Flynn (NUIG) chaired the meeting.
Introducing the ceremony, Professor Sarah Moore emphasised how important our regional connections are for sharing and promoting outstanding practice in teaching and learning. During his address, Professor Don Barry commended the regional award process for "highlighting the exceptional teaching talent" within the Consortium and how "the calibre of entrants and the tough competition every year is testament to the truly high standards of teaching that our students are fortunate to enjoy." He went on to underline the importance of the regional award process in conveying "the message that the institutions in this region are serious about what they do and what is expected of those who teach on their behalf."
The Shannon Consortium Regional Award for Excellence is open to all teaching staff in the institutions within the Shannon Consortium, and involves an extremely thorough process aimed at identifying outstanding teachers within the region. This year, at the final stage of the process, six faculty members from across the Consortium institutions were short-listed for an award, all of whom were required to go through the very rigorous process of compiling a detailed portfolio of evidence. These final teaching portfolios represent months of dedicated work. This is done in addition to teaching and other academic duties and is therefore a formidable achievement in itself. The very best of the teaching portfolios are shortlisted. The regional award panel are incredibly meticulous in their adjudication and look for outstanding teachers who have an impact both within and beyond the classroom - and who prioritise student learning. The panel reviewed student testimonials, DVD footage and teaching related achievements as well as the candidates' teaching portfolios before deciding upon the winner.
The Shannon Consortium is a collaborative alliance between the University of Limerick, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick Institute of Technology and IT Tralee and aims to establish the Shannon region as a zone of excellence in teaching, learning and learner support.