Higher Education Teams from Across Ireland Honoured at DELTA Awards Prizegiving

Maura O'Shea

By Maura O'Shea

Posted: 29 May, 2024

The Higher Education Authority (HEA) today hosted the Disciplinary Excellence in Learning, Teaching and Assessment (DELTA) Awards, an annual event organised by its National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. Held at The Metropole Hotel in Cork, this ceremony celebrated outstanding achievements in teaching, learning, and assessment by teams from higher education institutions across Ireland.

The awards highlighted the remarkable contributions of four distinguished teams, each represented by their respective institutional leaders and team leads:

  • Munster Technological University’s Sport & Leisure Team, was introduced by Professor Maggie Cusack, President, with team lead Thomas Broderick, Lecturer, Department of Sport, Leisure and Childhood Studies.
  • South East Technological University’s School of Business, was introduced by Dr Tom O’Toole, Head (Dean) of the School of Business, with team lead Professor Denis Harrington, Head of Graduate Business.
  • Mary Immaculate College’s Physical Education Teacher Education Team, was introduced by Dr Katherine Whitehurst, Director of Teaching and Learning at the LEAD Centre, with team lead Dr Michelle Dillon, Lecturer, Faculty of Education.
  • The Virtual Labs HCI P3 Initiative, a multi-institutional collaborative effort led by Maynooth University with Technological University of the Shannon, Dublin City University, Dundalk Institute of Technology and University College Cork was introduced by Professor Tim Thompson, Vice President of Students and Learning, Maynooth University with team lead Professor Denise Rooney, Head of Department of Chemistry.

The event began with opening remarks from Professor Marie Clarke, Chair of the HEA Student Engagement Teaching and Learning Committee. Professor Clarke highlighted the significant impact of the award-winning teams, stating, “The strength of this year’s cohort lies in its diversity. Each award-winning team has developed a unique and impactful commitment to the enhancement of their discipline, greatly enriching the learning experience and directly contributing to student success. They also serve as a valuable resource for other institutions, setting a strong example in promoting best practices.”

Dr Suzanne Fergus, International Chair of the DELTA Review Panel, concluded the awards presentation, praising the awardees for their demonstrated excellence and innovative approaches. The keynote address, “From Alpha to Delta and Beyond: Taking the First Steps in Student-Partnered Journeys,” was delivered by Dr Jerry Reen of University College Cork. Dr Reen, who previously led a DELTA award-winning team emphasised the importance of integrating students as partners as a key driver to empower them to take ownership of their education and to co-create a more dynamic and enriching learning environment.

Professor Clarke closed the ceremony by congratulating the teams on their exceptional achievements. Dr Ross Woods, Senior Manager of Teaching and Learning at the HEA, who served as the Master of Ceremonies reflected on the broader impact of the awards: “The HEA is committed to supporting and recognising outstanding initiatives like these that are shaping the future of teaching and learning in Ireland. These innovative approaches directly benefit students by enhancing their learning and simultaneously benefit the entire Irish higher education landscape by promoting a culture of continuous improvement in teaching and learning practices. We value the dedication and hard work of all involved.”

The DELTA Awards form an integral part of the overall enhancement approach of the HEA, recognising the discipline as a key unit of change in the achievement of meaningful impact. This prestigious national award is granted to discipline groups that demonstrate a record of excellence in teaching and learning enhancement and who commit to an ongoing, clearly articulated, shared process of continued enhancement. The latest cohort bring to a total of 32 discipline groups that have received the award since 2018. For further information on the DELTA award, see https://www.teachingandlearning.ie/awards/delta-award/



More: Delta awards, Dr Ross Woods, National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education

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