Five of Trinity’s lecturers were recognised for their teaching last night, on the 18th year of the Provost’s Teaching Awards.
At the ceremony in the Provost’s House, Patrick Prendergast said: “Staff have been encouraged to focus on teaching, and students to pay attention to their part in the process, which is a reciprocal one. As is clear from the citations that come in each year for these awards, great teaching is not about telling things to students – it’s about providing the space to discover things with students.”
Prof David Kane from the School of Medicine received the award for “his passion, dedication, commitment, and inspiration”.
“His approach to curriculum design and classroom delivery is underpinned by a clear and visionary view of the needs of the medical profession and of the relationship between education and the practice of medicine”, Prendergast said.
Prof Sarah O’Brien from the School of Linguistics, Speech and Communication Sciences was honoured for her “freshness and dynamism”. Her view of teaching, Prendergast said, is “underpinned by a vision of the classroom as a microcosm of society in which human relationships are investigated, critiqued and positively transformed”.
The third winner, Prof Dmytro Volin from the School of Mathematics was praised by students for his “motivational speeches at the start of every term”.
“The hallmark of his teaching is a deep level of personal reflection about pedagogy. He is visionary and innovative in his approach and very much a thought leader for teaching within his school”, Prendergast said.
The Law School’s Rachel Walsh was also honoured last night. One nominator described land law, which Walsh teaches, as a subject “regarded with loathing by students generally, and not merely in Trinity or indeed in Ireland, but universally”.
“Remarkably, however, Professor Walsh has turned this into a subject which Trinity law students genuinely look forward to”, Prendergast said.
Prof Lina Zgaga from the School of Medicine was also recognised for her teaching. She was described as “the best and most rounded teacher I have worked with in my 22 years in College”.
“At the heart of her teaching philosophy is a powerful empathy with the student’s individual learning experience”, Prendergast said.
The awards began in 2001 and since then dozens of Trinity’s lecturers have been recognised. After being nominated by staff and students, a panel comprised of academic staff, senior academics, undergraduates and postgraduates, as well as an external reviewer, come together to choose the winners. The panel was chaired by Dean of Graduate Studies Prof Neville Cox.