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UCC School of Law celebrates colleagues’ success at the University Staff Recognition Awards

7 Dec 2021

Dr Aoife Daly and the UW0005 ‘Sustainability’ Teaching Team, which includes Professor Owen McIntyre and Professor Áine Ryall, have won President’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching.

UCC School of Law is delighted to announce that members of our faculty have once again achieved success at the university’s Staff Recognition Awards.

Dr Aoife Daly received the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. Aoife was nominated for teaching law through popular culture using innovative pedagogies on her module Foundations of the Irish Legal System. She was nominated because she 'went above and beyond for her students during the academic year 2020/21, providing a stimulating and innovative teaching environment that was positively received by students... she had a strong ability to strike a rapport with the students... her imaginative use of popular culture helped to make students feel at ease and grabbed their attention’.

She held a meme competition whereby students could submit memes about topics covered in the module. The memes were a way of consolidating learning and encouraging class participation, but there were also further benefits. Some students will have social anxiety and may lack the ability to partake in class discussions. Aoife used meme-ing as a way in which students who would otherwise not be able to engage in class could do so.  

Aoife’s students adored the class, saying:

Dr Daly went above and beyond for us every single week between the quality of the lectures and revision to organising guest speakers. Everyone raves about Aoife, she is a treasure.

Dr Daly had such a positive attitude towards learning that made lectures on a Monday so much easier. She is always looking for ways to improve the module for us.

Speaking following her win, Dr Aoife Daly said:

I am so honoured to receive this award. I hugely enjoy teaching law students at UCC, and they certainly make teaching fun. It is important to place law in its social context, and to explore the power dynamics involved in relation to different actors in society. I am so impressed how eager students are to do this, and how willing they are to have fun applying law concepts and facts to memes and other facets of popular culture. It makes teaching a collaborative experience, and a real pleasure. I feel incredibly lucky to do the work that I do.

Aoife was also a 2020-2021 winner of a ‘Teaching Hero Award’ from the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and the Union of Students in Ireland

Professor Owen McIntyre and Professor Áine Ryall, Centre for Law & the Environment, were members of the interdisciplinary team acknowledged with the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching 2021 for the University Wide module in Sustainability (UW0005). 

Led by Dr Gerard Mullally, Department of Sociology & Criminology, the University Wide module in Sustainability provides students with a broadly based interdisciplinary introduction to sustainability issues as a foundation for 'sustainability citizenship'.  

This innovative module, which is a key element of UCC’s Green Campus programme, is open to all staff and students of the University and to members of the public. 

Commenting on the award, Professor Áine Ryall said:

We are delighted to contribute to this University Wide module.  It is always one of the teaching highlights of the academic year.  This module enables us to engage with students from multiple disciplines who have a strong interest in sustainability and in exploring the role Law plays in promoting environmental protection.  Thanks to Gerard Mullally’s leadership, the module continues to go from strength to strength.  We look forward to participating again in 2021/22.

Commending our awardees, Professor Mark Poustie, Dean of the School of Law said:

I am delighted at the success of my colleagues in the President’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching. These awards are a testament to the efforts made by colleagues to ensure that our teaching is engaging, accessible and relevant for our students, and particularly notable given the challenging circumstances in which we continue to operate. Ensuring our students have the best possible learning experience is an absolute priority for the School. Many congratulations to Dr Aoife Daly, and Professors Áine Ryall and Owen McIntyre!

The ceremony for the 2021 UCC Staff Recognition Awards will take place in the new year.

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