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Political Studies Association of Ireland


Teaching and Learning prize

Michelle D’Arcy receives the 2016 Teaching and Learning prize from former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and PSAI president Muiris MacCarthaigh

Purpose of the Award

The award aims to recognise those political scientists whose disciplinary teaching incites intellectual curiosity in students, inspires departmental colleagues, integrates research and learning and increases student awareness of the significant relationships between politics as theory and politics as practice.

Nature of the Award

Recipients of the award will be honoured at the PSAI annual conference. Prize winners will be given an opportunity to present their work to the teaching and learning panel during the conference, and will receive a cheque for €200.

Selection process

The selection process will have three phases:

  • Nomination by the Head of Department
  • Submission of portfolio by nominee
  • Assessment of portfolios by the judging panel (PSAI members and external academic)


All staff teaching a minimum of three politics modules each academic year for at least two years.

Selection criteria

In making its decisions, the Committee will be looking for evidence of the nominee’s sustained excellence in teaching/facilitating learning appropriate to students of politics and public administration. It will also examine how the nominee’s research and teaching are integrated and how the nominee champions teaching and learning within the discipline.

Criteria for assessing teaching excellence:

  • Evidence of teaching practices which engage students and promote effective learning</li.
  • Teaching, learning or assessment related innovations led by the nominee
  • Enthusiasm and vitality in teaching and learning and pro-activity in professional development</li.
  • Influence on practice and/or professional development of colleagues with respect to teaching and learning
  • Command of the subject
  • Contribution to the curriculum and to pedagogy
  • Ability to use a range of appropriate teaching tools and to organise course material and present it cogently
  • Meaningful assessment of student learning and  achievement of relevant learning outcomes</li.
  • Evidence of reflective engagement with teaching and learning
  • Learner support strategies to build students’ knowledge, confidence and competence within the discipline.


Each Head of Department may make one nomination for the award each year. The nomination will consist of a letter of nomination from the Head of Department outlining how the nominee’s work  clearly rises above otherwise good teaching in the Department, how the nominee’s research and teaching are integrated,  how students respond to the nominee’s teaching and the nominee’s contribution to the departmental mission.

Heads of Department should forward letters to the Secretary of the PSAI by July of each year.

Submission of portfolio

Nominees will be asked to submit by a portfolio, usually in September of each year, (of no more than 6000 words) that may include:

  • A reflective statement on teaching goals, objectives and experiences (not to exceed 600 words).
  • A list of teaching responsibilities, including class numbers and an outline of assessment strategies
  • Samples of class materials e.g. syllabi, handouts, assignments and feedback
  • Evidence of  contribution to the curriculum and to the departmental/institutional promotion of excellence in teaching and learning
  • Evidence of innovation and engagement
  • Confirmation that feedback has been acted upon.
  • Evidence of ongoing professional development in teaching and learning in the discipline

Presentation of award

The award will be presented during the PSAI annual conference.

Recipients of the PSAI Teaching and Learning Award

2016: Dr. Michelle D’Arcy, Department of Political Science, Trinity College Dublin

2015: Dr. Mary P. Murphy, Department of Sociology, Maynooth University
2014: Dr. Theresa Reidy, Department of Government, University College Cork
2013: Dr. Mary C. Murphy, Department of Government, University College Cork
2012: Dr. Jacqueline Hayden, Department of Political Science, Trinity College Dublin
2011: Dr. Brendan Flynn, School of Political Science and Sociology, National University of Ireland, Galway
2010: Fiona Buckley, Department of Government, University College Cork received the inaugural PSAI Teaching and Learning award