National Teaching Hero awards for two GMIT lecturers Anne O'Leary and Tom Conlon

Friday, November 11, 2016 Press Office
Press Release

Two GMIT lecturers, Anne O’Leary and Tom Conlon, have been honoured with national ‘Teaching Hero’ awards after being nominated for the accolade by their students. They were among 37 teachers from Ireland’s higher education sector to receive the awards at a formal ceremony in Dublin recently, organised by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education in partnership with the Union of Students in Ireland (USI).

Tom, from Mountbellew and Salthill, lectures in Law, and Anne, from Gorey in Co Wexford and Tynagh, Loughrea, lectures in culinary arts in the Department of Culinary Arts and the Services Industries, GMIT College of Tourism & Arts.

Over 800 higher education teachers were nominated nationally, with students describing their most impactful teachers as outstanding, knowledgeable communicators, as well as innovative, creative and inspiring. The award recipients came from universities, institutes of technology and private colleges.

Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD, addressed the gathering and congratulated all of the Teaching Hero 2016 recipients, saying: “The Teaching Hero Awards programme is a valuable initiative that actively supports and promotes excellence in teaching which brings out the best in both teacher and student."

GMIT VP for Academic Affairs and Registrar Michael Hannon says: “GMIT students value our teachers and the impact they have on their lives, and have acknowledged this by submitting testimonials to the National Forum. I commend the effort of the Students Union in collaborating with the Forum on this competition. This is the second year of the National Teaching Heroes Award competition and on each occasion GMIT had two staff members honoured, John Carty and Richie Hoare last year and this year Anne O’Leary and Tom Conlon. I congratulate the worthy winners and I am delighted to see the Forum establish an alumni network for this unique group of professionals.”

Gerry Talbot, Head of Department of Culinary Arts and the Services Industries, paid tribute to the two GMIT lecturers, saying: “We are exceptionally proud of Tom Conlon and Anne O’Leary who have been recognised for outstanding excellence in their teaching and learning here in our Department, and we thank our students for nominating them for this prestigious accolade.”

GMIT Students Union President Amy Kelly says: “The Students' Union is delighted for Tom and Anne in receiving their awards for excellent teaching and engagement. It shows that students really care about the standard of teaching they receive and value when a lecture goes above and beyond for their students benefit.”

Professor Sarah Moore, National Forum chair, said: “Irish students want us to know the ways in which great teaching impacts them. Through a rigorous and reflective process they have identified and are celebrating teachers throughout the higher education system who are making a huge difference to their learning and in their lives. We commit to recognising and learning from the excellent practice of the teachers our students celebrate.”