DIT lecturer wins RSC teaching award 2009

Dr. Declan McCormack, left, Head of the School of Chemical
and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Professor Brian Norton
congratulate Dr. Claire McDonnell,
winner of the RSC Teaching Award 2009

Dr. Claire Mc Donnell, a chemistry lecturer from Dublin Institute of Technology, has been selected for the Royal Society of Chemistry Higher Education Teaching Award 2009 Congratulating Dr. McDonnell, the President of DIT, Professor Brian Norton said ?Winning the Royal Society of Chemistry Higher Education Teaching Award recognises your outstanding personal commitment and deservedly you should be very proud. We are certainly very proud of your achievement ? well done!? Replying, Dr. McDonnell said ?I?m delighted to have won the award. I would like to acknowledge the advice and help I?ve received from staff in the Learning and Teaching Centre in DIT, particularly while I completed the Diploma in Third-level teaching. In addition, colleagues at School and Faculty level have been very supportive of changes I?ve made to teaching methods.?

Dr. McDonnell will be presented with the Royal Society of Chemistry medal and prize of £2,000 at the RSC Awards ceremony in November 2009 ? see the RSC announcement at http://www.rsc.org/ScienceAndTechnology/Awards/HETeachingAward/index.asp. The award commends outstanding teaching skills and / or development of innovative materials / methods in higher education and is presented in recognition of outstanding contribution to chemistry teaching throughout the British Isles. The roll-call of previous recipients includes internationally renowned chemists of the highest calibre. Dr. Declan McCormack, head of the School of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences,said ?The School is particularly proud that our colleague Claire is to receive this significant award from the RSC. She is now one of a very select number of Irish Chemists to be honoured in this manner by the professional body for the discipline.?

Dr. McDonnell has been teaching in the School of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Kevin St. since September 2000 and is a member of the DIT Chemistry Education Research Team. She has instigated or been involved in a number of teaching initiatives at DIT including; providing effective learning support for first year chemistry students development of both contextualised and project-based learning laboratory practicals introduction of community-based learning assignments involving interaction with local secondary schools and small businesses integration of research with learning and teaching incorporation of eLearning into the curriculum where appropriate.

This work has been disseminated widely at national and international conferences and in several publications. Many of the projects were undertaken in collaboration with her colleagues in her School and with the support of the Faculty of Science, DIT Learning Teaching and Technology Centre and DIT Students Learning with Communities office. The School website includes information on many of the projects to which she has contributed. (www.dit.ie/chempharm-cert).

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