Mary McAleese announced as Patron of the National Forum

 Today the National Forum for Teaching & Learning launches the Student Led ‘Teaching Hero’ Awards in Higher Education. These Awards will recognise and celebrate students’ experiences of great teaching throughout all higher education institutions.  This launch is accompanied by the announcement that Prof Mary McAleese will provide invaluable support as the first official Patron of the National Forum.  The Forum’s mission is to work in collaboration with all higher education institutions to enhance the quality of the learning experience for students.

Prof Sarah Moore Chair of the National Forum said:

‘The launch of these awards is a very significant initiative: it highlights the importance of showcasing and sharing examples of best practice, it puts the student voice at the centre of our work and it will help to provide both inspiration and information for our enhancement mandate. Excellent teachers do more than come to lectures prepared. They set us on career paths, share their passion and they inspire and challenge learners in all sorts of ways. Each of us can remember a teacher that made a lasting difference in our lives.

These awards provide students with the opportunity to nominate teachers, who have demonstrated excellence in their teaching and impacted their students’ lifelong learning.  We are honoured that Mary McAleese has come on board as our Patron. Her chairmanship of the Modernisation of Higher Education in Europe Group has provided a vital blueprint for developing teaching and learning. As an individual she exemplifies lifelong learning and we warmly welcome her support as we work towards our goal of enhancing the quality of the learning experience for all students in Irish higher education.”

Mary McAleese said:

“I am delighted to endorse the establishment of Ireland’s new National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. Quality teaching and learning depends on dedicated individuals and dedicated institutions supported by policies that put teaching and learning at the core. As patron of the National Forum, I look forward to bringing that vision to life”.

The objectives of the Forum’s awards are to showcase, strengthen and value teaching excellence in higher education at a national level. Between now and May many thousands of students in higher education institutions both public and private have the opportunity to nominate their teachers that have made a real difference at a key transition in their learning journey through higher education.  Perhaps it was when they first started college, changed courses, moved country to attend college or when they returned to education after a long absence.  (‘teacher’ includes all those that are involved in teaching in higher education e.g. supervisors, librarians, tutors, technicians, instructors as well as lecturing staff). Award winners will be announced in June, the Awards will be presented by Prof. McAleese this autumn at a ceremony in Dublin.

For further information on the National Forum please visit