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Sussex academic shortlisted for Law Teacher of the Year Award

University of Sussex law lecturer Dr Verona Ní Drisceoil says she is “delighted and honoured to represent Sussex” after being shortlisted for a prestigious teaching award.

Dr Ní Drisceoil, who teaches across a number of law modules at Sussex Law School, has been chosen as one of just six finalists for the Oxford University Press Law Teacher of the Year Award 2018.

The winner of a number of University of Sussex teaching awards – including one in 2015-16 for Innovation in Teaching - Dr Ní Drisceoil says her teaching is underpinned by “a desire to reach out, to make a connection, to inspire and to create an environment where students can engage, challenge, critique and question”.

She adds: “My approach to teaching speaks to the values, skills and strengths that are instinctive, true and personal to me. It epitomises who I am, and what I stand for.”

Dr Ní Drisceoil believes she has become a better teacher partly as a result of her role as Widening Participation Convenor for Law, which involves delivering bespoke law sessions for pre-university students. These sessions are about subject enrichment, breaking down barriers and encouraging all young people to become who they are capable of becoming. “In this role, I enjoy nothing more than to see students develop and grow in confidence,” she says.

Before coming to Sussex in 2013, Dr Ní Drisceoil held a number of teaching posts: at University College Cork as an Assistant Lecturer; in further education; and at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana (as part of a Fulbright Scholarship).

OUP’s Law Teacher of the Year competition is open to all teachers in the UK who teach law students at degree level.

This year the quality of the nominations was remarkably high, according to OUP, and the judges had a tough choice selecting the finalists.

The five other candidates going forward to the next phase of judging, in addition to Dr Ní Drisceoil, come from the universities of Cambridge, Durham, Leeds, Queen’s Belfast and Swansea.

The judging process for Law Teacher of the Year is a lengthy and rigorous one: Dr Ní Drisceoil will now be visited by members of a judging panel. During their campus visit the panel will conduct extensive interviews with Dr Ní Drisceoil’s students and colleagues, and will observe one of her teaching sessions.

Dr Ní Drisceoil will then have a long wait until June, when the winner of Law Teacher of the Year 2018 will be announced at this year’s Celebrating Excellence in Law Teaching conference.

Whatever the outcome, Dr Ní Drisceoil adds a ”sincere thank you to all my students, past and present, who continue to motivate and inspire me”.


Posted on behalf of: Sussex Law School
Last updated: Thursday, 14 June 2018

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