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Dr Malachy Ó Néill

Commitment to achieving optimal student outcomes has remained constant throughout Dr Malachy Ó Néill's career journey from post-primary teacher to HE leader. His leadership in enhancing learning environments, opportunities and experiences has transformed HE access and transition, Irish language pedagogy and national curricula, employability and graduate qualities, global partnerships and civic engagement.
Year
2019
Institution
Ulster University
Job Title
Provost

Dr Malachy Ó Néill's pedagogic journey has evolved throughout his career journey, progressing from grammar school teacher (2001) and Head of Department (2005) to university lecturer (2008), Head of School (2012) and Provost (2016), in each case pushing the boundaries of learning landscapes for students and empowering new learning communities.

His commitment to the enhancement and transformation of student outcomes and the broader teaching profession has remained constant throughout. In particular, this can be seen in his work leading the transformation of learning environments, widening access and transition to HE, Irish language pedagogy and national curricula and employability and graduate qualities. His passion for developing excellence in the learning experience is grounded in a personal drive to have others appreciate the value of learning and teaching.

Malachy’s support for colleagues, student learning and the teaching profession more widely is driven by a passion for excellence and reflective practice. Borne initially in the teaching of Irish language, this now permeates all disciplines across the institution and drives the civic and global engagement of the University. His contribution nationally to Irish language standardisation impacts positively on the learning experience of language students globally, and outreach centres he has established ensure access to the language for all.

Progression to the role of Provost has been characterised by a constant restlessness, a determination to perpetually improve the learning environment, striving to push boundaries and exceed what is expected or accepted as status quo. The recent upward trajectory in levels of student satisfaction across Ulster University is largely dependent on the significant transformation he has led at Magee (80% overall satisfaction in 2017 to 91% consecutively in 2018 and 2019).

Malachy feels privileged to lead Northern Ireland’s top-achieving campus in NSS overall satisfaction. This ongoing enhancement and transformative intervention is achieved via exploration and enquiry, developing an informed understanding of regional and global challenges through engagement with staff, students and community stakeholders and implementing strategic improvement in partnership.

Malachy’s Principal Fellowship claim (2019) recognised him as “an experienced, committed, enthusiastic practitioner who is keen to share the benefit of his experience to enhance practice for staff and students at Magee, across Ulster and beyond.”

Advance HE recognises there are different views and approaches to teaching and learning, as such we encourage sharing of practice, without advocating or prescribing specific approaches. NTF and CATE awards recognise teaching excellence in a particular context. The profiles featured are self-submitted by award winners.