CEU Honors Dr. Eleanor Denny with the European Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Social Sciences and Humanities

CEU President and Rector John Shattuck presents Dr. Eleanor Denny (Trinity College, Dublin) with the inaugural European Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Social Sciences and Humanities. Photo credit: CEU/Daniel Vegel


Budapest, September 17, 2012 – In order to promote excellence in teaching across the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and upon the milestone of its 20th year (2011), Central European University (CEU) established the European Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Social Sciences and Humanities. The honor is the first and only pan-European award for excellence in teaching. The inaugural winner is Dr. Eleanor Denny, an assistant professor of economics at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. Members of CEU's leadership presented the award to Denny as part of CEU's 2012-2013 academic year opening ceremony on September 14.

“The committee was greatly impressed by Denny's overall achievements and teaching record, sophisticated and innovative teaching methods, effective integration of teaching and research, and her enthusiasm and leadership in teaching and learning at Trinity,” said chair of the selection committee Professor Patricia Albjerg Graham, Charles Warren Professor of the History of American Education, Emerita, Harvard University.

Denny, an early-career professor, is well known at Trinity for her interactive classroom activities and her commitment to sharing successful teaching methods. In September 2010, she was appointed director of undergraduate teaching and learning in the School of Social Sciences and Philosophy. Student evaluations reflect an overwhelming positive view of Denny and her teaching style.

“I have always been passionate about teaching and learning and I find it incredibly rewarding to see my students grasp complex concepts and form their own opinions of the material I cover,” Denny said. “I believe it is this passion combined with a creative imagination that continually spurs me to try new—and hopefully engaging—teaching and assessment methods. To have been singled out and awarded this prize is not only an incredible honor but an overwhelming and humbling experience. I cannot thank my own teachers, my colleagues, and CEU enough for this award and I sincerely hope that, through this award, I can assist CEU in continuing to promote excellence in teaching throughout Europe.”

Denny's recent initiatives outside the classroom include establishing teaching workshops for social science faculty and a mentoring program for new faculty members and postgraduate teaching assistants. “She not only ensures that colleagues change their teaching, she leads us to want to change,” said her colleague, Professor James Wickham, dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. “Indeed, thanks to her, we learn to learn.”

On the morning of Sept. 14, before receiving her award, Denny participated in a roundtable discussion about teaching innovations with select CEU faculty and students at CEU's Center for Teaching and Learning.

CEU's Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Liviu Matei initiated the award as a way of calling attention to the importance of excellent teaching as well as research within European higher education. A selection committee of recognized experts considered 25 nominees from 10 countries.

The European Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Social Sciences and Humanities will be bestowed annually, aligning with CEU's commitment to distinguished and innovative teaching. The award and its accompanying 5,000 euro prize were made possible by funding from an anonymous donor “In Memory of Ilona Diener.”

The seven other finalists for the award are as follows:

Dr. Jacqueline Hayden
Department of Political Science
University of Dublin, Trinity College

Prof. Dr. Matthias Klatt
Faculty of Law
University of Hamburg

PhDr. Michal Kozubik, PhD
Institute of Romany Studies
Faculty of Social Sciences and Health
University of Constantine the Philosopher in Nitra
Slovak Republic

Klara Major, PhD
Department of Economics
Faculty of Social Sciences
Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest

Dr. Adam Nadasdy
Department of English Linguistics
Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest

Jennifer Schweppe
School of Law
University of Limerick

Prof. Dr. Liesbeth Woertman
Department of Psychology
Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
Utrecht University
The Netherlands

For video clips of Denny receiving the award visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViZ5Vh0S1ZQ and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmWfPRfGRm8.

Media contacts:

Colleen Sharkey

Media Relations Manager, International

Central European University

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Tel. + (36-1) 327-3000 extension 2321




Caoimhe Ni Lochlainn

Press Officer

Trinity College Dublin

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Dublin, Ireland

Tel. +35-318962310

E-mail: communications@tcd.ie