Steering Committee

The Facilitate network is managed by a steering committee with a membership drawn from a range of Irish tertiary institutions.

Co-Chair: Emma O’Brien, University of Limerick

Co-Chair: Terry Barrett, University College Dublin

Treasurer: Yvonne Delaney, University of Limerick

Members: Marek McGann (University of Limerick), Alison Clancy (University College Dublin), Bob Lawlor (Maynooth University), Anita Byrne (Dundalk Institute of Technology), Irene Hartigan (University College Cork), Lorna Dodd (Maynooth University), Catherine (Kay) Hack (Ulster University).

Emma O'Brien
Emma O’Brien

Emma is a research fellow and tutor in the University of Limerick.  Over the past 12 years she has managed several international projects in the area of work based learning in SMEs. Her most recent project Archimedes developed a framework for the transfer of problem based learning to an organisational environment. She has collaborated with a number of industry representative bodies, chambers of commerce, SME associations and research institutes throughout Europe. She teaches on several online and distance programmes for work based learners in the business discipline and has provided consultancy advice to assist a number of companies wishing to design environments to allow them to deliver training programmes to their employees online.


Terry Barrett
Terry Barrett

Terry is a lecturer in Educational Development at University College Dublin Teaching and Learning. She has twenty years experience of working with problem-based learning (PBL) as an education developer. She has worked in the design and implementation of PBL initiatives in a range of disciplines including nursing, physiotherapy, ultrasound, English, education, business, science, community work and policing.  She has worked as a problem-based learning consultant in Ireland and abroad. She co-edited (with Sarah Moore) New Approaches to Problem-based Learning: Revitalising Your Practice in Higher Education. New York: Routledge. Her other research and teaching interests include creativity in higher education, academic writing and mindfulness and empathy in education.

Bob Lawlor

Bob is a Lecturer in the Department of Electronic Engineering at Maynooth University. He has been directly involved in Education since 1991 and has worked in a wide range of pedagogical areas at third and fourth level. He holds masters degrees in Applied e-Learning (2010 – Dublin Institute of Technology) and Problem-Based Learning (2016 – Aalborg University, Denmark) and is interested in applying this training in his teaching practice. He also hold a masters and PhD in Electronic Engineeing.

Lorna Dodd

Lorna is Senior Librarian, Learning, Research and Information Services at Maynooth University. Lorna has presented at many national and international conferences and published widely in the area of Information Literacy and Problem & Enquiry Based Learning. She has a professional interest in the impact library activities have on student learning and achievement and specific research interests in how information literacy is impacted by student-centred teaching. Lorna’s work includes advising on the design of PBL curricula and teaching tools which support the development of information literacy.

Kay Hack
Kay Hack

Kay is the Academic Lead for STEM with the Higher Education Academy in the UK. She has extensive experience of on-campus and distance learning teaching which has led to an understanding of the diverse needs, motivations and learning styles of students and the need for student-centred delivery to promote independent and life-long learning. She has been in receipt of both internal and external funding to develop resources which support PBL and other technology based activities aimed at enhancing learning activities and empowering student learning. Her research in learning and teaching has led to publication in a number of journals including the Journal of Problem Based Learning in Higher Education, Innovations in Learning and Teaching International and the award of a Distinguished Teaching Fellowship (2014).

MMcGann - 2016
Marek McGann

Marek is a lecturer in the Department of Psychology at Mary Immaculate College ~ University of Limerick. His background is in the domain of enactive cognition, exploring the relationships between living systems, their bodily activity, and the roles that their bodies and environment play in their cognitive function. He has been exploring project- and problem-based learning in his own practice for several years and is currently co-lead on the Research Expertise Exchange (REX), an online social network linking in-service teachers with research active student teachers and higher education professionals.


Yvonne Delaney
Yvonne Delaney

Yvonne  is  a qualified accountant and has over 15 years of Senior Management experience in Project Management, Materials Management, Supply Chain Management and Managerial Finance. Her proven track record covers a broad range of disciplines: academic institutions, multinational manufacturing, high-volume electronics and the nutritional food business. Yvonne’s career spans a number of high profile companies. While working with Wang Laboratories Ireland in the mid 1980’s she held a number of roles including Financial Accountant and Materials Acquisition & Planning Manager.  In the mid 1990’s Yvonne joined Sagami Ireland Limited; where she held the position of Supply Chain Manager for the group. Later, while working with Wyeth Nutritionals as Commercial Manager, she had responsibility for the commercial development of the nutritionals business. Yvonne joined the University of Limerick in 2002 and has focused on the continuous professional development of frontline managers. Yvonne was short-listed for the University of Limerick ‘Excellence in Teaching Award’ in 2007. Her research area has focused on the development of frontline managers and her teaching and learning stance uses Problem Based learning to aid this development.

Irene web
Irene Hartigan

Irene is a Lecturer in the School of Nursing & Midwifery at University College Cork. Irene has a clinical background particularly in the areas of older adults and stroke. In 2006 while undertaking a Masters programme in Trinity College Dublin Irene also gained a teaching qualification as a Registered Nurse Tutor (RNT) with An Bord Altranais. Irene is committed to integrating various teaching methodologies while simultaneously challenging student thinking, so that students are prepared to manage the complexities of nursing practice. Irene is author on a number of publications exploring the development of a theoretical model of Integrative Learning for use in professional programmes as well as on the development of a rubric for patient assessment entitled DARE (Detect Deterioration, Accurate Assessment, Rapid Response, Effective Escalation).

Anita photo
Anita Byrne

Anita is a Midwife Lecturer and Programme Director for Midwifery at Dundalk Institute of Technology. She is a qualified nurse, midwife and tutor with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI). Anita introduced PBL/EBL to midwifery education in DkIT in 2009 and she has designed implemented and facilitated PBL/EBL modules on both undergraduate and postgraduate midwifery programmes since then. Anita completed her Doctorate in Midwifery through Queens University Belfast in 2016. Her research study focused on evaluating student engagement, enjoyment and learning through PBL/EBL. In addition to facilitating a PBL/EBL work shop as part of the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education Seminar Series in 2014, Anita has also presented her PBL/EBL research at several national and international conferences. Anita continues to develop her PBL/EBL praxis through research and curriculum development.

Patrick Deeny 1
Pat Deeny

Pat is a Senior Lecturer in Nursing at Ulster University Magee campus. He uses PBL in a range of areas mostly associated with simulation of Nursing practice. Be it everyday Risk Management scenarios in healthcare or full blown Disasters and\or Catastrophes in a community or Wilderness Environments to enhance personal resilience, problem-based learning underpins most of his work.  He is presently carrying out pedagogical research in the areas of Leadership in Crisis, Disaster and Catastrophe for final year under graduate Nurses using a PBL approach. In a multidisciplinary project with Creative Arts and Psychology he is exploring the use of Applied Drama and Puppetry in the context of a problem-based learning and reflective processes to enhance Sympathetic Presence in the nurse-patient relationship. He is a Senior Fellow with the Higher Education Academy.

IMG_6024_Michael Wride
Mike Wride

Mike holds a B.Sc. (Hons) Physiology and Biochemistry with Nutrition (Southampton University, 1990); PhD in Physiology (University of Alberta, 1996); Postgraduate Certificate in University Teaching and Learning (Cardiff University, 2007) and an M.Ed. (Hons) in University Teaching and Learning (University of Dublin, 2015). He is also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) in the UK. Mike joined the Zoology Department at TCD in October 2007 and worked there as Lecturer/Assistant Professor until February 2016, when he joined the Centre for Academic Practice & eLearning (CAPSL). Mike is also a Visiting lecturer on the MSc in Holistic Science at Schumacher College, Totnes Devon, UK. Mike currently teaches on the Special Purpose Certificate in Academic Practice (SPCAP) and he runs and contributes to the CAPSL lunchtime seminar and workshop series. He also works in collaboration with Thapar University in India on academic staff development. Mike’s research interests lie in the areas of creativity in science education and transdisciplinary approaches to teaching and learning. He is also interested in self- and peer-assessment, reflection, feedback and problem-based-learning.

Former Members:

Alison Farrell (co-founder) (Maynooth University)

Deidre Connolly (Trinity College Dublin)

Aine McKillop (Ulster University)

Carol Barron (Dublin City University)

The steering committee are deeply indebted to all of the above former members for all the work they put in over the years as well as for all they help they have continued to give even after stepping down.


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