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Undergraduate Ambassadors Scheme
Scéim Ambasadóirí Fochéimí

The Undergraduate Ambassadors Scheme Module MST30060

The Undergraduate Ambassadors Scheme (UAS) module is a module offered by the School of Mathematics and Statistics, University College Dublin. This module offers Stage 3 or Stage 4 undergraduates who have taken an appropriate level of undergraduate mathematics, the chance to work with mathematics teachers and students in local secondary schools. The undergraduate receives five academic credits for successful completion of the module and this contributes towards his or her final degree.

History of the UAS

The UAS was developed in the UK because of a concern over teacher shortages in Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths (STEM) subjects, and the falling numbers of undergraduates wishing to study these subjects at third level. The idea behind the UAS is that an undergraduate student is placed with a teacher in a school for approximately three hours each week for a period of nine to ten weeks. The teacher will decide what tasks the undergraduate can assist in. These can vary from observing a class, acting as a classroom assistant, or providing individual/small group support for students at either end of the ability spectrum. As part of his or her assessment, the student must devise a Special Project in mathematics that will be of interest to a particular group of students. The student is assessed on whether he or she has developed key transferable skills, and in particular the skill of communicating mathematics, during the placement.

The first UAS modules in the UK were offered in 2002 with 28 undergraduates from 4 universities taking part. The scheme has grown steadily since then and in 2008, University College Dublin was the first university in the Republic of Ireland to participate in the scheme when the School of Mathematical Sciences offered the module. In the UK the scheme initially targeted the subjects of Mathematics and Physics, but now also includes Biology, Chemistry, Engineering and Oceanography.

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Aims of the UAS

The aims of the module are to benefit all participants by:

  • Encouraging undergraduates to develop key transferable skills.
  • Encouraging undergraduates to consider a career in teaching.
  • Providing role models for second-level students.
  • Providing teaching assistance to second-level teachers.
  • Encouraging more second-level students to study mathematics at university.
  • Creating links between the university and local second-level schools.

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