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UCD Teaching and Learning UCD Teaching and Learning
Fellowships in Teaching & Academic Development

What are the Fellowships?

The Fellowships in Teaching & Academic Development are part of an institutional development structure to encourage a greater number of staff to focus on advancing university-wide enhancement in teaching and learning. The fellowships offer a mechanism to reward individuals for these contributions.  Fellows are selected through a competitive process.  

The fellowship scheme aims to identify and develop key academic staff with both the pedagogic expertise and the leadership capacity to effect transformational change in teaching, learning and assessment practices both in discipline-specific areas and thematically, across the institution.

Hear a personal account from Dr Patricia Kieran about the Fellowships experience.

teaching_patricia_fellowshipvideoThe work of the Fellows in Teaching and Academic Development is focused in areas of strategic importance to the university and is informed by a scholarly approach to the enhancement of teaching and learning and UCD’s curricular structures.

This is supported by collaboration with similar teaching and learning scholars at other universities.  Fellowship activities are informed by international experts in the field. 

The fellowships were formally reviewed by a panel of internal and external peers in November 2008.

“The initiative is significant at international level and has already raised the profile and reputation of UCD.  There are opportunities to develop this further.  The quality and extent of the work and its evidence-based approach are noteworthy.  The fellowship scheme is an innovative project that is fit for purpose and context, and I commend all involved”  
(Professor Alan Davidson, Dean for the Enhancement of Learning, Teaching & Assessment) The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen.

Fellowships 2014-15

images of teaching fellows

The theme for the 2014-15 Fellowships was:

Exploring and developing research-teaching linkages in the delivery of high quality student learning 

The objective was to examine the question of research-teaching linkages in the context of a high quality student learning experience at UCD; to develop a shared understanding of the linkages between research and teaching and to identify policies and practical ways to support academic staff integrate and embed these dual objectives in their academic practice.  

Two group projects were:

The UCD Students’ Awareness and Experiences of Research in their Undergraduate Programmes report details the findings of the research on that project. 


Fellowships 2011-13


The two areas of the 2011-13 round of fellowships were:

Student Engagement

Research from the UCD Fellows in Teaching and Academic Development (2007 - 09) on student engagement found that the biggest concern of first years, particularly those on large porgrammes, was a fear of social isolation. The fellows highlighted the need for the development of teaching approaches proven to be effective in allowing first years to get to know not only each other, but also the academic staff with whom they work. Improving a students' sendse of belonging to their course of study improves not only their engagement with that study but also the quality of that study itself. Potential projects should address proposals for improving student engagement in first year, particularly in large programmes.

writing and teaching

ppd issues in stage one

workshops in large first year modules


Within a modularised curriculum, well-structured assessment approaches need to ensure that students understand the level of learning expected in higher education, have an early opportunity to understand the strengths and weaknesses of their learning and receive effective feedback which leads to improved learning. Coherent programme assessment approaches should engage and challenge students progressively and extend their understanding of a chosen discipline. Potential projects should address these aspects of assessment and demonstrate the potential to transform first year assessment approaches university-wide.

first year assessment


Fellowships 2009-11


The two areas of the 2009-11 round of fellowships were:

Critical Thinking in University Curriculum 

The purpose of the Critical Thinking in the University Curriculum project was to explore the understandings and realisation of critical thinking in the university curriculum. The fellows aimed to explore the academics' understanding of critical thinking both as a generic graduate attribute and within the context of their own discipline or subject area and to examine how these understandings are realised in curriculum design and assessment.

Development of General Electives

The Development of General Electives  project was focused on developing elective provision within UCD, such as the development of structored thematic electives, electives that develop active citizenship and electives in areas of stretegic importance which will prove valuable across a range of programmes.

The Promoting Excellence in Teaching and Learning report provides further detail on the Fellowships in Teaching and Academic Development.


Fellowships 2007-09


The 2007-09 fellows worked on one of two strategic university projects: The First Year Experience or Using Assessment for Student Engagement. In addition each fellow undertook a project addressing a teaching & academic development issue in their disciplinary area.

The UCD Fellowships Report 2007-09 details the findings of both the university-wide and individual projects. More information on the research and outputs can be found in the project Outcomes and Publications document.





fellows report‌