The theme for the 2014-15 Fellowships is:
Exploring and developing research-teaching linkages in the delivery of high quality student learning
The purpose of the Fellowship Theme (2014-15) will be 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.
As part of its vision of being a “leading international research-intensive university where excellence in education goes hand in glove with a commitment to research, scholarship, creativity and innovation”. UCD is committed to the twin goals of excellence in teaching and research.
The UCD Fellowships in Teaching & Academic Development provide the opportunity for academic staff to participate actively in advancing University-wide enhancement in teaching and learning through strategic policy/practice based research. Each cohort of Fellows addresses a strategic theme through the design and implementation of a multi-disciplinary group project.
Two group projects have been identified:
For the duration of the projects, the work of the Fellows will be mentored and coordinated by Elizabeth Noonan, Director of Academic Development, UCD Teaching & Learning and Dr Niamh Moore, Senior Lecturer School of Geography, Planning & Environmental Policy.
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.
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.
The 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 both through the Universitas 21 Network and the Dublin Regional Higher Educational Alliance. Fellowship activities are also 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.
A third round of fellows were appointed by competition for the period 2011-13.
The two areas of the 2011 - 13 round of fellowships were:
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.
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.
A second round of fellows were appointed by competition for the period 2009-11.
Critical Thinking in University Curriculum
The purpose of the projects is to explore the understandings and realisation of critical thinking in the university curriculum. The fellows aim 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, as well as examine how these understandings are realised in curriculum design and assessment.
Projects in this category are 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.
To find out more about the projects of the current fellows click on the project icons.
The Promoting Excellence in Teaching and Learning report provides further detail on the Fellowships in Teaching and Academic Development.
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.