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What are the Fellowships?

The Fellowships in Teaching & Academic Development are part of an institutional development structure to encourage a greater number of faculty 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 faculty 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.

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.

Fellowship activities are informed by international research and experts in the field. 


Fellowships 2018-2020

Two Fellowship research teams have been formed to focus on university-wide enhancement in teaching and learning through strategic policy and practice-based research over the next two years.  

Designing for learning in the VLE - an action research project on this theme will focus on the transition to Brightspace from a pedagogical perspective, exploring key questions around how the VLE can be leveraged to support the achievement of priority actions in UCD Education Strategy and an enhanced digital experience for both students and teachers.

Teaching and learning across cultures – a practice-based research project on this theme will explore the impact of cultural diversity on the teaching and learning environment and examine inclusive approaches to pedagogy and curriculum design that support all learners in UCDs global university. 


Designing for learning in the VLE will be explored by the following team of four fellows:

Crystal Fulton

Associate Professor Crystal Fulton, BAH, MA, MLIS, PhD
UCD School of Information & Communication Studies

The digital environment enables learners to participate in and create multiple learning opportunities for increased digital citizenship, and this Fellowship supports exploration of this potential in higher education. My interest in digital literacies, including digital resilience, has led to various research studies, for example, an international collaboration, "Learning and Teaching Futures for Students, Academics, and Libraries", and investigations of digital badging, virtual module development, and embedding digital research skills through e-tutorials for the undergraduate curriculum, a project funded by UCD Teaching and Learning. My ongoing research, "Collaborative Open-Access Publishing via Wikipedia", funded by UCD Decade of Centenaries Awards, explores the development of digital citizenship through digital partnerships.   My co-authored text, "Digital Detectives: Solving Information Dilemmas in an Online World" (2016) further supports students as digital learners.

Carmel Hensey   

Associate Professor Carmel Hensey, B.Sc. (Hons), PhD (NUI)
UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science

I am Associate Professor in the School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science, teaching across multiple BSc/MSc programmes and performing research on genes linked to developmental competence in oocytes and early embryos. As Vice Principal for Teaching and Learning in the College of Science I have participated in many initiatives to develop our degree programmes. I have a particular interest in the use of digital technologies in education and how they can be leveraged for the enhancement of teaching and learning. I was collaborator on a National Forum funded digital enhancement project where, with collaborators across UCD and nationally, we developed e-learning resources for undergraduate teaching in Science and Engineering. This fellowship gives me the opportunity to expand on these interests and perform research in this area, designing for learning in our new VLE, Brightspace.

James Matthews   

Dr James Matthews BA (Hons), MA, PhD
UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy & Sports Science
I am a Psychologist and Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science. In my teaching, I try to place students at the centre of the learning experience; promoting a collaborative and interactive learning process. This can be challenging, for example, when working with large classes or students who are off-campus for considerable periods of time. This challenge has fostered my interest in how we can leverage the use of technology and in particular, VLEs to facilitate a collaborative and meaningful learning experience for students. My research interests primarily focus on health-related behaviour change, and I have, with colleagues begun to explore using technology to develop behaviour change skills in allied health professionals and students. In 2017, I received a University Award for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning.

Emma O'Neill  

Associate Professor Emma O’Neill  BSc BVSc PhD DSAM ECVIM-CA DipUTL DipEE
UCD School of Veterinary Medicine

I am a Senior Lecturer in the School of Veterinary Medicine, a clinician within the Veterinary Teaching Hospital and Programme Director for a postgraduate distance learning programme for practicing veterinarians.  I have always had a keen interest in education, being particularly interested in the promotion of student engagement and meaningful learning.  I think this Fellowship theme for 2018-20, “Designing for learning in the VLE” offers huge potential to explore this area of student engagement and the use of blended learning strategies to achieve this.  I have had experience of developing the curriculum and reusable learning resources for an on-line Graduate Programme and use a variety of approaches in my undergraduate teaching including, experiential clinic-based teaching, the flipped classroom and problem-based learning.  I look forward to collaborating with a diverse group of UCD colleagues as we research this very relevant and exciting area.

Teaching and learning across cultures will be explored by the following team of two fellows:

Cliona O'Sullivan 


Dr Cliona O’Sullivan
UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science

I am Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science and Programme Director for the graduate entry Professional Masters in Physiotherapy Programme. One of my areas of interest is Rehabilitation in International Health and I have worked clinically, as a researcher and on education and training projects in many Low-Income Countries. I am a member of the World Health Organisation Technical Working Group on Rehabilitation, collaborate with International NGOs, served on the Board of UCDVO and am a board member of UCD Centre for Humanitarian Action.
I am delighted to be involved in the Fellowship relating to Teaching and Learning Across Cultures as it will further our understanding of how to harness the diversity of our university community to enhance the learning experience for all students.

Aideen Quilty   

Dr Aideen Quilty
UCD School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice

I am an Assistant Professor in Gender Studies at the School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice UCD and Director of the Gender Studies Community/University Outreach Programme. I am a committed social justice advocate and locate my undergraduate and graduate teaching as a form of critical civic practice. Throughout my career I have actively sought to promote access and participation for traditionally under-represented groups within HE. I was Chair of the Widening Participation Committee at the College of Social Sciences and Law from 2016-18. In 2017, I received a University Award for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning. My research interests reflect this trajectory and seeks to deepen understandings of cultural diversity in institutional settings. I am excited about the cross-disciplinary opportunities afforded by this Fellowship and look forward to developing new and meaningful collaborations with colleagues on this Fellowship Programme.




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. 

The Exploring the Understandings and Perceptions of Research-Teaching Linkages amongst UCD Faculty 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 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