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Academic Advising Projects

Context and Background

UCD students have access to a range of advice and support at programme/school level and centrally.  Notwithstanding the range and breadth of available supports, there is a significant policy gap with reference to the formalised provision of academic advice to undergraduate and taught graduate students.  In March 2021, UCD was awarded funding through the HEA and the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning to support an academic advising initiative with a number of work strands.

A total of €475,000 was made available to support academic advising pilot projects across UCD as one strand of the academic advising initiative.  A call for applications was issued in May 2021, following a competitive process funding was allocated to 17 projects in August 2021.  The projects concluded on 31st May 2022.  

The focus of the funding was to develop and pilot different approaches to academic advising, reflecting distinct advising contexts, student cohorts and disciplinary needs, specifically to:

  • Support the collaborative development and piloting of academic advising approaches that are responsive to students’ needs and aligned to strategic educational priorities.
  • Facilitate research-informed and evidence-based decision-making about academic advising in UCD.
  • Explore opportunities for leveraging technology to support personalised and flexible approaches to academic advising.
  • Promote the value and importance of high-quality academic advising as a fundamental element of the UCD educational experience.  
  • Highlight and disseminate the learning from the pilot projects and to capture key findings across the spectrum of projects.    

A student-centric approach with meaningful engagement of students in the design and or implementation was a key criterion for all projects.

Academic Advising Project Showcases

Academic Advising Projects Funded

Following a competitive process the following projects have been awarded funding to pilot different approaches to academic advising. Congratulations to the project teams.


Follow this on Twitter at #UCDAcademicAdvising 

Project Lead


Project Title

Dr Conor Buggy

Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science

Toolkit for Impactful Lifelong Learning in the 21st Century

Dr Carmel Davies

Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems  Academic Literacy Support for Student Success: Designing an Academic Advising Disciplinary Framework

Dr Linda Dowling-Hetherington

Business Global Leadership Programme – UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School

Dr Rachel Farrell

Education ConnectED - Connecting Advisory Supports for Students in the School of Education 

Dr Niamh Harbourne

Agriculture and Food Science  Finding your way in Food Science

Dr Maeve Houlihan

Business Building Back Better: Community focused advisory and mentoring interventions for a redefined post pandemic reality

Dr Jennifer Keenahan

Civil Engineering Formalizing and expanding academic advising practices in the School of Civil Engineering.

Dr Cliona Kelly

Law Evaluating, Enhancing and Expanding Academic Advising in the School of Law

Associate Professor Jorie Lagerwey 

English, Drama, Film and Music Transitions: Better Supporting BA and BA Hum Students to Make Key Programme Decisions
Dr Lai Ma 

Information and Communication Studies

Development of Self-Assessment Protocol
Dr Denise McGrath Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science  TESLAA: TEchnology supported Student Learning and development through Appreciative Advising
Dr Sarah Morton

Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice 

Beyond Progression: Academic Advising for Community Drugs Programme Students

Associate Professor Conor Mulvagh

History  ADAPT Humanities (Academic Development and Assistance Programme Team)

Associate Professor Sara O'Sullivan 

College of Social Science & Law  Building meaningful relationships through structured and reflexive dialogue: Academic advising in the Social Sciences undergraduate curriculum

Associate Professor Sue Rackard 

Veterinary Medicine  A Framework to Support Student-Academic Advising Interactions for Students on Clinical Work Placements in the UCD School of Veterinary Medicine
Dr Gavin Stewart 

Biology & Environmental Science

Enhancing academic advice here at UCD: Is it simply a matter of time?

Associate Professor James Sullivan

College of Science Determination of science student’s academic advice needs, and development of living module advisory resources



The Concept of Academic Advising

Drawing on a comprehensive set of definitions of academic advising from the literature, NACADA - The Global Community for Academic Advising developed a statement on the concept of academic advising. Academic advising is positioned as an integral part of the teaching and learning mission of higher education. 


Through academic advising, students learn to become members of their higher education community, to think critically about their roles and responsibilities as students, and to prepare to be educated as citizens of a democratic society and a global community.

NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising. (2006)


The NACADA statement identifies three components of academic advising: curriculum (what advising deals with), pedagogy (how advising does what it does), and student learning outcomes (the results of academic advising). 

  • The curriculum of academic advising is defined broadly and ranges from the ideals of higher education to more practical matters such as selection of academic courses and goal setting.
  • The pedagogy of academic advising incorporates the preparation, facilitation, documentation, and assessment of advising interactions. The relationship between the adviser and student is fundamental. 
  • The learning outcomes of academic advising articulate what students will demonstrate, know, value, and do as a result of participating in academic advising. Some examples cited by NACADA include:
    • Craft a coherent educational plan based on assessment of abilities, aspirations, interests, and values
    • Assume responsibility for meeting academic programme requirements
    • Cultivate the intellectual habits that lead to a lifetime of learning. 

For further information on 'Academic Advising' please visit NACADA Resources.


Please direct any queries to tl@ucd.ie.