Awards, Grants & Fellowships

Academic Advising Projects

Context and Background

As UCD begins to implement its Rising to the Future strategy and allied Education Strategy, planning for the future based on what we are learning from the COVID-19 context, our commitment to digital transformation and providing for increasing domestic and international students, there is a significant policy gap with reference to the formalised provision of academic advice to our undergraduate and taught graduate students. The need for such a policy is to ensure that all students are provided with high-quality academic support and advice through a proactive academic partnership with mutual expectations of faculty and students. 

At the request of the Registrar/Deputy President a university-wide working group has been established, under the Chair of Professor Marie Clarke, to inform university-wide policy on academic advising. HEA/National Forum funding is being leveraged to support the development of an institutional framework for academic advising for student success.  An initiative team, based in UCD Teaching and Learning, is responsible for the management and coordination of the funded initiative, with high-level oversight provided by the Working Group.  The initiative has a number of work strands; one of these strands is focused on piloting different approaches to academic advising across the University.   


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.


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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



Existing Supports for UCD Students

Our students currently have access to a range of advice and support services/roles, with some operating at Programme/School level and others provided centrally by the University. Notwithstanding the range and breadth of supports available to our students, the consensus is that there are gaps, such as:

  • Personal academic advice to students at different points in the student lifecycle.
  • Academic advice to support individual students with decision-making and goal setting based on their academic performance, interests and talents. 
  • Guidance and assistance in navigating programme structures, making choices relating to major/minor/specialism options.  
  • Academic advice for students considering withdrawal/transfer from their programme.
  • Academic support/advice relating to professional practice, clinical placements and internships.
  • Support to assist students to become independent learners and to address any academic issues as they arise. 


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.

Ireland's National Understanding of Student Success

In 2019 the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning published Ireland's first national understanding of student success, which was the outcome of a review of student perspectives, institutional and national policies, and related literature and an extensive consultation process. 


Student success optimises the learning and development opportunities for each student to recognise and fulfil their potential to contribute to, and flourish in, society.
To be achieved, this requires a culture in Irish higher education that values inclusivity, equity and meaningful engagement between students, staff, their institutions and the wider community.


Ireland’s National Understanding of Student Success, 2019

Focus of this Funding

It is not envisaged that a ‘one size fits all’ model of academic advising will work in UCD. The focus of this funding is to develop and pilot different approaches to academic advising, reflecting distinct advising contexts, student cohorts and disciplinary needs.

The specific objectives of this internal funding are 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.    

Review and Reporting of Project Outputs

All projects receiving funding will be reviewed at least once during the funding period.

The project teams will be invited to present their work to a review panel, including representatives from their college and international experts in the field. Project teams will be required to submit a detailed work plan and an up-to-date budget report prior to this review.

At the end of the funding period, project teams will be required to present their work in the form of a short report and a case study for wider dissemination. Full details of the budget spend signed-off by the relevant college finance manager must also be submitted. Templates will be provided by UCD Teaching & Learning for all three outputs. 

Terms and Conditions

  1. This scheme covers all disciplines.
  2. Only team applications are eligible under this funding call.
  3. All team members must be either employed by UCD (i.e., a member of UCD faculty or staff) or a UCD student for the duration of the funding award.  
  4. Each team must have a minimum of two UCD faculty members (lecturer/assistant lecturer; associate professor; professor; full professor), one of whom will be project lead.
  5. Each team must have at least one student member.
  6. Consent must be obtained prior to inclusion of team members in the application.
  7. Application forms must be complete. Do not exceed the specified word count or add supplementary information (including web-links) to the application form as it will not be considered by the adjudication panel.
  8. Applications which have not been electronically signed by the relevant college principal will not be considered by the adjudication panel.
  9. It must be clear from the application that the focus and objectives of this funding call have been taken into account.
  10. Funding received under this funding call must be used for the project outlined in the application.
  11. Applicants may not apply under this funding call to reclaim expenditure for items/activities that have already taken place (i.e., before notification of the award).
  12. Successful applicants must apply in writing to the chair of the Academic Advising Projects Adjudication Panel, Professor Marie Clarke, at to make changes to their application and or the approved project budget following receipt of an award.
  13. Successful applicants will be required to take part in a review process at least once during the implementation of their project. The review will require the project team to submit a detailed work plan and an up-to-date budget report prior to this review, for discussion with the review panel.
  14. At the end of the funding period, successful applicants will be required to present their work in the form of a short report and a case study for wider dissemination. Templates will be provided by UCD Teaching & Learning for the report and case study.  
  15. Successful applicants will be required to provide the full details of the budget spend signed off by their college finance officers. Auditable back-up documentation, including receipts or purchase order numbers, cost allocations, etc. must be maintained by all successful applicants.
  16. All funding must be spent by 31st May 2022. Any under-spend must be returned to the funder (i.e., HEA/National Forum) – this will be arranged by UCD Teaching & Learning.   
  17. The awardee is responsible for ensuring spending does not exceed the budgetary allocation. Any over-spend will be covered by the relevant school/college.
  18. The grant may be spent on equipment providing the total equipment spend does not exceed 20% of the overall project budget.
  19. Any equipment or software purchased with funding received under this funding call will remain the property of UCD.
  20. All resources generated by project teams arising from this funding call must be made available under a Creative Commons licence.
  21. The decisions of the adjudication panel are final and not open to appeal.  



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