February 29, 2024

Helping to transition from being a leading academic to an academic leader

“Establish a mechanism to develop the professionalisation of all those who teach, in order to realise their potential and to recognise and value teaching excellence and expertise.”

This is the first aim of the Transforming Teaching section of University of Limerick’s (UL) Action For Wisdom Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy 2022–2027

In addition to this, UL’s research strategy aims to “Attract and nurture research talent to create our future leaders. Be a leader for equality, diversity and inclusivity.”

By attracting the best, we can become the best and we can tackle the grand challenges that are affecting society through our research, while helping to prepare our students to tackle the major societal challenges through our teaching.

So how does UL help to foster careers in higher education?

Talent Development

The University is committed to ensuring that all employees are enabled to achieve their full potential through progressive development policies and practices.

Talent Development is an integral part of what makes the university tick. The aim is to deliver focused training and talent development solutions that will allow employees to reach their potential, which benefits the university and wider society.

It is to ensure the most effective use of the talents, skills and abilities of our employees by supporting them to maximise the contribution they can make.

On the right track

A comprehensive set of supports is in place specifically for Early Career Academics and Researchers.

This is a key time in a person’s career and supports are on offer to help those develop their skills to enhance the research profile of the university, the experience of the University students, and the future leadership of the University.

Participating in these courses offers the opportunity to get clarity on career direction and goals, build leadership skills and to think strategically, among others.

Early-Career Supports are designed to help staff transition from being a leading academic to an academic leader.

The Bar

Progression from Assistant Professor (entry-level academic staff) to Associate Professor B, is known as progression across the merit bar.

In UL, progression is not competitive and is based on individual performance.

For progression to be granted Assistant Professors must demonstrate the following levels of performance for this stage of career:

  • Excellent scholarship and research output
  • Excellent teaching and curriculum development
  • Satisfactory service to the University and the wider community

These are the building blocks for a long-term career.

Centre for Transformative Learning

University of Limerick’s Centre for Transformative Learning (CTL) was established to encourage and facilitate excellence in teaching and learning within and beyond the campus community.

Its role is to encourage scholarship and research in teaching and learning, to help ensure that effective teaching is valued, supported and developed and to encourage innovation in teaching and learning activities. Enhancing the learning and development experience for both teachers and students is pivotal to the role of the centre.

Dedicated to heightening the profile and value of teaching activities, collaboratively engaging in evidence-based research and enabling key teaching innovations, the centre works to provide support, to advise, to recognise and to facilitate all those involved in teaching and learning at UL.

The CTL has four main aims:

  • To encourage scholarship and research in teaching and learning
  • To encourage innovation in transformative learning activities
  • To help ensure that effective teaching is valued, supported and developed
  • To enhance the learning and development experience for both teachers and learners


It is hugely important that UL recognises its academics and researchers, to acknowledge the increasingly important work they carry out in teaching and learning, and research.

UL’s Teaching Excellence Awards celebrate the commitment to teaching and performance as a teacher where there is an insight into practice as a higher education teacher and where the teaching approach is particularly innovative or effective.

On the research side, the President’s Research Excellence and Impact Awards celebrate the accomplishments of our dedicated researchers.

These awards can support academics who are looking at career development and advancement.

Speaking at the recent Research Excellence and Impact Awards, President Kerstin Met said: “This occasion is a testament to the unwavering commitment and tireless efforts that have propelled University of Limerick to the forefront of research and innovation.

“At the heart of our gathering is a recognition of the profound importance of research not only to our academic institution but to the wider society we serve. Research is the engine that propels progress, unlocks new possibilities, and addresses the pressing challenges that confront our world. It is a beacon of knowledge that illuminates the path toward a better future.

“The impact of our research is the measure of its significance beyond academic circles. Our work must resonate with the broader community, effecting positive change and contributing to the betterment of society. Our researchers are not merely scholars; they are agents of transformation, and their impact echoes far beyond the confines of our campus,” Professor Mey added.

Two of the early career researchers award winners can be heard speaking about their research and the importance of these awards as the develop their careers.

LISTEN to Dr Tadhg Kennedy, Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical Sciences, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Bernal Institute – winner of the Early Career Researcher – Consolidator Award 2023.

LISTEN to Dr Clodagh Toomey, Research Fellow, at the School of Allied Health, Faculty of Education and Health Sciences and winner of the Presidents Excellence and Impact Early Career Researcher – Starting Award 2023.

And more…

Work-life balance has becoming increasingly important for those looking at careers and where they will locate. The higher education sector is no different and people are looking ‘beyond just position’ in making their decision.

The 2023 Workmonitor by Randstad found that a majority of those surveys said they wouldn’t accept a role if it negatively affected their work-life balance.

It went on to say 61% of respondents wouldn’t accept a position that would disrupt this balance, and these feelings were particularly strong among 18 to 34-year olds and markedly lower among those over 55

UL’s campus situated on 130 hectares of parkland along the majestic River Shannon, undoubtedly is a positive for many students and academics. The campus has been named as Best Student Campus in the Education Awards 2023.

Its location can only be a positive for those looking for more than just a job. They are looking for a lifestyle -something different for their working environment.

Adding in Be Well and Healthy UL initiatives into the mix, shows that the holistic approach to nurturing talent is the way to attract the best.

For more information visit ul.ie.

Related News