UCD Undergraduate Ambassadors Scheme in Mathematics

Contact: Maria Meehan (maria.meehan@ucd.ie)

The Undergraduate Ambassadors Scheme (UAS) module is an elective module offered by the School of Mathematical Sciences, University College Dublin. This module offers third- or fourth-year mathematics undergraduates, and third- or fourth-year undergraduates who have taken an appropriate level of mathematics, the chance to work with mathematics teachers and students in local secondary schools. The undergraduate receives five academic credits for successful participation in this module, and this contributes towards his or her final degree.

The UAS was born in the UK out of a concern over teacher shortages in science, technology, and mathematics, and the falling numbers of university applicants to these subjects. The key idea behind the UAS is that a final-year undergraduate student is placed with a teacher in a school for approximately three hours each week for a period of nine to ten weeks. The teacher will decide what tasks the undergraduate can assist in. These can vary from observing a class, acting as a classroom assistant, or providing individual/small group support for students at either end of the ability spectrum. As part of his or her assessment, the student must devise a Special Project in mathematics that will be of interest to a particular group of students.

The first UAS modules in the UK were offered in 2002 with 28 undergraduates from 4 universities taking part. The scheme has grown steadily since then and in 2007/08, 107 departments from 41 universities across the UK and Ireland offered UAS modules. University College Dublin was the first university in the Republic of Ireland to participate in the scheme, with the School of Mathematical Sciences offering a UAS module for the past two years. The scheme initially targeted the subjects of Mathematics and Physics, but now also includes Biology, Chemistry, Engineering and Oceanography.

The aims of the module are to benefit all participants by:

  • Providing undergraduates with key transferable skills.
  • Providing teaching experience that encourages undergraduates to consider a career in teaching.
  • Supplying role models for second-level students.
  • Providing support and teaching assistance to second-level teachers.
  • Encouraging a new generation of mathematicians.



Discipline: Mathematics
Institution: University College Dublin
Activity: Service Learning/Community Based Learning

Additional Information

Academic Discipline: Mathematics
Module Title: Undergraduate Ambassadors Scheme in Mathematics
Typical number of students: 9
Year(s) of Programme: 3rd and 4th year
Credits (ECTs): 5
Mandatory: No
Assessment method: Learning Journal, Final Report, Presentation, Teacher Feedback
First established: Spring Semester 2008
Typical number of hours: 100-120
Learning outcomes: On completing this module the student should be able to provide evidence of how he or she has:

• Communicated mathematics effectively to others.
• Developed key transferable skills.
Case study website/link:
Community Partners: Local secondary schools


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