Lecturer, School of Humanities
School of Humanities - Arts
2002 Dublin Institute of Technology, Masters in Media Studies
1992 Dublin City University, B.A (Hons) Communication Studies
I am a lecturer in the School of Humanities at South East Technological University, Ireland. I am passionate about creating meaningful and engaging learning experiences. I have experience and expertise in in-person classroom as well as online and blended learning delivery, with a particular interest in working with lifelong learners. I lead initiatives at programme level and on projects to enhance learning, teaching and assessment.
I completed my undergraduate studies in Communication Studies in Dublin City University (DCU) and later returned to DCU to complete my Professional Doctorate in Education in 2017. Following fifteen years of event and project management in the arts sector I joined Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) in 2007 teaching on undergraduate arts programmes, and co-developing the MA in Arts & Heritage Management.
As programme leader on the MA, in 2015 I won a 100K Springboard+ application enabling funded places. Through work on the MA and on undergraduate programmes in the creative arts, and through my doctoral research, I have become more interested in how we help learners prepare for and shape careers, particularly in challenging environments. In 2017 I joined the team on the Higher Certificate in Custodial Care (HCCC), am now programme leader and have been instrumental to the collaborative development and delivery of the programme to over 700 recruit prison officers to date.
I aim to develop authentic learning experiences for students, with application to their working lives, aligning with principles and philosophies of reflective practice, restorative practice and Universal Design for Learning.
2022 Getting Started with Personal & Professional Digital Capacity
2021 Getting Started with Restorative Practice, introductory training with the National College of Ireland
Open Course Digital Badges completed with the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning:
2020 Universal Design for Learning, participant & facilitator badges
2019 PACT, Getting Started with Professional Development, participant & facilitator badges
Level 9 modules completed within MA in Learning & Teaching, WIT:
2017 Blended Learning
2011 Research Supervisory Skills
2009 Practical Pedagogy
My research is focused on student experience in higher education. Areas of interest include assessment and feedback practice, and the mature student experience.
Recent research presentations and publications:
Ryan, C., Brennan, F., McNeill S. & O’Keeffe R. (2022) Prison Officer Training and Education: A Scoping Review of the Published Literature, Journal of Criminal Justice Education, 33:1, 110-138, DOI: 10.1080/10511253.2021.1958881
Brennan, F. (2022) SPARC: Student Partnership and Raising Capacity, [Recorded Online Presentation] South East Research Sparks – The Third, Waterford Institute of Technology. Available at https://wit.sharepoint.com/✌️/s/WITStaffHub/EVZEFYO11ZlIqbzO9rsGFqUBMGFPBoXA-OYbHuMScsTpjQ?e=L3kdKe (Accessed 19 April 2022)
Walshe M, Bartholin, F. & Brennan, F. (2022) SPARC, A Patchwork of Innovative Feedback Practices, [Recorded Online Presentation] Centre for Technology Enhanced Learning, Community of Practice, Waterford Institute of Technology. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_DTkpwpF7E (Accessed 25 April 2022)
Brennan, F., O'Keeffe, R. (2021) Stronger: A Review. Restorative Justice, Strategies for Change. 22nd October 2021 [blog] Available at: https://restorativejustice.ie/2021/10/22/stronger-review-by-dr-fionnuala-brennan-and-raphael-okeefe/
Brennan, F. (2021) Building Trust Online, [Recorded Online Presentation] Centre for Technology Enhanced Learning, Community of Practice: The Collective: Reimagined, Waterford Institute of Technology.
Brennan, F. From online emoji to the classroom, a pedagogy of Restorative Practice in Irish Learning Technology Association (2021) Proceedings of the Ed Tech conference. https://ilta.ie/edtech2021/
Brennan, F., O'Keeffe, R., Ryan, C. Every Contact Counts - Prison Officer Education in Ireland. In: Brown, M., Nic Giolla Mhichil, M., Beirne, E., & Costello, E. (eds.) (2020). Proceedings of the 2019 ICDE World Conference on Online Learning, Volume 1, Dublin City University, Dublin. http://dx.doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3804014
Brennan, F. Working & Learning Lives, Springboard Student Experiences, Doctoral Research Colloquium, Dublin City University, Dublin, June 23, 2018, Dublin.
Brennan, F. Online Journals, Centre for Technology Enhanced Learning, Community of Practice: The Collective : Exchange, June 13, 2018, Waterford Institute of Technology.
Brennan, F., O'Keeffe, R. Developing Reflective Prison Officers in Irish Learning Technology Association (2018) Proceedings of EdTech Conference, May 31 – June 1, 2018, Institute of Technology Carlow.
'Accessing Public Funding', Waterford Arts Forum, March 21, 2018, Soma Gallery Waterford.
In November 2017 I graduated with a Doctorate in Education from Dublin City University.
The thesis title is 'Working and learning lives, Springboard student perspectives' and is a phenomenological study of the student experience of undertaking work placement on Springboard Information and Communication conversion programmes 2012 - 2016. My doctoral supervisor was Dr. Gerry McNamara.
Learning and Teaching Philosophy
My learning and teaching philosophy is active and learner-centred. I strive for partnership with learner groups, co-creating knowledge through module design, assessment and feedback. I work towards aligning each learning experience with the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), and Restorative Practice (RP). In line with UDL, I aim to empower students to make connections between content and their own interests, for example integrating the BA Music Christmas concert into the content and assessment of the Arts Management module. I offer students learning resources in multiple means, for example recording audio versions of key texts, and allow students choice in how they demonstrate their knowledge and skill, for example reflective portfolios or role play recordings as assessment. Above all in line with RP, I commit time and energy to creating a welcoming learning climate where learners feel valued and supported, through opening and closing circles, group work, discussion and interactive tools.
I began teaching in WIT on the BA Music, BA Design Communication and BA Visual Art,. I developed and delivered modules to enable students plan for sustainable creative careers. Following the success of these modules I was invited to develop and deliver career development modules on the BA Arts and on Government funded Springboard+ programmes in the Department of Computing and Mathematics.
I was a member of the development and delivery team, and work placement co-ordinator on the MA in Arts & Heritage Management from 2008 to 2016. Through that time, I supervised both dissertations and work placements, developing successful relationships with over fifty external agencies regionally and nationally. Following completion of the WIT level 9 Research Supervisory Skills module in 2011, I was invited to re-develop the module in blended learning mode. Through collaboration with colleagues in the Schools of Education and Business I co-designed and co-delivered this module for colleagues from across the institute. Following completion of the National Forum online digital badge PACT, Getting Started with Professional Development in 2019, I was invited to co-deliver the badge for the National Forum in 2020. Again, following completion of the National Forum’s online digital badge Universal Design for Learning in 2020, I was invited to act as local facilitator for badge delivery in 2021.
As programme lead I aim to support and enable students and colleagues in their learning and teaching, through sharing of experience, and seeking feedback. In 2014, on the MA in Arts & Heritage Management, I led the programme team through a redesign process integrating graduate and student input. In 2015, I won highly competitive funding of 100K as part of the government initiative Springboard+ to offer twenty free places on the MA. On the HCCC I act as academic liaison between WIT and the Irish Prison Service (IPS), meeting organisational needs, through relationship and programme development, e.g. organising prison visits for new members of staff, and integrating restorative principles and content in line with IPS strategy. In 2019 I won competitive funding of €41.5K for programme development under the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.
Programme Leader, Higher Certificate in Custodial Care, 2021 to present
Blended learning development & delivery
Learning to Learn Level 6 2017 - 2021
Workplace Reflective Practice Project Level 6 2020 – 2021
Digital Badge Facilitation
Getting Started with Professional Development, October – December 2020 module delivery
Universal Design in Teaching & Learning, October to December 2021 peer facilitation
Programme Leader, MA in Arts & Heritage Management, 2014 to 2018
Work-placement Co-ordinator, 2008 - 2016
Professional Development & Research 2008 - 2016
Public Policy 2008 - 2016
Minor dissertation supervision 2008 - 2016
Undergraduate and Postgraduate Module delivery
Arts Management Level 8 2006 - 2018
Resourcing Theatre Level 8 2014 - 2018
Design Research Skills Level 8 2006 - 2017
Research Supervisory Skills Level 9 (Blended) 2014 - 2015
Career Development Modules Levels 6, 7 & 8 2013 - 2016
Writing & Study Skills Level 8 2006 - 2012
BA Design Communication, First Year Tutor, 2017
Minor dissertation supervision for students on BA (Hons) in Visual Art, BA (Hons) in Design (Visual Communication) 2008 – 2015
2006-Present: Lecturer in Humanities, Waterford Institute of Technology.
In addition to my role as a lecturer, course leader and work placement co-ordinator I have undertaken the following as a member of staff at WIT:
2016 to present: Member of National Expert Group on Assessment, National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning
2015 to present: Board member, A Little Room, Theatre Development Centre, Waterford
2011 - 2013: Festival Co-ordinator, Waterford New Music Week, WIT
2004 – 2008: Arts Manager, Christ Church Cathedral, Waterford.
2002-2003: College teacher, School of Media, Coláiste Dulaigh VEC, Dublin.
1995 – 2001: Various roles in Cultural Sector including:
Project Manager for Millennium Festivals, a joint Arts Council & Fáilte Ireland funding and programming events at eight festivals nationwide including Waterford Spraoi, Belfast Festival at Queen’s, Galway Arts Festival, 1998 – 2001.
Production Manager, Bloodstone Theatre Company, Dancing at Lughnasa, Galway Arts Festival 1998
Stage Manager, Touring Production Administrator, Riverdance, US, Canada & Australia 1996 - 1998
Freelance Arts Administrator, roles with Galway Arts Festival, Dublin Theatre Festival & Gate Theatre 1995 - 1996
2021: Awarded €1,000 to run a Professional Development event in October 2021, under the National Forum for Teaching and Learning Seminar Series, facilitated by Professor Mick Healey, 'Engaging students through student-staff partnership '.
2021: Teaching Excellence Award Nomination, Waterford Institute of Technology
2021: Awarded €60,000 in SATLE funding from the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning for the SPARC project, a collaboration between the School of Humanities, School of Education & Lifelong Learning and School of Engineering.
2020: Awarded €1,000 to run a Professional Development event in September 2020, under the National Forum for Teaching and Learning Seminar Series, facilitated by Karen Buckley and Lorraine Gallagher, 'An Introduction to Universal Design for Learning'.
2019: Teaching Excellence Award Nomination, Waterford Institute of Technology
2019: Awarded €41,500 from the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning in Higher Education, for programme enhancement on the Higher Certificate in Custodial Care.
2018: Awarded €1,000 to run a Professional Development event in May 2019, under the National Forum for Teaching and Learning Seminar Series, facilitated by Professor Naomi Winstone, 'Developing Engagement with Feedback'.
2018: Teaching Excellence Award Nomination, Waterford Institute of Technology
2016: Awarded €1,000 to co-run a Professional Development event in May 2017, under the National Forum for Teaching and Learning Seminar Series, together with the WIT's centre for Student Life & Learning, facilitated by Professor Liz Thomas of the What Work's initiative, on the topic of assessment and its role in retention.
2015: Awarded €1,000 to run a Professional Development event in February 2016 under the National Forum for Teaching and Learning Seminar Series, facilitated by Professor Carol Evans, on the topic of Enhancing Assessment Feedback for Learning.
2015: Secured €100,000 through the Springboard+ initiative for the MA in Arts & Heritage Management
2014: Awarded €1,000 to run a Professional Development event under the National Forum for Teaching and Learning. The event ‘Great Expectations’ facilitated by Professor Margaret Topping, Dean of Graduate Studies at Queen's University Belfast, looked at how we support graduates in the transition to the workplace. This ran in June 2015 and was aimed at staff working in the Humanities.
2012: Member of research group awarded National Digital Learning Resources (NDLR) Learning Innovation Project funding for eLearning project (2012). Co-facilitated a WIT Teaching & Learning Seminar entitled ‘Add an Activity’ in April 2013 to disseminate the results of this project.