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Ulster University has invested heavily in its learning environment. It has new teaching blocks housing both formal and informal social learning spaces in Coleraine and Magee. Our new enhanced campus opened in Belfast in September 2022 with a focus on active and collaborative learning providing opportunities for staff to try new and evolving pedagogies and to make the most of the state-of-the-art learning environments. This is a very exciting time for the institution, its staff and students.

In order to maximise the opportunities for innovation during this transitional period and to enable staff to be rewarded for taking risks in our learning spaces with new pedagogies, emerging practices and technologies and to inspire others to try new things, the institution are implementing Inspire: Active Learning Champions - Professional Development Scheme.

Successful participants will gain CMALT (Certified Member of the Association for Learning Technology).

23 Active Learning Champions

These 23 individuals will facilitate scaling up curriculum, learning environment and technology adoption aspirations across Ulster and help meet its strategic objectives.

Active Learning Champions

LHS Champions
School Active Learning Champions

Biomedical Sciences

Maria Mulhern

Geography and Environmental Sciences

Suzanne Beech

Health Sciences

Laura McLaughlin


Oonagh Carson CMALT

Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Deborah Lowry


Claire McDowell


Enjy Abouzeid


Ben  Clements

AHSS Champions
School Active Learning Champions

Applied Social and Policy Science

Denise MacDermott

Arts and Humanities

Greg O’Hanlon

Belfast School of Art

Alec Parkin

Communication and Media

Anthea Irwin


Samuel Taggart


Mary O’Rawe

CEBE Champions
School Active Learning Champions


Peter Nicholl

Computing, Engineering and Intelligent Systems

Michael Callaghan


Alan Brown

Belfast School of Architecture and Built Environment

Robert Cameron

UUBS Champions
School Active Learning Champions

Accounting, Finance and Economics

Áine Doran

Hospitality & Tourism Management

Adrian Devine (CE)  Laura Wells (BT)

Management, Leadership and Marketing

John Bustard CMALT

Business Engagement Unit

Helen McKenna

Global Business and Enterprise

Shirley Barrett

What is INSPIRE: Active Learning Champions?

INSPIRE is a professional development scheme that will enable our staff to build a portfolio around their practice, join a network of like minded people from across Ulster University.

This will ultimately provide participants with an opportunity to become professionally recognised for their practice through becoming Certified Members of ALT.

Through this scheme and the dissemination of good practice it will facilitate, INSPIRE aims to provide a platform to inspire others to embrace active learning pedagogies in their practice across the institution.

Expression of interest online form is now closed (15 April 2019 at 5pm).

What is CMALT?

CMALT is a sector wide, portfolio based, peer assessed accreditation scheme that will allow Ulster staff to be recognised for their skills and experience, develop transferable skills, gain feedback from peers across the sector and demonstrate a commitment to learning technology and the learning process.

Who is ALT?

ALT is the Association for Learning Technology and represent individual and organisational Members from all sectors and parts of the UK.

Membership includes practitioners, researchers and policy makers with an interest in Learning Technology.

ALT’s community has grown more diverse as Learning Technology has become recognised as a fundamental part of learning, teaching and assessment.

  • Who can apply?

    Initially the scheme will be limited to 22 funded places for academic and professional support staff, one for each school.

    Expressions of interest will be sought in early 2019 and a professional enhancement scheme will be implemented to support our staff in preparing their portfolio submission to ALT.

    At Ulster, we already have an institutional membership of ALT with over 100 associate members, so we have a healthy professional community of practice to build upon.

    Although not a prerequisite, staff who have achieved SFHEA through the Enhance Scheme would be in a strong place to submit as it is a similar, reflective portfolio-based submission.

  • What are the benefits?

    There are a number of benefits of CMALT, these are to:

    • Gain professional recognition for activity in learning and teaching
    • Be recognised for your skills and experience
    • Be assessed by peers from across ALT
    • Join a professional community of practice
    • Use CMALT for promotion

    One of the current criteria for academic promotion is ‘Involvement in technology and knowledge transfer including the pedagogy thereof.‘ holding CMALT would evidence this criterion as the accreditation is focused on appropriate and best pedagogic use of learning technology.

    Most importantly you will be a champion in your school for active learning and learning technology integration inspiring others from your school, faculty and across the institution.

    There will be 22 peers from across the institution to share practice with.

    This will enable a professional network and community of practice around active learning and technology integration to develop.

  • How long will it take?

    There will be four half day CMALT support sessions that will cover the main topic areas of the CMALT portfolio.

    These will run initially in May and June 2019.

    There are 3 CMALT submission windows in a year, 31 May, 30 September and 31 January, depending on other commitments, it could take anytime between 6 months and 18 months to complete.

  • What is involved?

    Attendance at 4 half day briefings to help develop an online portfolio for submission to ALT, topics include:

    1. Core Area 1: Operational issues
    2. Core Area 2: Teaching, Learning and/or assessment processes
    3. Core Area 3: The Wider Context
    4. Core Area 4: Communication and working with others
    5. Specialist option
    6. Future plans

    Online tutorials and face-to-face writing retreats will also be available

  • How long does the certification last

    Certificates are currently valid for three years, at the end of which you will be required to do a light touch to your existing portfolio.

    CHERP plan to offer support for staff after the 3 years have expired and who wish to continue certification.

  • How much does it cost?

    The costs of registration and annual subscription for the first 3 years are paid from the Learning and Teaching Strategy fund by the PVC of Education for the 22 successful expressions of interest.

    Registering for CMALT costs £150, and the 3-year subscription fee is £210. After this period, it is expected that the sponsoring schools will absorb the annual fee of £79.

  • How do I apply?

    Expressions of interest will be sought from each school via an online form with a 300-word rational for why individuals feel they are suitable to become a CHERP* Active Learning Champion. Approval from your Head of School is required.

    Applicants should demonstrate:

    1. Evidence of using active learning in teaching
    2. Evidence of sustained teaching, learning and assessment processes
    3. Evidence of sustained and appropriate technology adoption
    4. Awareness of the wider context such as policy, standards and legislation
    5. Evidence of good communication and working with others

    * Successful applicants must agree to sharing their practice and CMALT portfolio on the CHERP website and through CHERP enhancement opportunities.

  • How do I find out more?

    Online briefing sessions will be held on 3 April and 8 April at 2-2.30pm using Blackboard Collaborate

    Please sign up for these sessions using the online form

Application form

Please submit your expression of interest in becoming an Active Learning Champion using our online form (Now Closed).

Deadline for receipt of expressions

Deadline for receipt of expressions of interest was 5pm on 15 April 2019.