Universitas 21 Fellowships for Academic Staff

The purpose of the Universitas 21 (U21) Fellowships is to recognise outstanding teaching performance by academic staff of the University of Melbourne, provide development opportunities for the recipients and benefit the University of Melbourne through the advancement of its quality of teaching and learning.

The Fellowships have the key objective of advancing the strategic educational priorities of the University through enabling academic staff to develop their expertise further, pass on what they have learned for the benefit of the University of Melbourne and strengthen links with other U21 institutions so that other staff and students can benefit from mobility across the network.

U21 Fellows are expected to be ambassadors for the University and to foster joint educational projects across the network. Their interaction with colleagues at other U21 institutions is expected to promote ongoing communication and foster long-term relationships with the University of Melbourne from which future Fellows and exchange students will benefit.

The U21 Fellowship and Scholarship Selection Committee makes an allocation of up to $12,500 to support each Fellowship. The Fellows will be funded to spend up to two months engaged on a project that involves visiting at least three U21 universities and, as appropriate, universities outside the consortium. Fellowships are to be taken up within twelve months of receipt of the award. Eligibility for awards will be limited to academic staff of the University of Melbourne at levels B and above.

Read more about Universitas 21.

2017 winner

Dr Scott Brenton,  Faculty of Arts.

2016 winner

Dr Gavin Buskes, Melbourne School of Engineering.

Nomination process

Heads of Departments are asked to be responsible, in the first instance, for identifying potential applicants. They should encourage applications from suitably qualified members of academic staff and, in doing so, consider relatively junior or recently appointed members of academic staff who have demonstrated outstanding teaching as well as more experienced staff with a distinguished record of  achievement.

Staff may, however, initiate applications through discussion with their Head of Department. Further advice regarding their proposed Fellowship project can be obtained in discussion with the President of the Academic Board, Associate Deans (Teaching and Learning) and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and Undergraduate).

Staff should submit their applications to their Dean, who should then forward these with a covering memorandum to the Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education (contact details below).

The grounds on which they have ranked the various applications should be provided in the memo. Particularly for the purpose of judging teaching performance, account should be taken of matters such as the student evaluation of teaching surveys, success in obtaining teaching grants and other evidence of excellence such as awards. Deans will be responsible for approving the final project details for successful nominees, and may be required to contribute additional funds to ensure the proposed project objectives can be fulfilled.

Priority areas

Applicants are encouraged to propose projects that are aligned with areas of strategic importance for  the University of Melbourne in advancing the quality of teaching and learning. Projects may involve benchmarking
and the sharing of information that leads to new possibilities for the University, the development of collaborative curriculum projects and the creation of resources that might be used across the U21 network.These include:

  • Development of joint graduate or undergraduate programs with U21 partners
  • Exploration of innovations in assessment and monitoring graduate attributes and
    graduate outcomes
  • Exploration of models for work-integrated learning and internships
  • Development of curricula and resources to support student equity and diversity
  • Development of collaboration for virtual experimentation (exploiting the expertise across the U21 network for virtual experimentation and virtual data sharing for teaching and learning)
  • Development of collaborative capstone projects
  • Sharing of models of online teaching and learning
  • Collaborative research utilising learning analytics to enhance teaching and learning
  • Exploration of initiatives to improve graduate employability.

How to apply

Applications are now closed.

Applications must be concise (no longer than three pages responding to the selection criteria) and include a separate letter/email of support from the Dean and abbreviated curriculum vitae of no more than two pages. Applicants should provide sufficient details to enable the Committee to make judgments according to the selection criteria. Applications must address each of the following criteria:

  1. The case for their contribution to excellence, quality and innovation in teaching and learning
  2. Ability to be an excellent ambassador for the University of Melbourne
  3. The strategic University priority are to be addressed or the significance of an alternative area of teaching and learning development to be explored
  4. How they intend to use the experience of visiting other U21 universities to further their  understanding of the project area. Applicants should explain the benefits of visits as opposed to information exchanges that could occur through email or voice
  5. Applications must include a concise outline of the proposed project to be completed by the  end of the following calendar year including visits to at least three Universitas 21 universities  and any additional universities outside the consortium. It is expected that the number of non-U21 universities to be visited will not exceed three and/or the number of U21 universities to  be visited
  6. The ways in which the Fellowship would be used to improve the quality of teaching and  learning, not only in their Faculty, but at the University of Melbourne in general upon their return. This could include leadership of an ongoing project with a U21 partner, delivering seminars on teaching practice or mentoring other staff
  7. How the proposal would reinforce the broad program themes of Universitas 21 outlined in this PDF: http://www.universitas21.com/content/docs/110622Strategicfocuswithimage.pdf

Applications should include a nominated date by which a report will be submitted and a presentation made. Applications received from staff without a letter/email of support from the Dean will not be considered. Only one copy of the application is required. Materials submitted with the application will not be returned. Submit to Erin Turner, erin.turner@unimelb.edu.au.

Selection process

Selection of Fellows is conducted by the Universitas 21 Fellowship and Scholarship Selection Committee (the Committee), the membership of which includes the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and Undergraduate), the President of the Academic Board, a Pro Vice-Chancellor from Research, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International) or nominee and the Executive Director, Human Resources.

The Committee has resolved that Fellows should be representative of a wide range of backgrounds, including in terms of disciplines and seniority. Accordingly, the Committee will take into account a number of factors in appointing fellows so as to ensure that, over time, a range of appointments are made. The departments of previous appointees will be taken into account, as will the spread of seniority, gender balance and discipline background of other recent appointees.

Above all, Fellows will be appointed on the basis of demonstrated excellence in teaching and their potential to use the Fellowship to further the quality of teaching and learning at the University of Melbourne. The Committee will look favourably upon those whose projects foster mobility of staff and students at the University of Melbourne.

Applicants who have been awarded a Commonwealth Teaching Award would not be expected to receive a Fellowship in the same year. However, submission of applications for both awards is permitted.

Fellowship requirements

The successful staff members who are awarded a Fellowship are requested to undertake the following steps in preparation for, and subsequent reporting on, their Fellowship.


After receiving written confirmation of the award of a scholarship, scholars will be invited to attend a Universitas 21 luncheon hosted by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and Undergraduate) to discuss the planning of individual fellowship projects and exploring ways to maximize the benefit to the University.


The Committee will make an allocation of up to $12,500 to support each Fellowship. Approval of funding rests with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and Undergraduate) Professor Richard James. Therefore, after the successful fellow and the Dean have agreed upon a program and associated activities at the University of Melbourne, the Fellow must submit a travel itinerary and detailed budget which outlines how funds will be expended to Professor James for final funding clearance.

Funding will be released to the fellow's department after the Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education receives a copy of the authorising memo/email and the associated budget. Departmental Finance Officers should contact Melbourne CSHE melbourne-cshe@unimelb.edu.au or call 8344 4605 with any queries about accounting arrangements.


Following their return from overseas, fellows will be expected to deliver an open seminar for the University of Melbourne about their project and experiences at other Universitas 21 institutions. The seminar will be arranged by the Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education.

Fellowship Report

Successful applicants are required to submit a report within six weeks of completion of their Fellowship activities to the Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education.

The report should summarise or synthesise the main findings of the project that will be of benefit to the University of Melbourne and the broader Universitas 21 community. The report should be in the form of advice to the University on opportunities for enhancing teaching and learning, including recommendations as appropriate.

This report should normally be of no more than 12 pages and should include:

  • An executive summary of approximately 300 words
  • An appendix listing the activities undertaken as part of the project.

The report should indicate that the grant funding has supported the activities proposed in the application and should identify where there were variations, if any, to the original proposal. The report should be of a standard suitable for placement in the e-Prints repository.

Privacy policy in relation to nominations

The information we are asking you to provide will be available to and used by the Committee, the Secretariat Officer, administrative staff and where necessary professional advisers in order to assess candidates for the Fellowships. The University of Melbourne has a comprehensive policy addressing issues related to the responsible use, collection and security of, and access to personal information. You are entitled to access personal information held by the University of Melbourne under freedom of information laws. Please read more about information privacy on the University's Privacy page.

Further information

Questions regarding the Fellowships should be directed to:

Erin Turner
+61 3 8344 2591