The ZOEA Initiative (Zoology Observed through an Educational lens)


The Initative Team

Initiative Lead
University College Cork

Primary Contact
Dr Tom Doyle

Initiative Budget


Initiative Type


The need for this initiative:

Increases in class sizes and the number of 5 credit modules has led to a decrease in the amount of practical skills available to zoology students. Yet, zoology is a hands-on discipline.

Aims and objectives:

Through this T&L initiative, the ZOEA Programme aims to create a voluntary ‘hands-on’ learning environment to enhance student success.

Objective 1: To enhance student learning through hands-on lab and field experience, a tiered mentoring and assessment system and exposure to research-led teaching.

Objective 2: To enhance student-lecturer relationships by creating a ‘club/society’ atmosphere where everyone is part of a team working towards a shared goal.

Objective 3: To enhance student connections with professional and industry stakeholders by exposing them to work based learning and career pathways.


2nd, 3rd and 4th year zoology students will be trained on zooplankton identification, microscopy methods and data entry and analyses. Opportunities to carryout plankton sampling and to get boat handling skills will be allocated to students e.g. a day trip to Lough Hyne research facility.

A Research Assistant will run the programme, provide training, oversee data quality, dissemination (e.g. student blog) and engage with industry.

Expected outcomes/impact:

• 20 students (~25% of zoology students) will participate in Year 1
• A peer-reviewed study will be published on the benefits of the programme
• Improved student-staff relationships and stronger links between students of different years
• Students will be creators of new knowledge that will be useful to industry and society