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Volunteering with SLD

We are currently seeking retired academic staff with a passion for helping students develop their academic skills.

The Role

The volunteering role primarily supports students through individual appointments. Appointments are currently running online via MSTeams. We ask that our volunteers are available for a regular slot, at least 3 hours per week in term-time, to facilitate 3 student appointments.

We provide regular opportunities for you to meet with the rest of the team and we also provide regular check-in meetings, with core staff, to ensure that all our volunteers feel supported. You will also receive initial training with SLD where you will be provided with useful academic skills resources and information.

All of our volunteers are subject to garda vetting clearance.

If you would like to join our team in this capacity please contact Susan Kirwin, SLD Coordinator, at We can arrange for you to speak to current or previous volunteers to ask of their experience with SLD.

Joy of Volunteering

"Students are greatly reassured by being listened to by someone knowledgeable who is ‘on their side’. As former academics we know what staff are looking for and have a grasp of the relative importance of different exercises. I developed a lot of skills from volunteering. I got much better at listening to what students were saying and tailoring my response to their needs. " Dr. Alan Tuffery, School of Physiology.

Dr. Tuffery volunteered with SLD experience for 15 years, read about his experience here: Joy of Volunteering.

About SLD

Student Learning Development (SLD) delivers services and supports to all students, undergraduate and postgraduate, enabling them to improve their academic performance and successfully complete their studies. We provide opportunities and resources for students to develop effective learning strategies, academic writing and presentation skills, and self-management based on a learning development model underpinned by self-regulated learning.

Services offered include:

  • Individual appointments available for coaching in cognitive and affective strategies that influence learning
  • Comprehensive programme of workshops – face-to-face and webinars
  • Outreach programme to integrate learning skills development with subject curriculum in collaboration with academic staff
  • Drop-in for short consultations on a variety of study and academic practice issues
  • Online resources on our website and Blackboard module including interactive workshops, podcasts, videos and handouts

What kinds of student queries do SLD work with?

We work in partnership with UG and PG students in TCD on queries relating to academic forms of assessment. Our goal is to help students to successfully make the transition into college and to progress through college having maximised their academic and personal potential. We focus on helping students to develop skills to enhance motivation and performance through goal setting techniques and study skills strategies to improve learning, critical thinking, written and oral communication skills and general well-being and effectiveness.

What kinds of student queries do SLD not work with?

We do not provide proof reading services to students, although we can read one or two pages of an essay to look at structure and whether the students writing style is easy to follow for the “naïve reader” with no content or background information on the topic to understand it in depth. We encourage students to learn the critical thinking skills to proof read their own work.

We do not act as an arbitrator or advocate for students on issues relating to disputes/disciplinary matters, supervisor/supervisor relationships, academic decisions made by departments or on a college level or finance/fees/welfare issues. We can refer students to the appropriate services (e.g. Undergraduate & Postgraduate advisory services, tutors, academic departments, academic registry and Students’/Graduate Students’ Unions.)

If a student's problem is of a more personal, psychological, medical or social nature, than purely related to academic skills and potential, SLD will refer the student to an alternative appropriate service.