Post-graduation Research Fellowship

The Hilary Ballon Center for Teaching and Learning at NYU Abu Dhabi offers on a yearly basis a competitive opportunity for an exceptional NYUAD graduating senior to take part in a prestigious one-year research fellowship. Funded by the Office of Undergraduate Research, the fellowship seeks to foster knowledge of pedagogy, liberal arts education, and community engagement in teaching and learning. The context within which the Hilary Ballon Center for Teaching and Learning Fellow will work is one of faculty development around teaching. The Center applies evidence-based research on best practice to support the innovative efforts of NYU Abu Dhabi faculty. On a day-to-day basis, work can involve developing surveys to measure impact of programming, researching best practice around specific pedagogy, and preparing for conference presentations and outreach. Additionally, each fellow receives individualized mentorship on research and professional development from the Center’s Director.


The most rewarding aspect of this experience has been gaining familiarity with the intricacies of educational research, including the use of appropriate methodologies and methods, whilst also discovering complexities presented by the launch of a new department within the institution.

Alexandra Urbanikova, HIlary Ballon Center for Teaching and Learning Research Fellow

Past Research Fellows

Keziah Ann Johnson
January 2021 - January 2022

Keziah was appointed the 2021-2022 post-graduation research fellow at the Hilary Ballon Center for Teaching and Learning. In her capacity as a fellow under the mentorship of Dr. Nancy Gleason, she has commenced her own research project on “The Impact of Technology-Supported Pedagogy in Higher Education'' using NYUAD as a case study. The research aims to assess the role of education technology in preparing students for the fourth industrial revolution and ensuring digital literacy. Simultaneously, she works in tandem with Dr. Gleason to provide support to faculty and instructors at NYUAD in teaching and pedagogy.

As NYUAD transitions into the new learning management system, BrightSpace, she will assist in the training and development of materials for faculty to utilize the NYU LMS to strengthen their teaching and learning methods.

Keziah looks forward to addressing the needs of the Center, completing her individual research project, and gaining experience in the field of education.

Alexandra Urbanikova
January 2020 to January 2021

From January 2020 to January 2021 Alexandra Urbanikova served as the inaugural post-graduation research fellow of the Hilary Ballon Center for Teaching and Learning. In this role, she worked closely with the Center Director to support faculty in their teaching efforts, while simultaneously spearheading her own research agenda on transformative education in the liberal arts.

Alexandra's main research fellowship outcomes include:

  • Successfully completing an independent research project on Transformative Courses at NYUAD. This culminated in co-authoring a paper with Dr. Nancy Gleason, which they hope to publish.
  • Hilary Ballon Center Development, including supporting the university-wide transition to remote instruction, and collaborating with a number of internal and external stakeholders to assist in delivering training, events and workshops.
  • Took part in design and implementation of a Virtual Tutoring Program for 60+ learners from high schools in Abu Dhabi, that connected them with NYUAD community members and involved 300+ online tutoring hours as a response to COVID-19 induced school closures.
  • Worked on increasing student participation in course evaluations.
  • Completed a Certification in Curriculum and Pedagogy in Higher Education through the University of British Columbia International Program for the Scholarship of Educational Leadership.