Learners are at the heart of my work, helping them take control of their own learning so that they feel motivated, empowered and excited.

I don’t believe I will be the first or last person to say that Dr Fergus as a lecturer, teacher, and mentor is one of the greatest assets. Her methods of teaching makes students think outside the box, enjoy learning and understand chemistry topics they once thought impossible” (student).

My teaching philosophy is a constructivist blended learning approach, inspiring students to bridge gaps in their understanding of concepts by engaging them with technologies outside the classroom and scaffolding learning activities in the classroom designed to regulate their metacognition.


In 2016, I was awarded the prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Higher Education Teaching Award “for her sustained innovation in the teaching and assessment of chemistry across a diverse portfolio of undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes” (RSC nomination) and in 2017, I was honoured to receive a National Teaching Fellowship.

My research investigates areas in chemistry education, technology-enhanced learning, authentic assessment and feedback. I also investigate on cognitive enhancers (referred to as smart drugs).

Recent Research Publications


Fergus, S. (2022). Are undergraduate students studying smart? Insights into study strategies and habits across a programme of study. Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, 19(2), 110–127. Read HERE

Sharif, S., Fergus, S., Guirguis, A., Smeeton, N. & Schifano, F. (2022) Assessing prevalence, knowledge and use of cognitive enhancers among university students in the United Arab Emirates: A quantitative study. PLoS ONE 17(1) ): e0262704. Read HERE

Fergus, S., Heelan, A., Ibrahim, S., Oyman, H., Diaz-de-Mera, Y., & Notario, A. (2021). Insights into study strategies and habits: a study with undergraduate students in Spain and the UK. Journal of Chemical Education, 98(10), 3084–3089. Read HERE

Fergus, S., Hirani, E., Parkar, N. & Kirton, S. (2021). Strategic Engagement: Exploring student buy-in across a formative and summative online assessment. All Ireland Journal of Higher Education, 13, 1, 24. Read HERE

Sharif, S., Guirguis, A., Fergus, S. & Schifano, F. (2021). The Use and Impact of Cognitive Enhancers among University Students: A Systematic Review. Brain Sciences, 11, 3, 355. Read HERE

Fergus, S.; Botha, M.; Scott, M. (2020). Insights Gained During COVID-19: Refocusing Laboratory Assessments Online. Journal of Chemical Education, 97 (9), 3106-3109. Read HERE

Fergus S., Birdi A. and Riaz F., (2019). A Framework Model for a Contextualized and Integrated Warfarin Therapy Case in a Master of Pharmacy Program, American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 83 (5), 6688. Read HERE

Fergus, S. (2019). Using PeerWise to support the transition to higher education in Seery, M.K. and Mc Donnell, C. (Eds). Teaching Chemistry in Higher Education, Creathach Press, Dublin, pp181-194. Read HERE

Fergus S., (2018). Making learning meaningful by connecting it to real life. EdSurge. Read HERE

Fergus S., (2017). Writing a Chemistry Education Research Article: Stepping Stone or Stumbling Block? New Directions, 12(1). Read HERE

Fergus S., (2016). Change your Lens. Education in Chemistry, 6, 32. Read HERE

Fergus S., Kellett, K. and Gerhard, U. (2015). The Khat and Meow Meow Tale: Teaching the Relevance of Chemistry through Novel Recreational Drugs. J. Chem. Educ., 92, 5, 843-848. Read HERE

Kirton, S., Al-Ahmad, A., Fergus S. (2014). Using Structured Chemistry Examinations (SChemEs) as an Assessment Method to Improve Undergraduate Students’ Generic, Practical and Laboratory-Based Skills. J. Chem. Educ., 91, 5, 648–654. Read HERE

Fergus, S and Hitch, G (2014). Assessing the Status of Fundamental Chemistry Knowledge Using a Visually Displayed Chemistry Diagnostic Test. New Directions, 10, 1, 50-58. Read HERE