April 2017

Language Centre; For your Diary; Book Publication; Staff News; Open Foundation Online; Grant Success; Access and Widening Participation;Forum on Inclusive Teaching; Workplace Health and Safety

Language Centre

In March, staff and students received the tragic news that UON student Mohsin Khalid had died as a result of an accident at Nobbys Beach. Mohsin was completing his ELICOS studies with the Language Centre at the time of the accident, and had received an offer to commence a Bachelor of Commerce with the University in semester two of 2017. Staff at the Language Centre express their deepest sympathies to Mohsin’s family and friends and management has briefed his classmates and teachers on the counselling services available.

Language Centre students and staff took part in Harmony Day activities at the University on Tuesday 21 March. Students operated a booth offering to write people’s names in various scripts including Urdu, Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Arabic, Polish, Vietnamese and Mongolian. This proved very popular with many students taking up the opportunity.

Micro-PD sessions continue at the Language Centre with three offerings for April. Tuesday 28th will see Sue Hodgson deliver an encore of her CamTESOL conference session Liven up your reading lessons. Tuesday 4th of April will feature Helen Askie and Lee Richards report on highlights from this year’s CamTESOL conference. Finally, on Thursday 6th of April Janielle Wilson will present on editing in Audacity, a popular audio editing software that is often used in the production of podcasts.

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For your Diary

Callaghan Attainment Ceremony - 27 April

Staff are reminded that we will celebrate the achievements of our 2016 Open Foundation, Newstep and Yapug students from Callaghan at the Recognition of Attainment Ceremony on Thursday 27 April (6pm) at the Great Hall.

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Book publication – First in Family

Congratulations to our Conjoint Associate Professor and retired Deputy Director, Jo May and colleagues on the publication of “First-in-Family Students, University Experience and Family Life: Motivations, Transitions and Participation”. The authors are Sarah O’Shea, Jo May, Cathy Stone and Janine Delahunty.

Published by Palgrave MacMillan, this book examines the university experiences of first-in-family university students, and how these students’ decisions to return to education impact upon their family members and significant others. While it is well known that parental educational background has a substantial impact on the educational levels of family and dependents, it is unclear how attending university as a first-in-family student translates into the family and community of the learner. With the continuing requirements for higher education institutions to increase the participation of students from a range of diverse backgrounds and educational biographies, this is a major gap in understanding that needs to be addressed.

Exploring how this university participation is understood at an individual, familial and community level, this book provides valuable insights into how best to support different student requirements. This book will be of great interest to students and researchers in the fields of education and sociology, as well as policy-makers in education and diversity initiatives.

For more information click here: http://www.palgrave.com/us/book/9781137582836

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Staff News

Research Manager appointed

Dr Jo Hanley has been appointed as Research Manager, ELFSC. Jo holds an honours degree in Communication Studies and a PhD (in Sociology), both from the University of Newcastle. Jo has been employed in research, research management and teaching roles [both professional and academic roles] at UON since 1996 and joins us from her current post in CEEHE where she has been working as a Research Associate since mid-2016. In 2016 she also held a position as Engagement and Development Manager for the Centre for 21st Century Humanities in the Faculty of Education and Arts. Jo starts in the Centre on 5 April, and will be located in the McMullin Building in Room MCLG60.

A morning tea will be held on Friday 7 April (9.30) in the McMullin Lunch room (MCLG47) to welcome Jo to the position and the Centre.

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Open Foundation Online

A Tale of Two Cities

On March 9th two intrepid travellers, Holly Dillon and Emma Hamilton, set out on a mission to “check in” with Open Foundation Online students in person. They visited the Port Macquarie Campus and, on the 10th, UON’s Manning Education Centre at Taree. This was a wonderful opportunity to reach out to our students face-to-face and to explore the specific issues and concerns of our online cohort. Our students discussed their future undergraduate pathways, their current program of study, technological issues and sought advice about academic writing, referencing and library use. It also provided an opportunity for students to build valuable connections with each other. It is, as always, a privilege to witness the positive impacts of our program, and especially in this case for those who live in regional and remote areas without ready access to a physical campus offering an enabling pathway. This is one of a number of initiatives developed by the Online Open Foundation team to (hopefully!) enhance the student experience and heighten belonging and identity within the program, so thank you to the Online team including all academic and professional staff for their hard work on this and other initiatives.

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Grant Success

Late last year CEEHE put out a call for applications for commissioned projects as part of the Excellence in Teaching for Equity in Higher Education (ETEHE) research community of praxis scheme. A team mainly from ELFS ably led by Cathy Burgess has been successful in obtaining one of these 5 competitive grants.

The team will be  examining “ Pedagogies  which rebuild scientific curiosity and understanding to improve science outcomes for students in Higher Education”  The team will be led by Cathy Burgess and includes  Dr Heath Jones, Professor Colin Waters, Dr Murray Sciffer, Dr Jenny Irwin. Dr Mirella Atherton and Dr Jenny Vazquez.  This is an important piece of research as STEM subjects can often be a barrier to our enabling cohorts.

We all look forward to the outcomes of this research.

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Access and Widening Participation

On 9 March, Seamus Fagan and Anna Bennett gave a presentation to the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE) in Perth.  The presentation provided an overview of the enabling programs and research projects at UON focusing on access and widening participation.

Representatives from Curtin University, The University of Western Australia, Edith Cowan University and Murdoch University participated in the session, discussing the synergies, strengths and challenges for enabling programs.

The slides and a recording of the presentation are available at:


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Forum on Inclusive Teaching

A number of ELFS staff are involved in helping organise an upcoming forum to improve inclusive teaching for transgender students. “Gender Diversity and Inclusive Teaching: A Forum to Improve Our Campus Culture” is a half-day (9am-1pm) forum on Thursday 13 April 2017, at The Treehouse (Shortland Building, Callaghan Campus). The forum is the first of its type at the University and will bring together students and academic and professional staff to explore gender-inclusive teaching practices that reflect complexities around diversity in sex and gender. The aim of the forum is to assist in creating a safer, more inclusive campus for all our students.

For more information and to RSVP please contact Tara Payling, Equity and Diversity Coordinator, at Tara.Payling@newcastle.edu.au or on x15449.

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Workplace Health and Safety

  • A student attending both a lecture and PASS class at Ourimbah in the week commencing 13 March has since been diagnosed with Chickenpox.  Any students or staff with concerns should contact their GP.
  • There has been a delay in the supply of the flu vaccine for the staff immunisation programme.  Communications will go out early April with advice of when these will be available.
  • In 2015 the Health and Safety team reviewed and revised all the documents that support the UON Health and Safety Management System Framework comprising Policies and Guidelines. These documents were made available on the staff website accessible via the Health and Safety landing page. In preparation for making the documents available via the Policy Library the University General Counsel reviewed all the documents and her revisions were incorporated and have now been finalised. As a consequence all the related outdated documents have been removed from the Policy Library and the revised documents are now available from the Policy Library via a link on the sub-menu on the left of the page. The link takes you directly to the Health and Safety Framework page from which all the Policies, Guidelines and Key Risk Area Guidelines are just a click away. The reason why the documents are no longer located directly in the Policy Library is that health and safety policies and guidelines need to be able to be edited in a timely fashion in response to changes in legislation, changes to the risk profile of the University and other changes that may impact the content. Placing them on the Health and Safety website will enable the University to be responsive to necessary edits when required.

This is the link to the Health and Safety Management System Framework page: http://www.newcastle.edu.au/current-staff/working-here/work-health-and-safety/health-and-safety-management-system

  • Staff are reminded to make themselves familiar with local Evacuation Plans.  These are on the walls of corridors in all buildings.  Please take note of your nearest Assembly Area in case of evacuation.

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The ELFS Link newsletter is published at the start of each month.  Contributions are always welcome.  Please contact Maureen Jones or Jenny Williams.

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