April 2018 Newsletter

From the Director; Language Centre; For Your Diary; Staff News; Universities Australia Conference; Sydney ELICOS News; Research News; Work Health & Safety

From the Director

ELFS Board - New Members

Following a call for expressions of interest from Centre staff, four staff have been appointed to the ELFSC Board for the period 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2020.  Chair of the Board, Professor Darrell Evans will welcome Paul Chojenta, Kirsten Allen, Dr Annika Westrenius and Dr Vanessa Bowden at the first meeting for the year on 9 April.

The Board will also welcome new student members and nominees from each Faculty.  Our student members for 2018 are Lynne Hesketh (Open Foundation), Bobby Fish (Yapug) and Jacinta Brookhouse (Newstep).  Our new Faculty nominees are Dr Chris Tucker (FEBE), Associate Professor Mark Roxburgh (FEDUA), Professor Kevin Lyons (FBUSL), Dr Daphne James (FHEAM) and Dr Andrew Kepert (FSCI).

Key topics and issues covered in the April meeting will be reported in the next ELFS Link Newsletter.

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Language Centre

ELICOS teacher Jenny Cook will soon depart to Japan where she will work for several months with long-term partners Shohoku College. The longstanding partnership between the Language Centre and Shohoku extends across almost 20 years, with the Language Centre sending teachers to the College each year, and Shohoku sending significant cohorts to Newcastle for short-term programs. On behalf of the ELFSC, we wish Jenny all the best for her time in Japan.

ELICOS Program Convenor (Callaghan) Ben Doran will deliver a joint PD session with University of Wollongong College (UOWC) Centre Manager Heather Thomas for English Australia in Sydney on April 19th as part of a series of workshops organised by the peak body focusing on Direct Entry Programs (DEP). The session will focus on the collaboration between the Language Centre and UOWC in relation to benchmarking assessment practices for their respective DEP programs. A memorandum of understanding and confidentiality agreement supporting this collaboration was recently signed off on by leaders from both centres. Venue details are to be confirmed, but will soon be available via the EA website.

ELICOS Deputy Convenor (Callaghan) Janielle Wilson will spend several days on a Quality Assurance visit to the Jilin University of Finance and Economics (JUFE) in Changchun during the Language Centre’s non-teaching week in April. JUFE students enrolled in 2+2 programs with the University of Newcastle access the offshore delivery of the Language Centre’s Upper Intermediate and EAP (Advanced) programs in order to meet the English requirements of their destination programs prior to their arrival in Australia. The EAP program has just commenced in Changchun, with 47 students currently enrolled. Janielle will meet with teachers, administrators and students during her stay and will conduct a number of activities geared towards quality assurance, including overseeing assessment marking and moderation activities.

The Language Centre’s Student Engagement Program is back in full swing. Speed Conversations are proving to be a popular activity, with SEP coordinator Anne Burnett organising volunteer UON students to meet weekly with ELICOS students to discuss a range of engaging topics in an informal setting. ELICOS students attending the event can also receive a stamp in their SEP Passport for participation, with stamps leading towards a free coffee from Gloria Jeans and the chance to win a cash prize.

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Staff News

Foundation Studies – Staffing Updates

Elizabeth Bridges has been acting in the Quality Assurance Teaching & Learning (QATL) role since May last year, while Sally Curzi has been on parental leave. Sally is returning to the QATL role on 8 May. Elizabeth and Sally will share this role until the end of the year, at which time the job share arrangement will be reviewed.  Sally will be working Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday each week.  Elizabeth will work on Thursday and Friday.

To facilitate this job share, a positional email has been established ELFSC-QATL@newcastle.edu.au Sally and Elizabeth will retain their existing telephone extension numbers.  We are fortunate to be able to retain both staff until the end of the year, as both are very committed to the Centre and our students, and are well versed in the T&L nuances of the University.

Please also note that Ryan O’Neill is now located in MCLG58. Ryan can be reached on telephone extension 16681.

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Universities Australia Conference


Tanya Plibersek, Shadow Minister for Education and Training, gave an address at the Universities Australia Higher Education Conference in March. During her address the Minister mentioned the University of Newcastle, specifically our enabling programs.

“One of the most rewarding aspects of my role as Shadow Minister is getting to talk to Australians about how the opportunity of a university education has transformed their lives.

One conversation that comes to mind was with a mum in her 40’s doing an enabling course at the University of Newcastle.

She had all but given up on the opportunity of getting a university qualification, but thanks to the support she received, she can see a brighter future with the option of going on to a degree.

She told me that this opportunity will transform her life and the lives of her family.”

The full speech can be accessed here.

Indigenous Strategy

Universities Australia (UA) recently marked the anniversary of the Universities Australia Indigenous Strategy. In the first instalment of the UA Newsletter for 2018, the UA published ‘In the Interest of Indigenous Rights’ - written about Dr Sharlene Leroy-Dyer our Yapug Program Convenor, who shares her insights on the importance of a university education to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

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For Your Diary


Recognition of Attainment Ceremony at Callaghan Campus will be held 13 April 2pm.

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The Student Engagement Program has a new program for 2018 ininitiated by Doris Ayala. Student volunteers participate in a 6 week program focusing on 5 leadership skills. The skills include: Decision Making, Effective Planning, Intercultural Communication, Teamwork and Problem Solving. The aim of the program is to train students in leadership roles so that they can be involved in leading other students in community engagement programs. The inaugural program finished last week and a small award ceremony was held to present the participants with their certificates. An afternoon tea was provided and 2 classes attended the ceremony.

The second Project Based Leadership program has commenced with 15 students attending the information session.

Certificate Presentation: From Left to right: Hingye SHAN, Xiaowei ZHAO, Doris Ayala, Jingyun XU

Barbara Mansfield

Program Convenor, UON Sydney Language Centre                      

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Research News

ELFSC Staff Win Funding

Congratulations to Associate Professor Michelle Picard and Dr Heath Jones - both have been successful in the 2018 Excellence in Teaching for Equity in Higher Education (ETEHE) round, funded by the Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education (CEEHE).

Heath is working with Dr James Juniper (Newcastle Business School) and Dr Bjoern Rueffer (School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences) on 'Diagrammatic reasoning as an alternative pedagogy for students of diverse backgrounds'.

Michelle has teamed up with Dr Kylie Shaw (School of Education) on a project titled ‘Enablers and barriers to an equitable Higher Degrees by Research learning environment’.

We look forward to hearing more about these projects as they progress.

In other good news, Dr Joyleen Christensen has won an ECR HDR Candidate Scholarship from Research Advantage. Click here for more information.

Don't forget to Save the Date for the NAEEA Symposium 2018


When: Thursday 27th to Friday 28th September

The symposium will be a national forum for discussions on enabling sector matters related to research, policy and practice. More details to follow.

ELFSC Research(er) Development Workshop 1

Theme: Concepts and Theories

When: Friday 6 April 12-2pm

Where: MCG56 & HO1.73

Lunch provided – please RSVP by 10am Thursday 5 April.

To stimulate discussion and ideas on research concepts important to enabling education, this workshop will feature mini-presentations by our ELFSC colleagues Emma Hamilton (challenges and difficulties) and Kristen Allen (meritocracy, misrecognition and success), and Suzanne MacQueen (cultural capital) from the School of Education sharing concepts that have emerged from their current research and writing.

Other Workshops

Do you know about Research Advantage's ECR Connect & Empower Network?

The next session will be held Monday 30 April 3pm - 4pm.

Limited spaces available - maximum 20 participants. Register now via Discover.

Research Support

For tailored, one-on-one support please make an appointment with Anna and Jo via email.

Please make contact with ELFSC Research Manager Jo Hanley if you have any research news or project updates for future newsletters.

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Work Health & Safety

The following items were raised recently at the UON Health and Safety Meeting:

  • Asbestos labelling work is being carried out. There is various signage around the Callaghan campus which is intended to provide a warning so the area is not disturbed and be can clearly identified if need be.
  • There has been unintended consequences of the smoke free work space. Risks associated with a totally smoke free policy such as spot fires, and butts left on perimeters can wash into waterways causing pollution. This has raised safety issues. The reintroduction of some limited smoking areas are being considered.
  • A policy for dealing with snakes is being introduced – A snake was located in the Ourimbah Library, and instances of snakes around campus is well-known amongst staff.
  • A review of Security infrastructure including duress alarms, and CCTV for Ourimbah Campus is being conducted.  An audit of all duress alarms is to be carried out.

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Items for the ELFSC Link Newsletter are always welcome. The newsletter is published early each month, with items due 2 weeks prior to publication.  Please forward any items to Jenny WilliamsMaureen Jones or Leah Hill.