August 2015 ELFSC Newsletter

For the Diary; ROAC Ourimbah; Mid-Year Offers; Orientation; Transition to Undergraduate Study; Change of Process; Professional Development Day; From the Language Centre ; Liz Thomas; Staffing News; Student Records Process; Research News; Student Support Meeting; Work Health & Safety

ELFSC Research Newsletter

For all the latest news on research in the centre go to the Research Newsletter

From the Director

In June the Director was invited to provide the opening address at the Alesco Conference held at WEA in Newcastle. The Alesco Conference was attended by 75 teachers from all Alesco schools throughout NSW. 

The first Alesco school was established in 2002 by WEA Hunter and are now located all over Australia. Alesco schools cater for students who have been disengaged from mainstream schooling and education. Alesco have schools in the Newcastle area and the Central Coast.

Alesco schools provide these previously disengaged students with an environment where they are treated as young adults and take responsibility for and have a say in their learning journey. The Director was very impressed with the work Alesco is doing with their students and hopes in the next few weeks to facilitate for Alesco staff to present to staff on their programs.

Vale Lynne Wilson

Staff at the Language Centre were devastated at the passing of their colleague Lynne Wilson after a battle with cancer.  Lynne was a highly regarded teacher by both her colleagues and her students and will always be remembered for her smile and her love and care to staff and students. On the afternoon of her funeral the Language Centre was closed so that staff could pay their respects to Lynne.  The Centre is grateful for the support provided to Lynne during her illness by Helen Fitzgerald and Janielle Wilson. The Centre is in the process of considering a more permanent memorial to Lynne. 

For the Diary/ Upcoming Events



This lecture, named in honour of the late Dr Brian Smith who founded the University of Newcastle's Open Foundation program, will be given by Mr Craig Ritchie, an esteemed UON alumnus, and 2013 UON Indigenous Alumni Award recipient. This event sets the agenda for equity issues in tertiary education both nationally and internationally.

Brian Smith Lecture Information 

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 ELFS Centre Staff Forum and Luncheon – Wednesday 12 August

ELFSC staff have been invited to attend the second staff forum for 2015 on Wednesday 12 August (12 – 1pm) at Isabella's, Callaghan Campus. If you are attending and have not yet replied, please RSVP to by Wednesday 5 August. Please notify any special dietary requirements.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and the Director, ELFSC will provide an overview of current and upcoming issues of relevance to the Centre.

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ROAC Ourimbah

Around 60 students received their certificates at the Centre's Recognition of Attainment Ceremony at the Ourimbah campus on Thursday 2 July 2015. Inspirational speeches were given both by the occasional speaker, Virginia (Ginnie) Gallegos, a former Open Foundation student from Ourimbah and now working in the marketing and creative industries, as well as by Kim Volegoff on behalf of the Open Foundation and Newstep students.

One of our students offered the following feedback following the ceremony:
"It was a fantastic night and it is so wonderful that the university does that for enabling students. I had so many people outside of the university support me through my enabling year but no one saw me as a Uni student until I started undergraduate studies this year. That ceremony changed a lot of minds about what Open Foundation actually is and how important it is for those of us who didn't have any other way of entering a degree program. My involvement so far is leading me on a pathway to working with Open Foundation in the future, if I am so lucky. I understand just how valuable this program is."

The Chancellor also presented Kristen Allen with her Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning in enabling programs.

Kristen %26 VC Kristen and Family

Congratulations are also extended to Rosalie Bunn and Dr Ibtihal Samarayi who were each presented with their Graduate Certificate in the Practice of Tertiary Teaching at the Faculty of Education and Arts graduation ceremony.

.Rosalie Rosalie Group

Group photo IbtihalIbtihal

For more photos, please click here to see the Ourimbah ROAC Gallery

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Intensive Open Foundation Mid-Year Offers & Enrolments

As at Tuesday 28 July, our offer and enrolment numbers for students commencing their program in Semester 2 are:

Intensive Open Foundation - Callaghan670487
Intensive Open Foundation - Ourimbah272192
Total Intensive Open Foundation942679

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Semester 2 Orientation

Orientation was held on Friday 17 July at Callaghan and on Tuesday 21 July at Ourimbah.
At Callaghan, our commencing Intensive Open Foundation (IOF) students were warmly welcomed by our Director. Both the IOF students and the current Newstep students were given the opportunity to meet support staff and attend two course information sessions. A welcome BBQ was also provided for all students.

Once again, Orientation at Ourimbah was held on the same day as the Mid-Year Undergraduate Orientation and enabling students were invited to join the combined O-Week activities on campus.

Well done and thank you to everyone who participated and contributed to Orientation. 

IOF Orientation Group BBQ IOF Orientation

Kayla Bowe as Mentor 

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Transition to Undergraduate study

In order to better prepare our Open Foundation, Newstep and Yapug students for their transition to undergraduate study, we are again holding a series of events at Callaghan and Ourimbah in the week commencing 31 August 2015.

The aim of these events (called "Moving on to your degree") is to prepare our enabling students for their transition to undergraduate study in 2016. The English Language and Foundation Studies (ELFSC) is pleased to host these events in cooperation with relevant Faculty staff. A "Moving on to your Degree session" will be held for each Faculty at each campus.

We have taken on board the feedback received from students and Faculty staff from the 2014 events, and have made changes to the structure and content of our "transition out" program. In each Faculty session we will address: how to apply to University; the myths associated with certain degrees; the challenges that students will face transitioning from enabling to undergraduate, and what the student can do between now and commencement in preparation to hit the ground running in 2016. The event will also touch on careers, and will of course incorporate a Q& A session.

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Change of process - Enabling to Undergraduate admissions at UON

The University Executive Committee has approved a change in process for our current enabling students (Open Foundation, Newstep and Yapug) seeking admission to UON undergraduate degrees in 2016.  Previously all students seeking entry to UON undergraduate degrees were required to apply to the Universities Admission Centre (UAC).  This will change for admission to degrees in 2016.

By removing these applications from the UAC environment, the University is free to make offers at a time that suits students and Faculties and to communicate with applicants as needed.  The approach also demonstrates a commitment to our enabling students and will assist in maximising the conversion of enabling students to undergraduate program load.

The implementation of direct admissions for enabling students will commence for Semester 1 2016. It is intended that UON will mirror the UAC process with slight variations.   There will be no application fee for students.

A communication strategy about this change of process is currently being developed for all staff and students.  It is anticipated that application forms will be available from late August (via the web, details to be advised) with an application closing date of 13 November.  Students will be informed of this change through various channels and means. A bank of FAQ's is currently under development to assist everyone to understand this change and how it will work.

Please note this advice about the change to process for UON admissions, and keep an eye out for further communications and information. Also note, that a student wishing to apply for degrees at other institutions, will still need to apply though UAC.

At this stage, enquiries about this process can be directed to the ELFSC Executive Officer.  (Jenny Williams), the Admissions Team (Bree Slater).

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Professional Development Day – 3 July 2015

Approximately 50 Teaching and Academic staff from ELFSC Associate Prof Marj Kibbyattended the Professional Development day on Blended Learning on Friday 3 July in the Treehouse.  The day was opened by our Director Seamus Fagan and Deputy Director Jo May reported on the survey conducted in preparation for the day. We were fortunate enough to have wonderful speakers such as Blended Learning expert A/Prof Marj Kibby and the Manager of Planning and Quality, Mark Kirby, as well as our own talent of Dr Dave Powter and Liz Goode.  It was an enjoyable day with a collegial and upbeat vibe.  Feedback from the session was very positive with the vast majority of respondents being very satisfied with the day. Thanks to all who attended and to Sally Curzi who organised the day so well for us. The powerpoint presentations are available from the Foundation Studies Staff Blackboard site under Resources/Staff Development Day.

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From the Language Centre

Professional Development Day

Language Centre staff had  varied and exciting professional development activities during the break.  Starting with yoga on Monday morning followed by work on renewing the Upper Intermediate Curriculum, a videoconference presentation by Nicky Blake from Western Australia entitled "Heutagogy –What", as well as feedback from staff who attended and presented at various conferences and workshops. A very informative 'Sticky Moments' Workshop was run by Sue Outram, Kate Dundas.

Sydney Campus Update

On 26th -27th of June UON Sydney relocated from Bathurst St to a new location at 55 Elizabeth Street.  As well as having 10 spacious and technology enabled classrooms it also has excellent student learning spaces. ELICOS staff now share an open plan staff room with Business School academics and visitors from Newcastle.   If you wish to see what the new location looks like there is a video on the University's webpage at


The numbers of ELICOS students in Sydney continues to grow and there are currently 142 students enrolled in ELICOS programs. The nationality mix has broadened significantly. China, Mongolia, India, Vietnam and Jordan are the primary source countries which has resulted in far greater student interaction in the classroom. 

Staffing News

In other news, Sara Houshi Deghati Fouman, who worked at the Language Centre at Callaghan, has moved with her family to Sydney and now is working at the Sydney Language Centre. The Sydney Centre is fortunate to have a staff member of Sara's calibre working at the Centre.

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Visit of Professor Liz Thomas

The Centre recently hosted in conjunction with CEEHE, a visit by Professor Liz Thomas, a widening participation expert from the UK.  Liz gave a public lecture which was well attended by staff across the University, followed by a workshop on possible research activities for the Centre.

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Staffing News

In July we said farewell to Angela Henderson (Secondment to GradSchool until the end of the year).

We also welcomed Shaye O'Connor our Marketing Industry Scholar and Simone Nance (LBOTE teacher). Simone will be working Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays.

As part of a Special Studies Program, Dr Joyleen Christensen will soon be travelling to Vancouver to take up residence as a Visiting Scholar in the Centre for Cinema Studies at the University of British Columbia, Canada. Her research project will involve examining the reception of Asian popular culture across national borders, in particular the diasporic fandom of Hong Kong film star, Andy Lau.

Congratulations to Ryan O'Neill who recently received the confirmation of his doctorate. Ryan's thesis was entitled "'The Weight of a Human Heart': Short Story Collection and Critical Exegesis." 

Annika Westrenius has also just had her PhD thesis accepted after making minor revisions. Annika's thesis was entitled "Stakeholders in small business: Critical relationships for value creation." Congratulations Annika.

The Centre's Online Learning Coordinator Liz Goode will cease full-time employment on 14 August and returning on a 0.4 FTE appointment from 7 September until Christmas close down. From 7 September to 20 November Liz will be working remotely; however she will be readily contactable by Skype (elizabethgoode) and email ( during this time. Liz will be back in the office from 30 November after attending the NAEEA Conference in Sydney.

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Student Records Project

From 25 June, the Centre began using the University's approved record and document management system (TRIM) for the management of student records.

TRIM is being rolled out in phases across the University. It will help us to work more efficiently, improve collaboration, manage version control, maintain confidentiality requirements and comply with relevant legislation.

The benefits of using TRIM will include:

  •  It will help us share, save edits to and manage documents and emails easily and efficiently
  • We can implement very basic workflows to assist with reducing the need to print documents  It integrates with our Microsoft tools, making it faster to open, edit and save changes to documents 
  • It will provide a holistic view of a student from admission to graduation
    TRIM's version control means any edits we make to documents will be saved. There's no need to save a new version with a new filename 
  • TRIM files are locked down to identified teams, therefore all files rmain confidential and secure

Selected staff, including front line staff, some academics and student advisers are participating in the TRIM project. Thank you to all staff who willingly attended the required training.

For further information about TRIM please contact our TRIM Champions: Jenny Williams, An Chi Baxter and Keely McCauley.

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Research News


ELFSC held a Research Retreat on 15 July which was attended by 19 staff. Academics, teachers and professional staff participated in the seminar. This year external peers from different schools were also invited to present about their experience in research pathways and success.

Staff interested in research are encouraged to talk with Associate Professor Mahsood Shah and Helen Cameron (Research Manager) on any research projects or ideas they may want to discuss.

OLT Grant

Congratulations to our Seamus Fagan (Project Leader) , Sally Baker, Evonne Irwin and Helen Cameron on their recent OLT grant:

Title: (Re)claiming social capital: improving language and cultural pathways for refugee students into Australian higher education

Lead institution: The University of Newcastle

Partner institutions: Curtin University, Macquarie University

Project Leader: Associate Professor Seamus Fagan

Abstract: Education is key to gaining social capital, especially for people whose lives, studies and careers are disrupted by political unrest. This project will identify the pathways taken by Humanitarian Entrant Background (HEB) students to enter higher education, and investigate how HEB students experience their transitions into and through undergraduate study.

 Adopting a qualitative, longitudinal methodology, this project has two primary stages. First, a nationwide audit of Australian higher education pathways available to HEB students will be conducted, followed by an in-depth examination of three distinct pathways: a school-based refugee mentoring program; a VET-to-enabling program and a community-based Intensive English Centre pathway; and two HEB transition-focused programs. Attention will be paid in particular to the language and cultural aspects of transition. 

From this the project will develop a set of best practice recommendations to facilitate HEB students' transitions through various institutional pathways and contribute towards HEB students' positive engagement with their education.
Funding: $347 000

Associate Professor Kathleen (Kathy) Butler - Congratulations on National OLT Fellowship

We extend congratulations to Associate Professor Kathleen (Kathy) Butler on her OLT National Teaching Fellowship for "Sociology teaching and Indigenous issues". Kathy as well as playing a leadership role in Wollotuka, is the Convenor of the Yapug Program.

The Office for Teaching and Learning (OLT) Fellowships program advances learning and teaching in higher education by supporting a group of leading educators to undertake strategic, high-profile activities in areas of importance to the sector. Through their fellowship activities, Fellows have a positive and lasting influence and impact on higher education practice in Australia.

Fellowship selection is based on individuals' demonstrated leadership capacity in higher education. The fellowships are prestigious acknowledgements of individuals' expertise and influence and, as such, are highly valued by recipients' home institutions. Fellowships afford opportunities for individuals to undertake strategic programs of activities around identified educational issues, to develop their knowledge of the broader higher education environment in Australia, and to practise and further develop their leadership skills in this area.
Further details about the Fellowships are available here:

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Did you know%3F

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Student Support meeting

The ELFSC Student Support Group convened for their regular meeting in 16 July 2015. Highlights and actions from the meeting included:

Discussions comprised of:

  • How the group can support students who with severe and/or multiple disabilities
  • Supporting students who fail assignments and/or enabling courses
  • Developing a name that successfully describes the ELFSC Student Support Group particularly to other UON staff
  • The new orientation pamphlets and postcards were revealed to the group. The pamphlets outlining the various support options available to Newstep and Open Foundation Students, and postcards featuring support staff information including contact details.
  • The improvement of the orientation programs through promotion of online resources (including the videos developed for the new student 2015 intake)
  • Plan in semester 1, 2016 to investigate what support services are particularly being utilised by evening Open Foundation Part-time students to support them in their studies.

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Work Health and Safety

So far in 2015, five University staff have required ongoing medical treatment for Overuse Injuries. An Overuse injury is common to fingers, hands, wrists and elbows and is also known as repetitive strain injury or RSI. It is caused by repetitive movements or awkward postures. For more information, including prevention strategies please go to Work Health & Safety.
Centre staff are reminded that they can forward any health & safety issues to our WHS Officers. The officers are Lynette Dennis,, for McMullin Building and An-Chi Baxter,, for The Language Centre. In Sydney contact Barbara Mansfield and for Ourimbah campus it is Chris Dowman,
These staff report any incidents or events to the University's Health & Safety Committee meetings.

If you have any WHS issues you would like to report please refer them onto your appropriate WHS Officer for your building.

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Ourimbah ROAC Gallery