August 2018

From the Director; Research News; Recognition of Attainment Ceremony; Language Centre Ranking; PD Day Online Open Foundation Studies; PD Day Foundation Studies Staff; Ryan O'Neill's New BookOrientation Intensive Open Foundation; Language Centre News; Conference Presentations; Jaime Hunt's Research Presentation; Workplace Health & Safety

From the Director

The ELFS Centre has a long association with the National Association of Enabling Educators of Australia (NAEEA).  ELFS organised and hosted the first 2 national enabling conferences, I have served 6 years on the NAEEA Executive and currently Anna Bennett and Bronwyn Relf are currently on the national executive.  We thought it was time we engaged again on a national level with NAEEA,  so Anna and Jo Hanley (your research team) have organised a NAEEA badged National Symposium on policy, practice, research and evaluation, very important topics for the enabling sector.  Attendance is free to all enabling staff so I would strongly encourage you to attend and the talent lined up to present is excellent. I hope to see you there.  Details about the Symposium are below.

NAEEA 2018 Symposium Free for ELFSC Staff

Enabling Voices: Policy-Practice-Research & Evaluation

Please join us at NeW Space for this 2-day event.

The symposium is intended as a forum for shared dialogue on what matters to enabling educators across Australia. The three symposium themes will be introduced by guest discussants in a series of panels.

As it is not a conference, there are no individual presentations, and there is no call for abstracts. Instead, bring your insights and voices to participate in discussions.

Venue: Lectorial Theatre X-101, NeW Space

Proceedings commence at 1.30pm Thursday 27th (registration desk opens at 12.30pm) and conclude at 3.30pm on Friday 28th September.

PLACES LIMITED – please note that to take advantage of the FREE registration you must be a current employee of ELFSC (ongoing or sessional staff) teaching in Open Foundation, Yapug or Newstep.

To register: Please email Dr Jo Hanley by Friday 10 August with the subject ‘NAEEA Symposium Registration’.

Research News


On Friday 27 July ELFSC hosted a combined book launch for Dr Carol Carter and Dr Emma Hamilton to celebrate and showcase their recent publications. It was a wonderful evening attended by many colleagues, friends and family, who were treated to a perfect sunset view of Nobbys from the 8th floor of NeW Space.

The books were launched by some impressive speakers, including conjoint A/Professor Jo May who spoke glowingly about Emma’s book, along with A/Professor Alistair Rolls from FEDUA, who co-authored the book. Rachael Collier, Carol’s former student, travelled up from Melbourne and was also a very engaging speaker with an interesting student journey to share. Free copies of each book were raffled as lucky door prizes with some very happy recipients. Thanks go to Elizabeth Bridges who assisted Jo Hanley, the event organiser, with the supply of wine to make the occasion a most enjoyable one.


  • Venue: CQ Hotel Wellington, 223 Cuba St , Te Aro
  • Dates: 29 November – 30 November 2018
  • Theme: Inspiring success, Transforming the student experience
  • website:


The report from this OLT funded project, led by ELFSC team A/Professor Seamus Fagan, Evonne Irwin and Anne Marie Ross, with partner universities Macquarie and Curtin, is now available.

The project undertook a national audit of pathways into higher education for students from refugee backgrounds (SfRBs), examined three educational programs for SfRBs via in-depth interviews with students, and developed a set of best practice recommendations for providers who engage with SfRBs.

Jo Hanley has copies for anyone who is interested. Click here for resources and more information.

See also: The Conversation, 30 May 2018.


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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Recognition of Attainment Ceremony

Students who completed Newstep and Open Foundation at Ourimbah in 2017, were presented with their Certificates at the Recognition of Attainment Ceremony (ROAC) at the Ourimbah campus on Thursday 5 July.  This was a combined ceremony with graduating students from the Faculty of Education and Arts.

Inspirational speeches were given by both of our student speakers, Nathaniel Arnold (Open Foundation) and Andrew Tolhurst (Newstep).  Nathaniel had only just returned from his immersion experience in China with the University’s other Ma & Morley Scholars. Seamus is pictured with Nathaniel and Andrew on the left.

The ceremony had a distinct enabling flavour, as the student speaking on behalf of the Faculty of Education and Arts graduates, Danielle Burke, also commenced her University journey in Newstep at Ourimbah, and made reference in her speech to the solid grounding that Newstep gave her.  Sharon Smith, graduating with Bachelor of Teaching (Humanities) (Honours Class I) was also a former Open Foundation student and was presented with a University Medal at the ceremony.  Sharon has gone full circle, as she is now teaching Academic Literacies in Newstep at Ourimbah, and undertaking her PhD under the supervision of Dr Anna Bennett. Sharon and Kristen Allen are in the photo below.

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Language Centre ranked by students as one of the top in the world

As per the recent UON news article “In the Loop (Issue 13)”:

Students from the University of Newcastle English Language Centre have ranked the institution in the top three in Australia in the recent English Language Teaching (ELT) Barometer. The survey also places the centre in the top six in the world, a remarkable increase of over 53 places since 2016.

Run bi-annually, the survey measures student satisfaction and experience and is administered independently by i-graduate. This year over 19,000 students responded to the English Barometer from 160 English Language centres across the world.

Through the survey, students are asked to rank the institution on their arrival, learning, living, support and post-study experiences of English language students studying in Australia. The survey has been endorsed by the Department of Education and Training as part of the Australian International Education: Enabling Growth and Innovation Program.

Director of the Language Centre, Associate Professor Seamus Fagan said the Centre’s performance in the survey was a remarkable achievement and it demonstrates the considerable focus placed on improving the overall living and learning experiences of our International Students.

“As a result of the feedback received from students in the 2010 survey, our teaching and professional staff have worked hard to engineer opportunities for international students to engage meaningfully with Australian students and the wider community. ” Associate Professor Fagan said.

Associate Professor Fagan said the Student Experience Program and ‘Passport’ initiative was sector leading and had been designed to cohesively align extra-curricular activities to areas of impact and incentivise student participation.

The survey results also revealed that students were not only satisfied with their experience out of the classroom, they also understood the role the it plays in improving their ability to learn to English.

The quality of the teaching staff and course content was also recognised in the survey with students rating Newcastle's course content, organisation and learning support considerably higher than competitors worldwide. The technology and virtual learning facilities were also rated as the highest in the world.

“We are fortunate to have experienced and widely travelled teachers who ensure our English language students have a great classroom experience. Our leadership team are also regularly enhancing our curriculum through ongoing renewal.”

“This survey has confirmed that students see the University of Newcastle as a great choice for their English language training, providing an ultimate package of quality education, meaningful student experience program and an affordable lifestyle in a world-class city.”  Associate Professor Fagan said.

For full results and more information on the survey, visit the i-graduate English Language Training (ELT) Barometer website.

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PD Day – Online Foundation Studies

On Thursday July 12 our ELFSC staff were fortunate to participate in a workshop facilitated by UoN’s Conjoint Associate Professor Dr Cathy Stone. Cathy has a prestigious career in higher education in a number of roles and faculties, and she has researched extensively in the fields of online education, first in family learners and mature aged students. This workshop tapped into her recent work regarding online education, in particular her research as a 2016 Equity Fellow with the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education and current Visiting Fellow and the subsequent findings presented in the report Opportunity through Online Learning: Improving Student Access, Participation and Success in Higher Education. The workshop prompted us to consider the ways in which our Open Foundation Online program is working well to meet the needs of our students and to open a conversation about ways in which we can continue to improve. We appreciate Cathy taking the time to share her expertise with us, which was greatly valued, and a big thank you to Seamus for allowing us to host this event and Evonne for helping to organise this opportunity for us to further our learning about this important field.

To read Cathy’s NCSEHE 2016 Equity Fellowship Final report, click here.

Cathy’s slideshow from the day can be accessed here.

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PD Day (Foundation Studies staff)

We all ‘matter’ in supporting enabling student participation and engagement

The Foundation Studies staff in the Open Foundation, Yapug and Newstep programmes once again met for a productive PD day on Thursday the 26th of July. Despite the tricky timeline, approximately 55 teaching and professional staff were able to attend. The theme of the day was ‘We all ‘matter’ in supporting enabling student participation and engagement’. In the packed program, we explored the complex ecosystem of Foundation Studies and how we all support students and each other as well as fitting into UoN as a whole. Highlights of the day include a presentation by Vivien McComb on new resources that have been developed to help staff support students’ accessibility needs, Evonne, Michelle Mansfield, Jenny Irwin and Carol Carter’s input on recent blended and online learning projects, Carol Carter’s presentation on the role of the Student Academic Conduct Officer (SACO). We were all relaxed and helped to process our stress/distress by Christine Campbell Foundation Studies Counsellor at Ourimbah and even the most sceptic were visibly more relaxed at the end of the short session! Another insightful session was the panel of professional staff who provided detailed input on some of the challenges they face on a daily basis. We also participated in a number of interactive activities. All resources from the day are on the Foundation Studies Staff Blackboard site under the resources tab. We look forward to the next PD day in January/February 2019 and hope that even more staff are able to attend.

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Ryan O’Neill has done it again

Staff member, Ryan O'Neill, author of Their Brilliant Careers, his satirical biographies of fictional Australian writers that won the Prime Minister's Literary Award for fiction, has turned his playful gaze on Henry Lawson's story about a disappointed woman left alone with her four children in the harsh bush and worried about the snake that has slithered under the two-roomed house. This story, first published in 1892 has had a remarkable afterlife, having been filmed, painted and worked over in a variety of ways.  In his latest book The Drover’s Wives, Ryan offers 99 different versions of the story.

Read more about the reaction to this new book from Radio National and the Sydney Morning Herald.

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Orientation – Intensive Open Foundation

The Intensive Open Foundation Orientation session for the Ourimbah Campus was held on Tuesday July 17, 2018. The session was attended by approximately 130 commencing students, all were engaged and eager to learn about their new program! Course Information Sessions ran very smoothly, with our wonderful Academics assisted by very competent former students. The enrolment session was well attended, much more than in previous years.

A big ‘thank you’ is owed to former Open Foundation student Maureen May, who has volunteered at every Ourimbah Open Foundation Orientation for several years. Maureen now offers her time by coordinating the former students and is of endless support to our staff and students.

Thank you to all those who assisted in supporting and orientating our students on Orientation Day – Christine Dowman, Joyleen Christensen, Ourimbah Academics, Support Staff and Former Students.

Orientation for Intensive Open Foundation was held at Callaghan on Wednesday 18th July at 10am. We had approx. 350 students attend the session. We had a fabulous group of Mentors/Volunteer students helping us on the day from registering, handing out merchandise bags to guiding the lost souls to their venues. Course information sessions were held and well attended as usual. Orientation was by and large a success for the Intensive cohort and the weather was spectacular on the day.

A huge thank you and shout out needs to go to the whole Team in Foundation Studies for all their efforts in ensuring it ran as smoothly as possible on the day and providing a positive student experience. A special mention should go to Jenny Williams, Peter Corke and Elizabeth Bridges for all your hard work in the lead up to the event. Our students are certainly very lucky to have such wonderful support!

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Language Centre News

Sydney ELICOS News

August Block 6, 2018

In major news the new EAP (Business) program has been rolled out in Block 6.The introduction of more business related content and lectures, case studies and group oral presentations was in response to student and business academics’ feedback on course content in the EAP program and NBS programs. The revamp of the EAP program was undertaken by Keely McCauley in a massive effort during the last 6 months. A big thankyou to Keely for all her hard work and effort in producing a more streamlined and relevant program for Sydney based ELICOS students.

In the mid -year break Richard Thorpe (UoN Counselling) gave a workshop on Accidental Counselling. The event was in response to staff concerns on ways to provide initial help to students with issues other than academic. Student mental health has been a growing problem in Sydney and the appointment of 2 part time counsellors commencing in July has been a welcomed addition to the UoN Sydney staff.

During July there were several PD events attended by Sydney staff. These included the English Australia Market Performance Road Show attended by the Program Convenor, English Australia Webinar Student Mental Health attended by Keely McCauley, UECA Assessment Symposium attended by Sharon Bromwich in Brisbane and the UECA External Referencing of the ELICOS Standards and International Education attended by the Program Convenor also in Brisbane.

Barbara Mansfield (Program Convenor)

UON Sydney Language Centre


Student Achievement Award 2018

The Student Achievement Award for the Language Centre (Callaghan) was presented to Hiroshi Kondo from Japan at a ceremony on 29 June. Hiroshi was nominated due to his unbridled enthusiasm and curiosity for everything, alongside his active learning, leadership and community engagement. As the recipient, Hiroshi was presented with a certificate noting the achievement and also a cash prize of $500.

Ben Doran (Program Convenor)

Language Centre Callaghan

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Conference Presentations

Open Foundation Literature & Film lecturer, Dr Joyleen Christensen, recently presented at the 9th Annual Popular Culture Association of Australia and New Zealand (PopCAANZ) Conference, which was held at the Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand. Joyleen presented a paper on the cult BBC drama, In the Flesh.

From Michelle Mansfield:

Recently, I was privileged to be selected to present a paper on my research entitled Collective Individualism as a Path of Youth Transition: Graffiti art in Yogyakarta at the International Sociological Association World Congress of Sociology in Toronto, Canada. The conference was attended by over 5000 delegates from across the globe and focused on how scholars, public intellectuals, policy makers, journalists and activists from diverse fields can and do contribute to our understanding of power, violence and justice.

From Michelle Picard:

A couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to attend the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA) conference held in Adelaide, South Australia from 2 to 5 July.  The theme this year was ‘(Re) Valuing Higher Education’; I believe this was an extremely timely theme since we are often wracked with uncertainty around our enterprise due to constant funding cuts and changes to our notion of a university. For me, the most valuable experience, besides the usual delight of seeing academics attempting to dance at the conference dinner, was the student panel. The panellists reaffirmed the importance and value that higher education had in their lives: something that we are intensely aware of in enabling education. I presented a showcase presentation based on the initial review Dr Kylie Shaw and I have conducted on equity in researcher education programs entitled: ‘Examining the ‘success’ of contemporary Researcher Development programs from a social justice perspective: An integrative review’. This is the first stage of the work in the ETLEHE grant we are currently working on. I also presented with Dr Anthea Fudge from UniSA a paper based on the work done by Anthea, Snjezana Bilic (also from UniSA), and Dr Sharon Cooper and I from ELFSC. The full paper will be in the conference proceedings, which will appear shortly. The best thing about this second paper was the great support from the Enabling Educators at the conference who packed the room! It is great to be part of such a wonderful group of Higher Education academics.

From Carol Carter:

Foundations of Education lecturer, Dr Carol Carter, presented a paper and a workshop at two conferences in Auckland, New Zealand, from the 02 -09 July. The first conference was the International Drama in Education Research Initiative (IDIERI) which is an international gathering held every three years in different parts of the world.  The paper was presented with Dr Richard Sallis, form the University of Melbourne and was titled, “Investigating the role of drama in the creation of enabling, supportive, dialogical spaces for learning in different teaching and geographical locations”. A video of this presentation can be viewed here

The second conference was the Students, Transition, Achievement, Retention, Success (STARS) conference. This is an annual gathering with the 2019 conference scheduled to be held in Melbourne. The workshop was titled, “Exploring strategies and techniques to support successful learning and teaching in enabling education”

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Jaime Hunt’s “Mein Deutsch ist nicht sehr gut”: German as a Heritage Language in Newcastle, Australia

In July, Open Foundation Linguistics lecturer, Dr Jaime Hunt, presented research from his ALS-funded German as a Heritage Language in Newcastle and the Hunter Valley project at the Centre for Language, Variation, and Migration at the University of Potsdam, Germany. Jaime gave the presentation titled “Mein Deutsch ist nicht sehr gut”: German as a Heritage Language in Newcastle, Australia in the absence of co-researcher, Dr Sacha Davis (School of Humanities and Social Science). Jaime also used the visit to Europe to discuss further research engagement with Prof Heike Wiese (in picture) at the University of Potsdam and Prof Alexander Onysko, at the Alpen-Adria University in Klagenfurt, Austria.

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Workplace Health and Safety

Free Counselling Service for Staff

Staff are reminded that they have access to the Employee Assistance program (EAP). This includes six free confidential counselling sessions a year for staff and their families to discuss personal and work related issues. Either face to face sessions during work hours or the 24 hour telephone counselling service can be selected. Family members must be a spouse or partner or dependent children under the age of 21 still living at home.

Managers and supervisors can also take advantage of a special manager information and advice service.

New Safety Alerts

The University has recently issued two new safety alerts; Pedestrians and Traffic, and Disposal of Broken Glass.

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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 Williams, Maureen Jones or Leah Hill.