December 2018

Message from the Interim Director; For Your Diary; Seamus' Farewell; Open Foundation Art Exhibitions; Vice Chancellor's Awards for Excellence; Staffing News; From the Language Centres; Indigenous Higher Education Conference; Work Health & Safety

Message from the Interim Director

On Friday, 9th November, 2018, we farewelled Associate Professor Seamus Fagan after 16 years serving as our Director. Given his longstanding service, the farewell provided a glimpse of the wonderful history of ELFSC and its current shape, formed under Seamus’ leadership. We wish him a wonderful retirement and many enjoyable non-work experiences into the future, although even when escaping overseas on the Tuesday following his work departure, Seamus could not escape UON, running into staff from CEEHE on the plane trip to South Africa!

I have worked in the enabling programs for almost ten years, and served as convenor of the Open Foundation for about five of them. Since Seamus’ retirement, I have spent time in various areas, getting to know more about the programs and people involved. Having spent this time in the language centres and enabling, I have been struck by the extraordinary dedication and care that staff provide for students at all campuses. Whether at Callaghan, working with students online, at Ourimbah and in Sydney, staff work hard and collaboratively to ensure that our programs offer high quality educational experiences and pathways to higher education. This has led to us continuing to build our long and outstanding reputation as a leader in higher education pathways.

The day that Seamus got on the plane to South Africa (14 November, 2018), the federal government decided to release their Consultation Paper on the reallocation of Commonwealth supported places for enabling, sub-bachelor and postgraduate courses, inviting written submissions from institutions. (At least they gave Seamus time to pack and get away on new retirement adventures before releasing the paper!) In response, we are working to provide our views on their questions about:

- whether geographical representation should be a consideration in the distribution of places

- what the minimum viable allocation for enabling places should be

- how often places should be re-distributed

- the proportion of places that should be reallocated

- whether there are other criteria that should be considered

- how criteria should be configured to ensure that institutions do not become ‘locked out’ of future reallocations, especially where they have a limited track record in delivery

However, in considering this, the paper is reassuring in that it signals an overall commitment to enabling programs, albeit with a focus on institutional allocations.

It is important to highlight that Labor’s position is different. Indications are that Labor considers enabling programs critical for ensuring that a fair and equitable opportunity is provided for people to gain a higher education. They also recognise that enabling provision is particularly important for universities in regions with socio-economic disadvantage.

As the national leader in enabling education provision, ELFSC staff have also served the national effort to preserve enabling places, having drafted national response documents, and co-developing the national enabling association’s ‘Declaration on Enabling Education Programs’, as a response to recent federal government and opposition calls for information about them.

The achievements of ELFSC and its staff have been significant in 2018, from teaching and research excellence recognised through government, DVCA, VC and association awards, national rankings, research and teaching innovations grants, prestigious scholarships, fellowships, publications, collaborations, a national symposium, and with distinguished visitors from other universities expressing how impressed they are with the work of the centre.

The past year has also been a successful one for students engaging in ELFSC programs. The UON performance data included in the documentation for board members reflects ELFSC high quality of teaching and educational provision.

Thank you to ELFSC executive, Michelle Picard, Jenny Williams and Emma Hamilton for all their work at a particularly busy time for the Centre.

Congratulations to all ELFSC staff for working together so successfully in continuing to provide excellent programs that enable opportunities and excellent educational experiences for our students.

Dr Anna Bennett

Interim Director, English Language and Foundation Studies Centre

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For your diary

Christmas Party: Friday 14 December 3pm, GT Bar (Callaghan).

New Education Framework – presentation by the DVC (Academic) for ELFSC and Wollotuka: Thursday 24 January 3-4pm HB13 (Callaghan) and Zoom to Sydney (ELI217) and Ourimbah (FM meeting room)

Enabling Orientation dates: subject to confirmation of times and venues



Thursday 14 February 2019

Open Foundation

Thursday 14 February 2019


Tuesday 19 February 2019




Wednesday 13 February 2019 (10am)

Open Foundation

Wednesday 13 February 2019 (5.30pm)

OF Online


Week Zero

Commences Monday 18 February 2019

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Seamus’ Farewell

On Friday 9 November we gathered to celebrate the enormous contribution of, as well as to say our final farewells to, Associate Professor Seamus Fagan. The afternoon began with the ‘drumming’ out of the Language Centre where an Irish jig could be seen if one stood on tip-toe and caught a glimpse through the crowd of students clamoring to say goodbye to this remarkable man. Feeling a bit like a bridal party, we then followed Seamus and Jayce as they made their way, hand in hand, to the GT Bar. This venue was bursting with former and current colleagues and friends, an estimated two hundred people.  While this was further evidence of the high regard we all have for Seamus, it made the getting of a celebratory drink an enormously difficult task!

Chatting to people in the room revealed that everyone had something special to share about what Seamus has achieved and their relationship with him. The articulate and heartfelt speeches, by Associate Professor Jo May and others gave some of us, who have not been in the English Language and Foundation Studies long, a real sense of the proud history of this Centre as well as confirming what we all know about the fan-(bloomin)- tastic Seamus Fagan. As Jo recounted, Seamus was "our shining light." He uncomplainingly donned the the Head ELF cap for the last time, while Sharon Boyd read a beautiful and humorous poem, which, in itself, shows the willingness, kindness and amazing spirit of the man. In his speech, Seamus thanked many people and we were entertained by his story of Siri’s misunderstanding of his need for soothing music to sleep to and providing instead soothing music for dozing dogs. He also told the story of his yand his family members’ initial lack of appreciation of Newcastle.

We wish Seamus and Jayce all the best for their retirement and look forward to hearing about this journey. Some of us (who have roots in South Africa) are a little envious of this part of the journey.

Dr. Carol Carter

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Open Foundation Art Exhibitions

Ourimbah Art Exhibition

The Ourimbah Open Foundation Art Exhibition was held on Wednesday 14 November and was a great opportunity for staff, family, and friends to come together to celebrate the achievements of the 2018 Visual Arts students. Special congratulations to Hayley Robinson, the 2018 recipient of the Dr Ibtihal Samarayi Memorial Scholarship (Ourimbah).

Callaghan Art Exhibition

The students of Callaghan Open Foundation Visual Arts, 2018 proudly presented an exhibition of their work, in the Fine Art Building on Thursday 15 November. Deputy Director Associate Professor Michelle Picard officially opened this wonderful event.

The event was a delightful way to celebrate the significant achievements of the students by exhibiting their artwork for families, friends and staff to enjoy. For many students, it is their first opportunity to have their work on public display and they embraced the opportunity with enthusiasm and apprehension.

A key part of this event was the presentation of the Ibtihal Samarayi Memorial Visual Art Scholarship. This award was established in honour of the late Dr Ibtihal Samarayi, a respected colleague who contributed significantly over many years to developing the artistic talents of her Open Foundation Visual Arts students, through encouragement and her dedication to teaching.

The scholarship acknowledges dedication and commitment to creative achievement in Open Foundation Visual Arts and was awarded to Homaira Homaira. A student who embodies the values that Ibtihal held dear.

We congratulate all the Visual Arts students on their marvellous work and wish them the best in their future endeavours.

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Vice-Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence

Awarded annually, the Vice-Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence recognise remarkable academic and professional staff in all Faculties and Divisions for their significant achievements, willingness to go “above and beyond” and take on new challenges.

At a ceremony on 3 December the Vice-Chancellor will present the 2018 awards. Proudly the Centre has 2 staff receiving acknowledgement or their excellence.

Kristen Allen is the winner of the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence and Contribution to Student Learning - Divisional Award

Emma Hamilton was the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Early Career Research and Innovation Excellence – Divisional Award winner.

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Staffing News


Congratulations to Joyleen Christensen on here recent promotion to Senior Lecturer.


Our Marketing Manager, Mr T Hyde is leaving us to take up a senior position at Macquarie University. Tim’s new role is Senior Manager, International Marketing and Acquisition.  During his three and a half years with us, the Centre benefited greatly from Tim’s enthusiasm, energy and creativity having a far-reaching influence on both the Language Centre and Enabling programs.

Jess Burden, who has worked closely with Tim for the last 2 years will take over the role of Marketing Manager for the next 12 months, in addition to supporting Student Communications activities.

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From the Language Centre (Sydney)

The final block of the year has been very busy with many activities winding up for the year.
The final student engagement leadership program has finished with 8 students graduating. The students deserve their certificates of completion and are to be congratulated for preserving and finishing the course.
Dr David Cunneen presented the final Guest Business lecture for the year on motivation which was a useful topic for both EAP students and teachers. The business lectures have been very successful but we are reliant on the academics to volunteer their time and we hope they continue next year.
Four ELICOS students with Keely Mccauley and Doris Ayala attended the 21Centry Leadership summit on Saturday 24/11/18. The day was very successful with key business leaders presenting their thoughts on a large range of topics.
Four EAP classes attended a ceremony recognising NBS student achievements. Many of the students are ex ELICOS and they gave a talk or showed videos about their experiences in their PG studies and life in Sydney.
The SYDNEY Language Centre wishes everyone a happy and safe Christmas and looks forward to another successful year in 2019.

Barbara Mansfield
Program Convenor UON SYDNEY Language Centre

From the Language Centre (Callaghan)

Outgoing Coordinators

At the end of the year, current coordinators Jacky Worsdell, Louise Noell and Louise Pavey will all finish their time undertaking this particular responsibility. We would like to thank all three for their contribution and we look forward to their continued leadership as they return to a full-time focus on teaching. Below are a few highlights each submitted in relation to their time:

Jack Worsdell
  • Integrating a new text-book and revising the older version of the Intermediate course.
  • Created new resources including contributions to the former lecture program
  • Contributed to the introduction of formal exam validations processes
  • Assisted with ongoing development and editing for the new Intermediate program
  • Induction of teachers working for the first time on the new Intermediate program
Louise Noell
  • Involved in the creation of the current Upper Intermediate course, which involved working collaboratively to set course outcomes, select textbooks, develop resources, and create, trial and edit exams.
  • Maintain data and continue to edit and validate exams
  • Assist in updates to the writing component of the course
  • Play a leading role in the development of Catch-Up classes for this level.
Louise Pavey
  • Developed pronunciation and re energising activities which led to presentations at eight conferences, in four cities.
  • To develop speaking with confidence, “Let’s Read Aloud” was added to the Elementary program, with successful results.
  • Created new excursion activities. In the spring – summer season students are able to go to Yamuloong Aboriginal Centre for a bush tucker tour, tasting bush tucker from the gardens. Students also partake in Aboriginal art and learn about the artefacts in Aboriginal culture. The alternative excursion which has proved to be popular is visiting Medowie Macadamia Farm. Students experience the process of how the nuts are grown to tasting them in a delicious morning tea.
  • Developed and updated resources and worksheets to add to the resource folders for this level. For example: word lists in different fonts, practice of sounds to be written in gap fills, practice books for spelling sentences and spelling practice, new readings from different textbooks, and grammar resources from Youtube amongst others.

Reading Group

Wednesday 28th saw the final Reading Group session for 2018. The group is an innovative and important initiative and we thank Adam Connor and Natalia Soeters for their continued enthusiasm for the project which will hopefully continue to grow in 2019. Below is a list of topics covered by the group this year:

  • Teacher Beliefs and Classroom Practices
  • Teaching Direct Entry Programmes
  • Learner Motivation
  • Flipped Methodology
  • Task-Based Language Learning
  • Error Correction (Speaking)
  • Error Correction (Writing

Winners are Grinners

Callaghan Language Centre student Loic Alexander won a recent photography competition run by UON’s marketing team. Loic’s prize included a VIP Supercar Experience with 3 x 3-day general trackside passes, behind the scenes tours and a grid walk experience. Loic’s photo was shared on social media using #myuonadventure and is shown below.

SEP benefits Volunteers

The Student Engagement Program recently hosted a pizza party for their 2018 volunteers. SEP activities not only benefit our students but also the volunteers who engage with the program, as evidenced by the quote below from one of this year’s volunteers, discussing the benefits gained from participating in Speed Conversations:

“I am overall I very shy and introverted person and coming to these conversations, I have become more confident in talking to others. I have also been able to improve my communication to others and especially I am more confident in talking to other people who I do not know and their English may not be too great so I like to help them out. I would like to keep improving with communicating to others especially with international students because I would like to one day teach English abroad.”

Final Farewells

Enough has already been written about Seamus’ farewell, but a parting image from his last day at the Language Centre also reveals new beginnings; the Language Centre’s first Celtic-rock band. We look forward to future gigs.

Indigenous Higher Education Conference

On 23rd November Sharlene Leroy-Dyer and Hannah Pipe gave a presentation at the Indigenous Higher Education conference held at Trinity College at the University of Melbourne.

The presentation topic was: How we embed Aboriginal pedagogical approaches, Aboriginal knowledges and support in the Yapug program, which is the University of Newcastle’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander enabling program.

We received excellent feedback about the presentation and the program.

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Work Health & Safety

Getting around campus after dark

Did you know that the University provides an after dark safe walk service, which is available to all members of our university communit?. The escorted service is provided from building to building, building to vehicle, and vice versa within the boundaries of our Callaghan and Ourimbah campuses.

When receiving a call for this service, the Safety and Security Services team taking the request will make every possible attempt to have the safe walk service to your location as soon as possible. However, at times situations such as a heavy call load, medical emergencies or critical response requirements do arise that may delay the escort. Providing us with your call back number will enable us to contact you in the event of a delay.

This service if available to students and staff 24/7, 365 days a year but is subject to operational capacity and we recommend that you call us at least 15 minutes prior to your required time. For the Safe Walk Service you can email the team or call:

  • 4921 5888 (Callaghan campus)
  • 4921 7962 (Newcastle City precinct
  • 4348 4222 (Central Coast)
  • 0412 595 054 (Port Macquarie TAFE)

The Safe Walk Service only operates on-campus and does not extend to the campus surrounds.

Click here for more information on safety after dark.

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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 Maureen Jones or Leah Hill.