ELFS Link - December 2014

Work Health and Safety
Helene Clark Retirement
Brian Smith Inaugural Lecture
Important Dates and Events
ELFSC Support Staff - Meeting

From the Director's Desk – An Overview of 2014

Please follow this link for the full report on 2014 activities, events and achievements.


As reported in the November newsletter, Aimee Turner has been awarded the Vice Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence and Contribution to Student Learning Centre/Institute 2014.

Congratulations also to Associate Professor Mahsood Shah on his 2014 Vice-Chancellor's Award for Research Excellence, Division Research Excellence Award.

The awards were presented by the Vice-Chancellor at a ceremony on 8 December 2014 at the Conservatorium.

Last week 8 staff from the Centre presented papers at the Foundation and Bridging Educators New Zealand (FABENZ) Conference at Tauranga, New Zealand. I am pleased to advise you that a paper written by Evonne Irwin and Liz Goode, and presented by Evonne at the Conference won the inaugural best paper prize at the Conference.

Congratulations to Liz and Evonne and to all who presented at the Conference.


L-R seated:  Jaime Hunt, Evonne Irwin, Cathy Burgess, Bronwyn Relf, Ibtihal Samaryi, Rosalie Bunn and Seamus Fagan.

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Work Health and Safety

Additional signage about Slips, Trips and Falls has been made available at all ELFSC locations, as part of an awareness campaign for both staff and students.

Did you know that you can raise workplace health and safety issues with Lynette Dennis (for McMullin Building), An-Chi Baxter (Language Centre, Callaghan). Lynette and An-Chi will take issues forward to the Divisional WH&S Committee for action.

For any WHS matters at Ourimbah, staff can contact Chris Dowman.

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Helene Clark Retirement

On 26 November, ELFSC staff gathered to say farewell to Helene on the eve of her retirement.


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Brian Smith Inaugural Lecture

On Monday 10 November, we launched the Inaugural Brian Smith Public Lecture, the first of a series of annual public lectures honouring the work of Dr Brian Smith, founder of the University of Newcastle's Open Foundation program. In the year that we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Open Foundation program, it was auspicious that we welcomed Professor Sally Kift, an authority on student experience and equity, to speak on the topic of "Enabling equitable access, participation and success: Leveraging the lessons of 40 years".

The Lecture was a great success and was attended by staff, former staff, students and members of the local community. Our MC Associate Professor Seamus Fagan opened the event by inviting the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Caroline McMillen to speak. She outlined the great importance of equity leadership to our institution, and the integral role that enabling programs play in contributing to this objective, and introduced Professor Sally Kift. Sally provided an expertly researched presentation on the primary role that enabling programs play in the contribution to equitable access and participation in Higher Education, and the leadership and best practice that the University of Newcastle offers in this sector.

A video will be shortly available at the Brian Smith Public Lecture web page and you can access a copy of Professor Kift's presentation here.

Sally KiftL-R: Vice Chancellor  Professor Caroline McMillen, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Andrew Parfitt, Professor Sally Kift and Associate Professor Seamus Fagan.

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Important Dates and Events to Note:

Saturday 13 December 2014: Open Foundation Information Sessions – 10am (Ourimbah LT1022) and Callaghan (VG01).

Tuesday 6 January 2015: University Advisory Day (2pm-6pm) – including Newstep and Open Foundation Information Sessions (Ourimbah and Callaghan).

Thursday 22 January 2015: University Advisory Day (3pm-6pm) - including Newstep Information Sessions (Ourimbah and Callaghan)

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ELFSC Support Staff – Meeting

The ELFSC Support Staff Meeting was held on 19 November 2014. This group meets several times each year to discuss and review support mechanisms for our enabling students. Key issues discussed at this most recent meeting included:

  • Supporting evening and distance students – a range of strategies have been trialled with mixed success. Specific support for online students by a Student Liaison Officer is being considered.
  • Orientation – improving the experience for students.
  • Student Liaison Officers and communication with students – exploration of alternate ways of reaching out to non-engaged students (eg, sms, social media etc).
  • Academic Advisors – summary of issues brought to the attention of the Academic Advisors.
  • Plan to have a pop-up Librarian.
  • Language support for the Afghani cohort.

The minutes and action notes from each meeting will be published on the Foundation Studies Blackboard site.

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