July Newsletter

Research Newsletter; Staff News; From the Language Centre; UON PREP; For your Diary; Workplace Health and Safety

Research Newsletter

For all the latest news on research in the centre please read the Research Newsletter

Staff News

Dr Anna Bennet will be on Study Leave from July 1 until 31 December.  During Anna's absence, Michelle Mansfield will be acting Open Foundation Program Convenor and Dr Emma Hamilton will be acting Deputy Convenor.


On September 1st Dr Barry Hodges will retire from the ELFS Centre and the University of Newcastle. Barry commenced at the University of Newcastle on the 5th March 1987 as a Casual Research Assistant in Psychology and worked in that role through to 1988. He undertook Honours in Philosophy in (1989/90) and moved onto to PhD in the Philosophy of Science between 1991 -1997. In 1997 Barry commenced his employment with Enabling Programs and continued as a sessional staff member until July 2007. During his time as a sessional staff member Barry also taught Philosophy at UON (1991 – 2003) and at Macquarie University 2000-2001. In July 2007 Barry was appointed as a Level B lecturer and Co-ordinator /Convenor of the Open Foundation program. As Open Foundation Convenor Barry played a key role in the enhancement of this important program, and was heavily involved in the transition of many of our staff from sessional positions to more permanent positions.  Barry epitomised our enabling philosophy in the way he provided advice and support to the many students that came to his office.
In 2009 the Centre was awarded a small grant of $30,000 to explore the challenges of retention in our enabling programs at Newcastle, Barry was chosen to lead this important project and in 2010 the Centre, with Barry as the Chief Investigator  received over $220,000 to lead a then ALTC Grant to expand the investigation to incorporate similar enabling programs at five different institutions across the country; Edith Cowan University, and the Universities of New England, South Australia, Southern Queensland and UON. The finished report titled Enabling Retention: Processes and strategies for improving student retention in University-based Enabling Programs, was published in 2013 by the Australian Government’s Office for Learning and Teaching. Since it was published this seminal work has been one of the most cited piece of enabling research in the last 5 years and Barry has been invited to present his work at a number of key  national conferences around Australia.  Early this year, he was part of a team led by  UON's Dr Bronwyn Relf which received a seed grant from the OLT to look at curriculum design principles for open access enabling programs. Barry has made a significant contribution to our research effort and I am pleased to see this experience and expertise will not be lost to the Centre as Barry plans to apply to be a Conjoint/Adjunct Lecturer in the Centre.
On behalf of the Centre I would like to wish Barry well on the next section of his journey and on behalf of the staff thank him for his contribution to teaching, research, and administration in our Centre.  There will be an opportunity in the near future to farewell Barry.


Sally Curzi will be starting 12 months parental leave soon as she prepares for the arrival of a new family member.  Sally’s last day at work is Friday 15 July.  As per Sally’s wishes there is no farewell event, but feel free to pass on your best wishes or call in to see her before she leaves.  Elizabeth Bridges will take on the role of Quality Assurance Teaching and Learning Officer (QATL) from 18 July for a period of 12 months.

The Centre welcomes Jessica Burden to the Manager, Student Communications role (vacated by Elizabeth Bridges).  Jessica will commence on 11 July, and will be located in the McMullin Building (in MCLG62). Jessica has recently worked as Student Success Coordinator and Access and Transition Officer in Student Central, and brings a wealth of relevant experience to the Centre.

Staff are reminded that the Centre’s new Deputy Director commences on Monday 25 July. Associate Professor Michelle Picard will be located in the McMullin Building (MCG62b).

Congratulations to Leah, Calum and Seanna on the safe arrival of the newest member of their family.

Lara was born at 12:58am on Tuesday 14 June and weighed in at just 6lb 6oz or ( 3kg ).


ELFSC PD Day for online and blended staff:

“Fostering a sense of belonging in the online context”

On 28 June 2016 Dr Lisa Thomas from the University of Wollongong presented her research into fostering a sense of belonging in the online context to interested ELFSC staff.

After morning tea, Dr Thomas led a workshop for staff working in the Open Foundation Online program which sought to celebrate our current practices as well as engage in ‘blue sky’ thinking for how the program can be improved looking not only at learning and teaching practices, but at the program as a whole.

The afternoon session was lead by Luke Boulton from the BOLD team and staff were introduced to The Control Room and The Lightboard (new do-it-yourself tools for creating online resources).

Thanks to Associate Professor Seamus Fagan for supporting the event; to Dr Lisa Thomas for making the journey; to Luke and the BOLD team for sharing their expertise; and especially to Lynette Dennis and Lynda Lomax for sorting the tea and coffee.

Online PDOnline PD 2

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From the Language Centre

Tim Hyde, Marketing Manager, is back from Taiwan and Korea. He was visiting partner Universities to initiate both short and long term study abroad opportunities for ELICOS students.

Language Centre: Student Achievement Award 2016

The Language Centre’s inaugural Student Achievement Award was held on 24 June in the CT Building. This Centre wide award was set up to acknowledge students who have demonstrated areas of academic excellence as well as extended their language learning by being involved in community engagement activities. The award, the first of two to be held in a year, will enable students who are enrolled until July a chance to receive such recognition. Five nominees were put forward by teachers with the winner, Yan Xue (Jolly), receiving $500 and a certificate. Throughout Jolly’s ELICOS enrolment, her teachers stated that she has consistently been an active learner despite personal challenges that she has had to manage along the way. The event also featured talented performances by two lively and colourful dance troupes with Bollywood and K Pop acts highlighting the Centre’s student diversity.

Student Award

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Big Move for UONPREP onto NUSTAR

For the past 10 years or more UONPREP (Bridging) has had several different registration and enrolment processes one of which was an external Career Hub site. This situation created difficulties for students, new to the university systems, to enrol in the UONPREP classes and then find and self-enrol in the relevant Blackboard course site.  It was unsatisfactory to have a system which may have precluded some students from the benefits of these preparation courses. This situation also made it difficult to gather data on students’ performance as they move from UONPREP into either enabling courses or undergraduate courses. There was also an extra admin load for staff at an already busy times of the year.

To overcome these problems UONPREP has now been incorporated into the NUSTAR system. This means that as students enrol and choose their courses in MYHUB they will see the link to the UONPREP webpage and directly enrol in these preparation classes. This will lay the groundwork for students to make “academic preparation” part of the enrolment process. A little early planning will hopefully help students to begin their university education with more confidence.

This switch to the NUSTAR course enrolment system will facilitate more streamlined enrolment for students into the UONPREP courses and provide the basis for higher quality research into student retention and success.

Thank you to the NUSTAR staff, Jenny Williams, Maureen Jones and Lynette Dennis for their determination and perseverance to ensure this positive outcome for our students.

Catherine Burgess

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For your Diary


Callaghan Orientation day will be Friday 15 July at 10am in room CT202

Ourimbah Orientation day will be Wednesday 20 July at 11am  in room LT102

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Health and Safety

Spotlight on Safety

Colds and Flu

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