June 2019

Interim Director; Research Project - Online Education; Celebration of Teaching Event; For Your Diary; Life Membership; 2019 Teaching Innovation Investment Scheme; Language Centres; Biggest morning Tea; Staff News; Work Health & Safety

From the Interim Director

Welcome to the June edition of ELFSC Link. As we reach the halfway point of the year, there are no signs of us slowing down in continuing to work together in providing sector leading learning experiences and pathways for our students.

Thank you to all staff who recently participated in the 2019 Your Voice survey.  It’s so important for us to receive this feedback and insights from you all.  It was very pleasing to see ELFSC do so well in areas such as job satisfaction, engagement, having supportive co-workers and commitment to our organisation. This is evidence of the great collegial culture we have in ELFSC. As was communicated in the dissemination last week, a working party is looking at opportunities for improvement and an action plan, with more information to come shortly.

As you will know from emails last week, two very important members of our Division are moving on. After three wonderful years serving as Deputy Director of ELFSC, Associate Professor Michelle Picard is taking up another role as Dean Learning and Teaching (College of Arts, Business, Law and Social Sciences) at Murdoch University in Perth. Professor Darrell Evans is moving on from the position of Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) to explore new opportunities. Darrell is an inspiring leader and great supporter of ELFSC and, as many of you have commented to me over the past few days, will be greatly missed. I know you join me in wishing them well in their new endeavours.

Moving into June, we welcome new staff to important roles and continue our outstanding work, including new initiatives and approaches for our students into the future. As you will have seen from In The Loop, staff are invited to attend a Campus Conversation about strategic planning at Callaghan (12th June), NeW Space (14th June), and Ourimbah (18th June). Submit your interest in attending using this form and for more information, please go to the SharePoint Site, or contact me Anna.Bennett@newcastle.edu.au as I am your local strategy consultation group member.

With best wishes, Anna

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Research Project – Online Education

The Research Team (Emma Hamilton, Evonne Irwin and David Thompson) are seeking academic, teaching and professional staff who are engaged in online and blended teaching and learning environments to participate in a research project being conducted at the University of Newcastle as part of the tEN Research Investment Scheme. The purpose of this project is to better understand the experiences of staff and students who are teaching and learning online, and, in turn, to make recommendations that may help improve the online environment for staff and students in the future. The team use the term ‘online teaching and learning’ to encompass a variety of activities including, but not limited to: teaching in blended or online modes; designing or supporting the design of online/blended learning artefacts or courses; pedagogical and technical support for teaching staff working in online/blended modes; production of online/blended teaching and learning resources; and contributing to strategic decision-making with respect to online/blended teaching and learning.

You can participate in this survey here.

For more information or if you would like a copy of the Participant Information Sheet please contact Emma.L.Hamilton@newcastle.edu.au.

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Celebration of Teaching Event

On Monday 27 May the Educator Network (tEN) Celebration of  Teaching Event was held where the DVC-A acknowledged award winners from various categories including Kristen Allen who won the Vice Chancellors Awards for Teaching Excellence in 2018.  Congratulations again to Kristen on this marvelloTeaching Eventus achievement!

Professor Evans also congratulated ELFSC staff who recently completed the Certificate in Teaching Online, which included:  Mirella Atherton, Jai Cooper, Sharon Cooper, Valerie Djenidi, Zoe Griffiths, Emma Hamilton, Jaime Hunt, Evonne Irwin, Jennifer Irwin, Iryna Khodos, Michelle Mansfield, Joel McGregor, Tony Morison, Simone Nance, Michelle Picard and Susie Wright.

Congratulations to all!

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For Your Diary

Recognition of Attainment Ceremony

Ourimbah Campus 4 July at 6pm in the Fine Arts Studio

Orientation Semester 2

Callaghan Wednesday 17 July at 10am in the Great Hall

Ourimbah Thursday 18 July at 10am in room LT102

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Life Membership

On 9 May at the National ELT Accreditation Scheme (NEAS) Conference, our former Director, Seamus Fagan was presented with their inaugural Life Membership of NEAS for his strong commitment to the ELICOS sector and to NEAS in particular. Seamus has been involved in NEAS since it was established in the early 90’s, served for 10 years on the organising committee of the NEAS Management Conference, and served on the NEAS Board for 2 terms; 2000 to 2004, and 2012 to 2018. Congratulations Seamus!

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2019 Teaching Innovation Investment Scheme

Congratulations to Jaime Hunt and Iryna Khodos for the project “Creating online pedagogies to enhance critical thinking and analytical skills in EPHUMA149” which has just received 2019 Teaching Innovation Investment Scheme (TI2) funding. We are looking forward to seeing the outcomes of this project and to the project team sharing their valuable work with colleagues in the Centre and across the wider University educator community.

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Language Centres


May is a one of the peak periods for the Language Centre, with students hoping to transition to UON programs in Semester 2 accessing ELICOS during this time. At present, 226 students are studying at the Language Centre with 77 students arriving to commence their studies at the last intake.

Professional Development Update

The Language Centre’s Micro-PD program was recently relaunched with a session delivered by teacher Annamarie Fanthorpe. Annie shared some of her experiences from her time teaching at the University of Auckland, and some of the new approaches and ideas she developed whilst there. Entitled ‘Getting out of the Book – Extend and Stretch’, Annie’s PD provided several thought provoking takeaways on classroom activities and collaborative work.

Reading Group

The regular Reading Group continued in May, with the discussion focusing on Thomas Roche’s 2017 article entitled Assessing the role of digital literacy in English for Academic Purposes university pathway programs. The group is a fantastic initiative and continues to attract interested members of staff.

Student Experience Program Update

During the Easter Break, nine UON Language Centre students volunteered at an open day for families at the Hunter Wetlands Centre. Volunteers organised a range of activities for children on the day including dip netting, craft making, supervising a jumping castle and face painting. Everyone had a great time and the Wetlands reported back that they were the best volunteers they have had to date.

Aika Tsuda from the University of Doshisa, was nominated for the UON 2019 Student Ambassador Program. This program is an important step towards bridging the gap between UON students and local Newcastle City Police. The training was held on May 23rd.

Based on the success of a pilot program, UON Global and Newcastle City District Police are partnering in 2019 to deliver a local Police Ambassador program for University of Newcastle students. Key responsibilities for Police in relation to the project include:

  • Presentations to new students
  • Attending UON events to promote the program
  • Using social media to share key messages (WeChat, WhatsApp & Facebook)
  • Attending training or information sessions with the local Police

Further information about the pilot program is available here: https://www.industry.nsw.gov.au/development/invest-news/news/international-students-enlist-as-police-ambassadors

NUPSA has approached Anne Burnett and asked if someone from the Language Centre would run a session about cultural greetings, nuances and Australian slang to a group of postgraduate students. A recent survey showed that International postgraduate students wanted to have more opportunities to understand Australian slang. Language Centre teacher Sonia Carpenter has volunteered to run the workshop as a trial with details to be confirmed.

Student Central staff member Kath Pearce will be trialing a new SEP activity on Tuesday May 28th entitled Introduction to Sketching. Kath has participated in several of the hub chats and really enjoys working with international students. The idea is to have the students practising English in a relaxed environment, an environment where they are focused on the task at hand rather than the language itself. She will introduce them to the basic principles of drawing, line, shape and perspective and assist them with their drawing.  The session is supported by the idea of art as therapy and is a proven way of de-stressing and engaging the left/creative side of the brain.

Offshore Activities

The following two items come from Language Centre teachers in relation to their work offshorHelen & Lizae. Helen Askie and Liza Pezzano have recently completed work in Mongolia, and Wendy Hicks is currently teaching in Japan.

Our eight weeks in Mongolia finished and it was a great privilege to work with the 2019 Australian Awards Mongolia scholarships recipients, most of whom are now on their way to Australia for their Postgraduate studies at universities around Australia. One lucky student is coming to UON! Dashka will study an MBA beginning in August. There was much excitement when she received her offer and the other students are now busily organizing holidays and weekends in Newcastle. We can’t wait to catch up with them. We are hoping that this is positive PR for our university and future candidates. As we mentioned in our first newsletter, the students are specializing in a range of fields including Geology, Economics, Mining, Education, Law, Medicine and Biology. They may be studying in different fields but these inspiring individuals all have incredible passion and dedication to not only their subjects but also to Mongolia. The closing ceremony for the very successful Academic Preparation Program was attended by the President of the National University Mongolia, Dr Ya Tumurbaatar and the Australian Ambassador, David Volson, with performances by the Morin Khuur Ensemble (including the incredible traditional throat singing) and the students themselves who also were MCs for the ceremony.

At the moment the 2020 scholarship applicants are being assessed and those with an overall IELTS of 5 will undertake up to 26 weeks English Language training and those with the required 6.5 score will only need to complete the 6 week Academic Preparation Program in October- November. It is hoped that the Language Centre will continue to partner with NUM and IET to deliver this program.

Besides teaching this amazing group, we had a wonderful eight weeks in ‘The Land of the Blue Sky’- camping in yurts (gurs), touring the Gobi, meeting other teachers and learning about their country (including some interesting food adventures).

Wendy Hick’s Shohoku Update

A big hello to everyone back home from Shohoku College, Atsugi!

I’m coming up to the halfway point of my four month teaching position here in Japan and can’t believe how fast the time has flown! Following a long line of esteemed colleagues from previous years, I’m teaching Australian culture and English language classes. One of my main responsibilities is preparing 18 delightful Japanese girls in the SELIC program who will be joining us at the UON Language Centre in October for 3 months. They are all very excited about coming to Australia and motivated to improve their English. So far they’ve particularly enjoyed learning about Australian food and had fun with the class on Aussie slang!

WendyThe students who came last year have all told me what a wonderful time they had and are missing their host families and teachers. Likewise the staff here speak fondly of past LC teachers (with some great stories too!), so I feel very much connected to the Newcastle campus.

Having taught Shohoku students in the past and met some of the supervising staff, it’s wonderful to have the opportunity to meet them in their own country and learn more about Japanese culture. This year is a particularly auspicious time to be here as the country recently welcomed in a new Emperor, which marked the end of the 30 year Heisei era and the beginning of the Reiwa era. The ascension was celebrated with many festivals and parades during a 10-day long public holiday called Golden Week. For me, this meant being spoilt with an extra opportunity to enjoy the gardens, temples, onsens, castles, museums, hikes, cherry blossom viewing and of course food that Japan has to offer!


Business skills

Sydney EAP students had the opportunity to join postgraduate students on May 28th to attend a special workshop on Australian Business Etiquette. This session looked at business culture in Australia and explored topics such as how to make the most of mentoring and networking opportunities.

The Newcastle Business School guest lecture series continues, with Dr Laura Luo presenting to the EAP students on the topic of ‘Carbon Accounting’ on June 18.

Professional Development

Sydney ELICOS staff held a Professional Development session on May 16 to share what they had learned at the recent UECA and NEAS conferences. Sharon Francis-Oshida and Sharon Bromwich spoke about collaborative writing approaches and on energiser activities for the classroom. Owen Wilson looked at applications of positive psychology theory and the PERMA profiler tool. Keely McCauley presented on interactional competence, with relevance to the EAP (Business) case studies, the Upper-Intermediate tutorial discussions and the Intermediate pair discussion assessment tasks.

Student Experience Program (SEP)

The NSW Police Service talk to students in May was well-received, with over 40 students Syd LC Morning Teaattending the session and actively participating by asking questions and engaging with the police speakers.

The Sydney Language Centre ran an ‘Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea’ event on May 23rd.  A group of students participating in the Student Experience Program made food to share, under the watchful eye of ‘quality-controller’ Doris Ayala, and on the day, $250 was donated by other students and staff to help cancer research. Special thanks goes to ELICOS teacher Vicki Ghoniem for her generous donation.Syd LC Police

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Biggest Morning Tea

Callaghan Biggest morning Tea

The Foundation Studies Callaghan staff held their Biggest Morning Tea on Wednesday 22 May. Many thanks go to the generous staff who supplied the delicious food and made donations to our Morning Tea.

The Foundation Studies Morning Tea raised $135.00. Thank you to all-such great team effort! Chelsea Trimble and Elizabeth Bridges are pictured on the left enjoying the Foundation Studies Biggest Morning Tea.

The Language Centre at Callaghan Campus will hold a Biggest Morning Tea event 24 June at 11:15am in Room LC312.

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Staff News

Sue Hodgson Retirement

Thanks everyone for such a wonderful send off yesterday. It was literally my last day at the UniveSuersity and it was such a great way to finish up. I have so many fond memories and have made so many great friends at the Language Centre. I hope to be gone but not forgotten (particularly if there is a social function on).

Thanks so much for my presents. The crystal plaque is a reminder of my years 1996-2019 at the LC.

As you can see in the picture I am delighted with my jigsaw and crossword puzzle book. (I am a fan of both!).

Naturally my Flight Centre giftcard will be put to good use as I have become quite the traveller.

I love my flowers (such a beautiful bunch Paula).

Keep in touch everyone. (Please call the Language Centre for Sue's personal contact details).

Thanks again for all your love, support and good humour!

Sue xxx

Group Photo

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Work Health & Safety

Is safety worth the time? You make the call - report a near miss or hazard online here or by emailing a photo, description and contact details to safety@newcastle.edu.au.

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. Thanks for reading this edition of  ELFS Link.