March 2018

From the Director; Research News; Foundation Studies Orientation; Open Foundation Online; Neil Morpeth Retirement; UON PREP Bridging; Sydney ELICOS News; Language Centre News; Ma & Morley Scholarships; Work Health & Safety

From the Director

Towards the end of 2016 ELFS and CEEHE approached the University about helping a cohort of asylum seekers in our community who were being denied access to higher education as residents, and deemed that if they enrolled in university they would have to pay the same fees as international students, which was as you can imagine a great deterrence to this cohort. The University agreed to permit 17 of this cohort to enrol in Open Foundation in 2017.  These students were enormously successful with 13 out of 17 successfully completing their course.  This success was achieved through the amazing support of all our professional and teaching staff and especially the great support the students received from Simone Nance and Liza Pezzano.  Simone and Liza’s main job was to provide academic and linguistic support, but they went way beyond this in providing all types of support and I know the students are eternally grateful for their work.  I am pleased to say 11 of the students received fee waivers from the University and will start their undergraduate studies next week.

This is something our Centre should be very proud of, as it speaks to our core values of equity and demonstrated to these amazing and resilient young people that there are people in Australia who genuinely believe in equity and a “fair go”.

Thanks for all your support to this group.


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Research News

ELFSC to host NAEEA Symposium 2018

ELFSC staff are advised to SAVE THE DATE: Thursday 27th to Friday 28th September

The symposium will be a national forum for discussions on enabling sector matters related to research, policy and practice.

NAEEA Annual Membership

$80 for individuals – if you are interested in becoming a member or have forgotten to renew send an email to

ELFSC Research(er) Development Activities 2018 (revised schedule)

Anna and Jo are looking forward to catching up with colleagues at the workshops listed below. These 2 hour sessions are intended to support and develop ELFSC researchers, research projects and research culture. All ongoing and sessional staff welcome!

To ensure that the first four sessions respond to and draw on the interests and experiences of ELFSC staff, they will be structured around:

  • opportunities for discussion and knowledge sharing, and
  • presentations - by ELFSC staff and/or by professional/academic staff outside of the centre

It is also hoped that these sessions will help to build our cross-disciplinary understanding (we are a mixed bag after all) and maybe even foster some research collaborations.

If anyone has a particular area of need or interest in relation to the workshop themes listed please get in touch with Jo.

If you would like to share/receive feedback on aspects of a project that you have conducted/are conducting or an approach that you have used/read about we encourage you to do so – presentations 10-15 minutes max. Please note that your presentation can be related to enabling education/widening participation OR be specific to your discipline or field.

Proposed Calendar of Research(er) Activities

Research Support

For tailored, one-on-one support please make an appointment with Anna and Jo via email.

2018 Conferences related to Enabling, Access, T & L and Higher Education

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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Foundation Studies Orientation

In the week beginning 13 February, the Centre hosted a series of Orientation events for our commencing on campus Newstep, Open Foundation and Yapug students.

At Callaghan, Yapug students were welcomed on 14 February at Birabahn.   The Director, Program Convenor, Wollotuka staff, Elders and former Yapug students, helped to set our new students at ease.

Also at Callaghan on the same day we welcomed our commencing Open Foundation students at two sessions. Newstep students were welcomed and enjoyed a BBQ on Friday 17 February.  The Great Hall location proved to be very successful, and we hope to utilise this venue again.

At Ourimbah, the orientation events were held on 16 February, with our Newstep students in the morning, and Open Foundation in the evening.

Despite a few technical hitches out of our control, each event was very well attended.  As always each event is enthusiastically supported by our former students, who willingly give up their precious time to share their experiences and advice with our new students.  Thank you to all staff who participated, and especially to Holly Batten and Sharon Boyd our Student Liaison Officers, and our Program Convenors for making the events such a success.

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Open Foundation Online

Week Zero Orientation

Along with the rest of our Enabling students, Open Foundation Online students have bustled into their virtual classrooms for their first classes.

However, Online students had already spent the previous week working through their Online Orientation module - ‘Week Zero’ – which aims to familiarise commencing students with crucial online systems and provide preparation for upcoming coursework.

524 students (about 61%) logged on to view Week Zero’s materials, with 55% actively completing the modules. A promising start to the year!

A big thank you to Annette Morante, Helen Scobie and Anthony O’Brien for the time spent connecting with students during Week Zero and providing key resources to assist them during the Semester.

On The Road

Over the past couple of weeks, Holly Batten, Jess Burden, Emma Hamilton and Evonne Irwin hit the road, travelling to eight key regional centres to meet with commencing Open Foundation Online students.

Travelling in teams of two we, held sessions for nearly 30 students in Cessnock, Singleton, Tamworth, Dubbo, Muswellbrook, Taree, Port Macquarie, and Kempsey. Emma and Evonne were impressed by the breakfast cuisine on offer in New South Wales’ Central West, while Jess and Holly surveyed students on the east coast for the best local coffee spots.

But it wasn’t all about food and caffeine. The students we met were enthusiastic (and nervous) about their forthcoming study and happy to have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with staff to allay any fears. In many locations we ran the sessions in local libraries, forging important connections with the communities which we hope to maintain.

We look forward to tracking the trajectories of these students in and through Open Foundation Online this year.

These things don’t organise themselves, so we would like to thank Seamus (for funding the trips), Lynda (for organising accommodation), Tim (for promoting our Program in these areas), Michele O’Shan from Uni4You (for her wisdom), and Sharon Boyd (for her show-bags).

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Neil Morpeth Retirement

Staff of the Centre gathered on 22 February to say a formal farewell to Associate Professor Neil Morpeth on the eve of his retirement. In his speech, Neil gave a great account of his career and talked about his non-academic interests which he is looking forward to pursuing.

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UON PREP (Bridging)

UONPREP staff attended a successful workshop on Tuesday 23rd January 2018 where they were able to share ideas for the 2018 offerings and to develop strategies in response to student feedback from the 2017 student survey. The UONPREP team display a strong commitment to the successful transitioning of students into university study whether it is at undergraduate or enabling level and the continued success of the program is an indication of their hard work and commitment.

This year 48 UONPREP courses were held in February across the three campuses Callaghan, Ourimbah and Port Macquarie. There were 2115 registrations consisting of 1215 on campus registrations and 900 online registrations. (See Table 1 below) This number is slightly higher than last year’s registrations. Students entering Undergraduate programs and Enabling courses as well as some postgraduate courses attend these short 15-hour courses in order to prepare for the transition to University study. The student feedback is always extremely positive with students expressing a reduced apprehension about their studies and over 90% agreeing that they would recommend the courses to their peers.

Data for retention and success continues to be collected and the trend in the data indicates that students who attend a UONPREP course have an average 5.6% higher retention rate than students who do not attend these courses. In addition, the data indicates that students who have attended a UONPREP course have a higher success rate in their first year of undergraduate study than students with no UONPREP irrespective of entry pathway.

There are many benefits to attending a UONPREP course and the student feedback attests to this. Comments such as:

“ I now know several students who will be in my classes and I thought I would not know anyone.”

"Knowing what to expect has really helped me to settle into the idea of Uni.”

Also, this from a student who attended the UONPREP undergraduate maths class. This student had just completed 4-unit maths for the HSC:

"Thank you. This course has been great because I now understand why we did the things we did at school and now the maths makes sense."

Thank you to Maureen, Leah and Peter for all your help with UONPREP.

Table 1.  UONPREP student registrations for ON CAMPUS and ONLINE classes for Feb 2018.

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Sydney ELICOS news

Block 5802

Student numbers remained consistent in Block 5802 with one new development- the creation of an Elementary class for the first time since September 2017. The Elementary class is unusual as the general trend has been towards a greater number of 20 week and 10 week students starting in Sydney. The rate of transfers from Callaghan to Sydney also continues with 12 students transferring to Sydney (predominantly with MIT offers) and 2 Sydney students transferring to Callaghan.

As part of the ELICOS review preparations Mark Kirby from SPP conducted focus groups with students and staff in early February. Mark also spent time speaking with Sydney ELICOS management. The Sydney Program Convenor will attend the review panel session in late February.

Student Engagement news: 3 commencing ELICOS classes benefitted from the UoN Global sponsored bus trip to the Central Coast for a day of life saving and rock fishing instruction and swimming. Fortunately it was a lovely day and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

Staff Development: Doris Ayala was invited to present a 10 minute talk on Sydney’s Orientation program at the NEAS Quality Workshop titled “Improving the Student Orientation” on Friday 16/2/18. Feedback from Doris is that UoN Sydney Language Centre offers a comprehensive and engaging Orientation program compared with many other providers in Sydney. In other news Keely McCauley completed the EA Webinar session English Communications and Employability while Owen Wilson completed the 5 week online EVO (Electronic Village Online) Teaching Pronunciation Differently program.

Teachers Peer Observation sessions also begin this block. These sessions offer teachers an opportunity to observe their peers in action and to reflect on their own teaching practices.

Barbara Mansfield (Program Convenor)

UON Sydney Language Centre

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Language Centre News

Reading Group

The Callaghan Language Centre Reading Group is a teacher led initiative started by Adam Connor and Natalia Soeters. The Reading Group meets once every 5 weeks to discuss selected texts on topics relevant to ELICOS teaching and learning. So far, four Reading Group sessions have been held, with a general consensus that each has been better than the last.

The most recent Reading Group was led by Evelyn McDonald who selected three very engaging readings on the topic of Flipped Classrooms. After a lively discussion on the readings, the group proposed to up the stakes with a challenge for all involved to incorporate learnings from the readings into an upcoming lesson plan, and to reflect on and share the results of these experiments at the next group meeting. The Reading Group is a great addition to PD activities at Callaghan, and joins the Micro-PD Program, and Peer Observations as grass-roots developments that augment the Centre’s PD-Festivals in July and October, participation in PRD and access to wider PD events in the ELICOS sector.

For teachers interested in participating in the Reading Group, please see contacts for the group leaders below:

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Ma & Morley Scholars announced

The next generation of globally-aware and socially conscious Australian leaders are poised to embark on their life-long journey as the inaugural cohort of Ma & Morley Scholars.

The historic first cohort of Scholars was announced recently.

Half of the commencing Ma & Morley scholarships have been allocated to students who have completed an enabling program (Yapug, Newstep or Open Foundation), echoing the university’s commitment to providing excellence and equitable access to education to people with ability and determination.

Congratulations to the following former enabling students who have been awarded this prestigious and valuable scholarship:

Georgia Young, Jessica Vickery, Rachel Field, Nathaniel Arnold, Sindi Bretherton (Open Foundation Ourimbah)

Brittany Ayres, Jason Connor, Georgia O’Brien (Yapug 2017)

Liam Hassen, James O’Sullivan, (Open Foundation Callaghan 2017)

Joshua Walker, Brent Cassidy (Newstep Ourimbah 2017)

Chezarne Cuffe (Newstep Callaghan in 2013)

Read the full story here.

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Work Health & Safety

The Online Health and Safety Induction for University staff

All new staff need to complete the Online Health and Safety Induction within the first two weeks of starting. This training provides you with essential health and safety information and tips on how to access further documents, processes and systems.

If you are an existing staff member that completed the Online Health and Safety Induction more than 2 years ago, you will need to log on and complete the Induction again.

To access the Online Health and Safety Induction, login to ‘Discover’ – the UON Staff Learning and Development Portal.

The UON Staff Development/ Training Calendar can also be accessed through Discover so make sure to log on and have a look at upcoming Training and Development courses.

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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 WilliamsMaureen Jones or Leah Hill.