March 2019

From the Director; ROAC, Orientation; For your Diary; Staffing; Language Centre News; ESSUN; Research News; Work Health & Safety

From the Interim Director

Now that we are well into March, it is so wonderful to see our students enjoying their programs and being Dr Anna Bennettinvolved in a variety of activities offered by ELFSC and UON.

There are also some exciting activities available for staff, as outlined in the ‘The Wellbeing Beat’. You will see that one activity featured is a proposed lunch-time fitness initiative that our ELFS colleague Leah Hill can be contacted about. (Please note that activities at Ourimbah and Sydney campuses are being planned). Some other wellbeing activities are listed here.

Wishing you all the best for a great month,


Dr Anna Bennett | Interim Director


Callaghan students who completed Open Foundation, Yapug or Newstep in 2018 were invited to the Callaghan Recognition of Attainment Ceremony (ROAC), held on Tuesday 12th February at the Griffith Duncan Theatre.

Proud family members, partners, friends and staff watched as students were presented with their Certificate by the Chancellor. Our three student speakers were Holly Cook (Newstep), Kieran Shipp (Yapug) and Homaira Homaira (Open Foundation). Each spoke of the challenges and rewards in their journey through their respective enabling program.

Taylah Grey, who completed Yapug in 2015, gave the Occasional Speech.

Thank you to all the wonderful staff that participated in the ceremony. It sure was a memorable and moving ceremony.

A selection of photographs from the ceremony can be seen below.

The date for the ceremony for our Ourimbah students who completed in 2018 will be announced shortly.

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Open Foundation Online

To supplement Week Zero, our Open Foundation Online orientation Program, Holly Batten, Jess Burden, Evonne Irwin and Emma Hamilton went 'On the Road', facilitating face-to-face orientation sessions with students and their families at Muswellbrook, Cessnock, Tamworth, Port Macquarie and Taree. These are important opportunities for Open Foundation Online to reach out to our students and demonstrate our care of and commitment to them and their communities, as well as to meet with community partners such as Uni4You coordinators, and staff working in regional libraries, community colleges and local councils. They also allow us to listen to the challenges and opportunities experienced by our students as they embark on their journey with us and show how much we value their contributions to our learning environments. Teaching in the online program is well underway and we will host our first Face2Face Day of the year on March 16, which will give students the opportunity to experience the campus, meet their academic and support staff and, perhaps most important, support each other. We are pleased to offer child-minding facilities on the day in partnership with Uni4You to ensure that the most amount of students possible can attend and that the university is a welcome place for all.


aghan OF Orientation Great Hall PhotoStudents were invited to attend Open Foundation orientation on Thursday 14th February.  We tried something a little different for Open Foundation and only held one main session instead of the two, as in past years.  As we now have access to the Great Hall and it is a much better venue for the students, we held an Evening session only as a trial for this semester.  The Hall has a capacity of 1250 and with students and their family member/s it was three quarters full!  With approx. 450 students registered as attending, we had a great turn out.Yapug Orientation

The new cohort for Yapug were welcomed on the same day but started their session in the morning at 10am. The session included a special walk through the grounds of Birabahn and the Indigenous Path to welcome in the students.

Newstep Orientation was held on Tuesday 19th February in ‘O Week’.  NS Callaghan Orientation Photo Great HalWith a view to increasing the Newstep student’s inclusivity on campus, we trialed the orientation session in the campus ‘O Week’.  Albeit a little tricky with the logistics and timing it seems to have been a great success.  The session ran immediately following the Faculty of Health & Medicine’s orientation but with the help of our Former Student Volunteers and the bright Orange T-shirts, we managed the crowds well.

As always, the recruitment of our Former Students who come along each orientation to help and support us is a vital part of the transition-in for our new students and this year we had an exceptional group across all programs.  In addition, the staff who continuously give up their time to help with the set-up on the day and in the weeks leading up to the events deserve a HUGE thank you.  It wouldn’t happen without you!


On Wednesday 13th February Ourimbah Campus Orientation events were a success, as approximately 179 students for Open Foundation attended and approximately 110 attended for Newstep.

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For your Diary

Academic Division Town Hall Meetings 2019: There has been a slight change to the previously advertised schedule of Town Hall Meetings for our Division.  Please note, the next meeting will be on Wednesday 8 May (11am to 12 noon – RW149).


As you know, ELFSC recently filled a number of academic and teaching positions across the Newstep and Open Foundation programs. We are thrilled to welcome staff into their new positions: In the Newstep program Dr Ryan O’Neill will be working as a teacher in Academic Literacies at the Callaghan Campus, Peter Power in Maths & Academic Literacies at the Ourimbah Campus, and Nicole Saunders in Academic Literacies & Humanities at the Ourimbah Campus. In the Open Foundation programs Dr Jennifer Irwin is now a Lecturer in Chemistry & Other Sciences and Evonne Irwin is an Associate Lecturer in Humanities and Online Enabling Education.

This is an exciting time for our Centre as we continue to work to provide the best experiences possible for our students and staff, and I'm sure that you will join me in congratulating and welcoming Ryan, Peter, Nicole, Jennifer and Evonne as they either transition into the Centre, or transition into new roles within the Centre.

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Language Centre News


The Language Centre at Callaghan will welcome our third intake of 2019 on March 18th. This is traditionally off-peak time of the year for ELICOS and numbers are similar to previous years with approximately 40 new students set to start their studies here at that time. This includes 8 short-term ELICOS only students from long-term Japanese partners Kumamoto University.

This month, Language Centre teachers Helen Askie and Liza Pezzano will take leave without pay in order to work in Mongolia with the Institute of Education and Training (IET) at the National University of Mongolia, in Ulaanbaatar. Helen and Liza will deliver the second Academic Preparation Module to students who have received an Australia Awards Mongolia scholarship. On completion of the program these students will be transitioning to degree programs at Australian universities.  Liza Pezzano especially has made a significant contribution to the Academic Preparation Module and we send our well wishes with her and fellow pioneer Helen Askie as they prepare for their stint abroad. Finally, we hope that with the continued development of this program that Language Centre staff will continue to have access to this exciting teaching opportunity each year.

Wendy Hicks will commence her offshore secondment in April, joining the sizeable list of ELFSC teachers who have worked for our long term partners Shohoku College in Japan. Wendy has just completed teaching a study tour group from Nagoya University of Foreign Studies and has further developed and refined an excellent array of resources to strengthen the delivery of these non-integrated programs onshore.  Best wishes to Wendy and we hope she finds the experience as satisfying as many of her colleagues before her have.

Anne Burnett led the second instalment of the newly formed Student Experience Program Committee (SEP) last week with representatives from NUSA, NUPSA and UON Central discussing their roles in relation to the student experience at UON with Language Centre colleagues. The discussion was an extremely beneficial insight into the plethora of events and services that ELICOS students are able to access as part of the UON community, and helps provide our staff with a more nuanced understanding of the engagement ecosystem within which our own SEP exists.

March also saw Language Centre teacher Katy Jones and Deputy Program Convenor Stuart MacDonald complete the Accidental Counselling PD session offered through Discover. International students often face a stressful journey in adjusting to life abroad and both Stuart and Katy enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about the counselling and support services available to our students, and the role they can play in the process of referring these students.

General English Program Coordinator Adam Connor and ELICOS teacher Natalia Soeters led one of the best Reading Group sessions yet on March 1st, with several teachers joining Centre Deputy Director Michelle Picard to discuss a 2016 article she co-authored on Developing Listening Skills for EAP students. The session was a very valuable opportunity to discuss the relationship of theory to practice in EAP, and especially relevant given the upcoming review of the Centre’s EAP program. Teachers attending the Reading Group will be well poised to make valuable contributions to this exciting project.


Student Engagement activities introduced this year include Movie Club held every second week. The students make an online purchase of a subsidised movie ticket and then meet the student leader at the Palace Cinema at Chippendale.  The activity has proved to be popular with Sydney students in general and is an example of successful integration of students from ELICOS and Newcastle Business School. The value of the program is such that UoN Central will take over the funding and organisation for the remainder of 2019. The student leader is an ex ELICOS student now studying her degree program. She completed the SEP project based leadership program last year  and is an example of the effectiveness of the program as the leaders can act in a leadership role in student engagement activities.

In other news the Program Convenor is a member of the UoN Sydney campus Health & Safety Committee which meets every quarter. The first meeting this year provided information to staff about the WellPlace program run by the Building owners Dexus. UoN Sydney staff can register online and participate in programs such as yoga, power walking events, workshops and discounted member ship to the gym F45  as well as have access to facilities such as showers and bike racks.

Barbara Mansfield (Program Convenor)

UON Sydney Language Centre

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Equity Scholarships Scheme University of Newcastle (ESSUN) for Enabling Students

Staff may not be aware that recent changes to the EESUN scholarship were approved.  One of the biggest changes is that this equity scholarship is now open to Enabling Students.  Enabling students who are experiencing financial hardship – and who may have other educational disadvantages are encouraged to apply.  For more information please look here.

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Research News

NRC 2019 – Grant Awarded

The ELFSC New Research Concept grant initiative, now in its third year, provides small grants to support enabling staff in conducting research on enabling education and related fields.

In 2019 $3000 has been awarded to Michelle Mansfield and Joel McGregor for their project titled Sociological Insights: A critical investigation into the implementation of blended learning design in enabling sociology courses. Congratulations Michelle and Joel - we look forward to hearing more about the project as it progresses.

NAEEA Annual Membership - Now Due!

$80 for individuals –if you are interested in becoming a member or are due to renew, send an email to or go to  their website.

Do you know abouot research advantage's EMCR Connect & Empower Network?


Who: UON Early / Mid Career Researchers

When: 10 – 11.30am Tuesday 19 March 2019 [tea, coffee and biscuits provided]

Where: Treehouse, Shortland Union, Callaghan Campus

Limited spaces available: maximum 25 participants

Register now via Discover

2019 Conferences related to Enabling, Access T&L and Higher Education

Name/OrganisationDatesThemeSubmission DeadlineRegistration
HERDSA (Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia)

2-5 July

University of Auckland, NZ

Next Generation, Higher Education: Challenges, Changes & Opportunities

ClosedEarly bird closes 30 May
FACE (Forum for Access and Continuing Education)

3-5 July

Sheffield Hallam University, UK

Delivering the Public Good of Higher Education - Widening Participation, Place and Lifelong Learning

29 March

Early bird closes 5 April

STARS (Students Transitions Achievement Retention & Success)

7-10 July

Crown Promenade, Melbourne

Students Transitions Achievement Retention & Success

ClosedEarly bird closes 30 April
ISSOTL (International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning)

9-12 October Atlanta, Georgia, US

SoTL Without Borders: Engaged Practices for Social Change

TBAEarly bird closes 2 September

24-27 November

University of Wollongong

Enabling Excellence through Equity

31 MayEarly bird closes 30 July
AARE (Australian Association for Research in Education)1-5 December

Education for a Socially-Just World

SHRE (Society for Research into Higher Education)

TBA December



Research Support in 2019

Watch out for emails from Jo Hanley, ELFSC Research Manager, regarding grant opportunities and research activities. For tailored, one-on-one support please make an appointment with Jo via email.

Please make contact with Jo if you have any research news or project updates for future newsletters.

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Work Health & Safety

In the last couple of weeks we have had a couple of 'Near Miss' incidents in the McMullin Building where plastic fluorescent light covers have fallen. These have nearly struck people and could have ended up causing a nasty injury. All staff who work in the McMullin Building need to be on the lookout for any light covers that may be loose.

A reminder of the importance to report any ‘Near Misses’ – this process ensure IFS investigate and hopefully prevent future incidents. Further information on how to submit an online ‘Near Miss’ is accessed through the Hazards and Near Misses UON webpage.

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.