November 2016


Research News; For your calendar; ELICOS;Staffing News; Professional Development; Trivia; Workplace Health & Safety


Research News

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


For your calendar:

Christmas party - save the date. The ELFSC Christmas party will be held on Friday 16 December (3.30pm, Mamadukes, Callaghan).

Visual Art Students Exhibition: The Ourimbah Visual Art Students Exhibition will be held on Monday 7 November (5pm to 7pm) in the Fine Art Studio.

Exhibition Invitation

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ELICOS Intake

The latest intake of 124 students into the Language Centre was one of the largest intakes of the year.  All staff put great effort into ensuring that the new students were well oriented to the Centre.

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Staffing News

Lifetime Achievement Award – Seamus Fagan

Congratulations to our Director, Seamus Fagan on his Lifetime Achievement Award from English Australia. The award was presented to Seamus at the 29th Annual English Australia Conference in Hobart recently. Seamus is only the third person to receive this Award.

This is Seamus’s second national award for contribution to international education, in October 2012 the International Education Association of Australia presented Seamus with the Distinguished Contribution to International Education Award. This award recognises Seamus’ distinguished service and contribution to the ELICOS sector in Australia.

Read more about Seamus here http://www.newcastle.edu.au/newsroom/featured-news/lifetime-achievement-award-seamus-fagan

Seamus Award 2

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ELFSC Excellence in Teaching and Learning

I am pleased to announce the winner of this year’s English Language and Foundation Studies Centre Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning – Enabling, is Rosalie Bunn in the category of respect and support for students as individual learners. Her citation reads :  Rosalie’s 21 years of experience in teaching enabling students has resulted in a deep respect for the diversity and complexity of this cohort. She displays a student-centred approach aimed at developing strong academic and critical thinking skills and encouraging students to be individual learners with sustainable study skills. Rosalie’s approach in teaching and support is underpinned by her in-depth knowledge and scholarship in the field of enabling education.

We are also delighted to recognise Dr Mirella Atherton with a citation for her Excellence in Teaching and Learning – Enabling students in the category of approaches to teaching that influence, motivate and inspire students to learn. Her citation reads: Mirella draws on her current and targeted subject knowledge in two diverse fields and close disciplinary contact to inspire students to engage with the discipline, the University and each other. Her work is also underpinned by a scholarly approach to teaching.

I know you will join with me in congratulating our 2 excellent colleagues who are two representatives of the sterling work in learning and teaching within the Centre.

I would also like to thank A/Professor Michelle Picard who convened the Award process.  The other members of the panel were Professor Judith Scott, Vivien McComb, Dr David Powter, Dr Joyleen Christensen and the Director.

There will be an opportunity sometime in the future to present our 2 colleagues with their awards. Over the next few weeks the winner of the ELICOS Award will be announced.

Alumni Award Winner

Congratulations to ELFSC casual staff member, Conjoint Associate Professor Douglas Absalomon being awarded the Alumni Newton-John Award.  This award recognises innovation or creativity in any field that has improved cultural life.

One of three finalists, Doug’s contributions were formally recognised at the Alumni Awards Dinner at the Great Hall on 21 October.

An excerpt from his citation notes Doug’s passion and dedication to the University. His innovation contributed to the development of the English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) program between 1988 and 1994, which significantly contributed to the internationalisation of the University’s student population and overall multicultural transformation. Douglas was responsible for developing the initial proposal and became the Director of Studies during the amalgamation of UON and Newcastle College of Advanced Education (NCAE).

In the 1980s Doug also developed programs to increase the numbers of Indigenous students participating in higher education.

Louise Pavey at UECA PD Fest in Adelaide

On October 15th, the Language Centre’s Louise Pavey presented a workshop at the UECA PD Fest in Adelaide as the winner of the best presenter at the May 14th UECA PD Fest in Sydney. Present were many enthusiastic teachers from S.A, W.A, N.S.W and Vic as well as the President of UECA, David Larbalestier, who learnt a number of rhythmic activities aimed to " Reboot, Re-energise and Revitalise your Students". At the UECA Director’s Meeting a few days later the Director received very positive feedback on Louise’s presentation.   Louise says her reward was to see teachers being inspired and motivated to try these activities. Feedback included comments such as

“ .. what you said about clearing the mind really worked for me"

“My students are young refugees and this will help them not only clear their mind and motivate them but put them on equal ground as well as help them to develop their motor skills which is lacking"

“ .... my colleagues and I would love to be in your classes .... "

The Centre is very proud of Louise’s great work in teaching pronunciation in such an engaging way.

Louise Pavey

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Foundation Studies Professional Development

For the PD day on the 27th of September 2016, we all went to the Pub…or rather we used the metaphor of the pub or club to understand that Academic Literacies and Numeracies not only include study skills or acculturation towards the University environment, but also ‘ways of behaving, interacting valuing, thinking, believing, speaking and often reading and writing’ (Gee, 1996). We also learned that all the members of the university pub or club (academic, teaching and professional staff) are part of helping students become a member who feels like she/he belongs and helping them develop a ‘repertoire of linguistic/numeric practices appropriate to each setting’ (Lea & Street, 1998; 2006).

After our Director Seamus Fagan briefly outlined the importance of the day’s topic in relation to key issues in enabling education, we started our day by learning about the fascinating project lead by our own Dr Anna Bennett on Enabling Pedagogies. Penny Jane Burke, the Director of the Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education (CEEHE) spoke of her own experience in an Enabling Program, Anna outlined the project details and staff contributed valuable insights into how they imbued an enabling philosophy into their teaching. We hope that as many staff as possible can participate in the planned project focus groups.

The remainder of the day was spent exploring the concept of academic literacies detailed above that also encompasses academic numeracies. After a brief description of the concept of academic literacies (and a visit to the pub/club), we had a series of staff presentations and activities. Evonne Irwin explained about models of teaching academic literacies based on her research project with Sally Baker, while Kristen Allen described how we teach academic literacies as a course in Newstep. Jaime Hunt and Dave Powter gave discipline specific Open-Foundation examples of embedding academic literacies, while Annette Morante and Catherine Chinnery-Doyle talked about how the academic advisors assisted in this embedding as well as the transition of all our students within the program and into their degree programs. Bronwyn Relf highlighted the importance of academic integrity development as part of students’ academic socialisation and explained the importance of embedding this socialisation into each assignment and task in a way relevant to the discipline. Our final presentation of the day was by Sharlene Leroy-Dyer who explained how the Yapug program draws on our Indigenous students’ cultures, knowledges and experiences to guide them in integrating new academic identities into their repertoire. The presentations were interspersed with activities. For example, we explored an example task and identified the numerous academic literacies and numeracies that a student would have to be taught explicitly in order to successfully complete the task and participants developed visual metaphors for how they viewed the teaching of academic literacies.

Unfortunately, we were only able to fit in a few of the numerous academic, teaching and professional staff who contribute to the development of our students into this PD day. Thank you for all who contributed to the day including Elizabeth and Maureen with the set up and planning. We hope to have more and even more exciting PD events in future with even more presenters and projects!

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Graduation congratulations

Congratulations to Sharlene Leroy Dyer and Sally Curzi on their recent graduation.  At a ceremony on 30 September, the Chancellor awarded Sharlene her PhD.  Sally graduated with a Master of Business.

Sharlene & Sally Graduation

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Trivia Fun

The “Will Ferrells” (lead by illustrious team captain Jenny Williams; and ably assisted by Evonne Irwin, Peter Corke, Chelsea Trimble, Elizabeth and Marcus Bridges) represented the Centre at the Hollywood themed trivia night, raising over $4,000 for a worthy cause, the Glen Avery Memorial Scholarship. “Holly Golightly” Dillon was also in attendance, competing against us on “Team Ourimbah”.  The quiz was hosted by the Student Comms team.

Consistent with our final result of mid-table mediocracy, our costumes were also not rewarded for our beautifully styled table, our coordinated approach and eye catching appeal in a crowded room.  There is room for improvement next year with some brushing up on our history to avoid confusion between Rasputin and Ivan the Terrible; and perhaps some biblical study to prevent Marcus being thrown to the lions.

However, amid the clink of sparkling, plastic champagne flutes, we were all winners and grinners, taking home an amazing array of prizes such as theatre tickets, dinner vouchers, an eye care package and some glittering jewels.

Don’t miss the big event next year. You too can be part of the fun when the Quiz night will be hosted by this year’s winners (a pretty large team from the Library)!

ELFSC Trivia

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Workplace Health and Safety

Most people spend more time at work than anywhere else.  It’s important therefore that our workstations are set up correctly.  This may reduce muscle strain and overuse injuries. The UON Health and Safety Team have developed a workplace http://www.newcastle.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/200846/Ergonoimc-advice.pdf 

The checklist also provides tips and exercises for rest breaks.  It’s a great resource.

Please also remember that if you experience pain or are not happy with your workstation set up, you can request an individual consultation from the Health and Safety Team.

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