November 2017 Newsletter

Academic Division Awards; ELFSC H&S Award Winner; Library Support; Language Centre; Sydney ELICOS News; Bungaree Yapug Discovery Scholarship;Trivia Night; Research News; Work Health & Safety

Academic Division Awards

The Academic Division Award and Service Recognition event was held on 18 October.  At this event the Divisions celebrates the achievements of staff within the Division in 2017.

In a field of strong nominations, the Foundation Studies “Transition In” Team was jointly awarded the 2017 Academic Division Award for Professional Staff Excellence (Team). Lead by Jenny Williams, the team consists of Holly Dillon, Sharon Boyd, Chris Dowman, Leah Hill, Maureen Jones, Lynda Lomax, Chelsea Trimble and Alexandra Fowler.

The award citation reads: The Foundation Studies “Transition In” Team plan, coordinate and deliver nine (9) Orientation sessions for over 3,000 commencing enabling students (Open Foundation, Newstep and Yapug) each year across 2 campuses.  A significant proportion of enabling students are first in family and low SES, often with a disability and/or other challenges.  With no schooling for some time, or coming from a poor educational experience these students may be low in confidence.  The Orientation Sessions have therefore been developed to be welcoming, reassuring and informative to set each student up for every chance of success.

In addition to coordinating relevant staff from the English Language and Foundation Studies Centre (ELFSC), the Team works closely with UON support providers, including CTL, Accessibility, Careers, Wollotuka, Library, and Student Hubs and Enquiries to deliver an outstanding student experience.

Results and feedback from the 2017 Commencing Students Survey attest to the success of these Orientation events"

Congratulations also to Fatima Shipton and the Homestay family network, winners of the Academic Division Award for International Engagement.

The award citation reads:

"The Homestay program is solely owned and operated by UON and began 20 years ago with a few host families accommodating a small number of international students, now the program has nearly 200 families volunteering to accommodate between 450-500 international students per year. A small number of host families are also available for students at our Ourimbah campus.

The Homestay program provides a holistic approach in fostering a three-way partnership between the University, host families and international students. The relationships that have evolved between all three are unique to our program as together we nurture an environment that provides an arena for the cross-cultural adjustments necessary for students’ academic and personal achievement as global citizens.

Through Homestay, UON, is entrusted to provide a safe family environment where students have the opportunity to develop their independence whilst improving their communication skills. Cultural similarities are recognised and diversity celebrated, further establishing qualities that are highly valued in an increasingly competitive and global market.

The relationship between homestay families and their students continue long after the students have finished their studies, with families attending their students’ weddings and events in their home countries."

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ELFSC H&S Award Winner

Four nominations were received for the inaugural ELFSC Health and Safety Award.  The Selection Panel was impressed with the quality and calibre of the nominations and their respective initiatives and commitment to the H&S needs of our students and staff.

Congratulations to Chris Dowman and Mel Archer at Ourimbah, who are the 2017 ELFSC H&S Award winners.  Chris and Mel identified the need for a quick reference card for staff when dealing with emergencies and student referrals. The outcome was a wallet-sized, 2 sided card which details key contacts for emergency and other services at Callaghan and Ourimbah. The card, recently produced, has been distributed to staff at Callaghan and Ourimbah. Our external selection panel member was particularly impressed by the potential transferability of this product to other organisational units at UON, and will be pursuing this further.

The Selection Panel also agreed to recognise and acknowledge Jenny Vazquez with a “Highly Commended” accolade for her commitment to the Health and Safety needs of our staff and students, including but not limited to the successful implementation of Week 7 labs and the improvements to laboratory procedures and operations across a range of enabling courses.

Staff will be presented with their Award at the end of year staff event on 15 December.

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Foundation Studies Library Support at Callaghan

Introducing Anthony O-Brien, the Foundation Studies Teaching & Learning Librarian at Callaghan. Anthony has been with the library for 11 years in various roles in client service and research support, most recently as the Liaison Librarian for Central Coast Local Health District. This role was interorganisational, based at the Ourimbah Campus and onsite at Wyong and Gosford Hospitals, where he delivered tailored information literacy programs for health subjects and collaborated with course coordinators to change embedded library support to be more meaningful and engaging for students. Anthony sees information literacy as a fluid and flexible thing and like to focus on the underlying skills rather than simply showing resources. Anthony is looking forward to working with ELFS and filling the big shoes left by Amanda Valent.

Anthony can be contacted as follows: tel 4921 6456


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Language Centre News

October sees the return of lunch time Micro-PDs to the Language Centre at Callaghan.

Micro-PDs are intended to be a brief, informal and enjoyable source of professional development, made by teachers for teachers. Details for upcoming sessions are as follows:

English Australia Highlights with Anna Szczerbicka (Tuesday 24th October)

  • Anna will cover her takeaways from JJ. Wilson’s “ELT and Social Justice” presentation followed by highlights from Jill Hadfield’s “Using interaction to foster creativity, collaboration and critical thinking.”
  • Details: 11:15 – 11:45 in room 10

Kagan approaches to speaking tasks with Teresa Balfour-Brown (Thursday 2nd November)

  • In this session, Teresa will look at how Kagan activities can be used in the ESL classroom, with a particular focus on how they can be used to ensure all students are participating equally in speaking activities
  • Details: 11:15am – 11:45am in room 13

On October 9th, the Language Centre welcomed their largest intake of new students for the year with 125 students arriving in total. The Language Centre provides students with a comprehensive rolling orientation program over their first three weeks in Newcastle, with highlights including a meet & greet with student volunteers, guest lectures covering beach safety with Surf Lifesaving representatives and general security with representatives from the police, as well as information sessions covering health insurance and other aspects of life in Newcastle.

The Student Engagement Program has continued to offer a range of activities to Language Centre students. Recent activities have included a weekend tour of Newcastle covering the Farmers Market, Blackbutt Reserve and the Museum alongside regular activities such as Campus and Speed Conversations.

Shohoku College in Japan have invited Language Centre teacher Kellie Kayser to work with them in Atsugi City from November 5th to December 10th this year. We wish Kellie all the best during her stint at Shohoku.

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Sydney ELICOS News

This term is traditionally a busy time for Sydney with 45 students commencing most with 10 week offers. Sydney also accepted 13 transfers from Newcastle. To date Sydney is running 10 classes over 2 shifts with Chinese and Indian students the predominant nationalities. There is also a good mix of students from Nepal, Vietnam, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Student Engagement activities continue under the expertise of Doris Ayala (SEP).  A police talk on safety was held in October with Constable Tim who showed off the Emergency+ App which has the advantage of pin pointing one’s location when contacting emergency services. Other talks include a Life Saving/ Rock Fishing safety talk in early November and the continuing NBS lectures in November to be presented by academic Dr David Cunneen on Leadership.

Barbara Mansfield (Program Convenor)

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Bungaree Discovery Yapug Scholarship

This new scholarship was established by Dr Sharlene Leroy-Dyer, Program Convenor Yapug, as a way of giving back to the community that she lives in by giving an Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander student enrolled in the Yapug program an opportunity to gain a scholarship to alleviate financial hardship. The name of the scholarship reflects both the great man that Bungaree was, but also that Yapug is a journey of discovery.

The Bungaree Discovery scholarship in in honour of Dr Leroy-Dyer's ancestor, Bungaree who was an Aboriginal man of the Garigal clan, Guringai peoples of the Broken Bay area. Bungaree was an explorer, the first Aboriginal person to circumnavigate Australia in the HMS Investigator, from 1802 to 1803 with Matthew Flinders, mapping the Australian coastline.”

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Spooktacular Trivia!

From Alexandra Fowler:

On Wednesday 18 October, Hell was empty and all the devils were here to compete in the University’s Halloween-themed Trivia Night, hosted by Vicky Mackay, Josh Hewitt, Jessica Birchall, Ben Burke and Sarah Joel. Creeping it real were ELFS “Count Drunkulas” (Seamus Fagan, Lynette Dennis, Chelsea Trimble, Elizabeth Bridges, Marcus Bridges, Peter Corke, Simone Nance and Alexandra Fowler) who assisted in helping to raise $3580 for the Glen Avery Memorial Scholarship.

The Count Drunkulas got all ghouled up, putting on our spookiest faces, prepared to scare the opposition with our impressive knowledge. Inside the Brennan Room was an impressive array of zombie fairies, super heroes, pumpkins, scarecrows and ghoulish graduates, all competing for the title of Trivia Champion.

Our legion of the undead fought valiantly, utilising our knowledge of horror movies, famous actors, current events and music. We did not, however, manage to secure first place in Trivia nor the costume contest. The winners of Trivia were “Dais of the Dead” from Student Life and for Best Costume “Zombie Fairies” from Access and Transition. We did manage to win a few of the raffle prizes, though! Mostly importantly, we were able to eat, drink and be scary.

Want to make sure you don’t miss out on a great opportunity to have fun testing your knowledge with co-workers whilst raising money for a worthy cause? Keep your eye out for next year’s Trivia Night and join in the fun!

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Research News

Thanks to all those who participated in the Research(er) Development Workshop on Wednesday 11 October.

ELFSC researchers gathered to hear from Kate Hayes (Research Services) about finding grants through the Research Professional Database and senior research librarian Ruth Talbot-Stokes shared her expertise on library databases and literature search strategies. An Endnote workshop led by Ruth is planned for 2018.

For those who missed out please get in touch with Jo Hanley if you would like her assistance with using Research Professional.

Upcoming Research(er)) Development Workshops


Please join us for a preview of the following NAEEA 2017 presentations:


Lighting the Path(way): Articulating Curriculum Design Principles in Open Access Enabling programs

Bronwyn Relf

Academic Integrity and an Educative Approach in Enabling Education (excerpt)

Michelle Picard & Sharon Cooper


Rediscovering Science: Building Success upon Students’ Decision to Re-engage with Science as Adult Learners

Heath Jones & Cathy Burgess

Lunch provided – RSVP essential

PLEASE NOTE: Another NAEEA preview/feedback session closer to the conference has been proposed – 22 NOVEMBER…save the date!

Research Roundup: 8 December – 10.00am to 12.00pm

Program: TBA

Invitation to participate in survey exploring digital literacy in the context of Higher Education Australia

ALT Fellow, Jo Coldwell-Neilson is seeking your assistance in relation to her Australian Learning and Teaching Fellowship which is exploring digital literacy in the context of Higher Education in Australia.

Jo invites you to participate in a survey of staff who are involved in teaching higher education students. This study aims to:

  1. explore academic staff self-perceptions of their digital literacy capabilities, and
  2. identify academic staff expectations of their students digital literacy skills on entry into higher education institutions.

A Plain Language Statement (PLS) explaining the nature of the research and your commitment, if you chose to participate, can be found here. If you decide to participate please complete the online survey at Digital Literacy Staff Survey. It will take approximately 15 minutes to complete.

Jo would like to distribute the survey as widely as possible and would appreciate your assistance in doing so. Even if you decide not to participate, please would you share this invitation to your colleagues in your academic networks. If you have any questions or concerns about this study please do not hesitate to contact Jo at

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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Work Health and Safety

In addition to the information published in the October Newsletter, please note that Joyleen Christensen is also an emergency warden at Ourimbah. Barbara Mansfield is also Chair of WH&S Committee at Sydney.

Emergency contact cards:  Staff at Ourimbah and Callaghan should have received a (two-sided) wallet-sized Emergency Services Card recently.  Please keep this card handy as it contains the list of key contact numbers for emergency and support services. If you have not received the card, please collect a card from the Callaghan Foundation Studies Office of from Chris Dowman at Ourimbah.

ELFSC Health and Safety Action Plan – staff will have recently received via email, a copy of the ELFS Health and Safety Action Plan 2017-2020.  This plan is a dynamic document, which is frequently updated as we measure outcomes and progress.  If you would like to contribute to it, please contact Jenny Williams.

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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 Williams, Maureen Jones or Leah Hill.