November 2018


Language Centre; For Your Diary; Academic Division AwardsResearch News; Professional Staff PD Event; Saudi Students recognise Seamus; Trivia Night; 2018 Learning and Teaching Student Recognition Prize; Work Health & Safety


Language Centre

Sydney Language Centre

The Sydney Lord Mayor’s Morning Tea for International Students took place in September and one of Sydney ELICOS ex- students Rajbir Singh was a winner in the inaugural International Student Experience competition 2018 run by the City of Sydney. Rajbir was one of 6 winners in the writing competition. He wrote about Australian indigenous culture. Congratulations to Rajbir.

The Newcastle Business School guest lectures series for EAP students continues with Dr Judith Zhu presenting a lecture to students about Motivation. These lectures are an opportunity for EAP students to experience first-hand a real live business lecture and meet business school academics. To prepare the students, the lecturers provide pre lecture journal articles to students which teachers also use to create vocab exercises and short questions for students to do for homework. Following the lecture the class teachers run a short debriefing session to get feedback and students’ observations. The academics very generously volunteer their time to give the lectures and allow the EAP class teachers to sit in on the lectures which is greatly appreciated.

The English Australia Conference was held in September and Mario Rodrigues, Enrico Chiavaroli and the Program Convenor attended. The workshops as always were very informative and the sessions presented by Language Centre Ben Doran and Louise Pavey were well received by the audiences.

The Sydney Language Centre was sad to hear Seamus Fagan is retiring but wish him all the best for a happy and healthy retirement. Seamus has been unstinting in his support of the Sydney Language Centre and has always been available when needed. Seamus will be greatly missed.

Barbara Mansfield

Program Convenor

Callaghan Language Centre

ELT Program Mongolia and the Language Centre

Language Centre teacher Liza Pezzano has commenced work in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia where she is playing a key role in the delivery of an Academic English program for Mongolian students who have been granted Australia Awards scholarships. The University of Newcastle Language Centre is collaborating with the Institute of Education and Training, and the National University of Mongolia on the delivery of the English Language Training (ELT) Program which aims to increase the English proficiency and academic literacies of Mongolian students who have been awarded an Australia Awards Scholarship.  These scholarships are offered by the Australian Government and aim to contribute to the long-term development needs of Australia’s partner countries, in line with global bilateral and regional agreements. Liza is currently preparing for the delivery of Module 1 of the ELT program alongside her three co-teachers. Module 2 will commence in March of 2019 with at least one other Newcastle teacher expected to travel to Mongolia to make a contribution to this exciting program.

New SEP Offerings

This month, the Student Experience Program (SEP) launched a new initiative tentatively titled Ready to Talk. SEP events and activities provide Language Centre students with a range of opportunities for community engagement and authentic language use outside of the classroom. SEP coordinator Anne Burnett describes Ready to Talk as taking a slightly more structured approach to other conversation activities provided by SEP such as the popular Speed Conversations, and is being coordinated by Student Engagement Program Assistant Elisa Choudery alongside volunteers from Student Central.

Program Convenor trip to China

Callaghan ELICOS Program Convenor Ben Doran recently returned from a week in China, which included a Quality Assurance visit to the Jilin University of Finance and Economics who deliver the Centre’s Upper Intermediate and EAP programs offshore in Changchun. These programs are accessed by around 50 students each year, with successful students transitioning directly to their Newcastle Business School programs. In addition to the visit to JUFE, Ben also visited a number of current and prospective partners in China including Tianhua College in Shanghai, and Houhai Wentian College in Anhui where he collected feedback on the recent Study Tours both institutions engaged in, and took the opportunity to discuss further opportunities.


Ben Doran
Program Convenor ELICOS Programs

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For your Diary

Close Down Dates:

Last day for the year 19 December. Return date 7 January 2019.

Please don't forget to submit leave requests.

Christmas Party

Friday 14 December - Commencing 3pm - SAVE THE DATE!

Visual Arts Student Exhibitions:

Ourimbah Campus Exhibition 14 November

Callaghan Campus Exhibition 15 November

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Research News

NAEEA Symposium 2018 - Enabling Voices: Policy-Practice-Research & Evaluation

We are very pleased to report that the NAEEA Symposium hosted by ELFSC at NeW Space on 27th and 28th September was a well-attended and, by all accounts, successful event that will help to shape the future of the enabling sector in the coming years. DVCA Professor Darrell Evans opened the Symposium with an address acknowledging the proud history of enabling programs at UON and other institutions and how important they are to the people whose lives they change. He emphasised that thinking beyond the personal and the local to develop an inclusive and cohesive national presence and agenda for moving forward is important, especially following recent threats to the enabling sector. Over the course of the two-days, participants heard from former enabling students, including Gold Walkley Award recipient and Newcastle Herald journalist Joanne McCarthy, and opinion leaders from across the country: including representatives from the NAEEA executive, the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE), Equity Practitioners in Higher Education Australasia (EPHEA), La Trobe’s Centre for Higher Education Equity and Development Research (CHEEDR) and UON’s Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education (CEEHE). Delegates and panellists came from all over Australia, representing 16 universities, including a large contingent from UON. Panels, themed around policy, practice and research and evaluation, focused discussion on what matters to enabling educators and students. The final session aimed at representing the diversity of voices and opinions in the room produced a set of principles to guide the NAEEA Executive going forward in their efforts to support the enabling sector and to inform higher education policy.

Thanks go to Anna Bennett and Jo Hanley for their vision and organisation, and Seamus Fagan for his support and guidance. Special mention also of our ELFSC colleagues, Sharlene Leroy-Dyer, Cathy Burgess and Emma Hamilton, who shared their insights and experience on the Practice Panel. Much appreciation goes also to Maureen Jones and Jess Burden who assisted with setup and the registration desk, Leah Hill who helped pack showbags before the event, and Jenny Williams and Elizabeth Bridges for additional help on the ground. Finally, thank you to all ELFSC staff who attended the Symposium and contributed to making it a rewarding and productive showcase of how great we are! Please see below for a gallery of photos.

Top-Up Research Funding

Congratulations to Jaime Hunt and Kristen Allen who applied for additional funding to assist with their current research projects: German in Newcastle and the Hunter Valley and The failure of metrics of success in higher education policy and pedagogy: enabling student perceptions of academic capability and achievement.

FABENZ Preparation – Wednesday 14 November from 12:15pm

If you are interested in test-running your FABENZ presentation please get in touch with Jo no later than 8 November to organise a time slot.

All welcome. Lunch provided – RSVP essential.

Research Support

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

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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Academic Division Awards

At a ceremony on 25 October, staff in the Academic Division were recognised for their outstanding contributions at the Division Awards ceremony.  Each year the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) presents service and excellence awards to staff in the Division.

This year, ELFSC staff were winners in several categories and will go forward for consideration in the prestigious Vice-Chancellor’s Awards.

Our winners are:

Emma Hamilton, Early Career Research and Innovation Excellence.

Kristen Allen – Teaching Excellence and Contribution to Student Learning.

Anne Burnett and Tim Hyde – International Engagement.

Team Mindfulness from Ourimbah were joint winners of the Academic Division Health and Safety Award.  The team consists of Chris Dowman, Chris Campbell, Annika Westrenius, Jenny Hyde, Joyleen Christensen, Kristen Allen, Stephen Allen, Jenny Irwin, Catherine Chinnery-Doyle, Holly Batten and Meg Vertigan.

Michelle Mansfield, David Thompson and Stephen Allen were also recognised for 15 years of service to the University and Bev Wilson was recognised for 25 years of service.

On this occasion the DVC(A) also presented our ELFSC Health and Safety Award as well as the Foundation Studies Excellence in Teaching and Learning (Enabling) award. Congratulations respectively to Team Mindfulness (H&S winner), Peter’s Pavement Pounders (H&S Highly  Commended) and Heath Jones (Teaching Excellence).

Congratulations to all of our staff.  This is well deserved recognition for our continued excellence, and another proud moment for our soon-to-be-retired Director.


Saudi students recognise Seamus

On Sunday 28 October, the Saudi Student Club held a ceremony to celebrate the closing of the year.  The event was a recognition of this year’s Saudi graduates, and was attended by dignitaries of the Saudi Cultural Mission including the Saudi Cultural Attaché to Australia, Dr Hisham Abdulrahman Khadawardi. At the ceremony, the Saudi Student Club and the major event sponsor IGEC, presented Associate Professor Seamus Fagan with an award in recognition of his contribution to the Saudi student experience at Newcastle over many years, and as a sign of respect and farewell on his retirement.

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Professional Staff -PD Event

Empathy is our niche at ELFSC - Professional Staff –PD Event

On 24 October 2018, twenty of the Centre’s professional staff attended an Accidental Counsellor education session held in the Treehouse at Calaghan. The session was organised by Jenny Williams, presented by Helen Scobie and introduced by Seamus Fagan.  The venue lived up to it’s treehouse name with the room echoing a rustle of trees, magpie calls and light airiness – here is where our counselling event was facilitated. At the head of this comfortable room stood soon to retire Director Seamus Fagan ready to share a few insightful words with the English and Language Centre staff to kick off the session.  Seamus opened with, “it’s our aim for the workshop to empower you in your conversation with students.” He continued, “Before I leave I want you to know that we do this really well, as a team we are particularly good at offering a listening ear to our students. We need to maintain this personal approach in the Centre - because it’s our empathy and support we give to the students that is niche.” Truly inspirational words from our Director.

Helen Scobie facilitated the session, covering such things as how to have conversations with the students we are concerned about and the support available to us. With a helping toolbox, break away talk sessions and funny YouTube clips, Helen covered a lot of ground in the 3hrs in a fun and clear cut manner. Staff had a lot of information to digest and we also had a really had a good laugh. Learning the difference between sympathy and empathy via this clip provided the team a giggle.  More seriously, SAFER helping technique was an educational highlight at the session. We learnt that by offering each other S.A.F.E.R. Helping: S – Safety – physical and safety, A - Alliance, F – Facilitate understanding, E – Explore solutions and R – Referral pathways we are able to best offer safety, control and connection to each other. Following this approach will help to reduce pain and promote pleasure to create a safe and comfortable environment.

Following our session we enjoyed a delicious lunch to top off a productive but enjoyable morning educational. Thank you to all who attended the accidental counselling session. Thank you to Seamus for his kind wise words. Thank you to Helen for her know how. Thank you to Jenny for getting us all organised, feed and satiated. The event was very successful. Staff leaving proud of their empathetic approach to student the counselling, equipped with further information to continue this approach now and into the future.

Natalie Burgess (Homestay)

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Trivia Night

Wednesday 24th, the dynamic Disney dream team “Walt Quizney” tested their knowledge against 17 teams at the annual Glen Avery Memorial Trivia Night, hosted by the Student Life team. You are never too old to be young, and everyone was embracing their childhood tales and dreams, with princesses, monsters and adventurers everywhere in sight.

‘Cheshire Cat’ Alexandra Fowler, ‘Minnie Mouse’ Chelsea Trimble, ‘Prince Charming’ Dave Williams, ‘Coco Woman’ Helen Scobie, ‘Princess’ Jenny Williams, ‘Mama Imelda’ Leah Hill and ‘Aladdin’ Seamus Fagan were dressed in their Disney best and engaged in a fun night of eating, drinking and revelry.

With faith, trust, and a little bit of pixie dust, Walt Quizney utilised their diverse knowledge of Disney, current events, and general knowledge to get a respectable 11th place. First place went to Team Up (OAP), who have won the honour of organising the 2019 Trivia Night. Best Team Costume went to both the Wonderland Tea Partiers (Academic Administration) and Fed Up (FEDUA) and Best Individual Costume went to Sully (Darren Nolan).

Though they didn’t win the trivia, everyone at Walt Quizney walked away with a prize, including a runner-up prize for Best Individual Costume. Most importantly, everyone had fun and $3,335 was raised for the Glen Avery Memorial Shaping Futures Scholarship fund.

Want to make sure you don’t miss out on a great opportunity to have fun dressing up, 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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2018 Learning and Teaching Student Recognition Prize

Congratulations to Maureen May, former Ourimbah Open Foundation student, who is one of the recipients of a 2018 Learning and Teaching Student Recognition Prize. Maureen received her award from the DVC(A) at an afternoon tea presentation ceremony on Monday 5 November. The prize is in recognition of Maureen’s significant and demonstrable ongoing commitment to enhancing the learning and teaching in the enabling programs through peer mentoring activities, involvement in the First-in-Family forum, participating in BOOST sessions, and assisting with various orientations over the years.

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Work Health & Safety

Using two monitors

Do you use more than one monitor at your workspace?  This tip sheet might be useful for you.

Campus Care

Campus Care provides information, advice and support in managing inappropriate, concerning or menacing behaviours in a safe and confidential environment for both staff and students. You can find more information at this link.


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.

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