November 2019

Interim Director; For your Diary; Award winners- Academic Division Excellence Awards and Service Recognition; Pathways Precinct; Yapug Anniversary Dinner; Learning and Teaching Student Recognition Prize - Jimmy Jones; Reimagining the Canon Art Exhibition; Face2FaceDay; Language Centre News; Congratulations and Farewell; Supporting Student Scholarships - Trivia Night; Research News; Work Health and Safety

Interim Director

Saudi Student CeremonyIt was a wonderful experience to celebrate the success of Saudi students graduating from their Award programs on Sunday 27th October at NEX. The Saudi Students Club organised the event which featured Dr. Hesham Khadawardi, the Saudi Cultural Attaché to Australia, presenting all students with certificates, as well as to the Language Centre as a thank you for the support of Saudi students.

It has already been so enjoyable working with you in the new GP building. Staff have commented on the enhanced collaboration and sense of community experienced in the new spaces. A big thank you to Elizabeth Bridges and Jenny Williams for their hard work in facilitating the transition with such care and joyous celebrations. A grand opening event will be organised to be held early 2020.

On Friday 18th October Emma Hamilton, Jenny Williams, Ben Doran and  I enjoyed an opportunity to get together with staff from the Language Centre Callaghan over lunch, and on Friday 1st November, Ben Doran and I enjoyed cake with staff from the Language Centre in Sydney to celebrate Doris Ayala’s Teaching and Learning Award (more information and photos to follow). Later this week Jenny Irwin will be formally presented with her Teaching and Learning Award at a staff event at Ourimbah. These regular get-togethers are very important for enabling more in-depth communication and recognition of excellent work across the rich diversity of our programs, services and sites.

Congratulations also to our nominees and winners in the Academic Division Excellence Awards (see article and photos below).  I am very proud of the wonderful work done by you all.

I hope that your November is an enjoyable and rewarding one,


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For your Diary

Student Art Exhibitions

Ourimbah: The Open Foundation Visual Arts students of 2019 warmly invite you to celebrate their achievements at an exhibition of their artworks to be held in the Ourimbah Fine Arts Studio on Tuesday 12 November 2019 (Time TBC). The exhibition will also feature the presentation of the 2019 Dr Ibtihal Samarayi Memorial Scholarship.

Callaghan: The work of Callaghan Open Foundation Visual Arts students of 2019 will be on display at an exhibition at the Callaghan Art Studio on Friday 15 November 2019 (Time TBC). The exhibition will be opened by ELFSC Interim Director Dr. Anna Bennett and will also feature the presentation of the 2019 Dr Ibtihal Samarayi Memorial Scholarship. Please join us for a celebration of our wonderful student's achievements"

Save the date-ELFSC Christmas Party-Callaghan-Friday 13 December 3pm-6pm

More details to follow–this is our last Christmas gathering as the English Language and Foundation Studies Centre so we encourage you all to come along.

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Award Winners -Academic Division Excellence Awards and Service Recognition

The 2019 Academic Division Awards for Excellence, and the Service Recognition Awards were presented at a function in The Chancellery on 30 October. The Interim Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Liz Burd, thanked all staff of the division for their ongoing commitment to, and support of our students. We really do make a difference.

As in previous years, staff in the Centre were well represented with nominations in the following categories:

  • Collaboration Excellence – ELFS Teaching and Learning Team
  • Professional Staff Excellence (Individual) – Maureen Jones and Elizabeth Bridges
  • Teaching Excellence and Contribution to Student Learning – Jennifer Irwin
  • International engagement – Liza Pezzano and Helen Askie
  • Health & Safety Excellence – Leah Hill as part of the Fun and Wellbeing Committee (FAWBC).

Congratulations to our category winners:  Jenny Irwin; Liza Pezzanno and Helen Askie; and Leah Hill.  A brief citation on each is reproduced below:

Jenny Irwin (Teaching Excellence and Contribution to Student Learning):

Since joining ELFSC in 2016, Jenny has used her experience and training in onlineJenny Irwin and blended teaching to adapt two on campus Open Foundation courses for online delivery. Reflection on her previous teaching experience highlighted how significantly virtual classroom design and curriculum quality impact the experience of both instructor and student. Universal design principles, strong teacher presence and the provision of multiple communication channels were purposefully integrated during development and delivery. Both courses were successfully delivered online in 2018 receiving favourable SFC feedback. In addition, selected online resources were successfully blended for use in Jenny’s on-campus courses.

Liza Pezzanno and Helen Askie (International Engagement):

Helen Askie AwardThe partnership between the UoN Language Centre and the Institute of Education and Training in Mongolia was initiated in 2012 when UoN Language Centre ELICOS teacher Liza Pezzano delivered a 10-week Academic Preparation Program for the Australia Awards Mongolia scholarship candidates in Ulaanbaatar prior to their deployment to Australia. When the Institute of Education and Training was awarded the 2018/2019 contract, the Language Centre again partnered with IET in association with the National University of Mongolia to provide two teachers, Liza Pezzano and Helen Askie, to design and deliver a new 6-week Academic Preparation Program along with their Mongolian colleagues.

Leah Hill (FAWBC) (Health & Safety Excellence):

The FAWBC consists of numerous staff members from different units within the Academic Division, across Callaghan, Ourimbah and the Sydney Campus. The FAWBC developed an outstanding and exceptional initiative that not only contributed to a safer and healthier work environment for staff, but promoted and encouraged staff wellbeing via numerous campus events and activities for Academic Division Staff. Such as:Leah Hill Health & Safety Award

* Two ’10,000 Steps’ Walking Challenge Tournaments

* Lunch Time Fitness sessions

* The reintroduction of ‘Brown Bag Lunches’

* Monthly Book Club meetings

* FAWBC Newsletter- ‘The Wellbeing Beat’

* FAWBC Twitter (@UonFun)

* Promoting awareness surrounding mental-health issues coinciding with World Mental Health Day

Congratulations also to our Newstep teacher, Lucia Sakoff, who was recognised for her 15 years of service to the University.

Pathways Precinct

On Friday 11 October 2019, Stage 1 of the move to the new Pathways Precinct in the GP Building at Callaghan took place. Professional staff, the Interim Director and Interim Deputy Director made the move.   Although it was a rainy day, everyone was excited to finally be making the move and spent the day settling in to the new building.

Our new work space has been well designed, looks beautiful and we love all of the plants dotted around to break things up.   It’s great to have a kitchen with a dishwasher and new crockery and cutlery. We’re also getting fit walking the stairs to visit each other.

We have now been in the building for three weeks and are very happy with the new facilities.  We have identified a number of issues at the tail end of the construction process and have been working through them as we settle in to the new building and adapt our way of working to the new spaces. So hopefully many are ironed out, or are in the process of being fixed in time for Stage 2.

The Pathways Precinct was given a soft launch on Friday 18 October 2019 (photos below).   Anna Bennett gave a warm welcoming speech to the gathering of staff, students and visitors. There was cake (a very big one) and those new to the space were given tours.   Our online students who were participating in the Face-to-Face day on the Saturday were invited to a small welcoming event and the day was based around the vicinity of the building.  A formal launch will be held in the new-year where we invite the wider university community to visit us and get to know the new Pathways Precinct.

For the rest of the Callaghan-based academic and support staff joining us as part of Stage 2 of the move from 4 November - all of the staff who have been here since 11 October are happy assist you while you settle in to the refurbished building.

To all our colleagues who are not based at Callaghan you are welcome to pop in for a visit to have a look at the new facility.  We are very proud and happy to show you around.  If you are here for the day and need a space to work, we have a number of hot desks available for our sessional staff and visitors.

Students have started to find their purpose built facilities, are making themselves at home and have expressed enthusiasm for the facilities that have been made available to them.  The lounges and work spaces on ground floor, level 1 and level 2 are proving very popular for students waiting to get to classes.  We are looking forward to 2020 where we will have a whole new cohort of students who will have the benefit of these amazing student spaces and the feeling that they have an area dedicated to them.

If anyone has any questions about the relocation to GP, please contact Jenny Williams or Elizabeth Bridges.

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Yapug 20th Anniversary Dinner

2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the Yapug program at the University.  At a formal dinner on 18 October we reflected on, and celebrated the success of this enabling program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

Guests at the dinner included current and former University staff, community members, current students and graduates of the Yapug program.

The MC’s for the dinner at Noah’s were graduates and current Yapug students.  Guests were entertained throughout the night by local Indigenous dancers and music, slideshows and videos.  Guests heard from a number of speakers including the Vice-Chancellor, Associate Professor Seamus Fagan, Dr Anna Bennett, Fay Acklin and Dr Sharlene Leory-Dyer.

The artwork commissioned for this anniversary, was also unveiled and was the theme for the amazing table decorations. A booklet detailing the history of the program and student stories was also produced for the occasion.

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Learning and Teaching Student Recognition Prize - Jimmy Jones

Congratulations to Callaghan Newstep student Jimmy Jones who is the recipient of the 2019 Learning And Teaching Student Recognition Prize for ELFSC for his contribution to the enhancement of learning and teaching within the Centre, and to the University of Newcastle.

Jimmy’s citation reads “You have been recognised for your contribution to Learning and Teaching activities.  Your determination and work ethic are an inspiration to your fellow students and to staff. You have led by example, demonstrating to your peers that hardships can be overcome and success achieved through resilience and perseverance.  Your willingness to assist and inspire others makes you a deserving recipient of his award”

Jimmy will be presented with his award at the Student Engagement Awards presentation on 7 November.

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Reimagining the Canon – Art Exhibition

Our staff member Annemarie Murland has curated an art exhibition that may be of interest.  The exhibition highlights the lack of representation of women in the arts.

The exhibition features works of a number of high-profile national and international female artisits, who were asked to respond to the question: ‘If you could - how would you write yourself into the canon of Western Art History?  How would that look and sound?  Please be direct about your practice and process and how you feel, work within, challenge or ignore the system’.

The exhibition runs until 17 November at the Callaghan Art Gallery.

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Face2Face Day, 19 October 2019Face2FaceDayPic1

Saturday 19 October turned on a spectacular day for our Open Foundation Online students and staff to enjoy their final Face2Face Day of the year.

About 40 students and 12 staff attended the event in the newly refurbished Maths and GP buildings. Not only did we enjoy the sights and smells of new carpet and clean upholstery, but the festivity of music, balloons, pizza and cake as well.

Face2FaceDayPic2Face2Face Days are offered twice per semester and students travel from near and far to receive personalised support and hands-on experience from our dedicated team of academics.

Big thanks to the organising team for your multiple contributions (which are not listed here because they are too numerous): Lynda Lomax (pizza!), Chelsea Trimble (music!), Karla Brandstater (paparazzi!), Peter Corke (fresh carpet!), Jenny Williams (cake!).

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Language Centre News

Callaghan Campus

126 new students arrived On October 8th to commence their ELICOS studies, with the majority of students studying 10 weeks EAP.  At present, there are 339 students studying at the Callaghan campus of the Language Centre across 20 classes, making an average of 17 students per class.

The penultimate intake of 2019 included students from two of the Centre’s long-term partners in Japan:

  • 17 students from Shohoku College have commenced 10 weeks with the Language Centre
  • 3 students from the Nagoya University of Foreign Studies have commenced 15 weeks with the Language Centre followed by a semester on exchange with UON

Engagement with Japan

For over a decade, representatives from the Language Centre have regularly visited Japan to cultivate the reputation of our ELICOS and Global Experience programs resulting in significant growth in student numbers over time. Acting Deputy Program Convenor Stuart Macdonald continued this work recently, visiting a wide range of our partners between October 8th and 17th to solicit feedback and promote new Centre programs and services that are due to be rolled out in 2020. During this time, Stuart visited institutes including Meijo University in Nagoya; Tachibana and Doshisha Universities in Kyoto; and a number of institutes in and around the Tokyo region, which included Toyo University, Shohoku College, Seijo University and Kyorin University. All of these institutes send students to UON for a variety of programs including study abroad, short-term integrated language programs and stand-alone study tours. A number of meetings were held with staff at the various institutes, and Stuart took the opportunity to present to students who have already decided to come to Newcastle and those that are considering their options. The trip was a success in that there was a lot of positive feedback about our courses, and there was the opportunity to address any concerns, as well as promote what is new in and around the Language Centre.

International Engagement

Language Centre teachers Helen Askie and Liza Pezzano have received the 2019 UON Academic Division Award for International Engagement. Helen and Liza were recognized for their fantastic work on the Academic Preparation Program (APP), delivered in collaboration with the Institute of Education and Training at the National University of Mongolia. Helen was on hand to accept the award, with Liza already busy at work on the first session of the APP program in Ulaanbaatar. The APP provides academic literacies and language development to Australia Awards Mongolia scholarship candidates, with successful students taking up offers for further study at Australian institutions. Scholarships are provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Language Centre is proud to play a role in this important project.

Student Experience Program

Student Experience activities have continued strongly under the coordination of Sonia Carpenter with several new events coming online recently. These have included Chill Tuesday which offers students and staff a great way to pilot new and interesting activities. This week, Chill Tuesday attracted a bumper crowd, with students working with volunteers to paint Halloween masks. The day also saw the monthly $100 prize draw for students who have completed the Student Experience Passport. This month’s winner was Intermediate student Chihiro Kawano from Japan. Other new initiatives include Sarah’s Friday Yoga classes which are open to ELICOS students and perhaps even interested ELFSC staff. Sarah is a former Language Centre student and her sessions attract a group of core fans from across the University and look like a great way to finish off the week. The next session will be held this Friday from 3:30 pm in Tutorial 10 at the Language Centre (LC3033). For more information and photos please like the Language Centre’s Facebook page:


which Sonia is keeping very well updated with lots of great images and events.

Sydney Campus

Professional Development

In-house professional development on the theme of feedback continued at the Sydney Doris Ayala Teaching AwardLanguage Centre. Sara Houshi ran a workshop in October to share learnings from the English Australia conference earlier in the year.  Her session for ELICOS teaching staff focused on using technology when giving student feedback, using Panopto for this purpose.

Project Based Leadership

Four students graduated from the Project Based Leadership Program in block 5908.  They were Zhang Yiwen, Zahng Jiarui, Li Xiorui and Cen Yiming. These students spent six weeks learning leadership skills such as decision making and team work and gave five oral presentations over that period.PBL graduates Syd LC 2

Coming up

Award Presentation

The Sydney Language Centre is proud to celebrate Doris Ayala’s 2019 ELFSC Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award. Doris will be presented with a framed certificate by Dr Anna Bennett at a staff lunch on November 1st.

NBS Guest Lecture

Dr David Cunneen from the Newcastle Business School will give the last guest lecture for 2019 in December, on the topic of leadership. The Sydney Language Centre would like to thank Dr Cunneen for his invaluable ongoing support and involvement in the guest lecture program.

Study Tour Group

In December the Sydney Language Centre will welcome a study tour group of 25 business and commerce university students from China. The customised syllabus designed for the group covers themes of education, intercultural communication, management, economics, leadership and law, and it familiarises the students with academic expectations in Australian higher education, in preparation for their future studies in Australia.

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Congratulations and farewell

Dr Sharlene Leroy Dyer, Convenor of the Yapug program since 2016, is leaving UON on 18 December to take up the position of Teaching and Research Academic at the University of Queensland’s Business School.

Sharlene started working at the University of Newcastle in February 2002 as a casual academic at the Wollotuka Institute, and in 2005 commenced work in the Newcastle Business School as a casual academic until December 2016.

In January 2008, Sharlene commenced work in the Yapug program, replacing Stephanie Gilbert as the coordinator for six months whilst Stephanie was on SSP; however she remained working in Yapug teaching various subjects. In 2009, Sharlene was seconded into the role of Indigenous Employment coordinator for one year, then commenced as a full time academic at Wollotuka, where she remained until taking up the role of Program Convenor for Yapug in January 2016.

A UON Alumnus, Sharlene started her study at the University of Newcastle in 1998 in a B Commerce degree and in 2000 transferred into a B Business majoring in employment relations. She graduated with Honours in 2006, and in 2016 with a PhD in Management. Sharlene is the first Aboriginal person to gain this qualification from the University of Newcastle.

Sharlene is a great champion of the Yapug program, working to empower students to learn and develop, as well as being an advocate for all enabling programs, as was demonstrated at the beautiful Yapug 20th anniversary celebration dinner that was held on 18 October which she coordinated (see the news item in this newsletter), as well as being supportive and caring to students and colleagues. Her enthusiasm and energy will be missed, but we wish Sharlene all the best and hope to see her visiting, including for Yapug anniversary celebrations, into the future.

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Supporting student scholarships - Trivia Night

Once again, our staff rallied to the cause to support the Glen Avery Memorial Shaping Futures Scholarship at the annual Trivia Night on 23 October.  The theme this year was “Squad Goals”, and our Harry Potter squad “Dobby the House ELF and Friends” really got into the spirit.

Between our awesome costumes, extravagant spread of food and breadth of knowledge, I think it’s safe to say the evening was a success.

On top of that, the squad came away with many wins:

    - Multiple raffle winnings for the table with a few double ups

    - Jo determined to guard her silent auction items

    - Pete and I getting a shout out for the costumes (although my goodness we all looked good together)

    - The amount of laughter that came from our table

Chelsea Trimble, Team Captain (a.k.a. Dobby the House ELF)

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Research News

NAEEA/EPHEA 2019: Pre-conference presentations by ELFSC staff

All welcome to attend

Lunch provided – RSVP essential (email

Date: Thursday 14 November

Time: 11am to 4.00pm

Venue: GP212 – Level 2 teaching space (to be confirmed)

Draft Program

Research Table

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Work Health & Safety

Reminder to all Callaghan staff that as we are now located in the Pathways Precinct the Emergency Assembly Area is in the Circled Courtyard between the GP building and the CT Building.

NewPsych Counsellor on site at Callaghan from 8 November

From Friday 8 November we will be trialing offering free confidential EAP counselling appointments via the EAP provider, NewPsych, onsite at the Callaghan Health Service.

Appointments with Gerard Devine, Psychologist, can be booked by calling NewPscyh on 02 4926 5005, emailing or sending a message via the portal on the NewPsych webpage.

All consultations are strictly confidential. NewPsych will not share information about you with the University unless you authorise for them to do so. When making appointments, you may be asked for information on your organisation and faculty. This information may be used towards high level reporting on trends and utilisation rates.

Important information

  • Please let the receptionist know when making your appointment if you require urgent counselling.
  • If you cancel your appointment with less than 24 hours’ notice this will be counted as one of your University-funded sessions.

For staff not located at Callaghan

  • NewPsych's head office is located at Level 4/77 Hunter Street, Newcastle.
  • NewPsych will provide services to all our regional and remote campuses with face to face, phone or Zoom appointments via local satellite offices.
  • Appointments are arranged via the Newcastle office.
  • Phone: 02 4926 5005
  • Email :
  • Enquiries: Log onto the website

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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.

Thank you for reading this edition of ELFS Link.