October 2015 Newsletter

Staffing News; Maureen's 60thELICOS PDUONPREP; Workplace Health & Safety

Research Newsletter

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

From the Director

I was part of a small UON delegation that visited key partners in China from the 13th – 19th of September.  The delegation attended a C50 event for our major partners in China, visited 5 of our key education agents, met with the CSCSE (which allocates scholarships to Chinese students) and then visited 5 major universities in the strategically important city of Wuhan. 
English Australia Conference
The University of Newcastle Language         Louise Pavey
Centre in Newcastle and Sydney was 
well represented at the recent English
Australia Conference in Brisbane.  
The Conference was attended by the 
Director, the ELICOS Convenor 
Newcastle, the Deputy Convenor
Sydney, Jeremy Harmer, Anna 
Szczerbicka, Louise Pavey, and Sharon 
Bromwich. Louise Pavey presented an
energetic and exhilarating workshop 
entitled "Rhythm and Song" to a
packed and appreciative audience 
at the Conference.

Staffing News

Retirement of Jo May
Jo May 

Associate Professor Jo May has decided to retire as of the 31st of December this year.  Jo has had a long association with enabling programs and ELFS, starting as a tutor in the Newstep Program in 1991. In 2002 Jo was appointed Newstep Convenor and in 2004 played a key role as Convenor of the first National Enabling Educators of Australia Conference held in Newcastle. In August that year Jo went to the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Ourimbah to teach Australian History courses. In due course, she was offered Deputy Head of School (Teaching and Learning) and was also Acting Head of School.

In March 2013 the Centre was pleased to welcome Jo back "home" to the important role of Associate Professor Teaching and Learning and Deputy Director of the Centre.  Jo has played a major role in the enhancement of the learning and teaching in the Centre.  Jo's work in the Faculty proved invaluable to us as we moved to bring our courses more in line, where possible, to those in other areas of the University.

Jo has a great passion for enabling education and this is demonstrated by her steadfast commitment to enhancing the learning experience of enabling students.  Jo achieved this in many ways, providing strong and wise leadership through the Centre's Teaching and Learning Committee which she ably chaired, and organising informative and challenging Professional Development days for staff, on areas like assessment, and curriculum development and renewal. During Jo's time with us, the Open Foundation, Newstep and Yapug Programs have all been externally reviewed.

Jo played a key role in the development of our Academic Study Skills Online which started as our first UONPrep online course but morphed (at the request of the University) into a MOOC which is now used by our undergraduate and enabling students at the beginning of each semester and is also being used by a number of universities throughout Australia.  Jo with Liz and Evonne and other discipline staff are working on a number of other courses which will be soon online.  Our enabling orientation was identified as needing some improvement, and Jo, Holly and Dave have revitalised the orientation program and recent feedback from the student experience survey was extremely pleasing. Over the last few months Jo has developed a 3 year plan for blended learning which will stand the Centre in good stead during the coming years.

One of Jo greatest strengths has been her capacity to mentor staff and I know a number of staff in our Centre who have greatly benefited from her sage advice. Despite her heavy workload Jo managed to maintain her research output and her work in her OLT seed grant will greatly enlighten the enabling sector especially when she writes the book with her colleagues Sarah and Cathy.

Jo as Deputy Director has been a major assistance to me as Director, always there to provide sound advice when required and always available to carry out whatever task is required.  I will personally greatly miss her collegiality, her great sense of humour, her great eye for detail, her kindness and support.  An outstanding quality of Jo's is her capacity to be a great team member and rarely seek credit for the great work she has done. We have been fortunate over the last number of years to have a person like Jo, who has always "lived" our enabling philosophy. 

Before the end of the year we will have an opportunity to say farewell to Jo and show appreciation for the great work Jo has done for the Centre.

 Back to Top

Morning Tea for Maureen's 60th Birthday

ELFSC staff gathered on 16 September to celebrate a special milestone for long serving staff member Maureen Jones.  Happy 60th birthday Maureen.


Maureen's 60th Birthday Cake  Maureen with Cake and Balloons

Back to Top


Next week ELICOS staff will have an exciting few days of PD, starting with a Voice and Speech Intelligibility Clinic from Helen Blake from Speech Pathology, highlights from the recent English Australia Conference, presentations from Careers and Counselling as well as workshop on applying for teaching awards. On next Friday the Level Co-ordinators will have their regular meeting at UON Sydney, which will provide an opportunity for our Callaghan Co-ordinators to see the newly opened UON Sydney.

Back to Top

Completing a UONPREP Course Aided Improved Retention and Success 2011-2014 

Initial data indicates that success and retention rates for prior enabling commencing undergraduate students who have attended a UON Prep course are generally higher than those who have not. Factors such as ATAR, program and course choice will be examined as part of a more thorough analysis. Findings to date indicate that there was an average 6% increase in retention rates for the years 2011-2014 for Undergraduates who enrolled in a UONPREP Course compared to undergraduates who did not enrol in a UONPREP course. This is for Undergraduates who have not been through an enabling program and make up the bulk of all students attending UONPREP courses.

For students who completed the Newstep Program and also enrolled in a UONPREP Course prior to starting their undergraduate study, there is approximately an average 8% increase from 2011 to 2014 in retention rates compared to students that did not do a UONPREP Course.

For students who completed the Part time Open Foundation Program, and also who enrolled in a UONPREP Course prior to undertaking their undergraduate study, there is an average 9% increase from 2011 to 2014 in retention rates compared to students who did not do a UONPREP Course.

For students who completed the Open Foundation Program (Intensive), and also enrolled in a UONPREP Course there is an average 7% increase from 2011 to 2014 in retention rates compared to students that did not do a UONPREP Course.

Most importantly In 2013, the greatest differences in retention between those who attended UON Prep and those who did not was in the lower ATAR bands of under 60 and 60 to 64 (19.0 and 18.3 percentage points). Further 2013 retention rates for commencing students who attended a UON Prep course were more than five percentage points higher than those who did not attend UON Prep in all ATAR Bands apart from the 65 to 69 band. (Please note that retention rates for 2014-2015 are not finalised and will affect future analysis).

The impact on success rates (Success refers to load (EFTSL) passed as a percentage of load (EFTSL) attempted) appears to be highest in middle ATAR bands. The largest difference in success between those who attended a UON Prep course and those who did not was in the 75 to 79 ATAR Band (9.7%), followed by 65 to 69 ATAR Band (8.6%s).

Success rates for students who attended UON Prep were similar (within 1.5 percentage points) to those who had not attended in the ATAR bands 85 - 89 and above and the under 60 ATAR band in 2014.

These results may indicate that students who attend UON Prep are more motivated to stay at university and are undertaking programs to assist them to achieve their academic goals. This preliminary data indicates that the UONPREP programs may also play a role in increasing students' sense of engagement and awareness of learning support structures offered by the university, important factors that influence retention. Further investigation is required to more accurately assess the impact of UONPREP attendance on success rates in first year across the different courses.

Catherine Burgess

UONPREP Coordinator

Back to Top

Workplace Health and Safety 

In cooperation with the UON Health & Safety team, ELFSC has implemented twice yearly site inspections "("walk throughs") at our Callaghan (McMullin Building and Language Centre) and Ourimbah (Humanities building) precincts.

The second inspection of the McMullin building for 2015 was recently completed, and with the exception of two minor maintenance issues, no ongoing matters were identified. 

Back to Top

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 or queries to Jenny Williams, Leah Hill or Maureen Jones.