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From the Director
I am pleased to announce the appointment of Ben Doran as our new Callaghan ELICOS Convenor. Ben has a MA in Applied Linguistics and broad experience teaching ELICOS in Australia and overseas. For the last 5 years he has held a number of senior administrative roles in Monash College (a pathway college operated and owned by Monash University) both in Melbourne and in China. Since 2013 Ben has been the Manager of English programs at South East University- Monash University Joint Graduate School, Suzhou, China. Ben is fluent in Mandarin and has undertaken a significant amount of marketing for Monash College in China. Ben will be commencing in his role on the 21st of November.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank Janielle Wilson, the acting Convenor, who for the last 6 months has ably led the Centre through a NEAS Quality Assurance Visit as well as challenging times with student numbers. Janielle will resume her role as Deputy Convenor as from the 21st of November. I would also like to thank Sue Hodgson, who has ably filled Janielle’s role while she was acting Convenor.
On July 1 the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIPB) introduced a new visa system called the Simplified Student Visa Framework (SSVF). Unfortunately both international students and education agents were concerned about the new visa system so decided to get their applications in before July 1. The end result was a “clogging” of the system and it also turns out the new visa framework was not as “simple” as the title says and there have been unprecedented delays in visa processing which resulted in a marked decrease in students commencing their ELICOS studies at Newcastle and Sydney. The Department eventually took action to deal with the delays and with the co-operation of staff from both centres we were able to accept students who arrived late for their courses.
A few months ago the Newcastle ELICOS program received a positive report from the National ELT Accreditation Scheme (NEAS) Quality Assurance Visit. Our Sydney campus recently had a NEAS Quality Assurance visit and received a glowing report, among the comments
Courses are structured around clear syllabus documentation and learning outcomes to ensure consistent delivery. Teachers are given a lot of guidance from the course documents that are further supported by level meetings and encouraged communication with co-teachers.
Students overall are happy with their courses and their study experience at the campus. Students participating in the focus group all commented positively on their courses and teaching and learning experiences; they liked the environment that teachers and support staff create and said they have noticed their English skills improving because the teachers focus on how grammar is used in all 4 skills. Students are confident they are being well-prepared for their future studies.
All focus group students unanimously agreed that they are cared about by the campus and cited the calls in regards to absences and the friendliness and helpfulness of campus staff.
Student engagement is a significant strength of the Sydney campus. ELICOS students have access to all extra-curricular activities and events offered on campus and many of the focus group students had been involved in the various enrichment programmes offered. Students in the focus group like being involved in projects and programmes in the broader community and think they help them with their English but also their studies; one student said that they had made friends as a result of their volunteer work and other students said they like the opportunities to understand more about Australian businesses.
Congratulations to Barbara Mansfield, Keely McCauley and the team in Sydney for achieving such a good outcome.
Rosalie Bunn gave a well-received talk on women, collectivism, and activism at the Bluestocking Week morning tea at Ourimbah on Friday 19 August. The event was also an opportunity to celebrate Rosalie's recent nomination as the first female NTEU life member of the UON branch.
Ryan O'Neill's new book
Congratulations to Ryan O'Neill on the recent publication of his book "Their Brilliant Careers - The Fantastic lives of sixteen extraordinary writers". The book is a playful set of stories providing a wonderful comic tapestry of the writing life. Further details available here https://www.blackincbooks.com.au/books/their-brilliant-careers
Tertiary Education Management Conference
Our Executive Officer, Jenny Williams attended the Tertiary Education Managers Conference held from 11 to 13 September in Auckland. Organised by the Tertiary Education Facilities Management Association (TEFMA) and the Association for Tertiary Education Management (ATEM), the annual conference attracted over 900 professional administrators and managers from higher education and TAFE institutes, Polytechnics, government departments, private providers and similar organisations. The Conference theme “From Rhetoric to Reality” provided a vibrant opportunity for keynote addresses and presentations across the themes of Infrastructure, Strategic Alignment, Opportunity, Challenges, Leadership, Engagement and Technology. A number of UON staff, from Faculties, Student Central, and IFS gave presentations. Jenny also chaired one session “Are we there yet? Creating a culture of accountability in academic staff”.
The Director hosted a retirement function for Barry Hodges on 30 August. Current and former colleagues gathered at an afternoon tea event in the Purdue Room to wish Barry all the best for life beyond ELFSC. Although Barry retired on 1 September, he will have an ongoing association with the Centre and the University, having accepted an appointment as Conjoint Lecturer.
Workplace Health and Safety
Staff are reminded that as part of our Healthy UON program, a range of activities and services are available for staff that encourage positive physical, workplace, spiritual and mental health. It’s great to see many of our staff taking advantage of lunch time activities available in the Wellness Calendar, including Yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates.
Please take a moment to check the calendar for upcoming activities.