From the Director
It is a pleasure to be introducing the first newsletter of Spring 2019. As we have moved into the semester break after a very busy winter, I’d like to thank all staff, including and especially our large numbers of dedicated sessional staff who work so hard to introduce our international domestic students to the university in such engaging and inspiring ways. I am always delighted to consistently hear from students (past and present) about how important you have been to them, particularly after they have moved on into their degrees or as they move on through their other endeavours, and jobs, promotions, distinguished professions, businesses and other forms of further and life-long learning (with many of the years also going on to postgraduate study and academia). Your focus on consistently providing such supportive, high quality learning experiences is what our Centre is so well known for. Although we may not hear it directly from all of our students all of the time, your commitment is so greatly valued by them, the University and the wide diversity of local and international stakeholders we have engaged with over our 45 years of operating.
It has been a very busy year, with some exciting new offerings and approaches across the Centre being developed with your hard work and innovative approaches. Although there have been some challenges in educational markets (both international and domestics), we have continued to engage large numbers of students in our programs across ELICOS and Enabling. We have continued to shine with awards, the Student Experience Program (again winning an important innovation award presented at the English Australia conference), the prestigious NSW International Student of the Year Finalist ELICOS, and we also have the most enabling students ever enrolled! These are the result of your ongoing outstanding hard work.
You may recall that back in November 2018, a government discussion paper outlined possible ‘new arrangements’ for funding Enabling places in 2020. There is now speculation in media about what the government will do as 2020 draws closer. As the Campus Morning Mail reported last week, ‘the government is in the process of finalising the redistribution arrangements for enabling, sub-bachelor and postgraduate Commonwealth supported places. Universities will be notified of the arrangements for reallocation of these CSPs shortly. The arrangements will be informed by the submissions to the consultation paper, and take into account which universities are fully using their allocated places and which have demand for places they cannot currently meet.’ I will keep you updated regarding development with this.
Spring also brings us to say farewell to a staff member who has been with us for many years: Anne Burnett (Student Experience program). We thank you so much for your dedication and outstanding work. Please read on for more details.
All best wishes,
 However, due to the development of a ‘post-ATAR’ approach to university access across the sector and increasing university access schemes, as well as many students being attracted to online and part-time Enabling offerings, there has been a significant change in the spread of load in programs over the past 18 months.
Farewell to Anne Burnett
Staff gathered on Monday 12 September for lunch in the Language Centre to say farewell and good luck to Anne Burnett as she pursues a new role in Sydney. Thank you Anne for all you have done for ELFSC and the students within the Student Engagement Program, and on behalf of the Centre all the best with the new role.
Pathways Precinct – It’s getting exciting now!
Confidential bins are filling up, records archived, boxes assembled, packed and sealed ready for the move of the English Language and Foundation Studies Centre to the new Pathways Precinct in the GP Building. The building works are progressing well and are on-track with the ground floor being retouched, the finishing touches are going on Level 1 and work progressing well on level 2.
Relocation to GP
There are two stages to the up-coming relocation:
Stage 1 – Friday 11 October 2019 – Professional Staff, the Interim Director and Acting Deputy Director
Stage 2 –Out on Friday 31 October 2019 – all remaining academic, teaching and support staff.
Our first day of operations in the GP Building is Monday 14 October 2019. And all staff will be located in GP from 4 November 2019.
Communications will be sent to our students advising them of the relocation of the Foundation Studies Office.
McMullin Building Lockout
Staff from the McMullin Building have until Friday 6 December to pack up and remove all personal items from the building. For safety and security purposes doors will no longer be accessible as preparations commence for building demolition next year.
Pathways Precinct User Group (PPUG)
The Pathways Precinct User Group met for the fourth time on 10 September 2019 and the following issues were discussed at that meeting:
- Building access
- Progress on the building works
- Relocation Plan / Equipment Audit
- Moving Date and Schedule
- Staff Communication
Two more meetings are scheduled post-move to evaluate how things are going and make any suggestions for change.
Pathways Precinct Relocation SharePoint site
Visit the Pathways Precinct Relocation SharePoint for information about the move and FAQ’s. If you cannot access the site, but would like to keep in touch with what is happening with the GP building, please contact Elizabeth Bridges to be added to the site.
We will be inviting staff and students to a “soft” launch and welcome to our new building on Friday 18 October, so keep an eye out for this invitation.
Language Centre News
Upcoming business lecture
Dr Judith Zhu, NBS Lecturer in Management will be presenting to ELICOS students on 15 October. Her lecture focuses on the topic of Motivation, and on how to apply theory to case studies. This session has been very well-received by students in the past, and the Sydney Language Centre thanks Judith for her ongoing support of the guest lecture initiative. This event is part of the ongoing guest lecture series that Sydney ELICOS is running with the Business School.
Sydney staff have completed their Peer Observations. These ran over block 5906 and 5907. Staff worked in pairs to observe and to be observed. The PO is a four-step process which includes a briefing session to set the focus, the observation, the feedback and finally the reflection on what was observed.
Sydney ELICOS staff held a Mini-Professional Development session on 13 September, following the Reading Group model that runs successfully at the Callaghan campus. The session looked at how to engage students in teacher feedback. Owen Wilson facilitated the discussion and the reading article was provided by Natalia Soueters (thanks Natalia!).
Enrico Chiavaroli and Sharon Bromwich attended a workshop on the Global Scale of English (GSE) on 25 September, where they learned about the GSE framework and how to apply it to curriculum design.
Sara Houshi and Keely McCauley attended the English Australia conference in Melbourne in September. There were a number of inspiring presentations on assessment, using technology for giving feedback, and designing discipline-specific language learning courses for students in their degrees. Sara and Keely will share what they learned with the Sydney team at future in-house PD events. The conference had a clear focus on student mental health, with the opening plenary by Associate Professor Chi Baik looking at international student well-being and sense of belonging in Australia, and the Minister for Education, the Hon. Dan Tehan’s closing address specifically encouraging the sector to focus on the mental health of our international students.
Doris Ayala’s work on her Project-Based Leadership Program was nominated for the UECA Education Solutions Australasia Innovation and Leadership Award in September. She was commended as very strong contender for her work. The judging panel praised Doris’s dedication to getting regular feedback from students and other stakeholders to check that the program was meeting its objectives and to identify areas for continuous improvement.
SEP Passport wins again
The Language Centre was honoured to receive English Australia's Award for Innovation, announced at the 2020 English Australia conference in Melbourne on September 19th. The award was in relation to our Student Experience Passport and was accepted by Student Experience Program Coordinator Anne Burnett alongside ELFSC Director Anna Bennett and acting Associate Director Ben Doran. The following day, newly appointed acting SEP coordinator Sonia Carpenter and Anne delivered a well received presentation for the Innovation Award showcase. As part of the award, a video was produced profiling the SEP Passport and we look forward to sharing this with staff soon.
The Award for Innovation, sponsored by ETS TOEFL, aims to recognise quality by showcasing organisations within the ELICOS industry that support their staff in demonstrating original and creative problem solving initiatives in response to the challenges faced within the ELICOS sector. It is designed to celebrate new ideas and innovative approaches to any aspect of ELICOS delivery. The Award recognizes that there are two key elements underpinning innovation: individuals and/or teams that develop initiatives to address identified challenges in ELICOS, and organisations that have a culture of support for these initiative.
The SEP Passport has to date received multiple awards including a NEAS Premium Product endorsement and the 2018 NSW Government Community Engagement Award. The success of the program can to a large extent be attributed to outgoing SEP Coordinator Anne Burnett who is moving to Sydney to take on a role as the student life manager for American study abroad company CIEE. Anne will be missed both both staff and students of the Language Centre and we wish her all the best.
NSW International Student of the Year (ELICOS) Nominee
Former UON Language Centre student Maram Magdi Abdelaziez Mohamed (Sudan) has been nominated for the 2019 NSW Government's International Student of the Year (ELICOS). The winner will be announced at a ceremony at Government House in Sydney on October 2nd. Maram attended the Callaghan campus of the Centre in 2018 and was an outstanding student, picking up the Lynn Wilson Student Achievement Award in 2018 for her leadership qualities, academic excellence and community engagement.
Work Health & Safety
Have you looked at MindTools –the Online staff development portal listed under the Performance and Development UON Staff pages? A one stop portal to brush up on skill areas such as problem solving, communication skills, leadership skills, time management, stress management, decision making, project management and team management. We encourage you all to access these self-development tools.
New Online Meditation Resource Available
A new 7 1/2 minute meditation video is up and available to all staff. Regular practice of mindfulness has been proven to help reduce stress, improve your attention and can help you manage your thoughts and emotions more effectively. It can even help you experience more joy and peace in your life. To listen to the session click on 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 Williams, Maureen Jones or Leah Hill. Thank you for reading this edition of ELFS Link.