September 2019

From the Interim Director; Staff News; Hippocampus Project; Proffessional Staff PD Event; Pathways Precinct; He's Arrived; ELFSC Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award;Language Centres; Research News; Newstep Trivia; Work Health & Safety

Interim Director

Dear Colleagues, it has been another busy month for staff as you will see in the following pages, including:

  • A baby boy for Enabling programs Student Liaison Officer, Holly Batten. Congratulations Holly!
  • Leadership changes in Sydney
  • Our creative and talented team producing a fabulous UON Hippocampus project
  • A Professional staff PD event
  • Our Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award winners being announced
  • Carol Carter’s keynote address delivered at a conference in South Africa
  • Publication of the latest volume of the International Studies in Widening Participation journal

Our international students continue to be engaged through our award winning Student Experience Program in the Language Centre, and our Callaghan Newstep students have enjoyed a social lunch time gathering.

Thank you to staff who have been engaged in and are actively considering the recently released Academic Division Consultation Paper. Individual staff members or groups of staff are encouraged to provide a submission responding to any detail of the Consultation Paper. Submissions should be forwarded to Employee Relations Advisor Ruth Hartmann 02 4921 7288 and each (de-identified) submission will be considered. Submissions are due by 23 September.

I went to the 2019 Alumni Awards breakfast on 5 September, and met some inspirational former students who had studied in our enabling programs. I sat with an Award winner, Lee Shearer APM, who was awarded an ‘Exceptional Community Service Award’ as an Alumnus of the Open Foundation program. Lee started her career with the NSW Police Force, held Assistant Commissioner positions with General Counsel and the Northern Region Command and then, as Chief Compliance Officer, she led significant changes in mining and resource regulation in NSW. Lee transformed the NSW Resources Regulator into one recognised as among the best in the world. Lee now runs her own firm, Lee Shearer and Associates, which transforms organisations from the inside out.

Also sitting at the table was Georgia Young (see photo below) who studied Open Foundation inAnna Bennett and Georgia Young 2017 and is now enrolled in a Bachelor of Social Work at the University of Newcastle. Georgia is a Ma & Morley scholar who is the first in her family to attend university. Georgia explained that if Open Foundation was not offered on the Central Coast, she would not have accessed university. She did not expect to go to university, but after working three jobs, she decided on making a change, so started the program. Not expecting to continue through study, but exploring learning and possibilities with the help of lecturers and learning development staff in the Centre, as well being inspired by prior students studying degrees coming into the classroom throughout semester, she was encouraged to continue. Georgia explained that the learning was ‘an emotional as well as an educational journey’. The knowledge and skills learnt in Open Foundation gave her ‘a shining headstart’ in her degree, as well as for her to be able to help other commencing students having issues starting assessments and dealing with logistical transitions to university. Georgia was able to provide to other students the enabling knowledges she developed, as well as the enabling pedagogies she had experienced. Enabling and learning adviser staff in the Centre also encouraged Georgia to apply for the Ma & Morley scholarship. Georgia explained that this recognition was important for developing the support and self-belief to apply and then succeed in that program too. Georgia is currently contributing to important initiatives, including welcoming all new students to the university, organising large events and, of course, studying for her social work degree.

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Staff News

Sydney campus – Leadership changes

After 10 years in the role, Barbara Mansfield has stepped down from the Sydney eventProgram Convenor role in Sydney. A lovely afternoon tea was held on 8 August in Sydney for staff to celebrate Barbara’s excellent leadership and to welcome Keely McCauley to the role.

In 2008, when Barbara first started with UON, she spent a year teaching at the Callaghan Campus before taking up the Program Convenor role at the newly opening Sydney campus  in 2009.  Since then, Barbara has skilfully steered the development of the Sydney Language Centre.  Her contribution to the success of the Centre has been immense. Barbara is stepping down from the Program Convenor role so that she can return to teaching and we wish her all the best.Sydney LC Deputy Convenor

Keely McCauley is now Convenor. Keely has worked at the Sydney Language Centre for 10 years, with five of those as Deputy Program Convenor. Keely has already contributed so much to the Centre and she brings such a wealth of experience, knowledge and enthusiasm.

The new Deputy Convenor is Sara Houshi Deghati Fouman. Sara has worked for the English Language and Foundation Studies Centre for over 12 years, initially at the Callaghan Language Centre, before moving to the Sydney Language Centre in 2015.   She gained level coordinator experience whilst at Callaghan, and in Sydney Sara has been an invaluable EAP teacher and contributor to course materials and class assessment development. Sara relieves Mario Rodrigues and Doris Ayala, who have been acting in the role of Deputy Convenor jointly for the last six months.

We welcome Keely and Sara to these new roles.

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Report on the Drama for Life Conference and Festival

08 to 17 August 2019

Dr Carol Carter

Drama for Life (DFL) is a department at the University of the Witwatersrand School of Arts in Johannesburg, South Africa that focuses on a number of disciplines, including Applied Theatre, Drama Education and Drama Therapy, for the purposes of healing and transformation. In addition to offerings including honours and master’s postgraduate programmes, PhD students and a professional theatre company, DFL hosts annual conferences, symposia and festivals.Carol Presenting

This year’s (11th) conference and festival, “Transforming Arts, Transforming Lives” to which I had the privilege of being invited to deliver a keynote address and workshop, explored “the role arts can play in creating a child-centred society”.  My keynote, which I spent the 14-hour flight to South Africa frantically getting together due to the last-minute invitation and receiving of my ticket, was on “Drama, Early childhood and the Child in Focus: Opportunities and challenges in a global child-centred society”. This, as well as my workshop, “Using Drama Conventions and strategies to visualise and plan for a child-centred society” was well received by the Delegates and Students of DFL.

There were a number of interesting, inspiring and thought provoking presentations but the highlight, for me was listening to the address of the world-renowned storyteller, poet Conference Performersand performer,  Dr Gcina Mhlophe, whom I had the privilege of hearing and seeing in the 1980s and who still has an amazing ability to keep her audience mesmerised and to convince each audience member that you are the only person in the audience and that she is talking directly to you.

The festival included bringing thousands of children of different ages and grades to watch, and interactively participate in theatre performances, by South Africans, by a Swedish Children’s Theatre Company (Unga Klara) and where DFL and Unga Klara partnered to create rich, powerful, authentic and beautiful theatre for young audiences. The actors also performed in schools where getting into the middle of Johannesburg was a challenge.

These are the kind words of the Director of Drama for Life, Warren Nebe, “Thank you for making the long journey to be with us. Your ability to educate through play is spellbinding. You have changed and inspired so many lives in the short time you were here with us. All in the name of education.”

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Hippocampus Project

The Centre was recently invited to participate in a project to decorate a larger Hippocampus fullthan life Hippocampus, for display at the “Create 2308” Event at Callaghan. You may have noticed these “beasts” around campus in the past.

Following a call for expressions of interest to be involved, a creative team of staff enthusiastically began planning, designing and executing the final work.  Thank you to Alexandra Fowler for being the Project Lead, and to other team members, Sharon Boyd, Leah Hill, Sharlene Leroy-Dyer, Elizabeth Bridges, Annette Morante, Karla Brandstater and Jess Burden.

As you can see in the photograph, the final product is a reflection of the journey of our enabling students. Each student’s journey through our enabling programs is different, and this is reflected in the many winding orange-brick roads of our Hippocampus. Though each student may go along a different path, our aim is to help them all eventually reach the top; a degree at the University of Newcastle. The greenery between our paths symbolises the way the University of Newcastle embraces the natural surrounds – once described by an international student as “A University in the middle of a forest”.

ELFS HippocampusOf course, no art project would be complete without glitter – and our blue mane, symbolising the open sky, certainly meets the glitter quota.

If you have the chance to see the Hippocampus at night, you will be treated to seeing the path lit up, courtesy of glow-in-the-dark paint. An art piece for both our daytime and night time students!

This project would not have been possible without the efforts of all involved who took time out of their busy schedules to come down and paint.

PD Event

Professional staff in the English Language and Foundation Studies Centre were treated to a personal development workshop from Think Productive. Learning the Way of the Productivity Ninja, staff were guided through 9 productivity ninja characteristics like “Zen-Like Calm”, “Stealth & Camouflage” and “Mindfulness”.

There was something for everyone - whether it was learning how to keep your inbox at zero, finding an outlet for a “brain dump” to keep you calm, using tools to manage tasks more effectively or even learning to be ruthless with what work deserves our attention. The workshop was a great opportunity for staff from all campuses to come together in a relaxed environment to share productivity ideas and best practice. A big thank you to Jenny Williams for organising the workshop.


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Pathways Precinct

The refurbishment works on the GP building, our new Pathways Precinct, is progressing well and is on track for completion on time. Level 1 will be finished by early October, with level 2 not far behind.

The move

All ongoing staff involved in the move have been allocated to a workstation and notified of the moving dates.

The move to GP will occur in two stages to accommodate differing peak work periods for our academic and professional staff.

  • Stage 1 - 4 to 8 October - includes most professional staff, the Foundation Studies Office, the Director and the Deputy Director.
  • Stage 2 - 1 to 4 November – includes all academic, teaching and remaining support staff.

Staff in the McMullin Building should commence progressively reviewing the items stored in their offices for disposal, archiving and packing.

More information will be provided to staff in the next few weeks.

Pathways Precinct User Group (PPUG)

The Pathways Precinct User Group was established from the various categories of staff to provide a conduit of information between the PPUG and the ELFSC Executive group and to identify and discuss specific issues and suggest ideas/solutions to questions raised in relation to the move to the GP Building.

The PPUG met for the third time on 13 August 2019 and the following issues were discussed at that meeting:

  • Privacy in ground Floor Consult Rooms
  • Storage – staff storage and secure storage for research files
  • Noted the establishment of the SharePoint site and other staff events – Pop-ups and Ground Floor Walkthrough events.
  • Staff Surveys –Information will be put into the SharePoint site to provide responses to questions or issues raised in the staff surveys.
  • Access to the building and staff areas – during and after hours
  • Moving process – two-stage moving process.

If you have any issues that you would like the group to discuss, send it through to or you can find out one of the other members on the Pathways Precinct Relocation SharePoint site.

Pathways Precinct Relocation SharePoint site

The Pathways Precinct Relocation SharePoint site was established to provide information for staff who are located at the Callaghan campus.  If you cannot access the site or are located elsewhere, but would like to keep in touch with what is happening with the GP building, please contact to be added to the site.

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He’s arrived!!

A message from Holly Batten:Baby Reuben Batten

Alex and I are thrilled to welcome our little guy into the world (finally!).

Reuben Alexander Batten - born 23 August at a solid 3.98kg! Reuben had an unexpected stay in Special Care, but we are now home and all doing well.

Thank you to all the wonderful staff for their support.

Warmest, Holly

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ELFSC Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award

The 2019 ELFSC Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning has been awarded to two very impressive members of our staff: Jennifer Irwin and Doris Ayala.

Jennifer’s award recognises her excellence in the development and effective delivery of online and blended curricula and resources that reflect a command of the field and embedded skills development.

Doris is recognised for her excellence in enabling students to develop leadership skills by undertaking projects which are designed to learn and practise the value of self-discipline.

Both applications were highly regarded by the panel, and we thank Jennifer and Doris for their ongoing commitment and dedication to students.

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Language Centre News


Latest In-Take

The seventh in-take and orientation session for the year took place at the Language Centre on the 26th and 27th of September. It was another large group with 124 students embarking on their studies at UON. The group was made up of a variety of different cohorts including Pathway students and General English Program students from our partner institutes in Japan (Gunma, UBE, Kitakyshu, Meijo, Shitenoji, and Toyo Eiwa) and Korea (Cheju Halla). The Language Centre also hosted two studies tours from Shohoku College and Kanto Gakuin in Japan. Overall, it made for a very busy but successful month of August.

Visit from Offshore and Onshore partners

On Friday the 30th of August, Acting Deputy Program Convenor Stuart Macdonald presented to a group of around 40 Offshore and Onshore Partners to inform them of what we do at the Language Centre, how we do it and why we believe we are good at it. The presentation was one of many given by UON faculties and divisions and it was followed by a UON hosted dinner at Customs House. Both Stuart and Senior Administrator An-Chi Baxter attended the dinner where they were able to meet and chat with many of our partners. All of them had a good impression of the Language Centre, UON and Newcastle in general, and the evening was a very worthwhile and enjoyable one.


Sonia Carpenter was acting SEP coordinator from June 28th until August 30th. Sonia did a fantastic job in the role and brought some fresh and innovative ideas to the position.

One the new initiatives Sonia implemented was a yoga class on Friday afternoons. A former ELICOS student and qualified Ashtanga Yoga teacher, Mengshan Xu, is running the classes. Mengshan runs the classes in an inclusive and accessible manner and it they are growing in popularity.

Further to the Yoga program, Sonia, who is a regular volunteer with the Newy Park Run, and organised a group of ELICOS students to go along to a couple of the Callaghan park runs. This is a great way for students to get involved with the local community, get some exercise and practise their English between breaths!

The August SEP Passport draw winner was Xiaoliang Chen. In the spirit of friendship and community the passport program engenders, Xiaolong spent her $100 prize on food supplies, invited some friends around and hosted a Chinese Hot Pot Party.

Anne Burnett.

Sydney Language Centre

Project-Based Leadership program wins award for excellence

Congratulations to Doris Ayala for being a winner of the 2019 ELFSC Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning for her Project-Based Leadership program.  This leadership program teaches teamwork, presentation, communication, and decision making skills through weekly tasks designed to develop students’ problem-solving and critical thinking abilities.   By developing these skills early in their learning journey, students are better positioned for success when they transition into the next stage of their studies, and when they transition out into the workforce.  This initiative has made a real difference to the student experience at the Sydney campus - the graduates from the leadership program have gone on to secure employment with the University, set up the first NUPSA clubs on the Sydney campus, get involved in work-place learning initiatives, and generally become much more confident and active members of the UON community.

A graduation was held on 7 August for the most recent participants of the program: Meipaya Yuan, Yubin Wang, Ting Zhang, Gerardo Cornejo Cabestany, and Hind El Masri.  Hind was a winner in the inter-university competition Interchange this year, winning third prize with the rest of her team. Her presentation was excellent, so congratulations to Hind for her hard work.

Another graduate from the Leadership program, Wayne Zhao, now in his Masters program, has set up a new NUPSA club for postgraduate students. This is the second of only two NUPSA clubs at the Sydney campus, and both have been set up by ELICOS or ex-ELICOS students.  Wayne was an active participant in the Student Experience Program while he was completing his ELICOS studies before moving into his Accounting postgraduate degree.  Through his initiative, the Sydney campus now officially has the Accounting Club. This club has been established with ELICOS support and encouragement.

Upcoming business lecture

Dr Cathy Xing Xu, NBS Lecturer in Management will be presenting to ELICOS students on the topic of Organisational Culture on 3 September. This event is part of the ongoing guest lecture series that Sydney ELICOS is running with the Business School.

Other news

ELICOS students joined postgraduate students in the Design Jam and Teamwork workshops on 12 August. These workshops were part of the lead up to the Vice-Chancellor challenge and the Vice-Chancellor personally addressed the students.  The participants were recruited for the Design Jam and Teamwork sessions through the joint efforts of the ELICOS team, the Careers Advisor, the International Student Engagement Officer, the Campus Coordinator, and the Newcastle Business School academics – a great example of cross-departmental collaboration in the interests of the student experience at the Sydney campus!

Paul O’Donohue, the Sydney Welfare Advisor, in collaboration with the ELICOS Student Experience Coordinator Doris Ayala, launched a new workshop series called We Need to Talk- Study Success Basics. This series of workshops aims to improve student well-being by fostering practical skills in the areas of time management, motivation, goal setting, self-care, confidence and resilience. The first workshop, which took place on 20 August and focused on the three pillars of health (nutrition, sleep and exercise), was well received by students.

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Research News

International Studies in Widening Participation (ISWP) is pleased to announce Vol 6, No 1 – a Special Issue featuring papers authored by participants of the 2018 national Writing Program for Equity and Widening Participation Practitioners convened by the Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education (CEEHE) and facilitated by Dr Anna Bennett from ELFSC. Many thanks to Equity Practitioners in Higher Education Australasia (EPHEA) for sponsoring the program and to our editorial team: Guest Editors, Mr Matt Lumb and Dr Matthew Bunn, and Journal Manager, Dr Jo Hanley.

Papers include:

Patient praxis: A dialogue between equity practice and research

Matthew Bunn & Matt Lumb (University of Newcastle)

How do we reach them? The importance of reimagining and contextualising the Design and Evaluation Matrix for Outreach (DEMO) for mature age equity groups

Shannon van Zanen (University of Wollongong)

What are we missing? Exploring meso-level institutional intervention to address persistent inequities in Australian higher education

Michelle Falconer (Western Sydney University)

Listening to other voices: Building inclusion of higher education students with disability from the ground up

Cate Rooney (Central Queensland University)

Tales from the borderland: Enabling students’ experiences of preparation for higher education

Julie Willans (Central Queensland University)

‘I can be powerful as an individual agent’: Experiences of recently homeless women in an enabling program, transformative pedagogies and spaces of empowerment in higher education

Sarah Kate Hattam & Snjezana Bilic (University of South Australia)

Increasing regional student participation in higher education through innovative university outreach

Laurie Poretti (University of Canberra)

For the full issue please click here.

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Newstep Trivia

On Monday 26th August, we again hosted a Trivia Lunch for the Newstep students at Callaghan. Students formed teams to show off their knowledge of everything from Spiderman movies to Roman Numerals. It was great to see our students all bonding over a free lunch.

Thanks as always to our resident quiz-master, Ryan O’Neill, to Sharon Boyd for her organisational skills and to all others who helped out or joined in on the day.Newstep Trivia 1

Newstep Trivia 2

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Work Health & Safety

Newpsych Psychologists return as UON’s EAP Provider

Your EAP (Employee Assistance Program) Provider is once again: Newpsych Psychologists.

The EAP is there to help you attain your potential in life and work.

Your EAP Provides:

  • A free service to all employees
  • External professional counselling for personal and work related issues.
  • Face-to-face or phone counselling
  • A completely confidential service
  • An information and advice service for manager and supervisors
How do I access EAP?

Call NewPsych on 02 4926 5005, email or send a message via the portal on the NewPsych webpage. While the head office is located in Newcastle, NewPsych has satellite offices in all UON locations and appointments are arranged via the Newcastle Office.

Further information on the EAP can also be found on the UON website.

Fitness Passport

Keep fit by signing up to UON’s Fitness Passport Program to give you and your family access to 90+ gyms and pools across the region as often as you like.

Did you know you are eligible to join if you:

  • Are either continuing or on a fixed-term contract with at least 52 weeks remaining on your contract
  • Have been employed on a casual or fixed-term contract of less than 52 weeks but have been employed by the University for 3 or more years on similar short term contracts
  • Are a concurrent holder of a research higher degree scholarship with 14 or more months remaining

Weekly Membership Fees










More information can be found here.

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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.