September Newsletter 2018

From the Director; Scholarship Winner; ELFSC H&S Audit; Language Centre News Callaghan; Language Centre News Sydney;  Research News; R U OK?; Health & Safety Award;  Staff News; Research Grant Success; Workplace Health and Safety

From the Director– Accolades and success for our staff

The DVC (A) has inaugurated a Teaching Innovation Investment Scheme (TI2) which is intended to provide incentives and resources that will enable UON educators to innovate for the benefit of student success. These investments will seed funding for both innovative teaching activities and the creation of learning objects, as well as action research and evaluation into the success of effective teaching initiatives. In 2018 there are 10 of these grants valued at $5,000 each and I am pleased to say staff from our Centre have won 2 of them

One of TI2 was won by team consisting of Helen Scobie, Michelle Picard, Evonne Irwin, Vivien McComb and Emma Kerr for their proposal “Embedded Mental Well-being Support”

The second one was won by Annette Morante and Simone Nance for their “Feed Forward” project.  The outcomes of these 2 important projects will greatly enhance the learning experience of our students but also that of all students in the university.  Congratulations to all concerned.

Louise Pavey from the Language Centre has won the NSW Bright Ideas Abstract Challenge organised by English Australia, the peak body for English language teaching in Australia, for her abstract entitled “I can say it through music”.

In recognition of winning the Challenge, Louise has been provided with a free registration for the national English Australia Conference in Sydney in September and has been invited to present her abstract in a 20 minute talk at the Conference and will present with other Bright Ideas winners from 2 other states.

The above recognition again demonstrates the amazing talent of staff who work in our Centre.  Other accolades have been singled out elsewhere in this Newsletter

Seamus Fagan, Director

Back to Top

Scholarship winner – Evonne Irwin

Congratulations to Evonne Irwin, who is the recipient of the 2018 Carolyn Allport Scholarship (For those who don’t know Carolyn, she was a revered President of the NTEU). The scholarship will be paid in yearly instalments of $5000 for three years or until Evonne submits her thesis.

The Scholarship body received 28 applications from all over Australia and the applications were assessed by Professor Suzanne Franzway (University of SA); Jane Maree Maher (Monash University) and Jeannie Rea (President of the NTEU).

The assessors concluded Evonne’s research on "Gendered identities, power/s and mis/recognitions of ‘third space’ professionals in higher education" is timely, has significant merit and will make an important contribution to knowledge about gender and work. It is always exciting that talented staff in our Centre get the national recognition they deserve.

Back to Top

ELFSC H&S Audit 2018

In 2017 the University’s internal health and safety audit program commenced with a total of 10 audits being completed. These audits are designed to assess the School or Division’s/Unit’s compliance with the UON Health and Safety Management System and regulatory requirements applicable to the area. This rolling audit program continues in 2018.

Recently the audit team completed their comprehensive audit of our Centre over several days (Callaghan and Ourimbah only). This audit not only involved site inspections of our work spaces and environment (Language Centre and McMullin Building at Callaghan, and the Humanities Building at Ourimbah), but also interviews with selected staff, including leaders, managers and others.

The audit looked for evidence of the Centre’s leadership with respect to H&S matters, and an ongoing commitment to the health, well-being and safety of our staff and students. Areas of focus included:

  • Demonstrating Leadership
  • Regulatory Requirements
  • Roles and Responsibilities
  • Objectives, Targets and Plans
  • Risk Management
  • Managing Change
  • Pre-Placement Health Assessment
  • H&S Training
  • Incident Notification and Investigation
  • First Aid
  • Injury Management
  • Emergency Response
  • H&S Committees
  • Records and documents
  • H&S reports, inspections and testing

The draft report from the audit has been released for our comment and review. The report is very positive and we have received excellent feedback.  ELFSC has been rated as 95% compliant. This is a great result. As a Centre we were able to provide a wealth of evidence supporting and demonstrating our commitment to workplace health and Safety.

Thank you to all staff who were actively involved, especially our H&S “Champion” Jenny Williams, Michelle Picard, An Chi Baxter., Lynette Dennis, Paula Sherry, Chris Dowman, Joyleen Christensen and Bev Wilson.

The Director will be working with the ELFSC Executive, our H&S representatives and the UON H&S Team, to address the few recommendations made by the audit team (especially the electrical cords in the Director’s Office).

Back to Top

Language Centre News - Callaghan

English Australia Annual Conference

Callaghan ELICOS Program Convenor Ben Doran will also be speaking at this year’s English Australia Conference. Ben will present alongside UOW College’s Heather Thomas on the progress of the institutional peer review that was launched earlier in the year. Ben and Heather are scheduled to speak at 11:50am on Thursday September 20th.

The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Thriving in Changing Times’ and the full program is available here.


The Callaghan Language Centre hosted its fourth Micro-PD of 2018, with ELICOS teacher Evelyn McDonald presenting on August 14th on the results of her small action research project into Student Writing and Verbal Video Feedback. The session covered the rationale behind the project, the research she conducted and initial learnings arising from the investigation. It was a great session and another beneficial instalment of these lunch-time PD offerings.

Back to Top

Language Centre News -Sydney

Sydney ELICOS: Block 7

The main news from Sydney Language Centre is the appointment of a new ELICOS Administrative assistant Betty Leung. Betty comes from Wentworth Institute where she worked in administration and sales. Betty will be working on the Front Desk (reception) as well as dealing with ELICOS administrative duties. She speaks Mandarin which will be very helpful for our Chinese students in both ELICOS and the Newcastle Business School. Betty commences Tuesday 4 September.

Our Newcastle Business School guest lectures series continues with Dr Nidthida Lin presenting a lecture to all EAP students on Managerial Decision Making. These lectures are an opportunity for EAP students to experience first-hand a real live business lecture. It is also a strategy to help EAP students transition more easily into their PG programs.

During August a group of Sydney ELICOS students were lucky to have the opportunity to attend a UoN Global sponsored whale watching excursion. Students from Ourimbah campus and the Newcastle Business School also attended the excursion which was by all accounts a fantastic day.

Back to Top

Research News

Last Chance to Register for the NAEEA Symposium - Free for ELFSC Staff

Enabling Voices: Policy-Practice-Research & Evaluation
27-28 September, X101 NeW Space

Please note that to take advantage of the FREE registration you must be a current employee of ELFSC (ongoing or sessional staff) teaching in Open Foundation, Yapug or Newstep.

Please email Joanne Hanley with the subject ‘NAEEA Symposium Registration’ to register.

Upcoming Workshops- Lunch Provided  (RSVP essential) - Venues to be advised

Research Support

For tailored, one-on-one support please make an appointment with Anna and Jo via email.

Please make contact with ELFSC Research Manager Jo Hanley if you have any research news or project updates for future newsletters.

Back to Top


RU OK day is on Thursday 13 September.  This is a national day of action dedicated to reminding everyone that any day is the day to ask, “Are you ok?” and support those struggling with life. The day is about inspiring people to start these conversations every day of the year.

We have organised some staff-focused activities at Callaghan and Ourimbah on Wednesday 12 September in the common lunch hour. Information about these activities have been sent/will be sent to staff.

Back to Top

ELFSC H&S Safety Award

The 2018 ELFSC Health and Safety Award has been determined.  Two quality nominations were received. Thank you to both nominees for your leadership and commitment in bringing these forward.

Congratulations to “Team Mindfulness” at Ourimbah (nominated by Chris Dowman), the winner of the 2018 Award.  Under the guidance of Chris Campbell, this team took the opportunity to introduce themselves to a range of therapeutic health modalities and techniques to self-manage reactions to various distresses that staff experience.  Through a series of weekly (one hour) sessions, staff came together to cover therapies such as meditation, alternating bilateral stimulation, kinesiology and others.

The Selection Panel also agreed to recognise and acknowledge “Team Callaghan” (nominated by Helen Scobie), with a Highly Commended accolade. The Panel recognised the culture of support for the mental health and well- being within the Foundation Studies staff at Callaghan, particularly through the regular lunch time campus walks and coffee breaks, at which academic, teaching and professional staff come together.

Staff will be presented with their Award at a future event.

Back to Top

Staff News

Retirement of Elizabeth (Libby) Callaghan

On 17 August, Elizabeth (Libby) Callaghan retired from her position as a teacher in the Language Centre. Over her 12 years here, Libby has made a great contribution as a level-coordinator, teacher, and colleague.  Libby was extremely popular with her students and was well known for not only assisting them with English language matters but also the challenges they faced settling into a new living and learning environment. During her time with the Centre Libby was an excellent Upper Intermediate Level Co-ordinator and was always willing to share resources with her colleagues.  Libby was also well regarded for the support she provided to colleagues at times of trouble, she will be greatly missed.  Libby also taught for 4 months at our sister institution, Shohoku College, and was an excellent ambassador for the Centre. We wish her well on the next part of her journey as she spends more time with her grandchildren and hobbies.


Vanessa Bowden (Ourimbah) has been seconded to the Newcastle Business School as a post-doctoral research fellow.  We wish Vanessa every success with this new opportunity, and look forward to her return to ELFSC in 2020.

Back to Top

Research Grant Success

Researchers from the University of Newcastle and HMRI have received more than $1.4 million in funding from the National Health and Medical Council (NHMRC) to support the Australian Government’s new male and female health strategies.

The National Male Health Strategy and the National Women’s Health Strategy aims to improve the health and well-being of Australian men and women over the next decade.

Two of 29 new medical research projects will be led by the University of Newcastle as the first commitment of the National Women’s Health Strategy. One of these projects is awarded to Michelle Bovill who teaches in our Yapug program.

Michelle received a $338,192 Early Career Fellowship to explore non-pharmacological strategies for smoking cessation to support Aboriginal mothers quit smoking during pregnancy.

Using Indigenous research methodologies, this project will combine Aboriginal knowledge, wisdom and expertise with scientific knowledge through a cluster trial in Aboriginal Medical Services to engage with Aboriginal mothers.

Back to Top

Workplace Health and Safety

New Safety Alert– Reporting staff injuries or illnesses

There have been a number of recent incidents across the University where staff have been injured at work, have received treatment and lost time without an incident being logged into the UON online Incident Management System (AIMS). In some cases the person’s Supervisor has not been notified and the Health and Safety team have also not been informed.

This causes delay in providing support to the injured person and to relevant Faculty, School or Division, and may delay in lodging a Workers’ Compensation claim which can result in penalties as the University has a number of legal requirements to follow when a staff member is injured.

Please refer to the safety alert here.

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 to Jenny Williams, Maureen Jones or Leah Hill.