The University of Newcastle, Australia

Sessional academics are key to transformation

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Last week, more than 60 sessional academic staff gathered at NeW Space for the UON Academy end-of-year event. This is an important networking event on the calendar, where the annual professional development award, as nominated by students and colleagues, is announced. It also provides an opportunity for our sessional academics, Heads of Schools and others to reflect on the critical role our sessional academic staff play.

UON Academy end of year event

The event was hosted by Director, People and Workforce Strategy, Tina Crawford and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Darrell Evans, who has taken over from Professor John Germov as the Executive Sponsor of this important initiative.

Congratulations to the 2018 UON Academy Professional Development Award winner, Newcastle Business School's Dr Bronwyn McDonald (pictured, second from left) who was awarded the $1000 prize. Bronwyn has worked as a sessional academic in the Business School since 2010 and is also a sessional ISSP mentor at Wollotuka, where she supports Indigenous students.

An excerpt from Bronwyn’s nomination:

“Bronwyn has ignited a passion for politics in me that previously lay dormant in most of my three years of an Arts/Law degree majoring in political science. Her significant knowledge on all topics involved, respect when there are opposing opinions and amazing ability to foster in-depth group discussion and reflection is mirrored in no other academic lecturer that I have been taught by.”

Congratulations also to the finalists - Gemma Savio, School of Architecture and Built Environment; Brian Mott, School of Engineering; Mark Apthorpe, Newcastle Business School

During the formal proceedings, Professor Darrell Evans shared detail of the Education Framework and the Student Journey, reinforcing the key role of sessional academic staff in the student experience.

“Sessional staff are a large part of the education community and are key to the transformation of education at the University of Newcastle,” Darrell said.

Darrell encouraged UON Academy members to get involved in the Educator Network (tEN) which is about challenging ourselves to do things differently.

The UON Academy was established in 2014. It is a sector leading initiative that seeks to develop, support and engage a highly valued community of sessional/casual academic staff. For more information, visit

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