Ms Evonne Irwin

Ms Evonne Irwin

Blended and Online Curriculum Manager

Centre for English Language and Foundation Studies

Career Summary

Biography

Evonne is currently Blended and Online Curriculum Manager working in online course design and development for the English Language and Foundation Studies Centre at UON. She has a background as a language practitioner teaching English to students with language backgrounds other than English (primarily from refugee backgrounds).

Research Expertise
Evonne is involved in four research projects with a focus on access, participation and equity in higher education.

HEB students in transition: This longitudinal research involves an inter-institutional team with partners at Macquarie and Curtin universities studying the transitions of Humanitarian Entrant Background students' into higher education. This work builds in part on Evonne's previous enquiries into refugee experiences in higher education.

Language and literacies in enabling education: This AALL funded project is the first detailed stocktake of enabling programs in Australian higher education. It has identified the values underpinning language and literacies in enabling education and uncovered the prevailing models of enabling programs delivered across the country in what is an unregulated field of education and an emerging field of educational research.

Numeracy in enabling education: This project is also funded by the AALL and carries on from the language and literacies stocktake by auditing numeracy provision in university-based enabling programs across Australia. 

Reciprocal research with refugee students: This Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education-funded project takes a reciprocal research approach to investigating the experiences of students from refugee and refugee-like backgrounds at UON.

accessMOOCs: An international collaborative research project which will examine the values of practitioners who design and develop this new form of online program---non-credit bearing Massive Open Online Courses designed to open access for non-traditional students to academic discourses (accessMOOCs). Further phases of the overall research agenda will evaluate the effectiveness and sustainability of such courses and explore the changing nature of course design and practitioner roles in the academy.

Teaching Expertise
Evonne has been a language practitioner working primarily with students from refugee and refugee-like backgrounds since 2003. She has taught in the VET sector, in the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) at TAFE and as English Language Support Teacher at the English Language and Foundation Studies Centre at the University of Newcastle. Since 2013, Evonne has channelled her curriculum and pedagogical knowledge into designing and producing online bridging and enabling courses.

Administrative Expertise
Evonne has project managed or co-project managed several multi-media educational projects for the English Language and Foundation Studies Centre, including the production and design of one of Australia's first accessMOOCs, Academic Survival Skills Online. She is also the facilitator of the National Centre of Enabling Educators of Australia's Special Interest Group in Online Learning.


Qualifications

  • Master of Applied Linguistics, University of Newcastle
  • Bachelor of Arts, Macquarie University

Keywords

  • Academic literacies
  • Enabling education
  • English as another language
  • Online education
  • Refugee experience in HE

Awards

Award

Year Award
2014 Best Presentation
Foundation and Bridging Educators of New Zealand 2014 Conference

Prize

Year Award
2014 Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning
Office for Learning and Teaching
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Publications

For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.


Journal article (2 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2017 Baker S, Ramsay G, Irwin E, Miles L, '¿Hot¿, ¿Cold¿ and ¿Warm¿ supports: towards theorising where refugee students go for assistance at university', Teaching in Higher Education, 1-16 (2017)

© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This paper contributes a rich picture of how students from refugee backgrounds navigate their way into and thro... [more]

© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This paper contributes a rich picture of how students from refugee backgrounds navigate their way into and through undergraduate studies in a regional Australian university, paying particular attention to their access to and use of different forms of support. We draw on the conceptualisation of ¿hot¿ and ¿cold¿ knowledge, offered by Ball and Vincent (1998. ¿¿I Heard it on the Grapevine¿: ¿Hot¿ Knowledge and School Choice.¿ British Journal of Sociology of Education 19 (3): 377¿400), and the addition of ¿warm¿ knowledge offered by Slack et¿al. (2014. ¿¿Hot¿, ¿Cold¿ and ¿Warm¿ Information and Higher Education Decision Making.¿ British Journal of Sociology of Education 35 (2): 204¿223), to develop an understanding of how students from refugee backgrounds make choices about how they locate, select and access support for their studies. The findings of this paper suggest that students from refugee backgrounds do not view the ¿cold¿ (unfamiliar-formal) institutional support on offer as ¿for them¿; instead they expressed a preference for the ¿warm¿ (familiar-formal) support offered via ¿trusted¿ people who act as literacy/sociocultural brokers or ¿hot¿ (familiar-informal) support of their grapevine of other students (past and present) or experienced community members.

DOI 10.1080/13562517.2017.1332028
Co-authors Sally Baker
2016 Baker S, Irwin E, 'Core or periphery? The positioning of language and literacies in enabling programs in Australia', Australian Educational Researcher, 43 487-503 (2016) [C1]

© 2016, The Australian Association for Research in Education, Inc. Enabling education has a respected and established place in Australian higher education as an alternative pathw... [more]

© 2016, The Australian Association for Research in Education, Inc. Enabling education has a respected and established place in Australian higher education as an alternative pathway into university study. While the value of enabling education in providing access to higher education is undeniable, its provision across Australia is necessarily diverse, as individual programs respond to the needs of their local communities. This resulting diversity makes it difficult to gain insight into the field of enabling education. Given the purpose of enabling education is to prepare students for tertiary study, the role of academic literacies and language (ALL) is central for both Native English Speaker and Language Background Other Than English students, and it is to this focus that this paper attends. To shed light on the field, this paper presents the findings from a national audit of enabling education, providing a much-needed overview of the enabling programs offered across Australia, focusing on the ways that language and literacies are taught, positioned and, in some cases, disconnected from practice. Drawing on this analysis, we discuss how language and literacies are positioned as either central or periphery to the core work of enabling programs and begin a discussion which seeks to place ALL at the centre of enabling education.

DOI 10.1007/s13384-016-0211-x
Co-authors Sally Baker

Conference (6 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2017 Irwin E, Dillon H, Fudge A, Stokes J, Weiler T, McRae K, 'Useful servant, dangerous master: a multi-faceted critical engagement with online and blended enabling education', Useful servant, dangerous master: a multi-faceted critical engagement with online and blended enabling education, SCU, Gold Coast (2017)
Co-authors Emma L Hamilton
2015 Baker S, Irwin E, 'Getting the house in order: working towards a clear view of the enabling field through a national stocktake', NAEEA Conference Program, Sydney (2015) [E3]
Co-authors Sally Baker
2015 Baker S, Irwin E, 'Students¿ reading and writing ¿in transition¿: what lessons can be learnt from a case study of A-levels to university transitions to help enabling educators to ¿bridge the gap¿ into undergraduate study?', STARS 2015: Handbook & Proceedings, Melbourne (2015) [E1]
Co-authors Sally Baker
2014 Irwin E, Goode E, 'Building Academic Survival Skills Online: A collaborative, team-based approach to online course design and production', FABENZ: Challenges and Innovation Conference 2014, Tauranga, NZ (2014) [E1]
2013 Gray K, Irwin EL, 'Pathways to social inclusion: The participation of refugee students in higher education', National Association of Enabling Educators of Australia Conference, Melbourne, VIC (2013) [E3]
Co-authors Kim Gray
2010 Irwin EL, Morante AM, 'Accessing success: Linking student success to writing assessment and student uptake of academic skills support', New Zealand Association of Bridging Educators 9th National Conference. Programme, Wellington, NZ (2010) [E3]
Show 3 more conferences

Creative Work (2 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2013 Lumb M, Hope, Newcastle (2013)
Co-authors Matt Lumb
Baker S, irwin E, Enabling Typology
Co-authors Sally Baker

Other (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2015 Goode E, Irwin E, Cameron HE, 'Academic survival skills online: a new approach to demystifying academic discourses for non-traditional learners.', (2015) [O1]
Co-authors Helen Cameron

Report (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2015 Baker S, Irwin E, 'A national audit of academic literacies provision in enabling courses in Australian Higher Education (HE)', Association for Academic Language and Learning, 70 (2015) [R1]
Co-authors Sally Baker
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Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants 6
Total funding $424,949

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.


20171 grants / $2,000

Reinserting Student Voices into Discourses of Retention and Attrition in Online Enabling Education$2,000

This project will examine the ways in which students conceptualise their participation in the English Language and Foundation Studies Centre’s (ELFSC) Open Foundation Online (OFO) program with a view to improving understandings about student retention and attrition within online enabling education. In examining students’ lived experiences in an online enabling program it is hoped that space will be opened for student voices to be heard and ‘counted’ in the broader discourses of attrition and retention which are often dominated by reference to institutional data, targets and ‘measureables’.

Funding body: English Language and Foundation Studies Centre, University of Newcastle

Funding body English Language and Foundation Studies Centre, University of Newcastle
Project Team

Emma Hamilton, Evonne Irwin, Scott Sciffer, Valerie Djenidi

Scheme New Research Concept Programme
Role Lead
Funding Start 2017
Funding Finish 2017
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N

20162 grants / $53,975

Indigenous enabling: What Works? Developing a national conversation around enabling education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students through a comprehensive audit of current provision$49,977

Funding body: Department of Education

Funding body Department of Education
Project Team Associate Professor Maree Gruppetta, Doctor Stephanie Gilbert, Doctor Sally Baker, Ms Evonne Irwin, Ms Helen Cameron
Scheme Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Programme
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2016
Funding Finish 2016
GNo G1600136
Type Of Funding Other Public Sector - Commonwealth
Category 2OPC
UON Y

A national stocktake of numeracy provision in enabling courses in Australian Higher Education (HE)$3,998

Funding body: Association for Academic Language and Learning

Funding body Association for Academic Language and Learning
Project Team Ms Evonne Irwin, Doctor Sally Baker, Mr Ben Carter
Scheme Research and Resource Development Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2016
Funding Finish 2016
GNo G1501219
Type Of Funding Grant - Aust Non Government
Category 3AFG
UON Y

20153 grants / $368,974

(Re)claiming social capital: improving language and cultural pathways for refugee students into Australian higher education$347,000

There is relatively little research that addresses the educational and socio-cultural expectations and experiences of HEB students, especially those who were educated and held status in their own countries and who are now looking to gain educational and economic capital by entering Australian HE. Moreover, although there is a small body of work that addresses the educational experiences of refugee youth (Taylor & Sidhu, 2012; Tregale, 2011; Joyce et al, 2010; Earnest et al, 2010; Matthews, 2008; Woods, 2009), and a growing interest in refugee school–university transitions in Australia (Tregale, 2011; Naidoo et al., 2012), there is no research to our knowledge that addresses Vocational Education and Training (VET)–university transitions for these students or explores an alternative pathway taken by HEB students who start from Intensive English Centres (IEC) and make their movements into Australian HE. Therefore, the aiding and facilitating of HEB students’ entrance into university from outside of HE is an underdeveloped area of research to which we intend to contribute with this project.

This project, led by the University of Newcastle (UoN) and in partnership with Macquarie University (MQ) and Curtin University, addresses the OLT-identified priority area of ‘Improving institutional pathways across higher education’, specifically targeting linguistic and cultural experiences of HEB students as they make their transitions into and through undergraduate study. The project builds on the significant contribution made by three other OLT-funded projects into HEB students’ university experiences (Silburn & Earnest, 2007; Vickers, Zammit & Morrison, 2011; & Naidoo, Wilkinson, Langat, Cunneen & Adoniou, 2012) but offers a fresh perspective: a comparative analysis of the transition experiences of three particular groups of marginalised HEB students as they enter Australian HE in New South Wales and Western Australia. These three groups are:

1. a group of Afghan HEB adult men entering a regional university from TAFE/Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP)

2. a group of HEB youth entering a metropolitan university from an inner-city school

3. a group of HEB youth exiting an Intensive English Centre course in a metropolitan city

At the crux of this project is an interest in students’ language, and academic writing in particular. As writing forms the core of all assessment in the academy (Lea, 1999), the ability to communicate effectively in institutionally-endorsed ways is an essential activity for success; inability to do so can lead to attrition and failure (McInnis, 2001; Krause, 2001; Lillis & Scott, 2007). With the stakes already high, Language Background Other Than English (LBOTE) students are at a disadvantage; for HEB students the stakes are arguably higher as they have to deal with the additional complexities of resettlement, trauma-related psychological issues, fragmented schooling and often vastly different education backgrounds and academic cultures (Oliff & Couch, 2005; Woods, 2009; Morrice, 2013; Cocks & Stokes; 2012; Harris & Marlowe, 2011). The research described in these studies all share concern regarding HEB students’ language capabilities.

From this small body of research into HEB students, it is clear that further research into the lived experiences of teaching and learning of these students is necessary, particularly with a focus not only on the language and literacies that these students bring with them and need to develop, but also on how they develop them and how they experience their multiple entrances into HE in real time.

Funding body: Office for Learning and Teaching

Funding body Office for Learning and Teaching
Project Team Associate Professor Seamus Fagan, Doctor Sally Baker, Ms Evonne Irwin, Ms Helen Cameron, Associate Professor Jaya Earnest, Mrs Sonal Singh, Ms Ruth Tregale
Scheme Innovation and Development Program
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2015
Funding Finish 2017
GNo G1500930
Type Of Funding Aust Competitive - Commonwealth
Category 1CS
UON Y

Exploring experiences of access and belonging in higher education: reciprocal research with refugee students as an underrepresented equity group$18,024

While English language is often at the centre of the challenges faced by refugee-background students in higher education (HE), there are other complex cultural, social and educational concerns that form the HE experience for these students (Earnest et al., 2010; Morrice, 2013; Gray & Irwin, 2013). Moreover, despite a wealth of anecdotal evidence, the experiences of emerging refugee communities in undergraduate HE, specifically in regional settlement areas like Newcastle, have been subject to scant empirical exploration. 
This project will contribute toward the impoverished national conversation around refugee access to and participation in HE by creating a dialogue with refugee-background students with respect to practice and policy, and with a focus on access and sense of belonging. Furthermore, this project commits to strengthening the refugee voice in the university community: identifying barriers to participation as well as existing gaps in the dissemination of ‘hot’ knowledge (Ball & Vincent, 1998). A desktop audit of university support services will be carried out so as to create a ‘bank’ of knowledge that participants may draw on at the time of their interview while participant interviews will inform the mapping of university support mechanisms alongside forming the foundations of a wider research agenda.

Funding body: The Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education

Funding body The Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education
Project Team

Lauren Miles

Scheme The Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2015
Funding Finish 2015
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N

A national stocktake of academic literacies provision in enabling courses in Australian Higher Education (HE)$3,950

Funding body: Association for Academic Language and Learning

Funding body Association for Academic Language and Learning
Project Team Doctor Sally Baker, Ms Evonne Irwin
Scheme Research Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2015
Funding Finish 2015
GNo G1500303
Type Of Funding Grant - Aust Non Government
Category 3AFG
UON Y
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Ms Evonne Irwin

Positions

Blended and Online Curriculum Manager
GradSchool
Centre for English Language and Foundation Studies
Academic Division

Casual Editor
GradSchool
Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Ed.
Academic Division

Contact Details

Email evonne.irwin@newcastle.edu.au
Phone 49215557
Link Personal webpage

Office

Room MC.G46
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