Dr Sally Baker

Dr Sally Baker

IELTS Examiner

Centre for English Language and Foundation Studies

Career Summary

Biography

My research and practice is concerned with supporting and exploring the experiences of all students - predominantly Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) students, and those from refugee backgrounds in particular, in terms of how they access, transition into, and engage with higher education studies. I am particularly interested in how language and culture act as barriers to meaningful and 'successful' participation in university study for CALD students.

I am a co-creator of the national Special Interest Group for Refugee Education, which is co-hosted by the Refugee Council of Australia and the Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network (http://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/educationsig/). 

Research Expertise

Current research

  • Currently part of an OLT-funded project, and a lead researcher on the UON research team exploring students from refugee backgrounds’ transitions into, through and out of higher education. This project is working in partnership with Macquarie University and Curtin University. The project is a longitudinal, qualitative inquiry, based on the academic literacies conceptual frame and methodology and includes a national stock take of current pathways into HE available to students from refugee backgrounds.
  • Currently engaged in a HEPP NPP-funded project exploring indigenous enabling programs across Australia - specifically focusing on ‘what works’ in terms of curriculum models and support provision. This project will build on the other work on scoping enabling education across Australia, which has focused on academic language and literacies (2014-5) and numeracy (2015-6)
  • Currently engaged in a national stock take of numeracy in all foundation and enabling programs in Australian universities (funded by AALL Research & Resource Development grant) to complement a similar exercise which explored academic literacies/ Language Background Other Than English (LBOTE) provision (also funded by an AALL Research & Resource Development Grant) 
  • Recently completed a CEEHE funded project, looking at undergraduate refugees experiences of studying at UON and seeking to create more equitable support structures with Lauren Miles (CI), Georgina Ramsay and Evonne Irwin; titled: Exploring experiences of access and belonging in higher education: reciprocal research with refugee students as an underrepresented 'equity group'.

Teaching Expertise
I have extensive experience of teaching English language teaching (ESOL/ EFL/ EAP/ AMEP) in the UK and Australia. In ESOL, we are taught to be clear and concise in our communication, to be considerate of the cultural sensitivities that may arise in a class, and to identify whether students have had traumatic/problematic past educational experiences. As a result, a good ESOL teacher will seek to accommodate her or his students’ needs and create a learning environment that is inclusive, supportive and engaging. Building a supportive classroom helps to develop the sense of belonging that we know is so important to engaging our students and keeping them motivated. 


Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Open University UK
  • Cambridge CELTA, University of Cambridge - UK
  • Bachelor of Arts (Honours), Open University UK
  • Post Graduate Certificate in Education, Oxford Brookes University - UK
  • Master of Arts (Applied Linguistics), Cardiff University
  • Masters Degree, Open University UK

Keywords

  • Academic literacies
  • Assessment
  • Critical Discourse Studies
  • Critical Language Studies
  • Curriculum
  • English Language
  • English as a second language
  • English for academic purposes
  • Equity
  • Grammar
  • Identity
  • Liminality
  • Literacies
  • Refugee studies
  • Students' reading
  • Students' writing
  • TESOL
  • Transition

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
130399 Specialist Studies in Education not elsewhere classified 40
130207 LOTE, ESL and TESOL Curriculum and Pedagogy (excl. Maori) 30
130103 Higher Education 30

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Casual Academic University of Newcastle
School of Education
Australia

Awards

Recognition

Year Award
2017 Visiting scholarship to Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa
Cape Peninsula University of Technology

Scholarship

Year Award
2008 3+1 PhD studentship from The Open University and The Royal Literary Fund (UK)
The Open University
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Publications

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


Chapter (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2017 Baker S, Cremin T, 'Teachers¿ identities as writers: teacher, support staff and pupils¿ accounts of the role of emotion in the writing classroom', Writer Identity and the Teaching and Learning of Writing, Routledge, Abingdon 98-114 (2017)
Citations Scopus - 1

Journal article (9 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 Evonne Irwin
2017 Baker S, 'Shifts in the treatment of knowledge in academic reading and writing: Adding complexity to students¿ transitions between A-levels and university in the UK', Arts and Humanities in Higher Education, 1-22 (2017)
DOI 10.1177/1474022217722433
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 Evonne Irwin
2016 Baker S, 'Students' writing "in transition' from A-levels to university: how assessment drives students' understandings, practices and discourses', ASSESSMENT & EVALUATION IN HIGHER EDUCATION, 42 18-36 (2016) [C1]
DOI 10.1080/02602938.2015.1082174
2016 Baker S, Stirling E, 'Liminal spaces, resources and networks: Facebook as a shaping force for students¿ transitions into higher education', The International Journal of high, 9 42-65 (2016)
DOI 10.3167/latiss.2016.090203
2014 Cremin T, Baker S, 'Exploring the discursively constructed identities of a teacher-writer teaching writing', English Teaching: Practice and Critique, 13 30-55 (2014) [C1]
Citations Scopus - 12Web of Science - 3
2013 Baker S, 'Conceptualising the use of Facebook in ethnographic research: as tool, as data and as context', ETHNOGRAPHY AND EDUCATION, 8 131-145 (2013)
DOI 10.1080/17457823.2013.792504
Citations Scopus - 13Web of Science - 12
2013 Baker S, 'Transitions and shifting understandings of writing: Building rich pictures of how moving from school to university is experienced through exploration of students' discourses of writing', JOURNAL OF ACADEMIC LANGUAGE AND LEARNING, 7 A35-A49 (2013)
2010 Cremin T, Baker S, 'Exploring teacher-writer identities in the classroom: Conceptualising the struggle', ENGLISH TEACHING-PRACTICE AND CRITIQUE, 9 8-25 (2010)
Citations Scopus - 22Web of Science - 16
Show 6 more journal articles

Conference (4 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2015 Hunt JW, Baker S, 'Embedding academic literacies in the enabling curriculum: innovations to enhance successful student transitions into undergraduate study', Tauranga, New Zealand (2015) [E1]
Co-authors Jaime Hunt
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 Evonne Irwin
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 Evonne Irwin
2011 Baker S, 'Students¿ writing and the transitions from school touniversity: hybrid ¿discourse of writing¿ positions of students and teachers', Proceedings of the 1st International Australasian Conference On Enabling Access To Higher Education, Adelaide (2011)
Show 1 more conference

Creative Work (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
Baker S, irwin E, Enabling Typology
Co-authors Evonne Irwin

Other (5 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2017 Burke R, Baker S, 'Changes to the Citizenship Test Could Disadvantage Refugees', (2017) [O1]
Co-authors Rachel Burke
2017 Baker S, Burke R, 'Coalition's test likely to disadvantage those who need citizenship most', (2017) [O1]
Co-authors Rachel Burke
2017 Baker S, Burke R, 'English Language Bar for Citizenship Likely to Further Disadvantage Refugees', (2017) [O1]
Co-authors Rachel Burke
Baker S, 'When we are talking about refugees, what do we actually mean by ¿literacy¿?', [O1]
Baker S, Ramsay G, 'HOW STUDENTS FROM NON-ENGLISH SPEAKING BACKGROUNDS LEARN TO READ AND WRITE IN DIFFERENT WAYS', [O1]
Show 2 more others

Report (2 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 Evonne Irwin
2014 Baker S, Cremin T, 'Teachers as Writers: Implications for Identity.', PETAA (2014) [R2]
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Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants 7
Total funding $483,617

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


20171 grants / $39,899

People seeking asylum: Access and support in higher education$39,899

Funding body: National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE)

Funding body National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE)
Project Team

Lead: Dr Lisa Hartley (Curtin); other co-investigators: Dr Caroline Fleay (Curtin); Dr Rachel Burke

Scheme Research Grants Program
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2017
Funding Finish 2018
GNo
Type Of Funding Aust Competitive - Non Commonwealth
Category 1NS
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 Investigator
Funding Start 2016
Funding Finish 2016
GNo G1501219
Type Of Funding Grant - Aust Non Government
Category 3AFG
UON Y

20154 grants / $389,743

(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

Equity and postgraduate coursework (PGCW) programs: Scoping out a new research agenda and opportunities for changes in policy and praxis$19,991

This project is significant because the nexus of equity and PGCW programs is an increasingly important area for praxis, and one that remains largely unaddressed both by higher education institutions and in the literature. 

In brief, this project will do five things:

  1. Review the international literature;
  2. Review national higher education institution policies and praxis;
  3. Explore lecturer and student perspectives on equity and PGCW programs at UON;
  4. Propose opportunities for change in equity praxis and policy in relation to PGCW programs at UON, nationally and internationally; and
  5. Propose a broader and world-leading equity-PGCW research agenda.
The project supports the aims of the CEEHE in three ways.  First, by focussing attention on PGCW programs, the project will broaden the existing equity discourse at UON, nationally and internationally to explicitly include PGCW programs.  Second, the project will proposes an innovative and globally leading research agenda into equity and PGCW programs.  Third, the project will set out directions for policy changes to support equity in PGCW programs at UON, nationally and internationally.  

Funding body: University of Newcastle - Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education

Funding body University of Newcastle - Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education
Project Team

Dr Liam Phelan

Scheme SEED GRANTS 2015
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2015
Funding Finish 2015
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N

Exploring experiences of access and belonging in higher education: reciprocal research with refugee students as an underrepresented equity group$18,802

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: University of Newcastle

Funding body University of Newcastle
Project Team

Lauren Miles

Scheme 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 Lead
Funding Start 2015
Funding Finish 2015
GNo G1500303
Type Of Funding Grant - Aust Non Government
Category 3AFG
UON Y
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Research Supervision

Number of supervisions

Completed0
Current2

Total current UON EFTSL

Masters0.25

Current Supervision

Commenced Level of Study Research Title Program Supervisor Type
2016 Masters A Study of the Policies and Practices with Regard to International Students with Higher Education in Australia, the Degree to which these Enhance Students' University Experience and the Possibilities for Improved Practice M Philosophy (Social Work), Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle Co-Supervisor
2015 Masters EXPLORING the UNIVERSITY and SETTLEMENT EXPERIENCES of ADULT STUDENTS from REFUGEE BACKGROUNDS Education Studies, University of Newcastle - Faculty of Education and Arts Co-Supervisor
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News

Picture of Australia with the flag

Changes to the Australian Citizenship test may impact refugees

April 26, 2017

Dr Sally Baker and Dr Rachel Burke explore how proposed changes to the Australian Citizenship test are likely to further disadvantage refugees.

Dr Sally Baker

Positions

IELTS Examiner
Centre for English Language and Foundation Studies
Academic Division

Casual Academic
School of Education
Faculty of Education and Arts

Casual Academic
School of Education
Faculty of Education and Arts

Contact Details

Email sally.baker@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 4921 7461
Link Twitter

Office

Location Callaghan
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308
Australia
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