People

Key people involved in the annual International First Year in Higher Education Conference and the International Journal of the First Year in Higher Education

Professor Karen Nelson

Director, Student Success and Retention, Queensland University of Technology, Australia

Professor Karen Nelson is the Director, of Student Success and Retention at Queensland University of Technology, a position she has held since 2008. Organisationally, she is located in the Learning and Teaching Unit in Chancellery. Before joining QUT, Karen held senior positions as a project manager and information management consultant in the health and finance sectors and she now uses these skills to manage teaching and learning projects in the higher education sector. Since commencing at QUT in 2000 as the coordinator of a large first year information technology core unit, Karen has led several large-scale teaching and learning projects and between 2007 & 2009 was the co-leader of the institution-wide “Transitions-In” commissioned project (TIP). As Director, Karen’s work focuses on four areas of institutional policy, strategy and practice: curriculum design and enactment, proactive student support, a sense of belonging and staff development. Her higher education research and publications focus on student engagement, the first year experience and institutional responses to these, in particular strategies for enhancing inter- and intra-institutional partnerships for enhancing the student learning experience. Her teaching and learning leadership has been recognised by five QUT teaching and learning awards, an Australian Learning & Teaching Council (ALTC) citation for curriculum design, an Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT) citation for QUT’s Student Success Program and a most recently an Award for Programs that Enhance Learning in the 2012 Australian Awards for University Teaching (for QUT’s Student Success Program).

Karen is also a committee member of the International  First Year in Higher Education Conference - and was chair of the conference until 2013  - and the Editor-in-chief of the International Journal of the First Year in Higher Education.

To date, Karen has been involved in three research projects around student engagement and retention:

Establishing a framework for transforming student engagement, success and retention in higher education institutions (Office for Learning and Teaching Innovation and Development ID11-2056 2010-2012) Project Leader – with Griffith University and The University of Queensland

Good practice for safeguarding student learning engagement in higher education institutions. (Australian Learning and Teaching Council Competitive Grant CG10-1730 2010-2012) Project Leader.

Effective teaching and support of students from low socioeconomic backgrounds: Resources for Australian higher education (Australian Learning and Teaching Council Strategic Priority SP10-1838 2010-2012) with Marcia Devlin (project leader), Judy Nagy, Sally Kift, & Liz Smith.

kj.nelson@qut.edu.au

 

Professor Sally Kift

Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic), James Cook University, Australia

ALTC Senior Fellow

Professor Sally Kift is the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) at James Cook University.  Until May 2012 Sally was Professor of Law at Queensland University of Technology, where she had served as Law Faculty Assistant Dean, Teaching and Learning and QUT’s foundational Director, First Year Experience. Sally received a national teaching award in 2003 and in 2006, she was awarded one of three inaugural ALTC Senior Fellowships for a project entitled, Articulating a transition pedagogy to scaffold and enhance the first year learning experience in Australian higher education. She has published widely on legal education and student transition, and has received numerous national and international invitations to speak on issues relating to transition and the first year experience, curriculum design to embed and assess graduate attributes, teaching quality and improvement, student engagement, and legal education. She is frequently asked to sit on higher education review and appointment panels, and to evaluate teaching excellence, grant outcomes, and curriculum renewal across the disciplines. In 2010 Sally and Professor Mark Israel, of the University of Western Australia, were appointed joint Discipline Scholars in Law with the Learning and Teaching Academic Standards (LTAS) project. The project, set up by the ALTC with a $2 million Federal Government grant, will bring together discipline communities to define academic standards in the wake of the Bradley Review of Higher Education.

Sally is also the the Co-Editor of the International Journal of the First Year in Higher Education and is currently involved in the following research projects:

Effective teaching and support of students from low socioeconomic backgrounds: Resources for Australian higher education (Australian Learning and Teaching Council Strategic Priority SP10-1838 2011-2012) with Marcia Devlin (project leader), Judy Nagy, Karen Nelson & Liz Smith.

Curriculum renewal in legal education: articulating final year curriculum design principles and a final year program (Australian Learning and Teaching Council Priority Projects PP9-1374 2009-2010) Project Leader.

Transition Pedagogy 

sally.kift@jcu.edu.au

 

Associate Professor Rachael Field

Associate Professor, QUT Faculty of Law, Queensland University of Technology, Australia

ALTC  Teaching Fellow

wlsq1309Prior to joining QUT in 1998, Associate Professor Rachael Field worked in a number of different legal contexts including private practice, the Alternative Dispute Resolution Branch of the Department of Justice and Attorney-General, the Ombudsman Office of Queensland and the Litigation Reform Commission.

Rachael has been an Associate Professor in the QUT Law School since 2012. Her key teaching interests are in the first year experience and dispute resolution. She was a University Teaching Fellow for 2005 focussing on the development of blended models of teaching delivery. Rachael was also the co-Program Leader (with Prof Sally Kift) of the Scholarship of Higher Education Learning in Law and Justice Program in the Faculty’s Law and Justice Research Centre until 2011. Rachael was awarded an ALTC Citation in 2008 and was made an ALTC Teaching Fellow in 2010. In 2010 Rachael worked with Professors Sally Kift and Mark Israel on the development of the Threshold Learning Outcomes for Law. In 2013 Rachael and Prof Nick James published a first year law text entitled “The New Lawyer”. Rachael has been a member of the International First Year in Higher Education Conference organising committee since 2007 and now chairs that committee.  She is also the Practice Report editor for the International Journal of the First Year in Higher Education.  Rachael was awarded the 2013 Lexis Nexis Australasian Law Teachers’ Association Major Prize for Teaching Excellence and Innovation jointly with her colleague James Duffy.

Rachael has published widely in her areas of research interest which include dispute resolution, legal education, women and the law and family law. Rachael was the Chair of the Faculty Equity Committee between 2003-2005.  Rachael has also been a member of the Women’s Legal Service, Brisbane Management Committee since 1994 and has been President of the Service since 2004. In 2010 Rachael, along with the Women’s Legal Service Brisbane, was commissioned by the Federal Attorney-General to design a model of family dispute resolution for use in matters where there is a history of domestic violence. This model was implemented in 5 locations around Australia for 18 months and was evaluated by the Australian Institute of Family Studies. In 2011 and 2012 Rachael was invited by the Australian Human Rights Commission to contribute to their International Program by presenting the model to bi-lateral workshops with the All China Women’s Federation. Rachael completed her PhD through the Faculty of Law at the University of Sydney under the supervision of Professor Hilary Astor in 2011. Her thesis explored the notion of neutrality in mediation and offers an alternative paradigm based on professional mediator ethics. Rachael was named Queensland Women Lawyer of the Year for 2013.

Research Interests
• Dispute Resolution
• Women and the Law
• Restorative Justice
• Family Law
• Legal Education

 r.field@qut.edu.au

 

Karen Whelan

Manager, Learning and Teaching Development, Queensland University of Technology, Australia

KarenWhelanKaren Whelan is Manager, Learning and Teaching Development in the Learning and Teaching Unit at QUT. Her role encompasses supervision of Faculty based Learning and Teaching Developers who provide strategic support to course and teaching development. She is also Course Coordinator for the Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice, an accredited program undertaken by all new Early Career Academics at QUT. Karen is a member of the Executive of the Council of Australian Directors of Academic Development (CADAD). She is Project Leader of an OLT Extension Grant focused on Benchmarking Graduate Certificates for Higher Education involving six institutions across Australia. Karen is also a committee member of the International First Year in Higher Education Conference and  is currently undertaking a PhD in Educational Research at Lancaster University in the UK.

 

Liz Smith

Director, Academic Support, Charles Sturt University, Australia

Ms Liz SmithLiz Smith is Director, Academic Support at Charles Sturt University (CSU). This portfolio has responsibility for supporting the transition, academic success and retention of students together with raising aspirations of school students to consider university as a realistic option. With more than 20 years’ experience in the education sector, Liz has had a variety of teaching experience to inform her practice including the K-6, special education, TAFE and University settings.  As foundation Director of the CSU Transition Project, Liz has successfully developed initiatives that have supported the University’s commitment to widening participation, including the CSU Pathway Program and the Student Transition and Retention (STAR) Program.

Liz has been nationally recognised for her work in supporting the first year experience and student learning. In 1999 Liz was awarded a CUTSD Grant for the evaluation of technology based projects as well as an ASCILITE (Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education) Award for Exemplary Use of Technology in Teaching & Learning in Tertiary Education. In 2008, the STUDY LINK Program which Liz was responsible for developing and managing over a ten year period was awarded the CSU Vice Chancellor’s Award for Programs that Enhance Learning. The following year, Liz led her team to an ALTC Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning (First Year Experience) and also the prestigious ALTC Program Award for First Year Experience. In 2011 Liz won an ALTC Citation for Sustained Excellence and Leadership in the Support of Students and their learning during their first year of university study. Liz speaks regularly at national events and was a member of the national project team: Effective teaching and support of students from low socioeconomic status backgrounds. She is also an OLT assessor and member of the organising committee of the International First Year in Higher Education Conference.

Liz is also involved in the following project:

Effective teaching and support of students from low socioeconomic backgrounds: Resources for Australian higher education (Australian Learning and Teaching Council Strategic Priority SP10-1838 2011-2012) with Marcia Devlin (project leader), Judy Nagy, Karen Nelson & Liz Smith.

elsmith@csu.edu.au

 

Adjunct Professor John Clarke

Editor, The International Journal of the First Year in Higher Education

Clarke_LJF5421Adjunct Professor John Clarke works within the Student Success and Retention team at QUT.   John currently co-leads the OLT Project Establishing a framework for transforming student engagement, success and retention in higher education institutions, is co-editor of the International Journal of the First Year in Higher Education and co-authored  the recently published Trends in policies, programs and practices in the Australasian First Year Experience literature 2000–2010 (The First Year in Higher Education Research Series on Evidence-based Practice, No. 1).  John has a history of researching in the fields of classroom learning and interaction and learning environments, particularly at the tertiary level, and also has an interest in social science research methodology.

Establishing a framework for transforming student engagement, success and retention in higher education institutions (Office for Learning and Teaching Innovation and Development ID11-2056 2010-2012) Project Co-leader – with Griffith University and The University of Queensland

ja.clarke@qut.edu.au

 

Tracy Creagh

Manager, The International Journal of the First Year in Higher Education

CreaghDSC6201

Tracy Creagh has more than nine years experience working as a research and project officer on numerous internal and external teaching and learning projects at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). Research projects have principally focused on the first year experience in higher education and the development of resources and tools for academic and professional staff responsible for student engagement.

Currently Tracy is a senior project officer on the QUT Analytics Project and has recently completed two Australian Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT) projects: Establishing a framework for transforming student engagement, success and retention in higher education institutions (2011-2013) and Good practice for safeguarding student learning engagement in higher education institutions (2010-2012).

Tracy is also the journal manager for the International Journal of the First Year in Higher Education, manages the FYHE Virtual Centre and co-authored  the recently published Trends in policies, programs and practices in the Australasian First Year Experience literature 2000–2010 (The First Year in Higher Education Research Series on Evidence-based Practice, No. 1).

t.creagh@qut.edu.au