Professor Karen Nelson
Director, Student Success and Retention
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 T&L awards, a ALTC citation for curriculum design, an 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 the Chair of the International (formally Pacific Rim) First Year in Higher Education Conference (www.fyhe.com.au) and the Editor-in-chief of the International Journal of the First Year in Higher Education.
Currently, Karen is involved in three research projects:
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.
Professor Sally Kift
Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic), James Cook University
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 Australian Learning and Teaching Council 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 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.