Presenter Title
Professor Sally Kift

Professor Sally Kift

Professor Sally Kift & Associate Professor
Karen Nelson
Queensland University
of Technology

Pre-Conference Workshop
Sunday 27 June 2010
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Supporting and engaging diverse first year student cohorts: practical strategies for educators and institutions.



The focus of our students' First Year Experience (FYE) should be their facilitated engagement with interesting new learning environments and communities. However, as we are only too well aware, many factors, curricula and extra-curricula, impact on commencing students' abilities and motivations to engage with the processes and content of early learning in higher education and a new discipline. Thus it becomes the responsibility of all University members - students, managers, professional and academic staff alike - to work intentionally and collaboratively to mediate a first year student experience that is engaging, supportive, relevant and social.

This workshop will explore how institutions, and individuals within schools and faculties, might enact a Transition Pedagogy (Kift & Nelson, 2005) to frame, both academically and socially, the 'educational conditions in which we place students' (Tinto, 2009, 2) to support first year learning engagement, success and retention. Participants will be introduced to a 'FYE Handbook' that incorporates a number of practical FYE resources including: the first year curriculum principles and checklists; a subject outline template and curriculum evaluation template; an institutional FYE good practice guide and framework; and a FYE program evaluation matrix. Workshop participants will explore examples of how these resources have been utilized and will then be facilitated to consider the Handbook's efficacy and potential for enhancing FYE policy and practice in their own institutions and in the sector more broadly.

The workshop should be of interest to teachers, academic managers, institutional learning and teaching leaders, and student support staff who are looking for both theoretical and practical assistance in designing holistic first year experience programs.



Professor Ruth PickfordProfessor Ruth Pickford

Professor of Assessment, Learning & Teaching, Leeds Metropolitan University, UK

UK National Teaching Fellow

Post-Conference Workshops
Wednesday 30 June 2010

Higher education made simple.


Is making higher education work really that difficult?

Of interest to everyone involved in leading academic staff, teaching and assessing students, or simply looking to improve their own academic practice, this thought provoking workshop will engage participants in considering what is actually important in promoting higher learning.
Too frequently we get lost in the detail of how we should be going about providing higher education and how our procedures should be implemented, how we can increase student satisfaction ratings and how we can evidence ‘quality’ systems. Adopting institutional, course and individual perspectives, this workshop takes a step back and asks what we are trying to achieve in higher education and what we need to do to realise this.
Controversially, the facilitator will propose that there are three things we need to do well in order to promote higher level learning, and yet as a sector we fail to recognise and subsequently fail to prioritise these. In this workshop participants will be invited to look at higher education afresh in order that they may identify and address key issues in their institutional and personal learning contexts.



Professor Ruth Pickford

Associate Professor Karen Nelson

Associate Professor
Karen Nelson
The First Year Experience
Queensland University
of Technology

Enhancing student retention and success: implementing a systematic program to monitor and intervene with at-risk students.



The perennial issues of first year student engagement and retention in Australia's higher education system have attracted more attention recently because of the focus on wider participation and as the indicators for teaching and learning performance funding have emerged. The Student Success Program (SSP) at QUT is an integral part of a coordinated suite of programs and activities comprising the First Year Experience & Retention Program (FYE&R) Program at QUT. The SSP is a strategic alliance between academic and professional staff and deploys four campaigns for monitoring student engagement and making timely interventions with students identified as 'at-risk' of disengaging from their studies.

This workshop will explore the institutional policies, practices and partnerships that underpin the institution-wide SSP and identify strategies for implementing similar programs within other institutions.

Workshop participants will consider the policies, resources and processes involved in SSP and through a facilitated discussion will identify how the approach used for the SSP might be integrated into their institution's FYE&R policy and practices. Participants will also identify the key strategic alliances necessary for implementing effective monitoring and intervention campaigns.

The workshop should be of interest to academic and professional managers, learning and teaching leaders, and student support staff who are responsible for first year student engagement and retention in their institutions.


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