Science & Maths TL News: Sep 2016 |


We’ve been updating the ACDS TL Centre site. Check out our new look!

Employability and graduate outcomes

Recent publication of a Grattan Institute study on graduate outcomes has sparked vigorous discussion about the value of science degrees. Our Federal minister for education, Simon Birmingham, has warned universities that they must demonstrate matching enrolment in science to careers.  While professionally accredited degrees can show strong links to future careers, generalist degrees such as science, have some work to do to convince students, industry and the government that our graduates are well-prepared for diverse futures.

The latest issue from IJISME focuses on graduate employability for science and maths graduates and contains studies on employer and student perspectives.

WIL in Science

The ACDS WIL in Science team has been busy at the WIL Faculty Planning workshops in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. We are building a WIL resource base for work-integrated learning in science. Send through your suggestions for helpful publications, tools and ideas. Our WIL lighthouse projects will be presenting their work at ACSME and ACEN and at the second national ACDS WIL in Science forum which will be held in Melbourne on Friday, December 2. Note that date in your diary!

Using the Science TLOs

The ACDS Science TLO project has created some ‘explainer’ pages for Faculties of Science on the ACDS TL Centre website. The pages cover an explanation of how the Science TLOs fit into the broader idea of learning outcomes, what the national regulations say about learning outcomes, an introduction to learning outcomes in course design and an introduction to benchmarking.

All universities are required by the Higher Education Standards to demonstrate effective external benchmarking. This will be a hot topic at the upcoming TEQSA and HECQ conferences.

ACSME begins Sep 28

ACSME is approaching fast with record attendances. This year the conference key themes are WIL and employability, technology-enhanced learning, emerging pedagogies, communication, transferable skills and capacity building. The extensive workshop program offers 18 workshps ranging from discipline education meetings to tackling specific design issues such as evaluating assessment tasks against learning outcomes.The updated ACSME program is available here (   

Dates for your diary (and check the SaMnet listings below):

ACSME conference – Sep 28-30, Brisbane (

ACEN conference – Sep 28-30, Sydney (

Save-the-date – ACDS WIL in Science 2016, Dec 2 in Melbourne

Cheers, Liz

Prof Liz Johnson, Director ACDS TL Centre


SaMnet News and Ideas

This Month’s Question:

Have you read the Special Edition of IJ-ISME on the “Link between Tertiary Science Education and Employability”? It is one of two editions of IJ-ISME out this month and will prepare you for ACSME 2016, which is themed “The 21st Century Science and Maths Graduate”. You can read more about the two IJ-ISME editions later on in the newsletter.

We look forward to seeing many of the SaMnet Scholars in attendance at the ACSME 2016 conference in Brisbane at the end of this month!


SaMnet continues to invite you to contribute to our understanding of the broader impact of Roy Tasker’s work on cognitive load theory, student learning and visual representations in science education.

By contributing to this survey, we can start developing matrices to evaluate the achievements of academics whose careers are heavily invested in optimising teaching for learning.

Direct Survey Link:

By participating in the survey, you are consenting for us to use your responses, anonymously, in research publications. Any questions about the survey should be directed to

The results of this survey will be published in an edition of the newsletter later this year.


Upcoming Events and Activities 

Shaping the 21st Century Student Experience at Regional Universities – National Symposium

Aerial Function Centre, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, 8 September 2016

This National Symposium is the culminating event for this project, and the key findings reveal not just new and exciting information about the student experience, but its findings have been translated into lessons that can be immediately taken up by the sector.

Registrations are open; please use this link to register.

Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education 2016 (22nd UniServe Science Conference) – Supported by the Australian Council of Deans of Science Teaching and Learning Centre

University of Queensland and Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane 28-30 September 2016

The theme of this year’s ACSME conference is ‘The 21st Century Science and Maths Graduate’.

ComBio 2016

Brisbane Convention Centre, Brisbane, 3-7 October 2016. This conference incorporates the annual meetings of the Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Australian Society for Plant Scientists and the Australia and New Zealand Society for Cell and Developmental Biology.

Early bird registrations are open; please click here for more details and registration.

4th International STEM in Education Conference

Beijing Normal University, China, 26-28 October 2016

The theme of the conference is ‘Connecting Informal and Formal STEM Education’.

Registration details will soon be made available here.

APPC-AIP Congress 2016

Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Brisbane, 4-8 December 2016

This is the 22nd biennial Congress of the Australian Institute of Physics, and it will be run in conjunction with the 13th Asian-Pacific Physics Conference, the triennial meeting of the Association of Asia-Pacific Physics Societies.

Calls for oral and poster presentation abstracts are open; more details are available here. Submissions close 5:00pm AEST Monday 4 July 2016

SaMnet and IJISME

We welcome not one, but two editions of IJ-ISME this month! 

Volume 24, Number 2 of IJ-ISME contains papers on the laboratory learning experience from Les Kirkup (UTS) and Kate Wilson (UNSW Canberra) amongst others; and brings in international perspectives and experiences of science and mathematics education from Thailand, Korea and Spain.

The Special Edition of IJ-ISME focuses on the “Link between Tertiary Science Education and Employability”. As the theme of ACSME this year is ‘The 21st Century Science and Maths Graduate’, this special edition is invaluable preparation for ACSME 2016!

The value of tertiary STEM education and the translation of STEM knowledge and skills into the Australian workforce has been of heightened focus on the national stage. Amongst the discussions on tertiary STEM education on the national stage, this special edition of IJ-ISME showcases research on the needs and concerns of STEM graduates, employers and the dilemmas en countered in the STEM education-employability transition to enhance a tertiary education that combines the benefits of developing a scientific way of thinking with an integrative skillset for numerous employment pathways.

We thank guest editors Dr Louise Kuchel (UQ), Prof Janet Hergt (Melbourne) and Stephanie Beams (UQ) for their hard work in preparing this special edition.


Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)

Building a Better Discussion

James M. Lang for The Chronicle of Higher Education

How do you build discussion in your classroom? The author outlines the three primary issues facing discussion: “civil attention”, “consolidation of responsibility” and differing definitions of participation. Do these factors crop up in your classroom discussions? What is your approach to counteracting these social norms preventing discussion in the classroom?

Leadership Insights

Just Listen

Joseph Lowman and Howard Aldrich for the National Teaching and Learning Forum

Student learning is not limited to just within the classroom; students will often seek advice from all corners as they approach different junctions in life. However, we should not seek to simply give out advice, the authors argue, but rather guide students through to independently make their own conclusions through listening. Have you employed these strategies when students and peers come asking for advice?


Less is More

David Goobar for Chronicle Vitae

What is your plan for the classroom? Does having everything for your lesson planned out improve or limit the learning experience for your students? The author provides his own perspective on self-evaluation in the classroom. While the author derives his experiences from the discipline of rhetoric, would his experience be just as applicable to your teaching experience in science and mathematics?

Act Accordingly - Interview with Rick Reis

Chris Golde for the Grad|Logic blog

How do you prepare your graduate students for careers in academia? Rick Reis, of “Tomorrow’s Professor” fame, outlines his three pieces of advice for graduate students as they move into the academic world. Would this advice be applicable outside academia, to move into careers outside the faculty? Is this advice reflected in your own pathway?


University of Technology Sydney Opportunities

Lecturer/Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor in Physics

Lecturer/Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor in Mathematical Sciences

Lecturer/Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor in Forensic Sciences

The School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences is recruiting academics from Lecturer/Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor within Forensic Science and the discipline of Mathematical Sciences and Physics to actively contribute to our strategic growth plans in the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences. 

Please send all candidate referrals to If there are any problems with applying through the above sites, please contact our Recruitment team on 02 9514 1080 or via  

Specific enquiries may be directed to the relevant team leader in MapS (details on the above links).

Closing Date:  26 September, 2016 at 11.59pm (AEST) 

OLT Project on Pedagogical Content Knowledge – Chemistry Discipline Network

The OLT Project on Pedagogical Content Knowledge has come to an end, resulting in the development of the ChemPCK website, available here.

This site contains the distilled pedagogical content knowledge from all our participants. It is searchable by topic and type of teaching strategy, so if you are looking for inspiration in your teaching please have a look. There are teaching strategies and expert insights (quotes), as well as a set of seven steps to transform teaching that you may find helpful. Please also suggest this site to anyone in your department who is new to teaching chemistry.

SaMnet Leaders, Will Rifkin and Manjula Sharma


Newsletter compiled by Emma Yench and Gabriel Nguyen.