Science & Maths TL News: Nov 2016 |



ACSME (Australian Conference for Science and Mathematics Education) greeted over 200 registrants in Brisbane this year, breaking attendance records. Congratulations to conference chair, A/Prof Susan Rowlands, Deputy Chair, Dr Gwen Lawrie and Events Manager, Stephanie Beames and many thanks to the program committee and the small army of helpers. The conference theme was The 21st Century Science and Maths Graduate  which created a packed and inspiring program. Read the conference wrap and browse through the keynote presentations.



The ACDS Annual General Meeting in mid-October presented the work of the ACDS TL Centre to our Science Deans who have endorsed the work of the Centre for 2017.  Presentations from the ACDS AGM are available on the ACDS website. Have a look at Dr Kevin Cullen’s presentation on research impact, a new measure for research quality that SoTL thinks about a lot. This may be very useful step for HE research as it recognizes outcomes such as improvement to student experiences and outcomes in addition to the limited metrics on academic publication.


WIL in Science Forum Friday Dec 2

The 2017 ACDS WIL in Science forum is rapidly approaching.  It will be held at the ParkRoyal at Melbourne airport for all those FiFo attendees. This year’s forum will present our Lighthouse projects that have been exploring real options for WIL in science degrees. Places are limited so please check with your Faculty about who is representing you as your Faculty WIL leader. Case studies from the Lighthouse project are coming soon to the ACDS TL Centre website.


Discipline Education Meetings: BEAN and Maths Education

The BEAN network (Biosciences Education Australia) is holding its annual meeting in Canberra on Dec 12-13 at ANU.  Again, BEAN is pushing boundaries with its theme: How can we use creative engagement to grow and sustain the sense of wonder and imagination for science in our students? The meeting features an exciting mix of designers, creative professionals and scientists and follows this with sessions on ‘telling your science story’ and the ‘ever-evolving academic role’.


The AustMS Special Interest Group in Mathematics Education (SIGME) is organising the special session on maths education at the upcoming AustMS annual meeting, 5-8 December in Canberra. This offers another opportunity for FYiM network members to meet and share ideas and practice.


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

2016 ACDS WIL in Science Forum, Dec 2 in Melbourne

BEAN 2016: 12-13 December 2016, ANU Canberra

ASCILITE: Show me the learning, 28-30 November, Adelaide


Cheers, Liz

Prof Liz Johnson, Director ACDS TL Centre


SaMnet News and Ideas

This Month’s Question:

Have you published any education-focused publications this year? We would love to promote your work to the ACDS Teaching and Learning and SaMnet community. If you have published any papers in 2016 focused on your teaching and learning practices, please let us know so that we can disseminate it amongst the wider community!


Congratulations to the SaMnet team of Michelle Power (Macquarie), Marina Harvey (QUT) and Michael Wilson (Macquarie), based at Macquarie University, for their recently published article on “A review of intensive mode of delivery and science subjects in Australian universities” in the Journal of Biological Education.


This article is the outcome of a project run by the team and reports on a website audit of Australian universities and a critical review of the Australian and international literature on intensive mode of delivery. Congratulations to Michelle, Marina and Michael on a very successful SaMnet project!


Congratulations also to those who received 2016 Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning in the 2016 Australian Awards for University Teaching.


SaMnet scholars received a number of Citations; this includes Rachel Sheffield (Curtin), Richard John (Griffith), the Foundations of Chemistry Team (Adelaide), Deborah King (Melbourne), Mitchell Parkes, Peter Fletcher, Jacqueline Reid and Erica Smith (New England), Tina Botwright Acuña (Tasmania) and the First Year Experience Team at UTS.


The full list of Citations is available here, and if you know of others who have been recognised for their contributions to student learning in science, please let us know.



ACSME 2016 was a resounding success! We hope you made new connections, regrouped with old friends and took the most out of ACSME 2016 in sunny Brisbane.

Conference Chair Susan Rowland (UQ) gives her perspective below:

ACSME 2016 brought together the skills, enthusiasm and energy of the experienced Sydney ACSME team, the new Australian Council of Deans of Science (ACDS) conference custodians, and the Brisbane host team.

It could have been a case of too many cooks in the kitchen, but instead it turned out to be a successful and fun conference where many people shared the load. What a wonderful experience we had, with so much learning and sharing leading up to a conference that bubbled with fun, but which still managed to be organised.

There are so many people to thank, including the speakers and session chairs, the AV and rego desk volunteers, the speakers and poster presenters, the program and organisation committee members, and the ACDS.

This conference had many sponsors, including the University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, the UQ Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation, 3M, Wiley, StepUp, and Inspiring Maths and Science in Teacher Education; with contributions from Jess Vanderlelie and Siggy Schmidt from their OLT project funds. We appreciate all of these helping hands – they made the conference better and more enjoyable for all involved.

Particular thanks go to Jen Aughterson, Steph Beames, Liz Johnson, Gwen Lawrie, Manjula Sharma and Alex Yeung, all of whom played a big part in the running of the conference.

We hope to see everyone in Melbourne in 2017!


Another Special Edition of IJISME is being prepared and the editors are now putting out a call for abstracts and papers on the theme of “The Future STEM Classroom: What will we find there?”

Interested authors should submit a 250-word abstract for consideration to Stephanie Beames at The deadline for abstract submissions is Friday 11 November 2016.


Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)

Teaching and Learning Theories

Ann Gravells and Susan Simpson in the book ‘The Certificate in Education and Training’

What are the main theories of teaching and learning? The authors provide a summary which is useful for all stages, whether you’re new to the scholarship of teaching and learning or simply looking for a quick reminder of what they entail. As the end of the year approaches, how have your teaching methods reflected these theories?


Reflective E-portfolios: One HIP (High Impact Practice) to Rule Them All?

David Hubert, Jason Pickavance and Amanda Hyberger in Peer Review

Through their analysis of student e-portfolios as a high-impact practice, the authors identify a number of commonalities that apply to effective HIPs (e.g. internships, service/community based learning) across the board. Could e-portfolios add to the effectiveness of HIPs in your teaching and learning program at your institution?


Leadership Insights

How to Produce Students Who Can Change the World

Dan Berrett for The Chronicle of Higher Education

How do we build our students to become the next generation of leaders? Robert Sternberg proposes a new model of student preparation: instead of developing their academic capabilities, students should be prepared for “active concerned citizenship and ethical leadership”, cultivating broad student abilities to face global challenges. Does your approach to teaching allow these leadership skills to cultivate in your students?



Mentoring the Millennial Faculty Member

Susan K Gardiner in The Department Chair: A Resource for Academic Administrators

How do you mentor the new generation of academics? What are your goals from having a mentoring relationship? What are the common values and drivers between the mentor and mentee? The author highlights areas where mentors and mentees can focus on to derive better outcomes for all involved parties; we can see this relationship in action with SaMnet, where there is an emphasis on providing action-learning teams with a critical friend.


Create Change Masterclasses – University of Queensland

These engaging and interactive classes deliver on the goal to develop game-changing graduates, and also complement the Federal Government National Innovation and Science Agenda, which highlights the need for new ideas in innovation, and new sources of growth to deliver the next age of economic prosperity for Australia.

Create Change Masterclasses provide UQ staff, students, alumni and community members with the opportunity to learn essential skills from leading UQ thinkers and proven change-makers.

The first three classes in the series each take around an hour to complete:

• Ideas to Impact: Take your ideas and create change in the world

• Power to Change: Using power and influence to change the world

• Engage to Innovate: Bring your innovation to fruition with the right help

UQ recognises that the skills to innovate, take good ideas to market and connect with the right groups are key to giving ideas value and creating change. The Masterclasses provide advice on developing those skills in an accessible and engaging way using a mix of videos, tips and case studies as well as links to further learning and resources.  The Masterclasses link to UQ courses and entrepreneurial support programs, including ilab, the UQ Idea Hub, and the start-up community.


Conference Proceedings of the International Conference on Teaching Physics Innovatively

The International Conference on Teaching Physics Innovatively, held at the Graduate School for Physics in the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest on 17-19 August 2015 has published its conference proceedings, focused on physics education in secondary schools. These proceedings provide an international perspective on the common challenges that we face in science education, particularly for students that we encounter in tertiary education and the background they arrive with.

SaMnet Leaders, Will Rifkin and Manjula Sharma


Newsletter compiled by Emma Yench and Gabriel Nguyen.