Science & Maths TL News: August 2017 |



News from the ACDS Teaching and Learning Centre

• Retention and attrition

• ACDS Teaching and Learning Conference

• WIL Guide in Science

• ACSME 2017


• Dates for your diary

• SaMnet newsletter


Retention and attrition

The Federal Government has put the spotlight on retention and attrition for all universities and everyone is concerned. The Higher Education Standards Panel published a very good discussion paper in June 2017. Read more about the topic here.

The ACDS Teaching and Learning Conference, Monash University, 17-18 July

Deans and Associate Deans Learning & Teaching, and other Faculty learning and teaching leaders came together at Monash University in Melbourne's CBD from 30 universities on 17 and 18 July 2017. Many thanks to all the presenters, the participants, and in particular the conference organisers: Tina Overton, Chris Thompson and Cristina Varsavsky for an inspiring and thought provoking meeting. Click here to view presentations.

WIL Guide in Science

The WIL in Science project continues to grow. Local nodes in Queensland, Victoria and WA have met for the 2nd time and are setting up future activities. Contact your local group to join either in person or online where possible. WIL Resources lists useful resources for growing WIL in Science. These resources can help you to plan, develop, deliver and evaluate your WIL activities. Send in your suggestions to add to this page to

ACSME 2017

Submissions for ACSME 2017 have now closed, and early-bird registrations are closing soon on 4 August.  This year the focus is Science and Mathematics Teaching and Learning for the 21st Century, with a rich program ranging from the practicalities of learning in the lab and e-tools to big agendas on employability and engagement. This is a great conference for your whole teaching team, including those crucial teaching assistants and sessional staff. Check the website for keynote speakers, conference program and the Discipline Day program.


We know the importance of communicating our work in science with others. As educators, however, it can be difficult to nurture communication skills in our students.  The University of Queensland has recently released a new resource site CLIPS for science students to support development of communication skills.

Dates for your 2017 diary (and check the SaMnet listings below)

• IUBMB New Horizons in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education Conference, 6-8 September 

• ACSME, Monash University, 27– 29 September

• National WIL Forum 2017, Melbourne, 1 December


Cheers, Liz

Prof Liz Johnson, Director ACDS TL Centre


SaMnet News and Ideas

This Month’s Question:

Have you got a new teaching initiative, project or concept that you wish to share with the community for feedback and advice?

Please let us know via and we will highlight your project to the network of SaMnet Scholars.

Upcoming Events and Activities

Celebration of Women in Australian Mathematical Sciences

University of South Australia, Adelaide, 24-26 September 2017

The Women in Mathematics Special Interest Group is organising this research conference to showcase the research of women in the mathematical sciences in Australia.

Expressions of Interest are open; click here to submit your EOI.

Australian Conference for Science and Mathematics Education 2017

Monash University, Melbourne, 27-29 September 2017

The theme for this year’s ACSME is “Science and Mathematics Teaching and learning for the 21st century”.

Early bird registrations are now open; please click here to register.


Submissions have now closed for ACSME 2017; all the best to those who have submitted papers, talks and posters.

Early bird registrations for ACSME 2017 are open, so get in quick to take advantage of the discount. The committee is hard at work with preparations; two of the keynote speakers at this year’s conference will be Paul Francis (ANU) and Karen Burke de Silva (Flinders).


Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)

Is Anyone Really Paying Attention [in my class]?

Jay R. Howard in the book Discussion in the College Classroom: Getting Your Students Engaged and Participating in Person and Online

How can you persuade colleagues to use SoTL strategies? In presenting their case for stimulating attention and engagement in class, the author refers to SoTL publications for each strategy to elevate it above personal anecdote. How would you adapt this approach to persuade your colleagues to implement SoTL strategies?

Helping Students Learn from Texts

Linda C. Hodges in the book Teaching Undergraduate Science: A Guide to Overcoming Obstacles to Student Learning

Do you know how your students approach readings in your class? What cognitive challenges do your students face with the readings you assign them? The author addresses several dimensions regarding students and readings in the context of science; an essential area of learning but often seems to be neglected. Focusing on these areas may provide a fertile pathway to publication and profiles.

Leadership Insights

Managing Up: A Brief Guide

Ellen de Graffenraid for Inside Higher Ed

How can you bring attention to the issues that require those higher in the hierarchy to solve? The author outlines key aspects that allow you to bring up these issues; identifying and framing the issue, taking a step back in perspective, picking your battles to conserve your energy for when the issue requires is and delegating spokesperson rights where effective. What issues do you identify that you could apply this process towards?


Write a Persuasive Cover Letter (for your Research Paper Submission)

Daniel W. Byrne in the book Publishing Your Medical Research

What do you focus on when publishing your research? Do you think about the cover letter or letter of inquiry to the journal of publication? The author highlights the good and bad of cover letters to journal editors and is a useful piece to show to your postgraduate students. Did you know you could send pre-submission inquiries to several journal editors at the same time?


ISSOTL directories for journals and international conferences

For those looking for international higher education links, check out the ISSOTL directories for teaching and learning journals and conferences (hosted at Keenesaw State University).


Newsletter compiled by Liz Johnson and Gabriel Nguyen.