Meeting dates

11 February 2014

Event: Understanding the gaps between first year students’ expectations and experiences may help you bridge them
Speaker: Karen Burke da Silva (Associate Dean Teaching and Learning in the Faculty of Science and Engineering) and Dr Ann Luzeckyj (Lecturer in Higher Education, First Year Undergraduate Teaching Adviser).
When: 9.30am-1.00pm
Location: New Law Annexe SR 340

The Staff and Student Experience and Expectations (SSEE) project surveyed over 18,000 students from all three universities in South Australia ( and matched student survey data with their academic outcomes. The findings indicate that students who have realistic expectations of university life adapt better to the university environment, and several areas have been identified where significant gaps occur in students’ expectations and experiences.

Part One

The first half of the workshop will provide an opportunity for participants to reflect on their own expectations of first year undergraduate students and consider how these expectations influence their interactions and practices with these students; and to discover what first year students have said about their expectations and experiences.

Part Two

In the second half of the workshop (from 11:30 am), participants will consider implications for potentially high risk student groups (e.g. First in Family students) and the differences of experiences and expectations across these cohorts; and develop strategies for addressing the gaps between student expectations and experiences at their own universities.Resources developed from the SSEE project will be disseminated.

Morning tea will be provided.

RSVP: Please email the Social Inclusion Unit ( by COB Wednesday 5th February (for catering purposes)

4 November 2013

Event: Academic Literacy
Speaker: Rose Sandow, Bronwyn James
When: 12-2 pm
Location: New Law Annexe SR 440

Presentation 1: Rose Sandow : An ESL learner in transition: stepping from HSC to first year university

Rose Sandow is a high school teacher who specialises in teaching students from diverse linguistic backgrounds. She will talk to us about her students and the issues that they confront in transitioning to university. Rose will also use some assignments used at Sydney University to talk about how her students would be likely to perceive these instructions and make some suggestions for the process of scaffolding assignments for students such as hers.

After Rose's presentation, we will also hear from members of the WP network whose projects involve linguistic diversity and we will take around half an hour to discuss the issues raised.

Presentation 2: Dr Bronwyn James : Scaffolding learning for first year students: assessments and writing

Widening participation in higher education offers us opportunities to rethink curricula to include a wider range of students. One aspect of this involves the role that communication and language competence plays in assessment. In this workshop we will investigate the sometimes implicit communication and language competencies that are part of assessment tasks and they ways in which these competencies might be developed/scaffolded within the curriculum. Participants are asked to bring along their actual unit of study outlines/assessment tasks/criteria.

Dr Bronwyn James is the Head of the Learning Centre at the University of Sydney.

RSVP: Please email Wicky West ( ) by COB Monday, 28 October 2013.

11 October 2013

Event: "First in Family" presentation
Speaker: Dr 'Ema Wolfgramm-Foliaki
When: 2-3 pm
Location: Carslaw 354
Selected references: First in the Family Project (Microsoft Word document)

Dr 'Ema Wolfgramm-Foliaki is a Lecturer at the University of Auckland's Centre for Learning and Research in Higher Education. Her work focuses on developing appropriate pedagogy for working with Pacific Island peoples. One of her current projects is looking into the experiences of 'first in family' Pacific Island students at university, as described below.

Project summary:

First in family students are students whose parents did not attend higher learning institutions. Research shows that first in the family students significantly underperform, are under-prepared, come from low socio economic backgrounds and are at risk of dropping out. Such students report feeling out of place at university and being in 'another culture' very different to their own. Living on the margins of multiple cultures and constantly navigating between them presents a number of tensions for first in family students. Based on preliminary data, Pasifika students who are first in their families to study at university reported that their families do not understand what university study entails, and while supportive of their studies, there is a mismatch between the perceptions of families and students. The aims of this project are to:

  • investigate the experiences of Pasifika students who are first in their families to attend university, in comparison to the experiences students from other ethnic minority backgrounds and who are also first in their families at university;
  • develop resources that can extend families' knowledge about university and thereby increase access of first in family students to tertiary study;
  • develop inclusive teaching tools for university staff to use in their work with students who are from ethnic minority backgrounds.
13 June 2013

Event: Adam Howard Masterclass
Speaker: Adam Howard (download his Power Point presentation, "Embedding Social Inclusion in Universities")
When: 1-3 pm
Location: New Law School Foyer

Associate Professor Adam Howard is Visiting Senior Fullbright Specialist in social inclusion in education and has published Educating Elites: Class Privilege and Educational Advantage and Learning Privilege: Lessons of Power and Identity in Affluent Schooling as well as articles on privilege and social justice, on 'unlearning the lessons of privilege' and other aspects of inequality in education. He is visiting Monash University from Colby College, Maine and will be in Sydney for 13 June.

13 May, 2013

Event: Publishing from your widening participation project
When: 10am-12pm
Location: Darlington Centre Conference Room

This two hour workshop provides an opportunity for you to discuss your ideas on writing about your project. You'll be able to make connections across disciplines for possible collaborative writing, and hear from an experienced journal editor. Please bring any work in progress.

The workshop is also open to people interested in writing about their teaching-related research.


  • Professor Deborah Lupton, a prolific writer who uses social media alongside more 'traditional' forms of publishing.
  • Dr Tai Peseta, who is on the editorial teams of Higher Education Research and Development, Teaching in Higher Education and The International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.
  • Dr Hannah Forsyth, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Social Inclusion Unit.
22 March, 2013

Event: Grant writing workshop
When: 10-11am
Location: New Law School 028

At this information session, you'll be able to ask questions, discuss ideas and connect with others who may have similar ideas for proposals. The leaders of the 2012 Flagship and Implementation projects have been invited to attend to share their tips for successful applications.

8 August, 2012

Focus: Effective teaching and support of Australian university students from low socioeconomic backgrounds: Findings from a national study
Speaker: Marcia Devlin
Time: 2pm
Location: Education Lect Rm 424
View meeting details | Download slides

13 June, 2012

Event: Grant Writing Workshop
Time: 2-3pm
Location: ITL meeting Room, 354 Carslaw (Map)

Mary Teague will provide information on the internal Widening Participation grant scheme for 2012/13. Amani Bell will discuss opportunities for external funding. Cynthia Nelson will outline some key features of successful grant applications and some common pitfalls to avoid. Workshop participants will have an opportunity to discuss their potential projects with colleagues and the workshop facilitators.

9 May, 2012

Presentation: New Early Admissions Schemes for L-SES students
Speakers: Annette Cairnduff and Mary Teague
Location: New Law School Seminar 030 (Map)
Download slides


Focus: Evaluating projects
Speaker: Tess Lea
Location: New Law School Seminar 030 (Map)
View meeting details | Download slides

4 April, 2012

Focus: Supporting student success in the first year
Time: 2-4pm
Speaker: Sally Kift
Location: New Law School Foyer, Level 2, Sydney Law School, Eastern Avenue, Camperdown Campus (Map)
View meeting details | Download recording

28 March, 2012

Focus: Partnerships with Regional Communities
Time: 2-4pm
Location: Quadrangle Building, Professorial Board Room
Speaker: Debra Jones
View meeting details | Download recording

10 February, 2012

Focus: Student Peer Mentoring
Time: 2-4pm
Location: New Law School Seminar 020
View meeting details

25 November, 2011

Focus: Schools Engagement
Time: 2-4pm
Location: Room 446, Law Annex
View meeting details | Download recording