In this issue
This month the newsletter is once again packed with updates from across the sector with project updates, ACEN and WACE research grant rounds announced and information about the recent budget announcements from Canada with significant support for WIL being announced in the budget. Several of ACENs' partners in the National WIL Strategy have included reference to WIL and the strategy in their pre-budget submissions to the Australian Federal Government.
Let's see what transpires on May 3rd.
For the first time ACEN will be recognising the contribution of our WIL partners through new WIL awards - Collaboration and Local Hero Award as well as people who have provided significant service to WIL through the Honorary Life Membership award. I hope you will consider nominating a partner or colleague for one of the awards. The Award ceremony will take place at the ACEN 2016 National Conference. A large number of high quality abstracts have been received so the ACEN Conference program will be stimulating and informative. Registrations are coming in from across the country as well as from colleagues from South Africa, Canada, New Zealand and Vietnam so the networking opportunities as usual will be fantastic. Make sure you don't miss out!
Innovative WIL Models
Recently I have been reminded yet again of the diverse and innovative WIL models happening across the country. During a recent visit to the University of Tasmania, I participated in a WIL briefing session with teams of accounting students from the School of Business & Economics undertaking projects in over 20 Not for Profit associations across Tasmania. Additional support to each team is being provided by local Accounting firms with mentors allocated to each team ensuring that the students have a rich learning experience and the organisations receive a great outcomes. The excitement and enthusiasm of the students as they met their organisations and their mentors for the first time was clearly evident as was the power of leveraging strong community networks to support WIL projects
Another great example of using networks is the NorthernIndustry Student Placement Program which is a pilot project connecting four tertiary institutions to employers in the northern suburbs of Melbourne for WIL and employment opportunities. The project will tap into wide industry networks through entities including NORTH Link, Regional Development Australia Victoria – Northern Melbourne, and the Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources. The aim is to reach organisations that may not have engaged with tertiary institutions before and broker employment or WIL opportunities. It will be interesting to see the outcomes of these pilot projects and how they might be able to be replicated across the country to achieve the outcomes of the National WIL Strategy.
ACEN has funded and initiated a project to collect case studies of great WIL from across the country to be showcased on the ACEN website so that the sector can benefit from others experience. We will be inviting all ACEN members to contribute. Details will follow shortly
Theresa Winchester-Seeto (Conference convenor)
The ACEN Conference for 2016 is shaping up to be a fabulous event, jam-packed with interesting and thought provoking posters, presentations and discussions.
Submissions have now closed and the Program Sub-committee is working hard to send them out for review. It is anticipated that delegates will be notified about their submissions by the end of May.
We are very pleased to welcome Professor Dawn Bennett who will be giving a Keynote address and we are working on an exciting panel representing all key stake holders. There will also be room for meetings of Special Interest groups and, of course, the all important Annual General Meeting.
But it is not only about the presentations – we are planning lots of opportunities for socialising and networking. The University of Queensland is sponsoring the Conference Dinner at Lauriston House, which promises to be a not-to-be-missed experience. Bring your dancing shoes! Other events are in the process of being organised and we will let you know the details via the website and future newsletters.
There have been a plethora of Expressions of Interest for the Pre-Conference Workshops, with lots of different options to choose from. We will be advising you about these in coming newsletters and on the website.
We have received some enquiries about the finish time for the conference. This is still fluid at this stage as we are endeavouring to fit in as many offerings as possible into the two days of the conference. We will almost certainly will not finish before 5pm on Friday September 30.
If you are interested in sponsoring the conference or know of someone who would like to become a sponsor, it is not too late. We welcome all such offers, and details are available on the website.
The Symposium is for active WIL researchers or those with an interest in WIL research.
Participants at this symposium will have the opportunity to work with a group of colleagues to develop and present an outline for a research project that investigates a particular aspect of work-integrated learning.
Participation will require some preliminary reading and preparation. A separate registration is required.
The National WIL Awards recognise the contribution that organisations make to work-integrated learning. ACEN recognises that WIL needs institutions and partner organisations to collaborate to provide an authentic learning experience for students engaged in WIL.
The ACEN National WIL Awards will acknowledge the support of organisations both large and small by providing two categories - The Collaboration Award and the Local Hero Award.
Nominations close June 7
Honorary Life membership recognises significant service and contribution to Work Integrated Learning (WIL) in Australia and or internationally in areas of practice, pedagogy or research.
- Have made a significant contribution to advancing the practice, theory or status of work integrated learning
- Have a minimum 5 years' service in the field of Work Integrated Learning.
Nominations close July 31
In 2016 ACEN is offering funding for three Work Integrated Learning (WIL) research grants. Applications are invited on topics related to one of the following themes identified through the National WIL Strategy and ACEN National Research Symposium.
- Innovative and sustainable WIL models
- Assessment practices for WIL
- WIL models that promote entrepreneurial practice
- WIL in STEM
- Evaluating return on WIL investment for stakeholders (Note: Projects related to this theme may focus on a particular discipline, WIL Model or Industry/community partner)
Applications close Friday May 27 2016
Hear from a panel of practitioners about authentic WIL assessment tasks they offer students to allow them to practice processes or produce artefacts that they are likely to encounter in the workplace.
Q&A and discussion to follow.
When: 19th May, 2016
Applications closed on April 11 and we received 459 applications. In the next stage, short-listed applicants will be invited to provide a 1,000 word account that addresses specific criteria and send a supporting statement from their institution and a copy of their most recent academic transcript.
ACEN has made a submission to the 'Inquiry into innovation and creativity: workforce for the new economy', being conducted by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Education and Employment.
The Committee is inquiring into matters that ensure Australia's tertiary system can meet the needs of a future labour force focused on innovation and creativity.
See the ACEN and other submissions here.
WACE is the international body of WIL organisations
A research grant will be awarded to a researcher for a single research project. The project must be completed by the deadline on the application form (see IRG Application Form on the WACE IRG website). The funds will only be sent to the institutional research office or finance office of the Principal Investigator listed on the application form. No funds will be released to an individual researcher's bank account.
Application deadline: July 31, 2016
Decisions announced: November 1, 2016
Purpose of the award
WACE seeks to promote research activity that will advance and strengthen the understanding of cooperative and work-integrated education (CWIE) in post-secondary/tertiary education across the globe and has, at its core, a focus within one of the identified WACE research themes. (see below)
Focus of the award
An awarded study may sample from a variety of disciplines, but the study findings must address one of the themes listed below. The results should have educational implications for CWIE programs across geographic regions and/or more than one institution. Preference will be given to proposals involving two or more institutions.
Charles Sturt University hosted a webinar which presented preliminary findings of an OLT funded project, aimed at helping students, academics and workplace educators/supervisors make better use of personal, mobile technologies to connect learning and work. Participants were also able to review a set of draft resources that form the mobile technology capacity-building framework developed as part of this project.
From the recent Canadian budget
Increasing Co-op Placements and Strengthening Work Integrated Learning
Recognizing the importance of demand-driven education and training, the Government will launch the Post-Secondary Industry Partnership and Co-operative Placement Initiative in 2016. The Initiative will support partnerships between employers and willing post-secondary educational institutions to better align what is taught with the needs of employers. The Initiative will also support new co-op placements and work-integrated learning opportunities for young Canadians, with a focus on high-demand fields, such as science, technology, engineering, mathematics and business. Total costs of this measure would be $73 million over four years, starting in 2016–17. Further development of support for co-op placements will be integrated in the Government's commitment to advance an Innovation Agenda to spur economic growth (see Chapter 2—Growth for the Middle Class).
A small team from the School of Business and Economics at the University of Tasmania, Australia (led by Dr Gemma Lewis) have recently received a small internal teaching development grant to develop an online tool that can be used by universities to evaluate the expectations and perceptions of all parties involved in a WIL initiative. Our tool will be trialled in May 2016 in a new WIL initiative, in which small teams of final year accounting students will conduct auditing projects within social enterprises. As part of the trial, all stakeholders involved in this WIL project will be invited to complete the evaluation survey.
The four groups of stakeholders are: students; the host organisations (i.e. not for profit, social enterprises); mentors (industry professionals outside of the host organisation who will assist students with the auditing process); and the academic coordinators (lecturers and teaching staff involved in the unit). We are seeking assistance in designing the evaluation instrument. Our intention is to devise a single, online survey that can be self-completed by all stakeholders. The survey will most likely contain both open and closed questions, and will allow respondents to select the group they belong to so that specific questions relating to that group can be administered. The survey data from our trial will help us refine the tool so that it can be used by other teaching teams in our faculty and university.
Other potential outcomes of this small grant will be for our team to 1) report our findings with members of the Australian Collaborative Education Network; 2) publish a paper on our findings in a WIL/cooperative education journal; and 3) work with academics at other universities (Australia and overseas) to potentially trial the evaluation tool within their WIL programs and collaborate on future projects. If you are currently doing research in this area, or know of existing evaluation tools/surveys we could use as a starting point to developing our survey questions, we would very much appreciate your assistance. In return, we would be happy to share the outcomes of our project with you.
Sonia Ferns, Curtin University, Project Manager
The Office of Learning and Teaching Extension Grant: Developing strategies to maximise industry contribution and engagement with the WIL experience builds on the findings from the OLT project Assessing the impact of WIL on student work-readiness. The purpose of the grant is to disseminate findings more broadly across industry, community and university sectors with the ultimate aim of improving university engagement with the wider community and enhancing the capacity of industry to play a pivotal role in the student experience. improved engagement strategies will enhance the student experience and augment graduates' employability outcomes through sharing exemplar practices in WIL. Strategies and resources to support industry contribution and strengthen engagement with the WIL experience will be developed based on evidence gathered by the project team. A survey was developed and administered to industry representatives from across Australia. The survey was designed to gather employers' perceptions on the types and topics of resources considered useful for supporting their involvement in WIL. There were 480 survey respondents representing a combination of small and large, and local and global organisations; and covering all major industry sectors. The survey has provided robust data for the project team to inform the development of resources deemed useful by our industry partners.
From ACEN WA
Associate Professor Joanne Connaughton and Ms Susan Edgar from the University of Notre Dame Australia, School of Physiotherapy, Clinical Education Team hosted a WA Clinical Training Network funded Advanced Clinical Supervisor Training for Health Professionals workshop on 8th April. This inter-professional workshop, conducted by the school under the National Clinical Skills Initiative, was designed for experienced clinical supervisors and health professionals who manage and facilitate staff who supervise students. This one-day workshop built on educational strategies developed in the Foundational and Intermediate level workshops extending participants to develop skills to lead and influence clinical supervision in their own workplace.
Practical strategies, processes and resources required to develop a workplace culture that enhances and promotes clinical supervision were discussed. Communication and problem solving skills and reflective processes introduced in the Intermediate level workshop were extended and further developed. The workshop explored the role and process of coaching versus mentoring versus supervising staff to ensure ongoing supervisor and learner support. The value and structure of workplace communication processes with focus on peer group and social learning and the challenges of multiple clinical supervisors were also included in the workshop. Two more Advanced workshops are scheduled, one in Broome in May and the other in Fremantle in June.
The report from the Review of Australia's Research Training System by Australian Council of Learning Academies (ACOLA) recommends a national Placement scheme for HDR students ( Recommendation 6 , Page XiV)
'HDR candidates benefit from industry placements, and there would be value in building a national industry placement scheme of significant scale and scope through a national coordinating body.'
'Such approaches have been successfully developed internationally, with examples such as Canada's Mitacs Accelerate program now supporting over 3000 HDR candidates in industry placements per year. To be broadly successful, a national industry placement scheme must be open to all disciplines and industry sectors.'