Monday, 27 May 2013

May Newsletter

Listen to the newsletter? Now available in audio as a podcast.

This month's question:
What are you submitting for ACSME 2013? Join the Skype Conversations on 3/6/13 and 11/6/13. Email to book your seat.

Congratulations – Outstanding Teaching Award
Adam Bridgeman has been awarded the Outstanding Teaching Award as part of the U of Sydney’s 2013 Vice-Chancellor’s Awards for Learning and Teaching.  Adam is involved with multiple SaMnet action-learning projects and is an active participant at SaMnet workshops and conference gatherings. 
Let us know if you have garnered an award recently, as these rewards build morale … and influence. 

2.  Conferences & publication

ACSME – 19-21 September 2013 – Where SaMnet Scholars gather …
Australian Conf. on Science and Maths Educ. 2013: “Students in transition – The Learner’s Journey”.  Venue:  ANU & Uni of Canberra.  Submissions due:  7 June 2013. 

ESERA2013 – 2-7 September 2013
The European Science Education Research Association Conference 2013.  Venue:  University of Cyprus in Nicosia.  Abstract submission: Closed.  In Europe in Sept.?  ESERA2013 is well worth a visit.

IJISME Special Issue on Biology Education Futures – Would you consider writing a paper for this publication? Expressions of Interest are due 14 June 2013 and manuscripts are due 26 July 2013.

3.  Connections/Events  

Past:                  ASELL Schools Science Workshop – 26 April 2013 at SHORE School, North Sydney, NSW

Future:              SaMnet Skype Meetings to discuss planned ACSME submissions – 3 & 11 June 2012. Register interest by emailing:

HERDSA 2013 Conference – 1-4 July 2013 at Auckland Institute of Technology.  Venue:  Auckland, New Zealand.  Tell us if you are attending.  We will gather SaMnet Scholars. 

2nd Annual VIBE workshop - 11-12 July 2013. Co-sponsored by CUBEnet.
Venue:  U of Melbourne.  Topic: “Biology Education Futures”.
Day 1: Strategies for Academic Life: Workshop for early and mid-career academics
Day 2: Biology Education Futures: Includes showcase for e-learning in biology and assessment as evidence for achieving learning outcomes.

Match up:           Visit the SaMnet project list, and make contact with a fellow SaMnet Scholar.  Compare your projects and your efforts to drive change.  Be a colleague’s ‘critical friend’. 

4.  SaMnet activity 

SaMnet Advisory Panel Meetings: Friday 10 May 2013.   

SaMnet Scholars can log in and see project reflections from participants of the SaMnet Leadership-Development Workshops from February 2013. Log in with a gmail/google account and email if you are not able to log in.

The future of SaMnet:
SaMnet’s advisory panel is made up of prominent academics and administrators, such as former PV-Cs, Adrian Lee and Alex Radloff.  They are keenly interested in building and sustaining SaMnet’s successes.  They want us (including you) presenting compelling data on how you have changed teaching in your schools and faculties.  They asked us to engage more academics, beyond current SaMnet Scholars.  That builds the ‘movement’ for improving science teaching and enables ‘succession’, new and energetic people at the top.  They underlined the value of rewards for your efforts, which is why we assist you in refereed publishing.  

5.  Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) 

Implementation of criteria and standards-based assessment: an analysis of first-year learning guides Higher Education Research & Development latest issue – Rosemary Thomson, UWS. 
Analysis of 159 first-year units in Australian institutions – “The paper provides a snapshot of the types of assessment used in the first year, including exams and analytical, reflective and authentic tasks”.

Widespread distribution and unexpected variation among science faculty with education specialties (SFES) across the United States Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America - Seth Bush, Nancy Pelaez, James Rudd II, Michael Stevens, Kimberly Tanner, and Kathy Williams. 
A new type of specialised science academic position within science departments is emerging here and abroad.  SFES academics were found around the US.  The authors examined recognition for these staff and support for their research.

6.  Leadership insights

Another social-media-heavy section on Leadership insights – 2 posts from Linkedin.

Individual practice or experience may not be the key to success as some have claimed it to be. This post discusses how collaborative and team experience leads to results. Recognise these factors in relation to your project team?

Do you know the difference between working “For” and “With” a company? “But J. T., if I stand up for myself, I’ll get canned.” This article claims to offer a secret to being a top performer at work.

7. Project in Focus: Developing and resourcing academics to help students conduct and communicate undergraduate research on a large scale, Susan Rowland, Gwen Lawrie, Kirsten Zimbardi, Jack Wang, Paula Myatt.
Editors note: We are beginning to branch out from the SaMnet action-learning teams to other projects of interest within the Science and Maths education community, particularly if team members are connected to SaMnet as Gwen Lawrie is.

Imagine your class of 200 undergraduate science students all engaged in research during their regular laboratory or field sessions. Fun… A good learning experience… How about daunting? What if there was someone who could help you do it?

Team ALURE (Apprenticeship-style Large-scale Undergraduate Research Experience) is a group of teaching-focused academic scientists at UQ. We are recruiting five new champions who want help implementing large-scale undergraduate research experiences for their science classes from Semester 2 2013. Our aim is to develop and resource academics who want to help students conduct and communicate undergraduate research on a large scale.

What can we offer you?
·      Experience: Experienced ALURE champions help new champions design, implement, and evaluate their ALURE.   
·      Protocols and methods: Groups from ANU, Griffith, Sydney Uni and UQ have documented a “how to” for the ALURE – these protocols and notes will be available to you.
·      Project Evaluation: We provide evaluation methods and analysis.
·      Regular Personalised Backup: ALURE implementers are visited and mentored regularly through Skype.
·      Meetings and Workshops: An interactive showcase will be presented at HERDSA

Interested? Contact Susan Rowland on

8.  Classifieds 

Have you seen a validated survey to assess communication skill development?
An honours project at the University of Queensland is looking to evaluate communication skills of students submitting research reports for an internally-circulated research journal. The request is for any papers documenting a validated instrument to assess development of communication skills.
Advice or references, please, to – Chen Lim at