Thursday, 26 September 2013

September Newsletter

This month's question:
How would you like to support others to lead change in 2014? Reply to or complete the linked survey that was handed out at ACSME 2013.

2013 South Australian Science Excellence Awards – Early Career STEM Educator of the Year – Tertiary Teaching
Congratulations to two SaMnet Scholars - Natalie Williamson, award recipient, and runner up Maria Parappilly.

2.  Conferences & publication

EduRe ’14 – The International Virtual Conference on Education, Social and Technological Sciences will be held on March 13-14, 2014. No need to travel as collaboration and sharing will occur online. Abstracts due December 10.  All papers accepted for the conference will be published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Beware of hoax requests to publish your work (editor’s note: I have already received one regarding my ACSME submission). Check the publisher, particularly if they require you to pay ($35) to publish. Helpful links: here and here.

3.  Connections/Events  

Past:                      ACSME 2014; SaMnet Scholars meeting held 12n-1pm on Thursday 19 September at U of Canberra. Good Keynotes at the conference from the Chief Scientist, Brian Schmidt, Ian Chubb, Roy Tasker, and others.               

Future:                 February 2014 SaMnet Leadership-development workshops. Register your interest in hosting a workshop with

Match up:           Emma Bartle, Stefan Huth, and Chris Thompson - to talk about recognising one's own leadership in relation to teaching.  You all have a chemistry background.  

4.  SaMnet activity 

SaMnet scholars, steering committee and friends gathered for lunch on the Discipline Day of ACSME, September 19. 25 persons attended, networked, and completed a short survey.
The survey asked: - what was the single most important thing that SaMnet had done in supporting you; what functions of SaMnet you would like to see continued; and which of those functions you would be willing to assist with. Good response.  Not too late, click here to give your answers!

Volunteer to...
-          Host a SaMnet leadership-development workshop for your city
-          Put in 2 hours / month to draft one section of the newsletter
-          Act as a critical friend for a developing leader 

5.  Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) 

Walter Buchannan (President of the American Society of Engineering Education) on Rick Ries’s Tomorrow’s Professor Blog.
“Whatever path we follow, educators need to ensure that the education that is received is not watered down to fit the circumstances.”

Anita Gibbs in a recent issue of HERD
Gibbs suggests that the scholarship of publication should be "about reflection and analysis of the space in between teaching and research, and focus on the interdependency of teaching, research, learning and communicating learning" [ emphasis in the original] (p.688). 

6.  Leadership insights

Judith Sherven
Are you anxious beforehand? Afterward? During? Sherven unpacks reasons for anxiety and why speaking up is still important. Practical tips are recommended.

Bronwyn Fryer, Harvard Business Review
The great irony of existence is that what makes life worth living does not come from the rosy side. We would all rather be lotus-eaters, but life will not allow it. The energy to live comes from the dark side. It comes from everything that makes us suffer. As we struggle against these negative powers, we’re forced to live more deeply, more fully.”

 7. Team in Focus: Building and linking quantitative skills across 1st year biology and maths courses Louise Kuchel, Peter Adams, Kelly Matthews, Michael Bulmer, and Vilma Simbag

This pilot project addresses the challenges of building the quantitative skills (QS) of first-year science students by:          
       making QS more explicit in biology units;
       forming QS links between units;
       implementing approaches that build QS across units; and
       linking QS from statistics and science-mathematics units to biology units.
The project specifically aimed to identify the needs for, and current practices in, teaching QS in first year biology.  It also  trials new strategies aligned with STAT1201 and SCIE1000.

Recommendations from the project include:
  1. Provide mechanisms for student self-evaluation of  QS preparedness in 1st yr science units with some centralised support resources.
  2. Develop a program-wide approach for QS in science.
  3. Provide opportunities for science and mathematics academics to collaborate and further link QS across units.
Specific Recommendations for units have been to explicitly state QS as a learning objective, emphasise a clear connection between maths/stats and science in lectures and practicals and develop new practicals and resources that incorporate QS. 
Louise Kuchel is Lecturer at the School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland. She led this SaMnet project.
Peter Adams is Associate Dean (Academic) in the Faculty of Science, University of Queensland. He has held numerous OLT and ARC grants.
Kelly Matthews is Lecturer in Higher Education, Teaching and Educational Development Institute, University of Queensland.  She has held numerous teaching and learning grants.
Michael Bulmer is Senior Lecturer in the School of Mathematics and Physics, University of Queensland. Michael has held numerous teaching and learning grants.
Vilma Simbag is the project manager based at Teaching and Educational Development Institute, University of Queensland.

8.  Classifieds

Publish on aspects of your SaMnet project – on the learning innovation or a case study of your efforts to drive change.  Let us know in SaMnet HQ what you are aiming to publish and what data that we have been gathering from your project, and others (permission needed), that might be helpful.  Your write up might be suitable for IJISME or another journal we can identify.