Friday, 17 January 2014

January Newsletter

Issue 21 of the SaMnet Australia Newsletter.

Happy New Year from the SaMnet project team. This month’s newsletter provides a review of activities in SaMnet in 2013 and highlights plans for 2014 – including February workshops.

Feedback from the OLT on SaMnet’s Final Report
In October 2013, SaMnet HQ submitted our final report for the OLT funded project: Fostering institutional and cultural change through the Australian network of university educators. The report focussed on the process and outcomes of SaMnet since 2011.  It recounts how we worked to develop “100 leaders of change” among science academics in Australian universities and what evidence of impact were discerned.

Very positive feedback about our endeavour (yours and ours) has been received from the OLT’s reviewer.

Siobhan Lenihan, the OLT’s (recent) Director of Grants and Fellowship, said of the external reader for this project: “Dr Elizabeth McDonald was one of the inaugural Directors of Carrick/ALTC , and before taking up that role worked in the Higher Education Group of what was then the Commonwealth Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST).  Elizabeth took a strong interest in projects funded under the Leadership Program, so she is especially pleased with your report”.

Elizabeth Macdonald herself commented: “I was delighted to read this project report as it is such a milestone in the growing understanding of how to bring about systemic change in learning and teaching in Australia. It really shows the development from the early days of the Carrick Institute when the Leadership Program began. Such an insightful and important new approach to developing leadership capacity for change in the context of science education could not have been imagined at that time!”

We thank you, the SaMnet community, for your contributions to SaMnet’s development.  We will send you the final report when made public by the OLT. 

Plans for early 2014
Three SaMnet leadership development workshops have been scheduled so far for February-March. The workshops will enable sharing strategies for spurring adoption of innovative teaching practices, provide insight on leading change and SoTL development, and offer advice on career progression.

Adelaide: Tuesday 25 February – Contact Amanda Able
Melbourne: Tuesday 25 February – Contact Gerry Rayner
Brisbane: Mid-March, Date TBA – Contact Sarah-Jane Gregory

If you are interested in hosting a workshop later in 2014 in your city, please contact

2013 in Review
Recall that in February 2013, SaMnet ran 5 leadership development workshops in Australian capital cities.  These well-attended events included a 1-hour session from OLT fellow Liz Johnson on “Changing the Game – The ACDS National Centre for Teaching and Learning for Science and Mathematics”.  Your input helped to shape the new centre’s activities. 

Your action-learning projects progressed through to September, when many members of the SaMnet community gathered at the ACSME conference at the University of Canberra.  Current and prospective participants in SaMnet discussed what they could contribute to building SaMnet’s reach and impact in coming years – e.g., hosting workshops or acting as critical friends.

The latter half of 2013 saw members of the SaMnet steering committee and the HQ team debriefing  each action-learning project team as they came to the end of their two-year project schedule. We asked about the impact of SaMnet on range of facets of development of ‘distributed leadership’ among team members.A set of SaMnet project abstracts was assembled, to tout SaMnet scholars for invitations to speak at workshops, conferences, and other events.

Two editions of the International Journal for Innovation in Science and Maths Education were published based on papers from SaMnet action-learning project teams. Congratulations to all teams who have had their work published in 2013 in IJISME, conference proceedings, or elsewhere (let us know where).

This monthly newsletter currently has an audience of 127.   Multiple people have reported on the helpfulness of the network information as well as SoTL and leadership articles. We plan on continuing this helpful communication tool into 2014.  We welcome your contributions – identifying events to publicise, useful articles on SoTL or Leadership, etc.