Thursday, 8 May 2014

April Newsletter

This month's question:
Would you like to help produce a section of the monthly SaMnet newsletter?
Provide content for the Leadership or Scholarship of Teaching and Learning sections - e.g., send a link to an article with a one-line blurb on its relevance to the SaMnet community.
Have great resources to share or a knack for identifying the value of an article to the community? Contact us now!

2.  Conferences & publication

“Assumed knowledge in maths: its impact tertiary STEM programs”. Manuscripts for the special issue are due Monday 19th May. For more details, contact

Themes include transformative innovation and change in higher education and the impact of technological developments on learning and teaching.

3.  Connections/Events  

Past:                      February 2014 SaMnet Leadership-development workshops.
·         Adelaide, Tuesday 25th of February, The University of Adelaide
·         Melbourne, Tuesday 25th of February, Monash University
·         Brisbane, Friday 28th of March, Griffith University

Future:                 HERDSA Conference 2014: Higher Education in a Globalized World
Hong Kong Baptist University, 7-10 July 2014. Proposals past due, 7 March 2014.

Australian Conference for Science and Mathematics Education – The key annual gathering of the SaMnet community. 29th of September to 1st of October, 2014. Abstracts, papers and ideas exchange submissions close June 6.

Match up:           Experienced SaMnet Scholars willing to support newcomers?
We have had many academics who are new to the SaMnet network in this year’s workshops, from tutors to seasoned academics.  Volunteer to provide support as a critical friend.  Register your areas of specialty with SaMnet HQ (  Or, request a critical friend – same way – identify the area of focus where you desire support, e.g., second-year tutorials in chemistry. 

4.  SaMnet activity 

The three leadership-development workshops in February and March were well attended. We would like to thank the organisers of each of these events: Amanda Able (U of Adelaide), Lisa Schmidt (Flinders U), Gerry Rayner (Monash U), Sarah-Jane Gregory (Griffith U) for their hard work.

So, the SaMnet community has expanded – adding colleagues who share an interest in innovation in their school, faculty, and discipline.  We are now working to integrate these new members into further SaMnet activities.

5.  Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) 

Two articles this month with publishing tips:
Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar
How much time do you devote to choosing a title for your SoTL publications? What criteria do you use to assess the quality of your title? A helpful paper to read before publishing.

Richard Van Noorden, Nature: News
Warning - just because a paper is disseminated, in this case in conference proceedings, reliability is not guaranteed. In SoTL, like any science discipline, be discerning about citations and circumspect about material that surfaces even in reputable journals.

6.  Leadership insights

From Exploring Leadership: For College Students Who want to Make a Difference, Susan Komives, Nance Lucas and Timothy McMahon.
Born not made? Hierarchical? Do you need formal status or power? How much charisma do you need? Which myth resonates most in your department?

John Hope Bryant, Founder and CEO of Operation HOPE
A fascinating perspective on leadership, especially on a particular character trait of leadership – a tendency to action. Decide for yourself what to take from this article, which is designed to be inspirational and aspirational rather than prescriptive.

7. Initiative in Focus: 

You will probably be aware of the three OLT national teaching fellowships particularly relevant to the SaMnet community which were awarded to Manju Sharma, Chris Creagh and Garry Hoban. Starting next month we will focus in on one fellowship and get an update on progress and results.

A reminder of the three projects:

A/Prof Manju Sharma (The University of Sydney)
More active lecture approaches in science and mathematics: using expert cultural capital to drive change

Dr Chris Creagh (Murdoch University)
Work It Out: Enhancing students’ problem solving skills

A/Prof Garry Hoban (University of Wollongong)
Explaining and communicating science: partnership with science and science teacher education academics to support implementation of student created digital media assignments.

Next month: Manju Sharma with Active Lecture approaches

8.  Classifieds

SaMnet Scholars willing to act as a critical friend for someone else or some project.  Please send a list of 3-4 special interest areas to  Mentoring someone at another university can be recorded as recognition of leadership in your area of special focus. 

Articles for the SoTL or Leadership sections of this newsletter.  Send them with a one-sentence blurb on their relevance to SaMnet HQ (same e-mail as just above).  Earns you browny points on a national level – ‘contributor to the national publication on leadership in university science teaching’. 

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