Tuesday, 1 December 2015

November Newsletter

1.  Issue 40 of SaMnet’s monthly newsletter 

This Month’s Question:
As we move towards the end of the year, we are reviewing the SaMnet workshops conducted this year. Here is your chance to have your say on future workshops! Suggestions for future workshops have included stronger engagement with STEM education literature, understanding the leadership environment within your university and leading change in your university beyond your unit.

What other elements do you think are vital for SaMnet scholars to experience in future workshops?
Let us know at samnetaustralia@gmail.com

The Australian Government has announced the establishment of a new National Institute for Learning and Teaching to begin on 1 July 2016. This will replace the current Office of Learning and Teaching (OLT). This follows a report on the strengths and weaknesses of the current programme, completed after extensive consultation with the higher education sector. The report is available here: https://docs.education.gov.au/node/38401

2.  Conferences & publication

Parkroyal Melbourne Airport, Melbourne, 11 December 2015
Science faculties are invited to nominate 2 or 3 leaders responsible for the development and/or delivery of WIL programs in science or mathematics, as delegates to the Forum and members of the new network.
RSVPs are to be sent to kally.kneale@deakin.edu.au with delegate details (name, email, dietary requirements). No registration fee, but numbers are limited.

Along with the launch of the new WIL in Science Network, the Forum will also introduce the WIL in Science Lighthouse Projects, “action-learning projects designed to establish visible WIL organisation and leadership in science-based faculties.” Expressions of interest for projects are now open.
More details on how to submit expressions of interest are available here.

The special issue invites papers from education, neuroscience, cognitive science, psychology and computer science researchers on the topic of “Brain, mind and education: Understanding learning in digital environments.”
Manuscript submissions are due by 29 January 2016, check here for submission details.

Pan Pacific Hotel, Perth, 29 June -2 July 2016
The STARS conference makes its way to Perth in 2016.
Submissions are open now; please check here for more details.

3.  Connections/Events  

National ASELL Science Workshop – Melbourne, VIC

LaTrobe University, Melbourne, 4-5 December, 2015
This is the inaugural Australian regional conference of HAPS, the largest society of human physiology and anatomy teaching professionals.
Online registrations close today!

Shine Dome, Canberra, 8-10 December 2015
This forum will see the launch of the Bioscience Education Australia Network (BEAN), the new umbrella network combining CUBEnet and VIBEnet; as well as hosting the Mathbench Symposium, which will launch and demonstrate the Mathbench-Australia website.

Parkroyal Melbourne Airport, Melbourne, 11 December 2015
Join discipline leaders and TL champions from across Australia at this inaugural national forum to launch the new WIL in Science Network.

University of Technology Sydney, 11 December 2015
This is an all day workshop; registrations are free and limited, so get in quick here.

4.  SaMnet activity 

As we approach the end of the calendar year, SaMnet is interested in what you have achieved this year and what you have planned for next year.

Do you have an initiative, project or interest to chare with the community that you would like feedback on? Do you have any publications that you wish to disseminate to the wider SaMnet community? Please contact us at samnetaustralia@gmail.com

5.  Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)

Carl Wieman for Change Magazine
"Current methods of evaluating teaching at colleges and universities fail to encourage, guide, or document teaching that leads to improved student learning outcomes." Carl proposes the Teaching Practices Inventory, an evaluation approach which monitors the extent to which academics employ teaching practices that are known to work. Would this be an effective mechanism of promoting change in teaching practices amongst academics within your institution?

Mark Francek, Professor of Geography at Central Michigan University
Mark outlines three key elements that he considers to necessary for good teaching: building a sense of community within the classroom, holding students accountable for their learning and relevance to student perspectives. Are these elements embedded within your teaching practices? What other elements do you think are essential to teaching?

6.  Leadership Insights

Philip Shapira, reviewing Designing the New American University by Michael M. Crow and William B. Dabars
Aligning your initiatives with the goals of those higher up within your institution is one means of driving change in the institution. The article highlights some of the pressures and trends in the American system that allowed for a new cultural environment within Arizona State University. Are these trends evident in the Australian system? How could you combine those with external cultural shifts outside the classroom to effect change in your instutition?

Ellen Harries, Rachel Wharton and Rob Abercrombie, supported by LankellyChase Foundation
SaMnet aims to foster 'distributed leadership'.  That is part of a strategy touted in this report on how to change complex social systems - like your department, faculty, university, or discipline.  This report provides a nice, reasonably succinct, conceptual overview of how different disciplines and professions have defined systems and how they can change.  It also outlines principles about pursuing 'system change'.  

7. Classifieds

The SMART Directory indexes useful websites relevant to teaching and learning in science and mathematics, with annotated resources and a rating system indicating the usefulness of the resources. The Directory is ready for testing, and the developers welcome feedback and comments on the site, which is available in beta here.

The Department of Mathematics at The University of Auckland is advertising for a Professional Teaching Fellow in Mathematics. This is a teaching-focussed role; the position is intended for candidates with a PhD in Mathematics, or a closely related discipline, who demonstrate a strong commitment to excellence in the teaching of Mathematics at the undergraduate level. Applications close Sunday 13 December 2015.

The School of Mathematics and Physics is advertising for a Learning Designer. The successful appointee will work on a University of Queensland Technology-Enhanced Learning project to develop dynamic, interactive simulations to enhance student learning. Candidates should possess qualifications in a relevant discipline such as mathematics, physics, engineering or similar and be comfortable with web-based technologies and programming. Applications should be sent to A/Prof Tim McIntyre either via mail or emailed to t.mcintyre@uq.edu.au. Applications close Monday 14 December 2015.

The School of Mathematical Sciences is advertising for a Research Fellow in Mathematical Sciences. The successful applicant will conduct independent and joint research in areas related to financial mathematics; they will also be expected to teach financial mathematics at a Master’s degree level. The position is intended for candidates with a PhD in a relevant discipline, strong knowledge in the area of financial mathematics and the ability to teach it at a Master’s degree level. Applications close Sunday 10 January 2016.

Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) is aiming to substantially increase the number of top female faculty members by offering high-profile, tenure-track positions to top female scientists in research fields in which TU Delft is active. You will be offered the unique chance to establish your own research programme of international repute. More details on the Fellowship and how to apply are available here. Applications close 8 January 2016.