ALTF Newsletter: Issue 04, 2017
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Professor Sally Kift, ALTF President

Dear Colleagues
Happy October to you all!
I am sure that it has been another busy year for everyone and so also for our Fellows, as you will get some sense of from what follows. It has also been a busy year on the policy front for our sector. We all wait anxiously to see what will be the fate of the Minister’s bill in the Senate. I know that many of you continue to advocate for a just and equitable Australian higher education system, one that delivers the best possible opportunities for all students, whatever their background or circumstances. We need to keep doing so, whatever the Senate decides, particularly as university budgets continue to be squeezed.
I am sure all ALTF members will join with me in congratulating and celebrating our wonderful colleagues across the sector who have recently been recognised with national Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning at their various state ceremonies for the 2017 Australian Awards for University Teaching.
Some of the ALTF highlights since the last time I wrote are as follows:   
  • ALTF forum in June. We held a very successful forum in June in Sydney in conjunction with HERDSA, with over 30 fellows attending. Thank you so much to the Fellows who organised this for us – Jenny Edwards, Anne Gardner, Sally Varnham. We asked Fellows for feedback following the forum, which has been received and we are looking to take this on board.

    Thank you all.  
  • A visible ALTF presence in the sector. ALTF members continue to be a welcome and visible presence across the sector both nationally and internationally. Over the last few months have had involvement at HERDSA 2017, which was organised by ALTF’s Romy Lawson and where Fellows presented and lead streams, and also at the 2017 STARS Conferences, co-convened by Fellow Rachael Field, where again Fellows presented and lead STARS Networks.

    Please let us know of any future events you may have coming up – we are always happy to promote them on the ALTF website.
  • ALTF bid to host UA Teaching and Learning Repository. The ALTF submitted an EOI to set up a new online repository to house resources produced by the Office of Learning and Teaching (OLT). Huge thanks to Nicki Lee for leading this bid. Unfortunately, we were not successful and understand that an announcement will be made soon by UA as to the successful tender.
The UA Repository will contain the resources currently housed at and related material held on third-party websites, all of which is the combined result of Australian Government investment in learning and teaching projects through the OLT and its predecessor organisations. It is understood that the Repository will be established as a separate, discrete collection and also include options for curation of new resources into the future. These are important, publicly-funded resources produced by and for the sector. It will be great to see them better curated and more accessible than as at present, and we have been asked to play a role in the governance of the repository moving forward.
  • Submitted ALTF Funding Proposal 2017. The ALTF Executive has submitted a funding proposal to the Department with a view to supporting the development of a progressive program of ALTF activities over the next three years. I am grateful to all the Executive for their help on conceptualising this and especially, of course, to the marvellous Pip Munckton for her invaluable assistance in bringing it all together. We are testing the waters by asking for funding to support a variety of projects and expect to receive feedback in due course. The proposal included (reasonably modest) funding requests for:
    • the continuation of an ALTF Administration Manager;
    • some Strategic Projects, including: Secondments to DET and major DET sponsored projects; Impact projects (similar to the OLT Extension Grants) and white paper development; Resource development grants; and some administration support for the management of this scheme;
    • one face-to-face meeting per year between the Executive and the Department in Canberra;
    • one national ALTF Australian forum for the Fellows each year, to align with one of the national conferences;
    • one international ALTF forum each year, with the first hopefully be a combined Ako Aotearoa-ALTF summit, hosted by Ako Aotearoa in Dunedin (November/December 2018);
    • some small regional network meetings that allow the ALTF to engage with and connect good practice across the sector to be organised by Fellows at a local level much like and in collaboration with HERDSA regional activities.
We are always happy to hear from you about other good ideas for ALTF activities and will let everyone know how we get on with our bid as soon as we are advised.
  • ALTF position statement on marriage equality postal vote. The ALTF recently sent out a position statement encouraging educators to remind students to enrol to vote for the same-sex marriage postal survey. This initiative was led by Fellow Jacquie Cranney.
  • Possibility of ALTF Seed Grants. The ALTF Committee has been looking into the possibility of providing modest funding for ‘seed grants’ to Fellows interested in pursuing strategic ideas in advocacy and bidding for ALTF funding. Please us know if you are interested in leading, contributing and/or benefiting from this initiative.
  • 2017 Report: Impact evaluation of key themes funded by the Office for Learning and Teaching 2012-2016. As Fellows were recently advised, Professor Margaret Hicks, Flinders University, has now forwarded to the ALTF for further distribution her recently published 2017 Report: Impact evaluation of key themes funded by the Office for Learning and Teaching 2012-2016. The Report is available for downloading on the Australian Government website at and is a fabulous validation of all of the good work that the OLT and its predecessors enabled to build learning and teaching capability and support pedagogical innovation across our sector.
  • 2017 Churchill Fellowship. Congratulations to ALTF’s Sarah O'Shea on her award of a prestigious Churchill Fellowship to continue and further her Fellowship work on best practice in retaining students who are first-in-family to attend university.  
Best wishes to all
Sally Kift
President, ALTF


Featured Fellow | Associate Professor Sarah O'Shea


University of Woolongong

Fellowship title: 

Engaging families to engage students: exploring how university outreach activities can forge productive partnerships with families to assist first in family students navigate their higher education journey

Our featured fellow for October / November is 2015 OLT National Teaching Fellow, Associate Professor Sarah O'Shea. Sarah was recently awarded a prestigious Churchill Fellowship - congratulations, Sarah!

Read full article

Congratulations to Sally Kift

ALTF President, Sally Kift has been successful in her PFHEA (Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy) application. Well done, Sally!

How employable do your students believe 
themselves to be? Give them a 20-minute challenge to create their employABILITY profile

ALTF Senior National Fellow Dawn Bennett has launched a Student Employability Starter Kit as part of her Fellowship. The kit enables students to reflect on and take charge of their learning, and helps educators introduce employABILITY into the classroom. 

Dawn is working with 20 institutions to operationalise program-wide employability development and understand their students' thinking.

For more information on the free self-assessment tool, associated measure and resources, read more here. 

Invitation to participate in survey exploring digital literacy in the context of Higher Education Australia

How do you perceive your digital literacy capacity and preparedness to teach in a technology enhanced environment? What are your perceptions of students’ preparedness to learn in a technology enhanced environment? ALT Fellow, Jo Coldwell-Neilson, from Deakin University is seeking answers to these questions as part of her ALT Fellowship, Unlocking the code to digital literacy (also see

Work to date has resulted in a cross-disciplinary understanding of digital literacy. The next stage is to construct a digital literacy framework to underpin this understanding which will inform digital literacy skills development within curricula in the future.

Jo invites you to contribute to this stage of her Fellowship by participating in the survey, Digital Literacy Staff Survey. A Plain Language Statement (PLS) explaining the nature of the research and your commitment, if you chose to participate, is available here for your information. The survey will take approximately 15 minutes to complete. 

Please help Jo by sharing this survey with your colleagues. 


ALTF Forum 2017

It was great to see so many Fellows at the 2017 ALTF Forum in Sydney. 

We had in-depth discussions with HERDSA keynotes Chris Rust and Sandra Graham, we brainstormed the HERDSA conference themes, and we heard from six completing fellows. This was followed by a lovely dinner and the presentation of pins to Iouri Belski, Sarah O’Shea and Manjula Sharma. 

Fellows attend the Sydney forum
Professor Chris Rust presenting at the forum
Fellows at the presentation dinner with Professor Sandra Graham
Iouri, Sarah and Manjula receive their Fellowship pins

New ALTF Executive

Following the ALTF forum in June, we welcomed three new members to the committee. Welcome Nicolette Lee, Sarah O'Shea and Trevor Cullen! You can see the full list of current ALTF executive members here.

AKO Academy conference

ALTF fellows have been invited to attend the 2017 AKO Academy Talking Teaching 2017 conference to be held next month in New Zealand. Talking Teaching is a two day conference in tertiary teaching practices and research. It will take place on 27 & 28 November at the historic St Margaret's College, University of Otago, Dunedin. The conference is part of a bumper week of conversations taking place in Dunedin, see for information on the assessing learning conference scheduled 29 Nov - 1 Dec. 

ALTF Twitter

Do you have fellowship-related news you'd like us to know about, or a Tweet you'd like to share with the ALTF network? Tag @ALTFellows fellows so we can see what you're up to. If you are not yet following us on Twitter yet you can do so by following us here.


Sandra Jones with HERDSA president Allan Goody


Prof Sandra Jones, RMIT, has published a HERDSA Guide: Leading the Academy: distributed leadership in Higher Education. In launching the HERDSA Guide,  Sandra spoke of her longstanding interest in shared leadership: “I am quite excited at its release as it gave me a chance to bring theory and our local empirical research together, with a set of resources for all”.

This HERDSA Guide advocates a particular form of activity-based/practice-based leadership known as distributed leadership, which incorporates what are termed three new ‘Rs’ for leadership.
• Respect for the expertise contributed by all employees
• Recognition (and development) of the contribution of each employee
• Reward for leadership performance undertaken to achieve change.

Read more about the guide here or download the guides here. 

Call for Book Chapters for "Critical Reflections on Research in Teaching and Learning”

Nancy Fenton and Whitney Ross from McMaster University have compiled a volume titled "Critical Reflections on Research in Teaching and Learning" which has been approved for publication by Sense Publishers. They are now opening the call for interest and very much welcome international scholars. 

You can download the requirements and more information by clicking here.

Griffith University positions available

Griffith University is currently recruiting 2 x Professor level Deputy Directors

Deputy Director (Curriculum and Teaching Transformation), Learning Futures, Griffith University. Further information can be found at reference number 106347

Deputy Director (Learning Transformation), Learning Futures, Griffith University. Further information can be found at reference number 106346

For more details contact Anne Ritchie at


HERDSA 2018 - Adelaide

'Re-valuing Higher Education'

2-5th of July 2018

STARS 2018 - Auckland

8-11th of July 2018

Do you have news or an event you would like to share? You can let us know by completing our newsletter contact form here.
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