Initiative updates

Student and Retention Success Project - November - 2016

The university-wide, Council-endorsed Student Retention and Success (SRS) initiative continues to develop, implement and coordinate a wide range of initiatives to arrest student attrition and maximise student retention and success.

Offers and Enrolment campaign in full swing. Outbound calls have commenced, and communication is going out to domestic FedUni students who are currently sitting on the following statuses:

  • Prospective students with a non-submitted AAWS application
  • Students with outstanding direct offers
  • Commencing and continuing students with outstanding enrolments
  • Students returning from leave
  • Students returning from deferral

The Student ambassadors who make the calls are also helping to promote scholarships, accommodation, O-Week, FedReady, and other important services to assist commencing students with their transition into their studies for 2017.  As a result of the SAT process, the University’s Offers and Enrolment campaign will now sit under the Admissions, Retention and Success team. For more information please contact Jess Mitchem.

Now is the time to focus on OWeek 2017. All faculties are reporting their OWeek preparations are underway, focusing on ensuring the best introduction possible to new students. Relevant information sessions, consistent across all campuses and engaging activities are being planned. Faculty of Education and Arts are keen to revisit the discovery activities for their commencing students following their success at this year’s mid-year orientation. If you have any new ideas for OWeek activities, please contact your faculty Associate Dean SRS or Faculty Head.

Recruitment of PASS Leaders and Student Academic Leaders underway. Student Futures advise that interviews for 2017 mentors, Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) Leaders and SALs are still in progress. This includes new leaders for the Berwick campus.

Navigating The Dashboard workshop well attended. Our SRS Data Analyst, Grant Henderson, recently conducted an informative and hands on workshop to demonstrate the capabilities of the analytic dashboards we use. The dashboards visualise the data we have to identify trends and attrition across faculties and campuses. The dashboards are available through the SRS website (staff ID login required). For more information on the dashboards, please approach your faculty Associate Dean for Student Retention and Success.

Student Progress And Retention Knowledge training (SPARK) pilot aimed for release this month. SPARK is a suite of professional development workshops for academics. A face to face pilot workshop at Academies Australasia Polytechnic (Melbourne) is scheduled for the end of November, with a goal of having workshops available to all academics across FedUni campuses and partners by early 2017.  The workshops include looking at student focused learning, student management and conflict resolution, lecturer roles and responsibly, teaching to international students, and mental health and disability awareness. Project Lead, Amy Barnhouse, would like to sincerely thank all those across the university who have contributed to the development of SPARK.

Kickstart Registrations grew significantly in 2016. Students registering for assistance through Kickstart is up from 1921 (in 2015) to 2405 as at this month. The Scholarship team has concluded awards for bursaries and grants this semester with student placement grants coming to a conclusion. An estimated 1847 individual awards have been made to students in 2017.

Kickstart upgraded and open for 2017 student applications. The improvements to Kickstart include more informative and guided questions, reduced requirements for providing ATO and PAYE financial evidence and additional considerations of personal circumstances when assessing for disadvantage. The launch of the 2017 registration coincides with a revamped FedUni scholarships website which will make is easier for users to navigate.

2017 Foundation Scholarships are open for applications. 2017 will see a significant increase in scholarships with over 40 awards available for commencing and continuing students.  New to the Foundation is the Kiran Mazumbar-Shaw Award for Indian students in FoST and the inclusion of refugee/asylum seekers in the HE and TAFE sections.

The FedUni Year 12 Scholarship applications have closed and provisional offers will be made in December following the panel assessment.  The entry scholarship received a strong number of applications from across regional schools including applications for Berwick campus.  The Scholarship award increase to $5,000 and the inclusion of electronic marketing kits distributed to schools resulted in 70 applications.

FedUni now an ‘Elite Athlete Friendly University’. This is particularly good news for the number of AFL players we have undertaking the Bachelor of Applied Management. Damian Larkin will be making appointments with faculties to discuss the Elite Athlete program in detail. Please contact Damian directly if you would like further information.

2017 Sport and Recreation Program soon to be launched. The Student Engagement Department has developed a no cost model for their Learn a Sports Program; University Priority Sport and its recreational activities. By providing free extra-curricular activities to students, and by opening the program to staff and the greater community, it creates opportunities to socialise, mentor, and participate in a healthy and respectful environment. The Learn a Sport program aims at developing student’s basic sporting skills so as to empower them to seek their own sporting opportunities, participate in team activities, engage in recreational activities, and to develop a lifelong interest in being active. For more information please Ryan Hsu, Manager Student Engagement.

Academic Progress Committee working party changing to Student Progress working party. The name change comes with a change of direction in 2017 with the working party’s focus moving towards reviewing progression policies. The working party will continue to work collaboratively with CLIPP for the development of fdlGrades training, including student monitoring, academic progress correspondence and student success plans. For further information please contact working party Chair, Amy Barnhouse, Associate Dean SRS.

Survey Working Party finalising draft policies and procedures. The policy and procedure will be supported with a Survey Quality Guidelines document to provide support to staff who are developing new or redesigning existing student surveys. By coordinating their approach to the administration of student surveys, students can expect to be relieved of the survey fatigue burden that can be placed upon them at critical times, while the university will likely realise the benefits of improved survey response rates and quality of data.

Associate Deans collaborate for focus groups. Faculty of Arts and Education Associate Deans Learning and Teaching and Student Retention and Success held focus groups with lecturing staff, looking at rethinking the first year experience. The findings from staff focus groups and student feedback will now be explored by a HEPP funded faculty working party. For further information please contact Associate Dean SRS, Alison Lord.

The Faculty of Science & Technology is fully focused on student progression. There has been much in-faculty discussion concerning the engagement and retention of online students as well as returning students. One outcome being new initiatives to encourage students to ‘close the loop’ by completing more eValuate responses which will be used to structure future course designs to better suit the needs and outcomes of students and to enhance their experience. Further developments of these initiatives will be reported in future updates.

Staff information website on Berwick Campus is now available. The website provides up-to-date information on the acquisition of the Berwick Campus, programs and support services to be offered as well as a contact point for staff queries. The website is located under the 'Working at FedUni' section of the staff pages of the FedUni website, or can be accessed here. The site will be regularly updated by the Berwick project team.

As the exam period comes to and end this month and staff are busy marking, the Student Retention and Success Initiative would like to thank those of you who continue to contribute to the success and positive experiences of our students. If you have any ideas for future student success and retention initiatives, please do not hesitate to contact me directly. Kim Ferguson, Initiative Coordinator.