Initiative updates

Student and Retention Success Project - June, 2017

We continue to arrest student attrition and maximise student retention and success so thank you to everyone involved.

VET STUDENT ATTRITION DROPS SINCE 2014. The VET Retention Dashboard provides monthly analytic capabilities for all of these measures, and allows deeper exploration through filtering on categories such as Field of Education and Level of Education. The dashboard is available for download from the Student Retention and Success data for intervention page.

The Student Retention and Success Data Briefing #5, shortly to be released, shows that since 2014 student attrition in VET has dropped from 5.2% to 3.6%. In 2016, 244 students withdrew from all of their studies.

VET Retention definitions developed. The definitions of student attrition, unit withdrawal rates and unit completion rates have been defined through the FedUni Student Retention and Success Team as follows:

  • Federation University VET Attrition is the proportion of students who have withdrawn from all units of study as a percentage of all students who enrolled in VET that year, expressed as a percentage.
  • Federation University Unit Withdrawal Rate is the proportion of withdrawn units from the total number of enrolled units for that subject / program, expressed as a percentage.
  • Federation University Unit Completion Rate is the proportion of enrolled units recorded with a successful outcome, expressed as a percentage. Ongoing units are excluded from the enrolled units tally.

New Communications Officer in Student HQ. With the development of our new Communications Officer role within Student HQ, Julie Howes has commenced engaging internal stakeholders throughout the university. Currently presenting at key meetings, inviting areas to utilise her as a channel for student communications, and offering her services for the development of emails, letters, and the like. If you have questions or require communication assistance please contact Julie via studentcomms.hq@federation.edu.au

Communications Guidelines website launched. Student HQ are excited to announce the development of the Communications Guidelines website, your one stop shop for all things communication! Containing useful information, guidelines and handy tips around different methods of communication, the University’s preferred writing style, how to write an effective message, and links to resources and assistance, make sure you check it out.

Teacher Rural Placement Grants commence. The Scholarships office has commenced the management of this grant for students in the third and final years of an education degree. The placement grant encourages students to look to rural schools and engagement with the local community. The grant compliments the HEPPP general placement and Rural Health Placement grants programs offered from Scholarships office and avoids duplications in students registering across the placement and KickStart program.

A fully automated payment system for scholarships to start in 2018. The automated system rollout for students through MyStudent Centre is in the training phase and scholarship staff will work in the test environment during June/July. Shells created for 2018 year with program scholarship cost centres followed by student’s payment summaries are to be tested during this period. The system will simplify payments for students and assist in avoiding payment delays, giving students financial peace of mind.

New system to streamline work processes for awarded students. An E voucher system will roll out for second semester for all KickStart awarded students. An estimated 1200 hard copy vouchers written in first semester will be replaced by an emailed voucher with a unique identifier able to be spent at a FedUni store or authorised retailer. The initiative is part of a series of measures undertaken by the Scholarships office drive to remove duplicated processes, unnecessary paperwork and refocus time on student engagement and support.

Changes to the grants program to benefit Arts students. Arts Academy students wishing to purchase arts and dance supplies are now able to do so thanks to changes to the grants program. To determine eligibility, students are encouraged to apply to KickStart in the first instance at www.federation.edu.au/scholarships

Federation Business School acknowledges students in Excellence Awards night. Last month the FBS hosted their annual Student Awards for Excellence. This year introduced non-academic awards that align with the values and principles adopted by the faculty, as well as excellent academic achievement. The non-academic awards are staff nominated for values and principles in the following categories: Respect, Ethical Behaviour, Integrity, Diversity, Courage, Resilience, and Responsible Management. We congratulate all award recipients on their outstanding success.

Faculty of Health focus on a more supportive transition. FoH is currently streamlining orientation for both domestic and international nursing students as the mid-year intake numbers continue to increase. One area of additional support is around better peer support for nursing students, with a focus on support in the early weeks of the semester. This transition period is important in creating student connection within the university community.

Faculty of Arts and Education focus on interventions. FAE staff are now being asked to focus on Semester 2 and the inclusion of more courses in the full FDL intervention, including early assessment monitoring. Important dates for early assessment preparation and monitoring have been sent to all lecturing staff. Associate Dean SRS, Alison Lord, continues to work with our Data Analyst to interrogate faculty attrition data. This ensures that the faculty targets its interventions to support students where it is needed the most, including traditional high attrition programs.

FoST in full retention swing on different fronts. With ongoing accreditation with the Australian Computer Society and upcoming accreditation with Engineers Australia the need to provide and be able to explain retention data has been a key focus. There has been great success with student lead activities including “The IT Factor” which saw first year lecturers and students in IT at the Mt. Helen campus engage with a series of exercises and a race against the clock to reinforce key learning outcomes required for the upcoming examinations. Students loved this approach to supplementing traditional revision and want it continued into next semester and introduced at other locations. Activity has also revolved around adjusting some intervention processes within fdlGrades to further support students in need, and to help with more proactive support.

Textbooks and resource requirements update. Thank you to faculties who have now completed semester two submissions for textbook and other resource requirements in record time. This is the most successful completion timeframe yet and will aid in the timely sourcing of textbooks for students. In related news, the FedUni Store at the Berwick campus opened during semester one which, along with services in Ballarat and Gippsland provides a range of conveniently located on campus services and support for students.

Gone to the dogs! Canine stress busting wonder dogs, Max, Cindy and Irish, provided a welcome break across the SWOTVAC and exam period by way of regular visits to FedUni Living residences. It is well documented that dogs help reduce stress in humans and the smiles from our residents echoed those findings. (The dogs are staff owned dogs that are regularly on residence and were leashed and supervised at all times).

Mid-year intake and orientation focus. As we fast approach our mid-year intake, Associate Deans Student Retention and Success, in collaboration with student support services, will be speaking with their faculty staff about mid-year O-Week and orientation for commencing students. If you have any suggestions, ideas or questions about this, please do not hesitate to contact your faculty Associate Dean.

Thank you to those staff who continue to contribute to the success and positive experiences of our students. If you have any suggestions, please contact Initiative Coordinator, Kim Ferguson.