Federation Business School

International Student Support Officer sees great results in English Language Support

During Semester 1, 2017, the FBS International Support Officer met with business school international students each week for a one hour English Language session. The largest number of students attended these sessions for the first three weeks of the semester, with a smaller number continuing to attend sessions throughout the semester. Initially, students were asked to speak to each other and the International Support Officer in English, read news articles written in English, highlight any words they were not familiar with. They then looked up the meaning of the unfamiliar words in the Oxford English Dictionary instead of simply translating the words back into their native language. Through this exercise, the international students became more comfortable looking up words in English dictionary, and spent less time translating words into their native language. As a result, the students found they were better able to understand their lecturers, and spent less time revising as they no longer had to translate words into their native language in order to understand what they heard or read, and received exposure to a broader number of English words.

Once the students who attended the English Language sessions were confident looking up words themselves, they were asked to practice reading out loud. This exercise helped students to hear the correct pronunciation of words and gave them practice pronouncing the words. The International Student Support Officer also encouraged the students to discuss a variety of topics to get used to thinking and speaking in English. The goal of this exercise to was help international students practice how to present their thoughts and communicate their ideas to others in preparation for presentations required in their coursework.

To reach students who needed to improve academic skills, the international student support officer would learn what interested those individual students, find articles that tied the student’s interest to their study program to help better engage the student with their area of study. This tactic was effective with students who could now appreciate commonalities between their interests and the courses in which they were enrolled.

Lecturers whose international students worked with the International Support Officer have seen significant improvement in these student‘s final results. International students who also needed help with their writing skills were referred to the Learning Skills Advisors and Writing Space, and have also shown improvement in their academic writing skills.

Value based awards introduced by Federation Business School

For the past several years, Federation Business School has hosted excellence awards for their high academic achieving students. This year saw the introduction of non-academic awards that align with the values and principles adopted by the faculty. The non-academic awards are staff nominated for values and principles in: Respect, Ethical Behaviour, Integrity, Diversity, Courage, Resilience, and Responsible Management.

Craig Hurley, Lecturer and PRME Coordinator, and co-host for the night of the awards (2017), explained on the awards night: “In 2012, the Federation Business School committed to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Management Education program, which now includes the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This commitment aligned with our Faculty philosophy that businesses have social and environmental responsibilities, as well as economic and financial responsibilities. We also agree that as educators of current and future business leaders, we have critical roles to play in ensuring our students are given opportunities to develop the skills, attitudes, knowledge and approaches required by thriving, responsible businesses in the 21st Century.

Over the last few years, we have embarked on a strategy that ensures we embed the Sustainable Development Goals, including values, ethics and social and environmental responsibility, into everything that we do – our education courses and programs, our research and community engagement, as well as our day to day Faculty operations. As a Faculty, we have invested substantial time and effort to identify our key values, [therefore] the following awards [are presented] to students who have demonstrated their strength, in one or more of these values, in their Business School studies in 2016.”

FedUni congratulates all award recipients on their outstanding success.

International Student Support Officer

In 2015 the Federation Business School introduced an International Student Support Officer. This role is filled by a current international business school student who gives support and advice at a peer level. The Support Officer assists all international students to become familiar with the university services, processes and faculty specific requirements. This contributes to creating a faculty specific person who supports students engagement and sense of belonging with FedUni.

The position works closely with staff in the Student Experience team within the faculty as well as with student mentors, International Student Support and Student Connect.

The International Student Support Officer pilot project commenced in Semester Two, 2015, and will continue into 2016. This initiative aligns with Priority 2 and Priority 3 of the Student Retention and Success Strategic Plan 2015-2017.

For more information on any of these initiatives, or to contribute, please contact this School's Associate Dean Teaching and Quality, Damian Morgan.