The ACEN Research Scholarship and Professional Learning Sub-Committee selected three WIL research grant winners for 2017 from strong pool of 44 applications. The following Flinders proposal was successful:

Project: An employer-student model for developing innovation and employability skills in STEM WIL students that will benefit students and meet the needs of industry.

Project Lead/s: A/Professor Giselle Rampersad, Senior Lecturer in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, member of the Australian Industrial Transformation Institute and former WIL Director, Flinders University; Dr Vlatka Zivotic-Kukolj, Lecturer in Engineering and current WIL Director Science and Engineering WIL Program, Flinders University.

Brief Overview: Innovation represents the lifeblood of modern economies. The National Innovation Agenda calls for STEM educators to develop innovative graduates. This project provides a robust mechanism to measure pre-and-post WIL innovation and employability skills based on diverse STEM-WIL student-employer cohorts. This enhances student career literacy, WIL program development and industry engagement.

Congratulations to Dr Lisa Schmidt and her collaborative team for their success in receiving ACEN support in 2016 for the project Putting the trust into assessing work integrated learning – Developing a process for embedding Entrustable Professional Activities as an authentic form of assessing work integrated learning.



OLT Funded Projects

In 2016 one round of grants was offered by the OLT, accepting Innovation and Development grants and Strategic Priority Commissioned grants. Flinders was successful on a collaborative project led by Deakin University, with Professor Reg Nixon, Director of Clinical Psychology Programs in the School of Psychology as the project leader from Flinders University, assisted by his colleagues A/Professor Michael Gradisar and Professor Tracey Wade.

2015 OLT Seed Grants:

Dr Antonella Strambi (Languages and Applied Linguistics) Dr Ann Luzeckyj (CILT) in collaboration with Associate Professor Antonia Rubino (Italian Studies, The University of Sydney)
Helping first-year students flourish through languages: Integrating positive psychology, transition pedagogy and CLIL principles

Ms Fiona Salmon (Flinders University Art Museum), Dr Catherine Kevin (School of International Studies, Flinders University),  A/Prof Michael Baigent (Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Flinders University), Ms Vicki Reynolds (Printmaking, Adelaide College of the Arts, TAFE SA),  Dr Heather Gaunt (The Ian Potter Museum of Art, The University of Melbourne), Ms Jackie Wurm Flinders University Art Museum
The power of things: Enhancing employability in higher education through object-based learning

Congratulations to Associate Professor Linda Sweet, School of Nursing and Midwifery and Professor Martin Westwell, Flinders Centre for Science Education in the 21st Century for their involvement in two 2015 Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT) funded Innovation and Development Grants. These grants continue the University’s recent success in OLT Grants.

In 2014 Flinders University received two OLT Innovation and Development Grants. Associate Professor Mary Heath, Flinders Law School, for the project entitled ‘Smart casual 2: promoting excellence in sessional teaching in law’ and Dr Julian Grant, School of Nursing and Midwifery, for the project entitled ‘Developing a national interdisciplinary educational framework for professionals working with children in the early years’. Dr Grant’s project includes Flinders University colleagues Dr Yvonne Parry (School of Nursing and Midwifery), Dr Keith Miller (School of Social and Policy Studies) and Dr Jessie Jovanovich (School of Education).

In 2013 Flinders University received two Grants – ‘Reshaping curricula: integrating culturally diverse/mental health online content to prepare work ready health professionals’ led by Professor Eimear Muir-Cochrane (School of Nursing) and ‘Better Judgement 2: Improving assessment by training assessors in the knowledge, recognition and counteraction of judgement biases in oral and practice-based assessment’ jointly led by Professor Lambert Schuwirth (School of Medicine) and Dr Lisa Schmidt (Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching).


Risk Aware: Enhancing students’ clinical competence in risky environments through a blended simulation-based learning program

Partner institutions: Australian Catholic University, Flinders University, The University of Adelaide, The University of New England, The University of Western Australia, and The University of Southern Queensland, Cabrini Health

Project Leader: Dr Jade Sheen, Professor Jane McGillivray, A/Professor Wendy Sutherland-Smith and Ms Amanda Dudley from the School of Psychology, Deakin University

Abstract: The last decade has seen a global trend towards increasing workplace violence in healthcare settings. While staff are trained to manage aggressive encounters, students undertaking clinical placement face the same dangers, but without explicit training or experience. This exposes them to workplace danger and risk. This is particularly true for psychology students, who work autonomously. Authentic learning about the assessment and management of violence is urgently needed. This project aims to develop, implement and evaluate a blended simulation-based learning program to increase students' risk-related competency and consequently decrease their risk. The program will offer three distinct features. First, online modules to support students' theoretical knowledge of risk assessment and management. Second, a virtual clinic supporting students' concrete experience and reflective observation. Third, a simulation workshop supporting the application of newly acquired workplace skills. The proposed program, Risk Aware, addresses a gap in students' work readiness education and is linked to their future employability.

Professor Reg Nixon A/Professor Michael Gradisar Professor Tracey Wade  


Augmenting students’ learning for employability through post-practicum educational processes

Assoc Prof Linda Sweet

Partner institutions: Flinders University, Monash University, The University of Newcastle, The University of Notre Dame Australia, Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service, Queensland

Project Leader: Professor Stephen Billett, Griffith University

Abstract: The project aims to maximise learning outcomes from university students’ work experiences. This will be achieved by identifying how post-practicum educational interventions can most effectively secure learning outcomes associated with graduate employability. These post-practicum interventions secured outcomes aligned with students’ employability to, respectively, understand work requirements, develop and consolidate procedural capacities and occupational values. So, these interventions seem critical to transform practice experience into knowledge for work.

The project’s central goal is to identify how educational interventions can augment students’ practicum experiences in developing the capacities required for effective transition to employment upon graduation (Perrone & Vickers, 2003). Given the significant resources expended on securing students work experiences across all kinds of university programs, this project has direct relevance to and utility across Australian higher education that will likely welcome and value its outcomes and support its impact. Evidence from earlier work indicates that, if effectively enacted, post-practicum interventions can transform these experiences into knowledge for work. This includes understanding work requirements, developing and consolidating what students know, can do and value associated with work, and generating adaptable learning outcomes. In this project, initially, staff from healthcare disciplines in 5 universities will identify the range of possible post-practicum interventions, then trial and evaluate them over a 12 month period. Building on these initial outcomes, 30 participants from other disciplines and 5 more universities will subsequently select, trial and adapt these interventions to their courses and programs. So inherent in this project are processes to systematically build capacities for enacting these interventions across universities, disciplines and programs.


What should I study? Improving tertiary pathways by improving support for prospective students

Prof Martin Westwell

Partner institutions: Flinders University, The University of Adelaide

Project Leader: Professor Julie Mills, University of South Australia

Abstract: Choosing what to study at university is a major decision that significantly impacts a student's future. A poor choice can lead to dissatisfaction, lack of engagement and, ultimately, withdrawal from university study. But what support do students actually get at critical times to assist them to make this choice? How can the university sector better support students and secondary schools to enable students to make better choices? There is limited knowledge to date about how prospective students in Australia choose what program to study. This project will examine the ways in which Year 12 students determine what to study at university, and how universities, high schools and government organisations engage with them as they make this decision. The knowledge gained from this project will enrich our understanding of the prospective student experience and result in the development of a framework and process model that will be used to design better support and development strategies for prospective students.


2014 awarded grants

Smart casual 2: promoting excellence in sessional teaching in law

Assoc Prof Mary Heath

Partner institutions: James Cook University, University of Adelaide, University of New South Wales, University of Western Australia

Project TeamAssociate Professor Mary Heath (Project Leader), Associate Professor Anne Hewitt (University of Adelaide), Winthrop Professor Mark Israel (University of Western Australia), Associate Professor Natalie Skead (University of Western Australia), Professor Alex Steel (University of New South Wales) and Kate Galloway (James Cook University)

Abstract: Sessional staff deliver half of Australian tertiary teaching, rendering the quality of that teaching crucial to student learning, retention and progress. Yet national research suggests support and training for sessional teachers remain inadequate. Law confronts specific barriers in responding to this challenge. Discipline-specific skills and content form substantial components of law curricula, which must meet Threshold Learning Outcomes and professional admission requirements. Sessional law teachers are often time-poor legal practitioners weakly connected to the tertiary sector. This distinctive context demands discipline-specific sessional staff training. This project addresses this national need by (1) creating and evaluating a comprehensive programme of interactive teaching development modules, (2) integrating strategic themes of crucial importance to the administration of justice and hence to the law curriculum and law teaching, across all modules (3) creating an online support space for law sessional staff, and (4) designing and delivering resources and workshops for law schools to support best practice implementation.


Developing a national interdisciplinary educational framework for professionals working with children in the early years

Partner institutions: Charles Sturt University, Queensland University of Technology, The University of Queensland, University of South Australia, Telethon Institute for Child Health Research SA

Project Team: Dr Julian Grant (Project Leader) , Professor Sally Brinkman (Telethon Institute for Child Health Research), Professor Jennifer Sumison (Charles Sturt University), Professor Sue Kruske (The University of Queensland), Associate Professor Kerryann Walsh (Queensland University of Technology), Dr Keith Miller (Flinders University), Dr Yvonne Parry (Flinders University),  Dr Jessie Jovanovic (Flinders University),  Ms Christine Gibson (University of South Australia), Ms Kaye Colmer (Gowrie SA)

Abstract: The first five years of a child's life are irrefutably important, establishing life-long health, social and economic outcomes. To optimise these outcomes, national and state policy is directing professionals from a range of disciplinary backgrounds involved with children to work more collaboratively than ever before. As pre-service education varies across the professions, such collaboration to support the early years has proven challenging. This project seeks to address this issue by developing a national interdisciplinary learning and teaching framework to inform higher education curriculum for preparing early years professionals across disciplines. The framework will attend to the diverse demands of multiple professions, qualification levels and workforce agendas.

Dr Julian Grant Dr Keith Miller Dr Yvonne Parry Dr Jessie Jovanovic  


2013 awarded grants

Reshaping curricula: integrating culturally diverse/mental health online content to prepare work ready health professionals

Partner Institutions: Central Queensland University, Edith Cowan University, The University of Newcastle

Project Team: Professor Eimear Muir-Cochrane (Project Leader), Professor Tracy Levett-Jones (The University of New Castle), Professor Cobie Rudd (Edith Cowan University), Ms Patricia Barkway (Flinders University), Associate Professor Wendy Edmondson (Flinders University), Professor Margaret McAllister (CQ University), Associate Professor Daryle Rigney (Flinders University), Mrs Debra O'Kane (Flinders University), Associate Professor David Gillham (Flinders University), Mrs Victoria Wright (Flinders University)

Abstract: Health professionals need to be able to assess mental health problems, as well as communicate effectively with people from different cultures. Over 27% of Australia's population is from migrant and refugee backgrounds with another 2.5% being Indigenous. One in five Australians will experience mental illness, with significant psychiatric morbidity for Indigenous Australian and culturally and linguistically diverse communities. As such, all health professionals will encounter these groups in providing care to them. Interprofessional education that integrates mental health and culture has been lacking in undergraduate health programs. This project will address the priority area Curriculum Design through the development, evaluation and dissemination of online guided learning journeys to prepare health science students in the interprofessional mental health assessment and management needs of specific cultural populations. Undergraduate students from nursing, psychology and health sciences will gain clinical and cultural mental health competence as they engage in simulated online interdisciplinary communication to provide culturally sensitive care.

Prof Eimear Muir-Cochrane Ms Patricia Barkway Assoc Prof Wendy Edmondson Assoc Prof Daryle Rigney Mrs Debra O'Kane Assoc Prof David Gillham Mrs Victoria Wright


Better judgement: improving assessors’ management of factors affecting their judgement

Partner Institution: The University of Adelaide

Project Team: Dr Lisa Schmidt (Joint Project Leader), Professor Lambert Schuwirth (Joint Project Leader (Flinders University)), Associate Professor Maree O'Keefe (The University of Adelaide)

Abstract: Better Judgement will improve assessors' expertise in oral and practice-based assessment by producing a complete assessor training programme and a set of training guides. A particular challenge in these assessment settings is their face-to-face nature which may lead to judgement biases. Judgement biases in assessment are not prejudices; instead they are incorrect representations in the assessor's mind of what has occurred during the assessment. Biases are natural and cannot be stopped from occurring but we can train assessors to recognise, name and manage them. The Better Judgement project will design, implement and disseminate a training programme for assessors on how to recognise, prevent and counteract the influence of judgement biases on the assessment process. It will be targeted at those assessors who are involved in oral and practice-based assessment so the project outcomes will contribute to the validity of assessing students in practice settings.

Dr Lisa Schmidt Prof Lambert Schuwirth


OLT Grants 2006 - 2015