NavigateMe: A gateway to students’ greatest potential

Mr. Jeffrey Meesterman, Ms. Rita Kusevkis-Hayes, Dr. Colin Clark, Ms. Jessie Lui, Ms. Jessica Luquin,

University of New South Wales, Student Life

Online interactivity, late night accessibility and anonymity are key to encouraging students to reflect upon their academic achievements. At UNSW, NavigateMe is an online self-help tool that provides immediate and personalised information based on students’ responses. The tool refers users to university services and suggests ways in which they can change their lifestyles or personal habits to improve their university experience. NavigateMe engages students with university services, encourages them to reflect on personal goals, and assists them to achieve their greatest potential during their studies. Students use the tool for various reasons at different times throughout the academic year, and some students use the tool on a frequent basis. The tool was developed and is continually enhanced through a collaborative and iterative process in consultation with staff, students and faculties. Continual enhancements are made to assist students to improve their university experience.


Mr Jeffrey Meesterman has a bachelor’s degree in International Marketing from the University of Utrecht. He has experience in the digital space, marketing, graphic design, designing surveys and recruiting participants for focus groups,managing/supporting student groups and fostering collaboration across departments.

Ms. Rita Kusevskis-Hayes is the Senior Project Equity Manager for Student Life (DVCE) at UNSW and has previously been employed in a number of organisations, such as the NSW Department of Education, Vision Australia, University of Sydney, University of New South Wales and TAFE NSW. Her current position presents a broad range of challenges such as managing HEPPP funded projects and a national grant on Disclosure across universities in Australia. Rita is currently involved as a co-researcher with the Global study on Disability and eLearning.  She manages various support services for students including the Disability Services Unit. Rita has been actively involved in Equity & education for more than 20 years in a range of contexts.

Rita has introduced digital innovations such as (NavigateMe) assisting students to boost their performance and access support across faculties as well as an online self-assessment tool for academic language proficiency.  Rita has taken a systemic approach to interventions and data analysis in equity and student support—using quantitative and qualitative methods to assess the impact of interventions. She has provided information for the Federal Government Higher Education Partnerships and Participation Program (HEPPP), the Academic Board and the UNSW Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Board.

Enhancing student disclosure: Australia’s invisible equity students and reasons for non-disclosure in Australia’s tertiary sector

Dr Colin Clark1, Ms Rita Kusevskis-Hayes1, Mr Matthew Wilkiinson1

1University Of New South Wales, Kensington NSW

Many students in tertiary institutions who are eligible for equity consideration and accommodations decide not to disclose their equity status. Discussions of equity disclosure concern fears of stigma, questions of purpose, and the relationship between visibility of equity status and disclosure. This paper reports on the concept of self-disclosure of equity group membership at university. This study is the result of a HEPPP-commissioned project to investigate the factors that encourage domestic students from identified equity groups to self-disclose this information to higher education providers.

The project considers three key equity groups:

  • Students with disabilities
  • Indigenous students
  • Domestic students from non-English speaking backgrounds (NESB)

An understanding of nondisclosure would inform future policy and program design to encourage disclosure of hidden subpopulations with specific needs. In this article, we review the literature on disclosure, considering common themes and discussions around these three equity groups. We report on preliminary findings from a survey of university equity service staff on their perceptions of reasons for nondisclosure. When the study is complete, with student surveys and interview/focus group data, the information will be used to generate guidelines to help universities plan equity support measures, allocate appropriate resources and train staff.


Dr. Colin Clark has been involved in tertiary education in academic and support roles for over 20 years. He has published research using multimethod qualitative and quantitative methods in the Journal of Business and Technical Communication, Journal of Asian Business and has a paper currently in second stage of review in Academy of Management Discoveries. His doctoral thesis won the 2012 Association of Business Communication Outstanding Dissertation award.

Ms. Rita Kusevskis-Hayes has previously been employed in a number of organisations, such as the NSW Department of Education, Vision Australia, University of Sydney, University of New South Wales and TAFE NSW. Her current position is Senior Engagement Coordinator of various support services for HEPPP-funded students offered at UNSW. Rita has been actively involved in education for more than 20 years in a range of educational contexts.

Better pathways to success? – A study of foundation studies alumni

Ian Teo1, Shanton Chang2

1Trinity College Foundation Studies, Trinity College; Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education, The University of Melbourne; 2Melbourne School of Engineer, The University of Melbourne

Foundation studies (or pathways) programmes (FSPs) seek to prepare international students for their transition into university by providing bridging courses to meet their academic, sociocultural and personal needs. According to StudyPortals and Cambridge English (2016), the growth of such programmes over the previous decade has boomed to over 1,000 English-medium providers worldwide and has been valued at $1.4 billion with no indication of slowing down. While these programmes serve an instrumental purpose in terms of providing international students with a pathway into university, it has become clear that these students seek more than just a qualification by the end of their sojourn, and value also the quality of their broader relationships, preparation, and participation at university (Teo, 2016). For more than 25-years, Trinity College Foundation Studies (TCFS) in Melbourne has served to prepare international students for their higher education studies. The present study will report on quantitative and qualitative data derived from TCFS alumni who were surveyed at the start of 2017. In particular, two branches of alumni-related expectations and experiences will be addressed. First, the types of extra-curricula activities respondents reflected upon as being important for their broader welfare or well-being while enrolled as foundation students will be discussed. Second, findings involving the types of supports they sought during and after university, and the ways in which they wished to reconnect with TCFS will be described. Implications and recommendations relating to the aforementioned data will subsequently be presented.


Ian has been working within the Trinity College Foundation Studies since 2004. For much of this time he taught as a Psychology lecturer within this program while pursuing postgraduate qualifications in Higher Education. His PhD thesis, “Transitioning from a Chinese education to an Australia education – A study of FSP students”, emphasised the critical role that the social dimension has in shaping international students’ university experiences. Since 2016, Ian has transitioned into the role of Research Coordinator: Foundation Studies Program to further investigate issues relating to international education and provide research support for Trinity College staff.

Mental health screening in an international university residential centre

Lisa Bernstein1; Melissa J. Taylor1

1Wellbeing/Student Services, RMIT University Vietnam

The Wellbeing service at RMIT Vietnam is introducing a mental health screening instrument in its Residential Centre to pro-actively identify and offer support to students experiencing psychological distress. Vulnerability to mental illness is heightened at this time of major life change and over three-quarters of people who experience mental disorder during their lifetime will first develop a disorder before the age of 25, and around one quarter of all young people experience a mental disorder in the previous year (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2007).  Furthermore, university students face numerous stressors (e.g. increased responsibilities; living away from family; pressure to succeed) which can increase the risk of, or exacerbate mental illness (Orygen, 2017). Presently, support for student mental health tends to be reactive in nature with engagement generally occurring with students who are actively seeking help, or whose condition has caused significant concern to staff. Students may not disclose or seek support for mental health due to a range of reasons, including a lack of understanding and stigma associated with mental illness (Orygen, 2017). The initiative is commencing within the Residential Centre as international students are known to be an ‘at risk’ group for psychological distress (Veness; 2016). The DASS-21 (Lovibond & Lovibond, 1995) will be used. The Residential Centre houses approximately 80 students and screening will occur twice every trimester. Data will be collected and analysed to understand the level of psychological distress within this population, and uptake of services. Based on the results of the DASS-21, a process of outreach and engagement will commence. This initiative will be extended to other students identified as being at a higher risk of psychological distress. This approach is expected to improve student mental health and wellbeing, as well as academic success, while also raising awareness and providing psycho-education within the university population.



Ms Bernstein is an Australian registered and experienced Forensic Psychologist with over 10 years of experience in corrective services in New South Wales, Australia. Ms Bernstein has extensive experience in assessment and treatment of a range of psychological presentations, and also in providing supervision. She relocated to Vietnam in January 2017 where she has been working as the Senior Student Counsellor at RMIT University (Hanoi Campus) and provides psychological interventions, assessment, consultation and training to staff and students.

Impact of peer-review assessments on student engagement in MCD2090 – macroeconomics

Dr Dinusha Dharmaratna1, Mrs Stephanie Joshua-Anandappa1, Mr John  Zamen1

1Monash College, Clayton, Australia

Peer-review assessments is the assessment of students’ work by other students of equal status. These assessment are powerful meta-cognitive tool. It engages students in the learning process and develops their capacity to reflect on and critically evaluate their own learning and skill development. Students are used to getting feedback on assessments from the teachers but not from their peers. In these assessments they reflect on their own efforts and extend and enrich this reflection by exchanging feedback on their own and their peers’ work. At Monash College, in the unit MCD 2090 Macroeconomic students are required to engage in two peer-review assessments tasks during the trimester. Even though these peer-review assessments do not have a greater weighting on their final grade, just accounting only 2 percent of the overall final grade. We have observed that the students are engaging in these task by submitting their own work and assessing and commenting on answers of their other two peers. For assessing the peer task, the students are provided with the grading rubric to follow, however, this grade value is used solely as an indicator of the students’ understanding of the assessment criteria, as well as an exemplar of what graded work looks like. These peer-review activities have improved the student engagement with the unit content and they continue their discussions on these activities even after the activities have ended. Overall, the task of peer review, makes the student learn the real life skill of providing a colleague appraisal and critique in day to day or business life.


Dinusha Dharmaratna has been in academia for more than 10 years and she has extensive experience in both teaching and researching. She is working as the unit leader for one of the Economics units and actively engage in many teaching and learning research projects.

Education gamification in action – a change for future

Mr John Zamen1, Dr Dinusha Dharmaratna1, Mrs Stephanie Joshua-Anandappa1

1Monash College, Clayton, Australia

Academics are keen to encourage students to engage consistently with coursework throughout the trimester, rather than cram prior to exams. Educators and academicians are constantly required to modify the learning methodology to give students the opportunity to succeed. Prior academic research indicates that flexible student engagement arrangements, such as online tests, and gamification of the tutorial questions are key drivers for improved unit performance. At Monash College in MCD 2090 – Macroeconomics tutorials the concept of gamification is implemented where students seek awards that correlate with their learning of economic principles. This encouraged all different learning styles through a fun atmosphere, different from a traditional economics class that can be intimidating to our students. Quitch is a quiz application which has game elements to increases student engagement. By interacting with students during the tutorials through Quitch has helped students to stay engaged and retain more information from their classes. Also these interactions fed directly into the learning analytics package that provides a measure of both engagement and knowledge retention. Students are able to recall basic economics concepts through various games played in class through Quitch. They successfully reflected on the learning and demonstrated an awareness of core economics issues of every week. By gamifying Economics class will provide stimulating incentives for learning as well as promote teamwork, healthy and competitive spirit and creating a culture of enjoy learning. Gamification can be associated with higher and more frequent student engagement in Economics courses, which enable deeper and continuous study behaviour for students


John Zamen has been in the academia for over 15 years. He is one of the senior lecturers at Monash College. He has been the unit leader fro various Economics units. John is currently involved in researching the implications of gamification.

Meta-cognition skills built through collaborative exercises in the introduction of marketing

Mrs Stephanie Joshua-Anandappa1, Dr Dinusha Dharmaratna1, Mr John Zamen1

1Monash College, Clayton, Australia

Collaborative learning activities have shown to positively motivate students to become independent and active learners. Students have also demonstrated an increase in self-confidence and learning when they build metacognitive learning skills. As part of the Part 1, Introduction to Marketing (MCD 1090) subject at Monash College Diploma program collaborative learning activities to build metacognition has been integrated into the subject. One such activity known as the Weekly Summaries, where students reflect on the week’s topic and write down their own understanding of the lesson. This reflective task is non-assessed and no marks are provided for student’s participation. However the rate of response to this weekly task is over 70% on a weekly basis. Students actively take part in this activity as it provides them an opportunity to stop and review what they have learnt and equally important what areas they have not understood. Tutors do provide short feedback on each weekly summary to encourage students as they participate in this self-learning exercise. Google drive is the platform used to run these weekly activities. This platform provides students to review their peers work as well as receive immediate feedback from the tutors as they proceed with the task. Reviewing from a trimester’s results, students perform well in their weekly tests, when they have actively participated in this weekly summary task. This ongoing activity among the peers has contributed to build a cooperative class as well as collaborative learning.


Stephanie Joshua-Anandappa has been an academic in the education sector for over 10 years and also runs a SME in the export sector. Stephanie currently is the Unit Leader & Moderator for the Introduction to Marketing subject at Monash College, which is also delivered in Jakarta, Indonesia. Stephanie’s currently involved in researching Collaborative learning and the impact to Active Learning.

Supporting international students’ school-university transition: An analytical framework

Mr Thai Van Vu1

1The University of Melbourne, Brunswick, Australia

The purpose of the presentation is to propose an analytical framework for understanding and supporting international students’ school-university transition. The framework is formulated from an adaptation and integration of Schlossberg’s (1981) Transition Theory, Chickering’s (1993) Theory of Identity Development, and Tinto’s (1993) Theory of Student Departure. Underpinning the proposed framework is Kotler’s (2000) services perspective, which highlights the cooperative roles of the service provider and the service consumer in assuring service quality. From this perspective, services are inseparable in that service delivery and service consumption are simultaneous, meaning both the service deliverer and the service consumer are part of the service. This calls for research into the roles of both the deliver and the consumer in service quality assurance. Supporting student transition tends to be conceptualized as a unidirectional process in which the institution is responsible for the student’s successful transition. A services perspective can gear this conceptualization to a bidirectional process by which both the institution and the student need to be deeply involved in ensuring the student’s successful transition. The proposed framework can be beneficial for international students in that it provides them with a step-by-step approach to navigating their transition from high school in their home country to a university abroad. The framework can also inform institutional policies and practices in the continuous development of the operational effectiveness and efficiency of student support services for international students’ transition. For those reasons, the framework can be of interest to those engaged with student transition into higher education.


Thai Van Vu is currently a PhD student of Education at the University of Melbourne, Australia. He was previously a faculty member at the USSH, Vietnam National University – Hochiminh City. He also worked as the Dean of the Foreign Languages Department, VATC and Broward College Vietnam. His research interests include international education, international students, student engagement, and institutional governance.

Great education agents lead to a great start to overseas study

Mrs Emilia Fields1

1Whitefriars College, Donvale, Australia

A great start to an overseas education of a student begins with the professionalism of an education agency. The knowledge and passion shown by agents regarding  overseas study can make a major difference on the students’ readiness to achieve and embrace a new culture.

The orientation and preparation of students by a good agent is pivotal in the emotional, academic and educational journey of  the students. The session will aim to explore the following areas to achieve these goals:

  1. Understanding student motivation and objectives for studying abroad
  2. Listening to student and families and creating a profile of what they are looking for
  3. A comparative and sound knowledge of schools requested by student and those introduced by agents
  4. Aspects of leaving and learning culture of country proposed by students for overseas study
  5. Explanation of official requirements regarding Visa and entry into the country
  6. Different education courses and assessment methods used in different schools
  7. Various accommodation options and welfare requirements
  8. The importance of the education agent as an integral partner in the education journey of the student


Emilia is the Director of the International Student Program at Whitefriars College, Melbourne Australia.  She has been in education all her life and is very passionate about the Integration and Globalisation of students.  She has been Head of School, University Lecturer and has taught students from Preparatory to University level. She is the President of VISION International, the Non- Government school representative to the Ministerial Roundtable and a member of the Victorian International Student Group. She is the current recipient of two prestigious Global Awards:“Business Woman of the Year 2016”-  CV Global Magazine-UK and “Executive of the Year/Education Industry Australia” – Business Worldwide CEO Awards 2017

The Deakin student mentor community of practice: Belonging, confidence, connectedness and wellbeing

Ms Dawn Jones1, Ms Kate  Artz1

1Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia

During 2016-2017, the REACT initiative (Realising Engagement through Active Culture Transformation) has been investigating student engagement across fifteen universities in the UK. A core focus has been on collaboration, co-creation and co-development as pillars of the student voice and of students as change agents. Such is the context and inspiration for the establishment in 2017 of the Deakin Student Mentor Community of Practice which also aims to enhance leadership capabilities and provide a space for the mentoring community to learn together and exchange local expertise. This presentation will explore the evolution of the community of practice for student mentors across the university and its relationship with and contribution to the Students Helping Students Community of Practice for peer support co-ordinators. Informed by the work of Etienne Wenger-Trayner and Beverly Wenger-Trayner the presentation will illustrate how the community of practice approach is an ideal vehicle to support not just student engagement but also the development of agency, courage, confidence and grit. Leadership will be explored as a learning concept, an unfolding and a loosening that is nurtured by a commitment to listening and to a willingness to be heard. With the Wenger-Trayner Myths about Communities of Practice in mind, the need for training, monitoring and support for mentors will be discussed, as will approaches for appropriate reward and recognition of mentors’ work. The role of the facilitator, rights and responsibilities, and the level of autonomy of the mentors will also be considered as steps on the path to the integration of academic, social, practical and personal peer support into the mainstream university culture.


Dawn Jones is the Team Leader,  Peer Support (Student Academic and Peer Support Services, Division of Student Life) and Kate Artz is the Coordinator of the Students Helping Students Hub at Deakin University. Together they established the Deakin Student Mentor Community of Practice and also facilitate the Students Helping Students Community of Practice which brings together all the peer support programs (academic, social and practical) from across the university and supports them to support each other. They are responsible for the Coordinator Development Program which provides training and professional development for the peer support coordinators. With their immediate team in the Division of Student Life they run PASS, Maths Mentors, Success Coaches and the Students Helping Students Hub Mentors.


The Australian and New Zealand Student Services Association Inc. (ANZSSA) is a professional association for people with an interest in the role of support services in post secondary education.

For more information, please visit ANZSSA website by


ISANA International Education Association is the representative body for professionals in Australia and New Zealand who work in international student services, advocacy, teaching and policy development in international education.

For more information, please visit the ISANA website at

Conference Managers

Please contact the team at Conference Design with any questions regarding the conference.