Pathways to professional development through a scholar-practitioner model

Beth Isensee1, Nasreen  Mohamed

1University Of Minnesota, International Student & Scholar Services, Minneapolis, United States

As student mobility and collaborations continues to increase across the globe, there has been an increase in need for development of practitioners and scholars within the field of international education. Creating pathways to professional development and research are critical to the sustainability and advancement of our field.

This session will begin with a discussion of the core competencies needed by both practitioners and scholars in order to effectively achieve the goals and values of International Education. We will look at various formal and informal pathways to this professional development. The presenters will share trends within the United States and share the University of Minnesota model.

We will share and reflect on the assertions made in the article “Supporting Scholar-Practitioners in Higher Education” (Streitwieser, B. & Ogden, A, 2016). In this article, they explore current trends for bringing the two lenses of scholar and practitioner together.  By creating an integrated role we can create a strong bridge from theory and practice.  Scholar-practitioners can effectively develop and advance research through the identification of best practices, gaps, challenges, and future opportunities.  While this combined scholarship is critical to enhancing the internationalization of our campuses it often comes with institutional barriers. Streitwieser and Ogen (2016) challenge us to “re-evaluate and re-imagine the systems and structures that limit the potential of scholar-practitioners in higher education.”


Beth Isensee serves as Assistant Director of Student Engagement and Intercultural Initiatives at the  International Student & Scholar Services in the Global Programs and Strategy Alliance at the University  of Minnesota. Her primary focus is valuing and integrating international students as critical aspect to  the University’s internationalizing the campus and curriculum effort. She collaborates university-wide  to identify the student voice through evaluations and assessment for the development of unit specific  strategic planning. Beth has worked within the field of International Education for 17 years and has a  M.A. in Counseling and Student Personnel Psychology.

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

Dr Ian Teo1,2, Associate Professor Shanton Chang3

1Trinity College, The University Of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia, 2Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia, 3Melbourne School of Engineering, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia

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, 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. Second, 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 also be discussed. 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.

Game changer: a student-centred approach to orientation, transition and safety through gamification

Mrs Lena Mete1, Mr Jack Stathis1

1Education Queensland International, Brisbane, Australia

The ESOS legislative framework requires registered providers to support students to adjust to study and life in Australia. Orientation is a key requirement but traditional delivery methods have become less effective in meeting contemporary learning needs.  In this session, Lena Mete (Manager, Marketing and Communications) and Jack Stathis (Director, International Business, Sales and Marketing) from Education Queensland International (EQI) discuss the development of a mobile app that enables international high school students to disseminate important safety and orientation information more effectively.  Using a blend of video, audio, animation and games, the EQI app encourages students to undertake self-directed learning – clicking or swiping through content, watching videos and answering questions – as they progress through key learning points.  During the app’s development, EQI held focus groups with high school students from 11 countries across Asia, Europe, Scandinavia and Latin America. As the voice of EQI’s diverse international student cohort, their feedback was instrumental in scoping the app’s structure, content and appearance. Agents and student support personnel were also invited to share their views from a regulatory, practical and business perspective.  This presentation includes insights from the collaborative research process undertaken to determine student information and learning needs, particularly in reducing ‘culture shock’ and safety risks, to achieve a faster transition to life and study.  Digital methodology, content design and the use of avatars, video and game elements will be discussed along with the integration of analytics to capture student engagement and completion data to inform future developments.


Lena Mete is a marketing and brand strategist with extensive experience in driving sales and marketing strategies to attract and maintain customers, build solid corporate brands and enhance marketability through digital and print marketing tools and effective messaging. Having worked in large and diverse organisations across cultural boundaries in the university, TAFE and school sectors, Lena demonstrates outstanding communication, negotiation and leadership skills. She is a strong advocate of international education and excellence in the delivery of student experiences.

Jack Stathis has extensive experience in marketing, sales and business development in energy, hospitality and international education services.  As the Director of International Business, Sales and Marketing at EQI, the commercial arm of the Department of Education and Training International, Jack has established solid business links in Asia. Within the organisation Jack is strongly focused on team development, service excellence, and on the modelling of good leadership practice.  In the past, Jack was responsible for the international marketing activities of two large public institutions and held the role of Principal Trade Officer, Queensland Education and Training International (QETI) between 2008 and 2011.

Peer-led Facebook to connect, support and inspire successful transition

Roselynn Lang1

1Manager, Peer Learning and Support, Curtin University

The New to Curtin UniMentor Program is a university-wide opt out mentoring program which utilises experienced students to act as mentors to all new students. In semester one 2017, 494 mentors assisted over 7,000 new students to transition to the university. In 2017 Facebook was selected as the preferred social media modality and introduced into the program to enhance connectivity, build community, utilise peer support and just-in-time communication, to connect, support and inspire successful transition. The closed Facebook group was modelled on the successful peer-mediated Facebook groups established by our UniPASS team, which is nationally accredited through the Australasian PASS Centre, University of Wollongong. Facebook was selected for its ubiquity, informality, fluidity of communication, and frequency of use among Curtin University’s diverse student body. Initial results demonstrate that the use of student-driven online support communities allow for a vibrant learning and supportive community where students have connected with peers socially and academically, creating a safe, student-centred space to seek support and share content-specific learning resources and interests. The Facebook group has also provided an additional metric to measure impact and student engagement with the program.


Roselynn Lang is the Manager, Peer Learning and Support at Curtin University.

You did what?!! The benefits of collaborating with students on risk behaviours outside the classroom

Ms Jane Gunn-lewis1, Ms Louisa Samson1

1Arcadia University, Queenstown, New Zealand, 2Otago University, Dunedin, New Zealand

For most students, studying abroad is a special semester where exploring and engaging with the local environment is where most learning takes place. Students’ engagement results in personal growth and a sense of achievement and empowerment. For this reason, universities in NZ and Australia promote the local environs as part of the study abroad experience and work hard to ensure students feel part of the local community and engage socially. At the same time, students are increasingly accountable for their behaviour both on and off campus. The challenge is having students engage in the local environment but also make good decisions and stay safe. How can we encourage wise choices in students when most providers do not even know the risks students are taking or what they perceive as risky?

In this session we examine the results of a questionnaire given to 170 American students studying at a New Zealand university about topics such as drinking, drugs, driving, casual sex and adventure activities. Results were not what we expected. For example, over a quarter of our students reported hitch hiking. We compared these results with a smaller cohort in Australia and Spain, and found that risk behaviour is partly dependent on destination. Lastly we share the response of the University of Otago to address a ‘risk behaviour’ (hiking). We suggest that collaboration with faculty, international and domestic students, along with an emphasis on ‘education’ rather than ‘regulation’ can lead to not just safer behaviours but increased personal growth and good decision making while building a sense of campus community.


Jane Gunn-Lewis began as a lecturer in English language at Basel University, Switzerland and then moved into learning support and international education at UNITEC Auckland. Jane moved to Queenstown with her family for a lifestyle change in 2000 and has been with Arcadia since the inception of their NZ programmes in 2001 and manages to squeeze in as much skiing and hiking as her busy schedule with US study abroad students allows.

Louisa works as an International Student Adviser and also coordinates International Orientation at the University of Otago.  Previously she worked in Marketing and IT before leaving New Zealand in 2008 to live with her family in Tahiti for 8 years. During this time she worked as an English Language Teacher at a French speaking high school and at the Chamber of Commerce in Papeete as well doing translation work. She was also part of a youth association coordinating events and providing pastoral care to young people and their families. Louisa is passionate about her work supporting international students and the importance of an effective and meaningful orientation programme.  She is very excited to be attending and presenting at her first ISANA conference.

Blended learning: A new approach to peer mentor training

Ms Katie Yamaguchi1, Ms Rita Kusevskis-Hayes2

1UNSW Sydney, Kensington, Australia, 2UNSW Sydney, Kensington, Australia

The Peer Mentor blended learning training package was an initiative developed by the Peer Mentoring @ UNSW coordinating team to provide an accessible and flexible training for mentors, whilst simultaneously making the training more sustainable by reducing staff time and facilitation costs.

Mentor training had previously been delivered via a six-hour interactive face-to-face workshop. When the new blended learning training package was developed, both training materials and methods were re-designed, considering which aspects of the content would best suit either the online or face-to-face format, to maximise each student’s learning experience. It was important to ensure that the training remained engaging whilst allowing students to reflect on their learning and transition experiences as a first-year student.  The new blended learning training package consists of a two-hour online component which aligns with a three hour face-to-face workshop.

There are many complexities and considerations when moving from a face-to-face training to a blended learning format. However, if the new format is developed successfully, there are also many benefits to be gained by both mentors and facilitators. This presentation will look at the redesign of the previous face-to-face training content and the integration of the two main components. It will explore the methods and tools used to design the online component, the use of the online platform for administrative purposes, the implementation process and evaluations. Lastly, it will reflect on challenges faced and future developments.


Katie Yamaguchi is a Project Officer with ‘Student Life’, at UNSW Sydney. Katie brings over 10 years of experience in education, training and event management, to create purposeful programs and training packages for ‘Peer Mentoring @ UNSW’. Previously, Katie’s position at UNSW ’s Student Development International, also required her to use her skills and knowledge to design workshops and events to meet the needs of incoming international students.

Peer academic coaches: A front line service of the UOW Learning Coop

Ms Melissa Zaccagnini1, Ms Melissa Stephen1

1University Of Wollongong, Australia

UOW Learning Coop is a strategic partnership formed by the diverse academic support providers within the DVC (A) Portfolio at the University of Wollongong to deliver their services in a more cohesive manner, in an accessible co located space. The Peer Academic Coaches (PACs) role was created as a “front of house” for this service. The PACs are a team of trained, senior students who provide one-to-one peer support on a range of academic topics, and who work collaboratively with students to develop their independent learning skills, in order to discover solutions to the everyday challenges they face while studying at UOW. These students play a vital triage role for staff services, supporting students directly to build their academic confidence and use of available online resources before referring them to key UOW staff. In the first semester of 2017, PACs were available for 50 hours of service per week across 5 onshore UOW campuses. The team of 19 PACs represent all five Faculties. One of the key factors in the success of the PAC service has been the development of a comprehensive responsible referrals training package, ensuring that the PAC team are able to direct students to key institutional resources. This package has now been shared with a number of other UOW peer based programs to encourage comprehensive knowledge of and communication about services that are integral to students. This presentation will share an overview of the development of the PAC role at UOW since 2015, the responsible referrals package and strategies for ensuring the PACs continuously develop their ability to communicate key information to the students they serve.


Melissa Stephen is the Peer Learning Coordinator and Associate Head of the National Centre for PASS at the University of Wollongong (UOW). Melissa has been involved in a variety of Peer Learning Programs in a diverse range of roles, firstly as a student and now as a full time staff member.


Peer advice, support and communication – using students to inform students at La Trobe Melbourne Navitas Bundoora Ltd

Mrs Usha Rao1

1La Trobe Melbourne, La Trobe University, Australia

Customer service surveys filled out by students over many years have indicated time and again that the most requested and appreciated student activities organised by La Trobe Melbourne (LTM), are those which offer international students the chance to meet Australian university students. This paper presents s historical aspect of such student activities. This includes  providing peer to peer advice and communication, . In some cases peer support may involve sitting down with students and having conversations with them. This gives LTM students the opportunity to increase their fluency and accuracy in speaking English. In other cases, high achieving members of LTM alumni join teachers in classrooms to assist with group discussions, to aid in better understanding of the subject matter. This paper will discuss the peer advice program in more detail particularly in terms of its development and evolution.  What are the merits and weaknessess?  What are the improvements, adaptations and changes?  What are the successes and failures?

An overall summary of why some peer to peer advice and communication programs have been successful at La Trobe Melbourne and others have not will form the conclusion of the paper.


Usha Rao is the Director, Student Services at La Trobe Melbourne, a pathway college of La Trobe University. She has worked for La Trobe University and La Trobe Melbourne for over 20 years. Before that, she worked at RMIT and Monash.  Usha holds a Master of Arts degree from Monash and Master of Education degree from University of Melbourne. She also trained in language teaching management at University of Queensland. Currently, she is doing a MOOC course from Monash in Mindfulness for Wellbeing and Peak Performance. Usha has received acknowledgement and awards from ISANA and English Australia for her contribution to international education. She has been a member of ISANA from 1993, and has contributed for many years on ISANA’s conference organising committees. Usha is a fellow of Australian Institute of Management. She is a member of Special Interest groups at IEAA. Usha’s pastime activities include Pilates, Meditation, reading, Hatha yoga and walking. She has been a volunteer careers mentor for students of Monash and La Trobe University over many years. She has also done volunteer work with Red Cross, Able Australia and Olivia Newton John Cancer Centre. Usha’s greatest pride and achievement are her sons and in having four delightful grandchildren.

Managing reputational risk: The development of the Queensland Reputational Risk Management framework

Mr Gordon Scott1, Mrs Rebecca Hall1

1Successful Graduate Pty Ltd, Ashgrove, Australia, 2Trade and Investment Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

This paper will introduce the new Reputational Risk Management Framework adopted by Trade and Investment Queensland that relates to critical incident risk management in Queensland’s international education industry. The Framework is a cooperative reporting model for the state to manage communications during incidents that may impact upon reputational risk. We will offer insights into how institutions, and regional student organisations / clusters can dovetail their communications and messaging with the State’s framework. We will also discuss how education providers have benefited from the critical incident framework she introduced in Victoria and the lessons from incidents such as the 2009 Indian student safety crisis. We will discuss the reputational management of the Brisbane 2011 Flood, 2017 Cyclone Debbie and the murders of deceased students in 2013 and 2014. This presentation will be targeted at professionals in international education who wish to understand how the Queensland Government is working to manage reputational risks associated with critical incidents that affect our industry. All staff who have an interest in reputational risk management are encouraged to attend, including senior management and in particular, staff who have a responsibility for student communication, institutional public relations and student welfare.


Mr Gordon Scott.

Gordon is Managing Director of Successful Graduate Pty Ltd, and offers assistance to education providers and government agencies with an international education agenda across the Asia Pacific region. Gordon launched the award-winning Study Brisbane initiative in 2009 and created his new company in June 2016. With more than 23 years of experience, Gordon has served as a Board Director with the IEAA and as a member of the Queensland Ministerial International Education and Training Advisory Group. He has a Bachelor of Commerce, a Bachelor of Modern Asian Studies and a postgraduate qualification in Technology Management. Gordon is an active member of IEAA, NAGCAS, ISANA, AAGE and EduGrowth. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management.

 Ms Rebecca Hall.

As the Executive Director, International Education & Training, Trade and Investment Queensland, Rebecca leads the implementation of the government’s new International Education and Training (IET) Strategy to Advance Queensland 2016-2026. The IET Strategy was launched on Wednesday 9 November 2016 by the Honourable Jackie Trad, MP, Deputy Premier Queensland with $25.3 million injected into this project by the Queensland Government over a five year period. Rebecca holds a Bachelor of International Business Relations and International Business from Griffith University, and a Master of International Relations from Bond University. She is also a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

The importance of mental health literacy in widening perspectives of student success

Miss Natalie MacKintosh1, Miss Chelsea Ahern2

1Murdoch University, Inglewood, Australia, 2Murdoch University, Atwell, Australia

Students as Change Agents in Learning and Teaching (SCALT) is a new initiative at Murdoch University which empowers students to take the lead in a project of their choice.  The program invited students to submit a proposal for a project that explores innovative solutions to change.

Our project is to trial the development and implementation of a learning module to improve the student experience at Murdoch University, with specific focus on student resilience and wellbeing.

Perspectives of student success often centre on tangible outcomes of grades and employment. However, an often over-looked antecedent to student success is protective factors, which facilitate success. The protective factor we have addressed in this project is mental health literacy of students. We targeted peer mentors across all the schools at Murdoch. Peer Mentors are experienced students who are trained in helping commencing students in their transition to university study. The mental health literacy workshops are designed to communicate knowledge of mental health and wellbeing, enabling mentors to implement practical skills in their mentoring practice.   This will be achieved through reducing stigma towards mental illness, and promoting positive attitudes towards help-seeking, which will induce student connectivity with the University and their peers.

The intended project outcome is to improve the experience of Murdoch University students by enhancing a culture of understanding, inclusion and timely support for students experiencing mental health issues.

The presentation will explore the journey of leading a student led change project that trial Mental Health Literacy workshops in the Peer Mentor program.



Natalie and Chelsea are current students at Murdoch University, Perth Western Australia. Natalie is in her third year of a psychology degree, and Chelsea recently completed her honers studying mental health literacy.


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

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