News from the Students, Learning and Teaching Portfolio

Photo of Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students, Learning and Teaching) Professor Anne Cummins.

A message from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students, Learning and Teaching) Professor Anne Cummins:

Dear colleagues,

We held our first Students, Learning and Teaching conference last month on Friday 14 July.  The theme was, Engaging Students for Success. The conference too was a success, with over 200 academic and professional staff, responsible for delivering and supporting teaching at ACU, in attendance.

The keynote speakers, Professor Shelley Kinash of the University of Southern Queensland and Ms Mary Kelly of Queensland University of Technology, shared their student engagement experiences with the group.

Two parallel sessions were also run during the day, with a choice of six sessions in each.  These were all designed to raise awareness of the Students, Learning and Teaching portfolio services and demonstrate existing partnerships between the portfolio and faculties in support of students’ engagement with their studies and co-curricular life at ACU.

The conference ended with a demonstration of the functionality of the new Student Portal, current highlights and the enhancements to come.


The theme ‘Engaging Students for Success’ is one that all educational institutions strive towards.  What better time to be talking about retention than at the beginning of a new semester.

As students start their semester we have an opportunity to engage them from the start of semester. The sooner we do this the better our student retention will be. We should all:

  1. Look out for students who seem to be struggling
  2. Refer them to the Office of  Student Success
  3. Follow up on their experience

We have to be aware or sensitive to what assistance our students may need. ACU has a range of support programs and activities to ensure students remain engaged. If you are not fully across our services, you can always get in touch with any staff from the Office of Student Success and they will point you in the right direction.

There are a number of reasons why students drop out, including making the wrong choice on what to study or not understanding the career options available to graduates. More often than not this decision is made without them realising they can speak either to a Career Advisor or a Counsellor who can assist them.

Having patience in answering student questions and giving them a little bit more time to understand our processes encourages them to persist with their studies. Students report the importance of their relationships with staff who give them time to raise issues and listen to their experiences.

Retention is improved when we work together.

National Conference on Pastoral Care in a Multicultural Church and Society

Last month I also had the pleasure of attending the National Conference on Pastoral Care in a Multicultural Church and Society held on the Melbourne Campus, 19-20 July. It was organised by the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office and the theme for the conference was 'Cast into the Deep'.

The keynote speakers for the conference were Cardinal Peter Turkson (Prefect of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development) and Cardinal Orlando Quevedo (Archibishop of Cotabato, Phillipines).

Cardinal Turkson spoke about Pope Francis and the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. The Cardinal has been charged with leading the human development group that will lead the social justice arm of the Vatican. He spoke about how important it is to be centered on the dignity of the human person and for all people to work toward this vision, as it is integral to human development. With ACU’s mission of a commitment to the dignity of the human person we are well placed to further this vision.

In these days when churches come under a lot of bad publicity and challenge to their moral authority it was inspiring to see the work being done practically.

Student Experience Survey

ACU has been advised that the 2017 Student Experience Survey has been delayed briefly. The new start date will be Saturday 5 August.

With best wishes

Professor Anne Cummins
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students, Learning and Teaching)

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