A sense of belonging

Dear Colleagues

Welcome to the first teaching week of Semester 1 and to the commencement of University programs for 2018.

As classes get underway, let’s focus on the ways that we are able to build students’ sense of belonging to their class and university communities. Our student population is diverse and our efforts to engage students by inclusivity will lead to positive outcomes for them and for us as a University.

Students who feel that they belong - through making social connections, becoming familiar with campus facilities and getting involved in university life - are more likely to succeed and to be retained to graduation. To this end, please encourage students to take part in our co-curricular programs and to use the Library as a key study resource.

To facilitate inclusion in the classroom environment, allow students to introduce themselves by name and to bring their own life experience to class discussions. The examples we use for illustration purposes while teaching should also reflect the diversity of the places and countries from which our students come.

It is beneficial for students if you are clear about your availability to them and your timeframes for responding to their enquiries. Be positive about their success and if students are experiencing difficulty with their studies or in their personal lives, use the Staff Referral Guide to Student Services to direct them to the appropriate ACU support service.

Of particular note, ACU has a new policy on assisting students at risk of self harm. It is important for us all to be clear about the best way to help students in this situation and the policy document will be available on the staff website soon.

The Students, Learning & Teaching portfolio is preparing for the ACU Learning and Teaching Conference mid-year and we will provide updates about this valuable professional development and networking opportunity as the program is finalised.

With every good wish for a successful start to Semester 1

Professor Anne Cummins

Deputy Vice Chancellor (Students, Learning & Teaching)

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