UTS First Year Experience Team wins 2016 Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning

The Australian Awards for University Teaching (Department of Education and Training) were announced last week and I am very pleased to share the news that the UTS First Year Experience Team, of which I have been a member since 2013, was awarded a 2016 Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning! I am very proud of my team and all that we have achieved!

Congratulations to the UTS First Year Experience Team:

Dr Kathy Egea, Associate Professor Jo McKenzie, Ms Vicki Bamford, Associate Professor Jonathan Tyler, Ms Joanne Kinniburgh, Ms Sally Inchbold, Ms Lisa Townsend, Ms Maxine Evers, Dr Yvonne Davila, Associate Professor Alison Beavis and Emeritus Professor Anthony Baker

For supporting student transition and success through engaging academic and professional staff in curriculum innovation and collaborative communities.


UTS First Year Experience Team with UTS VC at the 2016 Australian Awards for University Teaching (photo by S. Alexander, originally posted here)

“Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning recognise and reward the diverse contributions made by individuals and teams to the quality of student learning. Citations are awarded to those who have made a significant contribution to the quality of student learning in a specific area of responsibility over a sustained period” (Department of Education and Training website).

You can read more about the First Year Experience project at UTS here and here.

My work supporting student transition into undergraduate Science has been supported by the work of the UTS First Year Experience Project. You can read about my latest FYE-related work here and here.

I thank the support of my colleagues in the Faculty of Science and UTS, especially Kathy Egea and Jo McKenzie for their leadership. This is an excellent achievement and wonderful that our work has been recognised at UTS and now nationally!


Here I am with Georgina Barratt-See (UTS HELPS team), celebrating our 2016 National Citations at the MCA, Sydney (photo by G. Barratt-See).




STARS conference – Supporting student transition: embedding reading practices into the first year Science curriculum

I presented this paper with my co-author Neela Griffiths at the recent STARS 2016 conference. A full version of this Emerging Initiative paper, as it appears in the conference proceedings, is available here. The slides and a short video from our presentation are available below. 

Title: Supporting student transition: embedding reading practices into the first year Science curriculum

Authors: Yvonne C. Davila (Faculty of Science, UTS) and Neela Griffiths (IML, UTS)

Conference: STARS 2016 (Students Transitions Achievement Retention & Success), Pan Pacific Hotel, Perth, 29 June to 2nd July, 2016.

Abstract: Although being able to critically read and comprehend scientific texts is fundamental, many students find reading the primary literature overwhelming and may lose self-confidence as a result. Our aim was to build first year science students’ confidence in reading relevant and reliable sources of information and develop their critical reading practices through a First Year Experience Project focusing on supporting student transition. To achieve this, we utilised a flipped classroom approach to design and embed interactive online modules and a face-to-face workshop in a first year Science subject. Student participation and completion of the learning activities was evaluated with students commenting very positively on the usability, accessibility, usefulness and relevance of the reading practices resources. Based on the success of this initiative, we recommend that discipline specific, contextualised resources which develop effective reading practices should be integrated into the first year curriculum.


A short video demonstrating the interactivity of the online modules is presented below:


Reference: Davila, Y.C. & Griffiths, N. (2016) ‘Supporting student transition: embedding reading practices into the first year Science curriculum’. Students, Transitions, Achievement, Retention & Success (STARS) Conference, 29 June to 2nd July, 2016, Perth, Australia. Retrieved from http://unistars.org/papers/STARS2016/12C.pdf.