HERDSA Travel Awards to attend the HERDSA Conference
The purpose of the travel awards is to provide financial support for potential participants who can demonstrate financial hardship (e.g. fulltime student, geographical location or other personal circumstances); are able to attend the full conference; have submitted a conference paper based on their research; are willing to make a contribution to the HERDSA Newsletter; have had limited, or no, opportunities to attend similar conferences; and have not previously received a HERDSA travel award.
In 2012, three successful participants received awards of $1,000 to support their attendance at the Hobart Conference:
1. Cassandra Colvin Murdoch University
This year I was able to attend my first ever HERDSA conference, this owing in large part to being awarded a HERDSA travel award. I am a PhD student at Murdoch University, studying intercultural interactions on university campuses. My supervisors, Professors Simone Volet and Farida Fozdar, recommended that I attend HERDSA so that I could gain professional experience presenting an academic paper, and make connections with peers in the broader academic community. They also believed that the conference theme and objectives aligned with some research that we had done together exploring the intercultural interaction experiences of local students in the university classroom.
I must admit that I arrived at HERDSA feeling nervous and a little unsure as to what to expect. However, I had not realised how nurturing and supportive the HERDSA community was. Indeed, it appeared that the conference theme, “Making Connections”, transcended the academic focus of the conference, influencing its very functioning. Not only did I find people at the conference to be very approachable, the conference structure encouraged and facilitated opportunities to engage with colleagues. I was particularly grateful for the Welcome Breakfast for New Members on the morning of the first full day of scheduled presentations. This was a lovely event, and its intimacy made networking easy for conference newcomers such as me!
Apart from the collegiality of the conference, I was also inspired by the papers that I saw delivered, and the conversations that they stimulated. Not only was the content of these presentations of interest, I was also interested to observe the engaging, erudite and crisp manner in which these papers were delivered. I was therefore able to gain knowledge of research and practice that was presently occurring in the industry, as well as encouraged to reflect on my own research, its assumptions, design, and its presentation. I left the conference feeling invigorated and motivated to continue my research.
I am most grateful to have been given the opportunity to attend the HERDSA Conference. Special thanks are owed to my supervisors, who encouraged me to attend, and also covered the cost of my airfare and registration, and HERDSA for the travel award. Without this generous financial support I would not have been able to attend. Thank you.
2. Thi Tuyet Tran (June) La Trobe University
Refereed paper: “Graduate employability: interpretation and expectation”
I am back to study and work in Melbourne, and I bring with me a great memory from the HERDSA conference. There is too much to say and I don’t know where I should start. I’ve been to several conferences already, but this may be the first time I can see so many Professors and Drs with all the big names, but I, an international student from a poor developing country, did not feel isolated at all. Everyone was so friendly, open and helpful. I always had a feeling of being included. It’s also the first time in a conference I think I could approach the executives that easy. Not only you, but also Shelda were giving me a very warm welcome and talked to me as to a team member. I really appreciate your way of management.
I really enjoy the conference, not only because of its hospitality and its atmosphere, but the content of the conference is also very academic and informative. The workshop on ‘Increasing your research productivity and impact’ (by Shelda) impressed me most. It was really inspiring. I came home and already have a plan to talk to my friends and colleagues in my Faculty about research productivity and collaboration, and hopefully we can work out something, based on the tips Shelda gave me.
In terms of the benefit for my own work, I really appreciated the comments made on my presentation. Such encouragements as ‘ you are on your way’, ‘you did a great job’, or ‘what you present is very interesting’ increase my confidence and belief that I am on the right way. Thanks so much for giving me a chance to be heard. I also enjoyed the Cafe’ talk, and feel a bit proud when I think other members in my group did listen to me and ‘take in’ my opinion when we attempted to create variables to measure ‘employability’.
And, again, thanks so much for the travel grant, it helped me not only financially, but also in terms of building up a better academic profile. June.
3. Venicia McGhie University of the Western Cape South Africa
Venicia being awarded her prize by HERDSA President Shelda Debowski.
Refereed paper: “Enabling factors for successful first-year student learning”
HERDSA Prize for Best Paper Presentation by a Student
The purpose of the prize is to encourage students to disseminate their work at national and international higher education conferences.
Bridget Dijkmans-Hadley from University of Wollongong was awarded this prize with her paper “Understanding expectations of 1st year medical students on primary care clinical placements”.
Bridget’s reflections of the HERDSA Conference follow:
The HERDSA conference was the first conference that I have presented at and I found it to be a very welcoming experience. The prize received was greatly appreciated as I was not expecting it and I’d like to thank my supervisors (Dr Judy Mullan and Dr Kylie Mansfield) for all their support. I found everyone at the conference to be very open to new researchers and provided thought provoking questions. I enjoyed the various sessions I attended. They encouraged me to critically reflect on my current practices as a student and also how I can influence people in a learning environment.
The HERDSA judges also awarded two further acclamations:
“Highly Commended” was awarded to Agustian Sutrisno from Queensland University of Technology for his refereed paper “ Social ties as key knowledge agents between Indonesian and Australian universities: Perspectives from an Indonesian university”.
Agustian’s reflections of the HERDSA Conference follow:
HERDSA 2012 was actually my first “international” conference participation. I’ve attended many conferences back home in Indonesia that involved international participants, but HERDSA 2012 is different as it was the first time I delivered a conference presentation in front of no Indonesians at all. I did practice my presentation in front of my fellow PhD students at QUT so I did not feel any problem doing the presentation at HERDSA 2012. I was wonderfully surprised at how relaxed and friendly the overall atmosphere of HERDSA 2012 was. In Indonesian conferences people are normally very formal and there are a lot of probing questions. Having said that, it does not mean that there was no serious academic conversation at HERDSA! The conversation cafe was an interesting concept and since my table only consisted of three people, including myself, I gained in-depth understanding about the realities of university life in Australia. I was happy to talk with many academics from around Australia and beyond in such a relaxed and frank atmosphere and those conversations enriched my understanding about how Australian universities work, one of the themes covered in my PhD project. After interviewing so many university leaders in Indonesia and Australia in a formal setting, being able to meet these academics in a totally different atmosphere was a welcome change. I did not actually realise that I was a new member of HERDSA. There was no indication in the earlier e-mail correspondence about it and just realised that I was a new member on the second day of the conference as I noticed the writing “New Member” on my name badge. Nonetheless, all the people I talked to seemingly did not notice that at all and were just happy to converse on a variety of issues about higher education. Perhaps, a HERDSA conference on a summer will be a better option for someone born on a tropical island such as myself. I was so worried that I would freeze under a Tasmanian winter, an unfounded worry. I had enough food (and wine) and company to keep me warm at HERDSA 2012.
Michelle Cunningham Fox from Queensland University of Technology was “Commended” for her refereed paper “A creative approach to connecting reflection to learning for commencing tertiary students”.
Taylor & Francis Prize: Best Paper by a New Researcher
The purpose of the award is to foster original research by encouraging new and less experienced researchers.
Jeremy Prichard University of Tasmania was awarded this prize for his refereed paper “Multiple-choice questionnaires and the success of law students: results of a preliminary evaluation”.
Jeremy says “The HERDSA conference was terrific. It was very stimulating to hear and talk about the art of teaching with so many thoughtful academics from all sorts of disciplines. The prize has definitely encouraged me to undertake more research in the area”.
HERDSA Prize for Best Paper
This award of $1000 is open to all papers accepted for presentation as a full refereed paper. Papers to be considered for this award will be nominated by reviewers which the HERDSA executive will then judge.
In 2012, Anne Langworthy and Susan Johns from the University of Tasmania were the recipients of this award with their refereed paper “Why is it important for Higher education to connect with the VET sector?”
President Shelda Debroski awarding Susan Johns
The University of Sydney, Institute for Teaching and Learning (ITL) Creative Presentation Award
This award recognises and encourages excellence in the scholarly communication of knowledge in a conference presentation. The purpose of the award is to foster engaging and innovative presentations at the HERDSA conference.
Iris Vardi from Curtin University was the recipient of this award for her presentation “Using written feedback to effectively feed forward”.
HERDSA Prize for Best Poster
The purpose of the prize is to promote and recognise excellence in the ability to visually communicate ideas, findings or outcomes related to tertiary education.
Bernadette Smith, Patricia O’Keefe and Jane Rienks from the University of Tasmania were awarded the prize for their poster titled “How accounting students connect with learning resources in a blended environment”
HERDSA Prize for People’s Choice of Poster
Cathryn McCormack from Southern Cross University was the recipient of this prize. Her poster’s focus was “The survey as conversation: qualitative pre-testing methods to improve quality”.