Special Interest Groups


All Special Interest Groups (SIGs) will be facilitated by NAEEA members from around the country. To join, just email the contacts provided below and register your interest.

Research Development and Collaboration

Anna Bennett and Penny Jane Burke will co-facilitate the Research Development and Collaboration Special Interest Group, which aims to bring together colleagues who are interested in research about enabling programs, the transition of students into and through higher education and lifelong learning, and as related to other related fields of research, such as widening participation, equity and social justice in education. The SIG aims to:

  • Provide a supportive framework, including some events and activities offered across the country, to bring together diverse perspectives to the field of enabling and related fields of research;
  • Foster a research community where members feed into and develop the direction of the SIG in collaboration;
  • Provide information about research approaches, skills, development, publishing and projects;
  • Promote activities that enhance the NAEEA research capacity and influence across national and international contexts; and
  • Contribute to other NAEEA activities and events.

For more information and/or to join please email:

Associate Professor Anna Bennett (Anna.Bennett@newcastle.edu.au), University of Newcastle   or

Dr Jo Hanley (joanne.hanley@newcastle.edu.au), University of Newcastle

Enabling Assessment

Assessments play an important role in promoting learning while enabling educators to make informed decisions about student progression and attainment of skills and knowledge. Although significant research has, and continues to be undertaken within the higher education space around developing more relevant, engaging and reliable assessment instruments, there is a need to generate a constructive discussion about how and what other types of assessments can be used within the enabling education space. Given the increasing diversity of students within the enabling education programs in Australia, it is even more important to develop understanding about relevant enabling assessments through sharing ideas about existing practices, as well as seeking opportunities to develop innovative assessment practices, reflecting the increasing diversity of students. This SIG is facilitated by Dr Pranit Anand, Dr James Valentine and Dr Liz Goode.

For more information about the Enabling Assessment SIG please send email to:

Dr James Valentine (james.valentine@cdu.edu.au), Charles Darwin University or

Dr Liz Goode (Liz.Goode@scu.edu.au), Southern Cross University

Enabling Curriculum

The aim of this SIG is to initiate a discussion at a national level between enabling educators in Australia about the characteristics of the curricula of enabling programs. Through these discussions, it is hoped that curriculum principles of enabling programs will be articulated as a unified voice.
The SIG will seek to share information about curriculum design approaches, informing and promoting best practice within enabling education in Australia. Please contact me if you are interested in participating in this discussion.

For more information please email:

Dr Bronwyn Relf (Bronwyn.Relf@newcastle.edu.au), University of Newcastle

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Students in enabling programs bring a richness and diversity to our universities, but they may also arrive with numerous challenges. For a variety of reasons, students may seek support and advice in regard to their non-academic challenges (such as mental health issues) from their lecturers and tutors, rather than from psychologists and counsellors. The NAEEA SIG on Mental Health explores the area of student wellbeing in enabling programs; what do we (or could we) do as enabling educators to support our students’ wellbeing? We are also interested in the experiences of academic staff in teaching and supporting enabling students; what are the challenges and protective factors for staff? Our SIG meets every two months (via Skype) to share experiences, strategies and ideas from the literature.

For more information please email:

Associate Professor Susan Hopkins (Susan.Hopkins@usq.edu.au), University of Southern Queensland)

Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths (STEM)

Are you someone who is passionate about inspiring more students to consider studying STEM subjects at university? If you are, we’re here to put you in touch with a network of like minded people!

We are currently in the process of putting together a mailing list of people who are interested in sharing their experiences, thoughts and ideas in the sphere of STEM education – so if that strikes a chord with you, please get in touch with us.

In the near future we will be establishing an online forum where we can begin discussions around STEM education in the enabling environment. In the meantime we will be communicating with interested persons via email.

We would particularly like to hear from you, if you have any thoughts as to how this Special Interest Group could be of most use to you, and we hope to be able to bring members of the group together at the NAEEA November conference.

For more information please email:

Dr Anthea Fudge (Anthea.Fudge@unisa.edu.au), University of South Australia

Culturally & Linguistically Diverse Students

 We would like to invite you to join us in developing a strong network of enabling educators, who are particularly interested in sharing the challenges and opportunities of teaching culturally and linguistically diverse students. We hope to develop synergies that will stimulate new approaches and ideas in a respectful and effective manner.

For more information about this SIG please contact:

[Currently calling for Expressions of Interest for this role]

Online Learning

Welcome to our Online SIG – we’d love to hear your suggestions for this SIG and to see you at one of our online webinars!

This group will be running a series of webinars on innovative online teaching and learning, where we will have the opportunity to network and build a community of practice of like-minded practitioners.  Keep an eye out for invites to a group meeting and to our webinar series.

We’d love to hear from you about what you want out of the group. All suggestions are welcome.

For more information please email:

Associate Professor Suzi Syme (suzi.syme@scu.edu.au), Southern Cross University or

Anne Braund (a.braund@cqu.edu.au) Central Queensland University

 Indigenous students

 Are you interested in Indigenous enabling programs or helping students from Indigenous backgrounds within mainstream enabling programs?

This special interest group will focus on Indigenous pedagogical approaches to teaching in enabling programs and culturally appropriate ways to assist Indigenous students navigate enabling programs.

If you are interested in Indigenous ways of learning, being, knowing and doing then this special interest group is for you.

Given the increasing numbers of Indigenous students within the enabling education programs in Australia, it is even more important to develop understanding about Indigenous pedagogical approaches through sharing ideas about existing practices, as well as seeking opportunities to develop innovative new practices to assist Indigenous enabling students navigate the system.

For more information please email:

Daniel Collins (Daniel.Collins@newcastle.edu.au ), University of Newcastle


If you are an educator in a diploma unit/subject/course/program at undergraduate level, then this special interest group is for you. The aim of the Diplomas SIG is to develop a strong network of educators in Australia, who are particularly interested in discussions around diplomas in higher education.

This SIG seeks to bring together a community of practice to share, generate, and progress the evidence base around diplomas in higher education. We will establish an online forum where we can build a community of like-minded practitioners, facilitate cross-institutional research opportunities, benchmarking possibilities, and discuss innovative curriculum design.

We would particularly like to hear from you if you have any thoughts as to how this Special Interest Group could be of most use to you. All suggestions are welcome.

Dr Johanna Nieuwoudt (johanna.nieuwoudt@scu.edu.au), Southern Cross University or

Dr Rikki Quinn (Rikki.quinn@scu.edu.au), Southern Cross University