National recognition for superior student experience

Published 10 December 2015

The University of New England has been recognised by the Office of Learning and Teaching’s Australian Awards for University Teaching this week.

UNE’s long-running and very successful New England Awards (NEA) program was acknowledged with an award in the ‘Programs that Enhance Learning’ category.

The OLT Award recognises learning and teaching support programmes and services that make an outstanding contribution to the quality of student learning, as well as the quality of student experience.

Minister Simon Birmingham presents OLT award to Dr Robyn Muldoon and Mrs Alicia Zikan

Minister Simon Birmingham presents OLT award to Dr Robyn Muldoon and Mrs Alicia Zikan

Program Manager, Mrs Alicia Zikan, said NEA is designed to encourage, recognise and reward student participation in extra-curricular activities, professional development and volunteer services.

The program was initiated by Dr Robyn Muldoon and has, in the decade since, grown to more than 2,700 students, with around half of the participants studying by distance.

“NEA is open to all students and encourages holistic development and self-knowledge, in fact, our review and evaluation processes show students who register and participate in NEA are seven times more likely to complete their studies,” Mrs Zikan said.

NEA is different from similar programs in other universities in that participation extends to students studying online and off-campus.

“We’ve also had recognition from other institutions and have had requests for consultation and guidance from other universities who want to emulate our program,” Mrs Zikan said.

“The program provides students with formative, real-world experience and not merely an academic qualification and most students believe that participation enhance their employability.”

For the duration of their enrolment at UNE, the students record NEA activities in a purpose-built e-portfolio. MyNEA allows them to select activities, self-assess progress and reflect on outcomes across the three areas of participation thus converting experience to learning achievements.

Mrs Zikan and Dr Robyn Muldoon accepted the award from Training and Education Minister, the Hon Simon Birmingham MP, at a function held at Parliament House, Canberra on Tuesday night