I am so pleased to be writing to you in this first edition of our new monthly ALTF Newsletter, which coincides with the launch of our new website and our snazzy new identity. I am very grateful to the ALTF Executive Committee for their work on bringing this together, and particularly to Dawn Bennett and the marvellous Pip Munckton, who is our ALTF Project Manager. I hope you like these enhancements as much as I do!

Vale OLT!

Having started on such a high note it is a shame to have to bring the mood down, but I feel the need to acknowledge the sad reality of the closing of the OLT, with no #OLTPhoenix rising in its place. I am proud of the lobbying work that ALTF members did to advocate for a new Institute and the preservation of funding for this important sector collaboration on L&T research and development.

If you have not already seen the collection of articles and statements in support of the work of the OLT and its predecessor bodies, please have a look at the page here. I am also very grateful to the editors of the Journal of Student Success for asking me to contribute a few more words and to republish the statement on the ALTF website as an Invited Feature in the 2016 STARS (Students, Transitions, Achievement, Retention & Success) Conference issue of the Journal (Volume 7, Issue 2). The article also includes some quotes and tweets from the campaign.

It is interesting now, in retrospect, to reflect on the strong statement made in support of the legacy of the ALTC by the then Secretary of the Department of Education, Ms Lisa Paul AO PSM at the Sydney Opera House on 16 August 2011. Ms Paul was speaking at the last awards ceremony to be held by the ALTC Speech and Presentation of the Australian Awards for University Teaching at The Australian Learning and Teaching Council Awards and Citations Ceremony. As Ms Paul said,

The ALTC and its predecessor the Carrick Institute have provided for the first time a clear focus on teaching and learning.

The Council has been a leader in establishing sustainable teaching and learning networks.

The Council’s influence is felt across institutions, disciplines, Deans, Councils and professional associations.

The Council has initiated vital debates on big issues such as academic standards, measuring teaching quality and the effects of large classes.

The ALTC has helped change the culture of Australian universities.

The Council’s work will influence higher education in Australia well into the future.

On the demise of the OLT, the responsibility for maintaining this legacy now falls to all of us in Australian higher education who are passionate about and committed to the quality of Australian higher education and the transformative benefits that further learning can bring to individuals, their families and their communities. The membership of the ALTF has a learning leadership role to play in this new era and I look forward to working with each and every one of the Fellows in this regard.

Other ALTF News

Just a few words about recent ALTF events.

The ALTF Fellows met for dinner in Perth on 4th July in tandem with the HERDSA 2016 Conference. It was great to see so many Fellows presenting, engaging and leading L&T discussions at both HERDSA and at STARS held the week before.

We welcome warmly and congratulate our four new National Senior Teaching Fellows for 2016 and our eight new National Teaching Fellows, details of whose programs are available on the Department’s website. The 2016 Fellows attended an Orientation in Melbourne over 25-26 August, where they heard from a Fellows panel of Betty Leask, Trevor Cullen, Dawn Bennett, Nicolette Lee and Angela Carbone. The Fellows were also treated to media training delivered by Trevor Cullen, and a session from Nicolette Lee on impact. We thank Paul Corcoran and his team for their help in organising the induction, and we wish the new Fellows and their mentors well. May they be as inspired and as inspiring as we expect they will be!

Planning is underway for an ALTF Forum to be held in Sydney in 2017 to align with HERDSA 2017. In our new post-OLT world, we will have to take more opportunities like this to bring Fellows together and I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible there. Please save the date 26th June 2017

All the best for a productive September. I feel like signing off “Yours in Learning and Teaching…” but I won’t.

Kind regards

Sally Kift
President, ALTF