These workshops will be held at The Star (conference venue) on Tuesday 5th December 2017 prior to the Welcome Reception.  The workshops are an additional cost to the conference registration and you can book when registering.  Each workshop is 3 hours long and includes morning or afternoon tea.


  • $150 Members (Attending the conference)
  • $190 Non-members (Attending the conference)
  • $190 Members
  • $220 Non-members

0900 - 1200 AM WORKSHOP

Protecting your investment: What you can do to maximize student persistence

Dr Jim Elliott

0900-1200, Tuesday 5th December 2017


All stakeholders in higher education have made a significant investment in the future.  Universities spend substantial sums on marketing and recruitment. Those funding higher education hope there will be a pay-off both in terms of qualified graduates and repayment of student debt.  Those paying fees (students and very likely their families) clearly do not want their fees wasted.  The time spent by students during their course has opportunity costs in income foregone.  But if a student does not persist to completion, this investment is largely (although not entirely) wasted.

A well constructed program that identifies the variables associated with student persistence and intervenes in a timely may be seen as protecting the investment stakeholders have made in their future.

This workshop summarizes the workshop facilitator’s long experience with student success, persistence and engagement – as well as (to use less attractive language) student attrition and retention.  The session will address the nine key variables that research evidence indicates make a difference to the chances of a student persisting to the end of their educational program.  Participants will have an opportunity to reflect on the resources available at their own institutions, and how practice may be made more effective.

Workshop Facilitator: Jim_Elliott_300

Dr Jim Elliott spent 25 years in higher education before retiring as Associate Director Student Transition at Curtin University in 2014.  He was active in the development and implementation of Curtin’s Student Retention Plan and has an especial interest in effective orientation, mentor programs, student mental health, and early intervention with students apparently at-risk of discontinuing their studies.  He is a former President of ANZSSA and a former editor of JANZSSA. He has carried out significant research into variables associated with student persistence, and has published and presented papers nationally and internationally. Since retiring from full-time employment, he has maintained an interest in higher education with occasional periods as a locum counsellor at the University of Western Australia.


1300 - 1600 PM WORKSHOPS

Managing student critical incidents

Mary Ann Seow, Nadia Rajic

1300-1600, Tuesday 5th December 2017


A critical incident involving a student is distressing for families, friends and staff. The effective management of any critical incident is important. Not only is it important to assist and support affected parties, it is also important to ensure that the situation is not worsened through mismanagement.

This workshop is designed to for those that work with students at any level. It deals with the practical issues of preparation, planning of policy and dealing with actual critical incidents.  The half-day session aims to give you the resources and knowledge to devise or revise policy and procedural guidelines for a critical incident.

Program outline:

  • Definitions and Examples of a critical incident
    What is a critical incident?
  • Critical Incident preparation and response
    Pre-incident preparation and responses
  • Policy Development
    Looking at resources and guidelines in developing policy and procedures
  • Self Care
    Who looks after us?

This interactive workshop will draw on case studies and participants will be encouraged to share scenarios and cases.

Workshop Facilitators:

MaryAnn_120Mary Ann Seow is the current National President of ISANA International Education Association in Australia. Mary Ann has been involved in international education since 2000. She has been a member of the ISANA National Council since 2009 and has been actively involved in international education in Australia for over 15 years. She arrived as an international student from Singapore to study at Finders University in Adelaide and has worked in the higher education sector in a variety of roles. These have included industrial relations, human resource management, academic teaching and research, international student services and corporate training. Her passion lies in working in the international education sector and collaborating with agencies, student groups and peers to assist and support international students and to advance research in international education.

Nadia RajicNadia Rajic was the Manager of Student Counselling at the University of South Australia from 2007 until 2015. She currently works as the Manager: Student Wellbeing with responsibility for critical incident management relevant to students as well as implementing a University-wide Wellbeing Strategy and Action Plan using population based approaches and based on a holistic view of wellbeing. Nadia has also worked as an academic in the School of Psychology and Social Work at the University of South Australia. She has also collaborated on internet addiction among university students with Flinders University of South Australia. Nadia is passionate about student wellbeing and whole of university approaches to wellbeing using health promotion principles.

Building our skills and resilience to support our students online

Kellie Cathcart

1300-1600, Tuesday 5th December 2017


The dynamic nature of tertiary education institutions has seen an increasing shift towards the use of electronic technology to communicate with, educate and support students. This shift has seen a growing number of students moving away the traditional face-to-face attendance in lectures and tutorials and choosing instead to engage in online classrooms and study. This change has forced us to re-think the way in which we offer support to our student population.

It has been largely thought that reluctance of support staff to step into offering online services to students has been about concern that technology will fail, privacy will be compromised or that it will replace the traditional modes of contact. However, initial research has indicated that the largest barrier for counselling staff has been a lack of self confidence in providing the services. Specifically clinician’s indicated that they were concerned about being unable to develop rapport and a working therapeutic relationship with clients as well as feeling they lacked the skills to use specific psychological techniques outside the face-to-face environment (Inglis & Cathcart, 2016).

The aim of this workshop is to increase the confidence of all support staff in engaging in online relationships with students to enable equity of services to students engaging in off campus education. The workshop will focus on the development of the core communication skills in building relationships and offering support across a range of different online environments including e-mail, live chat, and audio/visual. Whilst the workshop principles are designed to look at the therapeutic relationship within a counselling environment other support staff such as Student Support Advisors, International Support Advisors, Disability and Accessibility Support staff and Careers Counsellors may also find the skills applicable in their roles.

Workshop participants will be asked to bring a tablet, phone or laptop to the workshop with access to Skype and a set of headphones for participation in the workshop activities.

Workshop Facilitator:

Kellie_portrait_300Kellie is a clinical psychologist who has worked in clinical, research and project work for over 15 years. Kellie has worked with both adults and children in a broad range of services across a number of modalities both within the public and private domain.
Kellie has also worked with the Hunter Institute of Mental Health on their Mindframe projects with the media, mental health and drama industries around responsible reporting and portrayal of mental health and suicide. She has also worked with the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre in the development and implementation of clinical trials of online therapeutic interventions for individuals with drug and alcohol disorders.
Kellie also works at the University of Newcastle both as a counsellor and guest lecturer. During this time Kellie developed, implemented and evaluated a unique and highly successful model for online counselling services offered to students. She has published work on this model and presented at major conferences over the past two years.
As the founder of Whole Psychology Kellie is interested in continuing her work in the online environment in collaborating across Australian and New Zealand Universities as well as within organisations and individual work.


The Australian and New Zealand Student Services Association Inc. (ANZSSA) is a professional association for people with an interest in the role of support services in post secondary education.

For more information, please visit ANZSSA website by


ISANA International Education Association is the representative body for professionals in Australia and New Zealand who work in international student services, advocacy, teaching and policy development in international education.

For more information, please visit the ISANA website at

Conference Managers

Please contact the team at Conference Design with any questions regarding the conference.