Commentary by Associate Professor Nathan Wise


Britt Abraham and the First Nations Success Program

I’m heartbroken at the passing of Britt Abraham, who was killed in a car accident on Sunday, 24 March.

Britt was a founding academic member of UNE’s First Nations Success Program in 2022, and she worked closely with our students through Oorala, and particularly with staff from the Faculty of Medicine and Health. Britt was a proud Wodiwodi woman [my home region in the Illawarra], and at our last coffee catch-up we had reminisced about the streets our families grew up on around Warilla.

It has been a privilege and an honour to work alongside an immensely energetic and inspiring young woman. In particular, there was widespread admiration for the way Britt dedicated herself to helping others and working to improve the lives of people in our communities, and it seemed as though Britt’s outreach knew no bounds. She was only 25 years old, but it was evident to all who knew her that she had remarkable wisdom, courage, and dedication to our communities, and she was set on a wonderful career trajectory.

We have lost a bright star, and my thoughts go out to all who had the opportunity to know Britt.

UNE Academic Calendar T3 2024

 You may have seen my email dated 25 March 2024 advising of the introduction of a ‘trial/pilot’ for a number of units to run over a condensed teaching/assessment period for T3, 2024. A reminder that involvement is voluntary, and the decision matrix can serve as a tool to make comparisons to ascertain what units may be most suitable for running in the pilot.

If you have any questions about this please feel free to reach out to me directly.

Atrium and the Student Support Policy

Thank you all for your engagement with Atrium and the Student Support Policy! Across UNE, our increased use of Atrium in T1, 2024 [in HASSE, increasing from below 50% to up around 75%] has been remarkable and has a marked impact on student engagement. From, 2023 to 2024, our ‘Engaged in Learning’ rate across UNE has increased from 93.8% up to 94.3% [and 2023 was already up from 2022, so we have a clear upwards trajectory]!

Low Enrolment Units

HASS and Education are both focused on efforts to address the large number of low enrolment units in the Schools. As I reported in my email on 18 March, 2024, while I recognise that the benchmark for ‘low enrolment unit’ has changed quite regularly over the past decade, at present that attention is focused on any unit that attracts less than 3 EFTSL [24 students].

Addressing those issues is a collective effort. To reiterate my previous message:

I’d like to encourage all staff to take a proactive, innovative and critical approach to these challenges. For example, what changes can be made in Major and Course offerings to ensure that low enrolment units don’t need to run? Can disciplines work together to consolidate similar offerings into a single unit? And can we be more proactive in replacing low enrolment units from a Course Offering with something else that attracts a large load?