IEAA Excellence Awards 2016


Distinguished Contribution

This award recognises the outstanding contribution of a professional colleague who has led groundbreaking initiatives to improve international education in Australia.

Proudly sponsored by IDP Education.

This year's award goes to:

Stephen Connelly – Director, GlobalEd Services

Stephen has over 25 years experience in international education in Australia and overseas. During this time has made an outstanding contribution to the development of Australia’s international education industry.

Stephen was one of the first to go on record calling for a national strategy for international education in Australia, at AIEC in Hobart in 2002. Shortly thereafter he became the founding Chair of the Australian Universities’ International Directors’ Forum (AUIDF), implementing the first national benchmarking study of international office operations, an annual exercise that continues today involving all of Australia’s universities and including international operations, learning mobility and enrolment analyses.

Stephen was a foundation board member of IEAA and President from 2008 to 2012. He oversaw the growth of IEAA’s membership and its profile as the leading professional organisation of its type in Australia at a time of great turbulence in the industry. He continues this tradition of voluntary and honorary work in his current role as board member and Chair of the finance committee of the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP) in the United States, which serves over 300 institutions worldwide.

His work with GlobalEd Services encompasses clients in Australia, NZ, USA, China and Europe. His publications and track record of presentations and workshops around the world are testament to his belief in the importance of sharing knowledge and experience for the benefit of the global international education community.


Excellence in Leadership

This award recognises a professional colleague who has at least 10 years’ experience, an appreciable portion of which has been in leadership positions, in organisations or institutions with a significant role in international education.

Proudly sponsored by ETS TOEFL.

This year's award goes to:

Julie Renwick – General Manager, University of Wollongong College

Julie Renwick has 40 years experience in education – 20 of which have been in leadership positions. In her current role as General Manager of the University of Wollongong (UoW) College, Julie holds overall responsibility for ensuring UoW College is focused on the integrity and quality of education and student outcomes.

Julie has made significant contributions to the quality and development of the international education sector through her active and long-standing involvement as a Board member of the Council of Private Higher Education (COPHE), and her involvement in the Australian Council for Private Education and Training (ACPET). Being an executive member of COPHE, Julie regularly provides responses to key issues and developments in the education sector.

Julie also leads the UoW College’s involvement in a range of industry bodies including English Australia and NEAS. Julie was nominated by COPHE and selected to be a member of the TEQSA Quality and Standards Reference Group, as the representative for all private higher education providers.

Within her role of UoW College General Manager, Julie has led the College in a number of initiatives, focusing on delivering high quality international education, promoting an innovative and collaborative workforce, and general continuous improvement.


Best Practice in International Education

This award recognises the work of an individual or team that has contributed to international education through a groundbreaking development in international development, internationalisation of the curriculum, marketing or communication, international support programs, pathway, mobility or social inclusion initiatives.

Proudly sponsored by Hobsons.

This year's award goes to:

BRIDGE School Partnerships Project

  • Aaron O’Shannessy, Manager, International Programs, Asia Education Foundation
  • Bonnie Hermawan, Senior Project Officer, International Programs, Asia Education Foundation

Over the past eight years, the Building Relationships through Intercultural Dialogue and Growing Engagement (BRIDGE) School Partnerships Project team have project managed over 286 partnerships between schools in Australia and across Asia (China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea and Vietnam). This includes the active participation of over 800 teachers directly involved in professional learning pertaining to intercultural understanding, the use of new technologies in the classroom, Australia’s place in the world, languages learning and global collaboration.

This program is led by a two-person team (Aaron and Bonnie), who project manage the individual partnerships and also serve as caretakers of high-level stakeholder relationships with a range of key partners including the Myer Foundation, the Department of Education and Training and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The BRIDGE project has positively impacted the field of international education by:

  • Better connecting students with their counterparts in Asia and enabling the development of global competencies
  • Skilling teachers to provide deep learning experiences for their students
  • Growing people-to-people links between Australia and a range of countries
  • Establishing sustainable school partnerships and an international community of learners.

Find out more about BRIDGE case studies.


Innovation in International Education

This award recognises the work of an individual or team that has contributed to international education through an innovative initiative in an area including, but not restricted to, international development, internationalisation of the curriculum, marketing and communication, support programs for international students, pathway initiatives, mobility programs or social inclusion activities.

The award will focus on newer initiatives that have commenced in the preceding 18 months. These nominations should address the design of the initiative and how feedback on outcomes has been addressed. Any report on early feedback that has been received and acted upon should also be covered in the submission.

Proudly sponsored by QS.

This year's award goes to:

International Students in Cars Getting Coffee

  • Ben Campbell – Digital Marketing Manager, International, Deakin University
  • Daphane Ng – International Content Officer (Digital), Deakin University

Driven by the changing expectations of prospective international students, the Deakin International digital marketing team embarked on a creative project to showcase one of Deakin’s unique selling points – "we’re cool!"

International Students in Cars Getting Coffee is an in-house developed, audience-led video series developed to articulate soft-sell messaging to increase brand awareness and drive international student recruitment.

The series is all about capturing authentic conversations with international students, chatting to them about life, their studies and where the future will take them.

Recognising that nothing quite says Melbourne like a freshly-brewed cup of coffee, each video launches with a Deakin staff member (Ben Campbell or Daphane Ng) collecting an international student from their home, with an elaborate set up of cameras inside the vehicle.

The videos involve a fun, bespoke interview with each student, asking them about their course, why they chose to study in Australia, and the reasons they decided Deakin was the right institution for them.

In addition to obtaining more than 3,000,000 media views across Facebook, Weibo, WeChat and Twitter, the videos have generated close to 10,000 prospective student enquiries in the space of three months, leading to an on-target annual increase in lead generation of 400 per cent.

The team also produced more than 3,000 'www.deakin.coffee' coffee cups and sent them all over the world to Deakin’s international offices and agent offices. In a crowded digital marketplace, where universities are vying for the attention spans of prospective students, Deakin's campaign achieved remarkable cut-through.

Find out more about International Students in Cars Getting Coffee.


Professional Commentary

This award recognises excellence in journalism, social media commentary and/or publications which focus on aspects of the international education sector.

Awardees might be individuals or teams from senior levels of Australian media, media commentators, or authors of academic publications directly related to international education.

Proudly sponsored by Pearson.

This year's award goes to:

Stuart Hughes – IDP Database of Research in International Education

This award is in recognition of something and, more importantly, someone who is unique in international higher education, yet whose work on collating and curating scholalrly work on international higher education has had a national and global impact over many years.

Stuart Hughes’ work on the IDP Database of Research in International Education at the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) is widely valued and admired, not only in Australia but around the world.

One great strength of the database is its emphasis not only on books and academic journals but also on key reports from diverse countries around the world. This means that our desk research can be informed by wide-ranging literature that might not otherwise have come to light using ‘traditional’ research methods.

Stuart is extremely diligent in sourcing articles, reports, books and journals, which he disseminates widely through regular emails to database followers. He is a prolific user of Twitter which he uses both as a resource for literature searches and also as a dissemination tool. With around 15,500 followers, his work has a massive reach and the facility to support students and researchers across the globe.

Stuart always attends AIEC and pays attention to key presentations which he feels will inform his work. He is incredibly well-informed on emerging authors, as well as those who have been longer in the field. He is as likely to be aware of recent PhD theses, as other ‘seminal’ work by longstanding authors.

He is not simply a curator, but a valuable and important commentator in our field. Stuart is the linchpin of this effort and his work is an excellent example of Australian good practice, informing global research and other activity in international education.

Visit the IDP Database of Research in International Education.


Outstanding Postgraduate Thesis

This award aims to assist with establishing the research career of a recent masters or doctoral graduate. It is open to individuals whose masters degree or doctorate has been conferred by an Australian university in the three preceding years up to 1 July each year.

Proudly sponsored by i-graduate.

This year's award goes to:

Pamela Humphreys – Deputy Director, Griffith University

The number of students with English as an Additional Language (EAL) in Australian higher education has led to increased scrutiny of their English language proficiency (ELP) in recent years. However, few systematic studies have attempted to address the issue.

In this thesis, the graduating language proficiency test scores and academic outcomes (as measured by Grade Point Average and IELTS Academic) of EAL undergraduates were analysed for any systematic variability (n = 564). Students’ conceptualisations of the construct of ELP were also explored via focus groups (n = 37) and a survey (n = 281), and analysed for any systematic variability based on identified variables. The findings were subsequently integrated to investigate the extent to which there was convergence between the findings, policy discourse and theoretical models.

First language was found to be the only systematic variable impacting linguistic and academic outcomes: students from language backgrounds more typologically distant from English had greater challenges, obtaining lower language test scores than other groups, although this pattern was not repeated in the academic outcomes. It was also found that students value English for their studies and beyond graduation, are motivated to improve, and report the responsibility for developing ELP to be largely theirs. Crucially, first and penultimate semesters were identified as critical periods for increased motivation levels.

The findings of this thesis are of benefit to the higher education sector generally in relation to supporting the English language proficiency and academic literacy outcomes of EAL students. The thesis provides evidence of who might best be targeted and when, ensuring that resources are targeted for maximum effectiveness and sustainability. All higher education stakeholders would benefit from the findings as the ensuing recommendations present opportunities for optimising the ELP of EAL university students. The heuristic for ELP in higher education also offers an important theoretical contribution to the field.