Head of Teaching Section A/Prof Kaye Mehta wraps up 2017

Like all years, 2017 has been a full one with hard work by all staff and many achievements.

On a personal note we congratulated Prof. Michelle Miller and Dr. Lucy Bell on their weddings.

Our teaching team had a big boost with four new (fractional) teaching appointments: Olivia Farrer, Dr. Carly Moores, Marian McAllister and Dr. Jayne Barbour. We look forward to strengthening our scholarship of teaching and learning with these new teaching specialist staff.

The placement topics (Clinical, Community/Public Health and Food Service) have led our work on transitioning to the revised DAA National Competency Standards for Dietitians in Australia. We have strengthened student centred learning in the placements, through reflective practice, creation of portfolios and co-production of assessment with the placement educators. We thank placement educators for continuing to work with us on the final stages of student learning towards entry-level practice, and especially for working with us on our revised placement curriculum. We will continue refinements to student centred learning in the placement topics in 2018, in response to feedback from placement educators and students.

Changes to graduate employment as a consequence of public policy shifts has been a concern to us, and we are exploring ways to strengthen our curriculum on innovation and enterprise, in order to better prepare students for flexible future employment. The Independent Studies topic will have a focus on innovation and enterprise, and we are developing an Innovation specialisation in the Bachelor of Human Nutrition.

The Bachelor of Human Nutrition had its first intake of students in 2017 and we were pleased with the number of applications received. The course is developing some specialisations to help students emerge with more depth to their learning; new specialisations in 2018 will be Ageing and Marketing & Communications.

At a structural level, the University has been undergoing a massive re-structure and we commenced our business in the new College of Nursing and Health Sciences. Prof. Michelle Miller left us to take up a temporary appointment as Dean (People and Resources) and Assoc. Prof. Kaye Mehta took up the reins as Head of Teaching Section. Sadly, we farewelled Dr. Jacqui Miller who left us to take up a research post with SA Health and Medical Research Institute. Jacqui has worked with us for 17 years and has provided valuable leadership to the discipline. We have no doubt that she will make a great contribution to SAHMRI.

Dr. Jacqui Miller led a successful program funded by the Australian Awards Fellowship to bring a group of nutrition and dietetic colleagues from Indonesia to study with us about placement education and nutrition project development. A number of our SA colleagues also contributed to this program: Annabel Sweeney from (WCLHN), Vivian Thompson (SALHN) and Kristy Burfield (CALHN), and we thank them for enriching the program.

The discipline has been productive in our research with publications and grants, including tenders with The Sax Institute for a rapid review of the evidence on community-based approaches to adolescent obesity prevention and with NSW Health to develop a systems-based approach to identifying acute inpatients at nutritional risk. The work on The Sax Institute Evidence Check Review also won a College Executive Dean award and led to a successful Heart Foundation Vanguard Grant to test the feasibility of a new online lifestyle intervention for adolescent obesity in 2018. The Asia Pacific Conference on Clinical Nutrition was held in Adelaide and we were pleased to have a strong line-up of presentations, including some collaborative abstracts with our Indonesian colleagues. We congratulate Dr. Kacie on winning an Endeavour Fellowship which will enable her to undertake research activity in Canada, together with an Outside Studies Program (OSP) from Flinders, for the whole of 2018.  Dr. Alison Yaxley will also pursue research in England while on OSP in Semester 1 of 2018. Louisa Matwiejczyk worked on her PhD during OSP in semester 2 of 2017.

One of our most exciting pieces of news for 2017 is the appointment of Assoc. Prof. Rebecca Golley to provide research leadership to our discipline. Rebecca has a stellar track record of research in the child and family area and brings with her a team of research staff (Dr. Lucy Bell and Dr. Dorota Zarnoweicki) and PhD candidates. We are all looking forward to Rebecca helping us to strengthen our research outputs.

Thank you to each and every one of you for your interest in Flinders Nutrition and Dietetics. We value our relationships with our colleagues, towards teaching and research. Please share your ideas with us.

Wishing each of you a Happy Christmas and New Year.

Kaye Mehta

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