STEPS - Library - Central Queensland University

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<strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Celebrating 20 years<br />

1986–2006<br />

‘Come to the edge,’ he said<br />

They said: ‘We are afraid’<br />

‘Come to the edge,’ he said<br />

They came<br />

He pushed them<br />

And they flew<br />

Guillaume Apollinaire

Map of <strong>Queensland</strong> showing <strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong>. The highlighted locations are<br />

CQU <strong>STEPS</strong> sites.<br />

(Adapted from: Cryle, D 1992, Academia Capricornia: a history of the <strong>University</strong> of<br />

<strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong>, <strong>University</strong> of <strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong>, Rockhampton.)<br />

ii<br />



<strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Celebrating 20 years<br />

1986–2006<br />

Stacey Doyle<br />

www.cqu.edu.au<br />

www.steps.cqu.edu.au<br />


© Copyright 2006 <strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong> <strong>University</strong><br />

This book is copyright. Except for the quotation of short passages for the purposes<br />

of criticism and review, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a<br />

retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic,<br />

mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written<br />

permission of the publisher or the Copyright Agency Limited.<br />

All rights reserved<br />

Stacey Doyle<br />

<strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong> <strong>University</strong><br />

<strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Celebrating 20 years<br />

1986 – 2006<br />

ISBN: 1 921047 25 9<br />

Proudly published by<br />

<strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong> <strong>University</strong><br />

Rockhampton <strong>Queensland</strong> 4702<br />

Australia<br />

Financial support provided by the Division of Teaching and Learning Services at<br />

<strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong> <strong>University</strong>.<br />


Contents<br />

Acknowledgements ......................................................................................vii<br />

Preface ...........................................................................................................ix<br />

Introduction ..................................................................................................xi<br />

Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong> ..................................................................1<br />

The vision ...................................................................................................3<br />

Preparing for students.................................................................................4<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> begins .............................................................................................8<br />

Early reflections........................................................................................13<br />

Pilot to program........................................................................................14<br />

Spreading to Gladstone.............................................................................16<br />

Welcome Bundaberg and Mackay............................................................21<br />

New found funding...................................................................................26<br />

The vision evolves....................................................................................30<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> and Emerald .................................................................................35<br />

Community support ..................................................................................37<br />

Taking shape.............................................................................................42<br />

Tackling change........................................................................................45<br />

Today and tomorrow ................................................................................49<br />

Staff and student photos — 2006 Term 1.................................................52<br />

Part Two: The <strong>STEPS</strong> philosophy .............................................................61<br />

The theory of transformational learning...................................................63<br />

The Hero’s Journey ..................................................................................64<br />

Transformational learning applied to <strong>STEPS</strong>...........................................70<br />

The student-centred model .......................................................................73<br />

Part Three: The student learning journey ................................................75<br />

The decision to join <strong>STEPS</strong>......................................................................77<br />

Fears of the first day.................................................................................80<br />

From tragedy to triumph...........................................................................86<br />

A juggling act ...........................................................................................90<br />

Doors open ...............................................................................................94<br />

The surrender value ................................................................................101<br />


Learning for life......................................................................................112<br />

Interconnectedness and perpetuation......................................................114<br />

Part Four: Student transformations........................................................119<br />

My life, my journey: living my dream....................................................121<br />

Curiosity, fascination and a thousand questions of ‘Why?’ ...................125<br />

A new chapter.........................................................................................130<br />

One STEP at a time ................................................................................132<br />

My life: my way .....................................................................................135<br />

Einstein and Dion ...................................................................................137<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> — The vital rung........................................................................140<br />

Nothing is impossible .............................................................................143<br />

Kicking and screaming ...........................................................................146<br />

It’s never too late to learn.......................................................................149<br />

Taking <strong>STEPS</strong>: learning in leaps and bounds ........................................150<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> — A guide to learning, a guide to living....................................153<br />

Lucy’s steps of change ...........................................................................156<br />

The pleasure was worth the pain ............................................................159<br />

Stepping stones of life ............................................................................162<br />

Run with it ..............................................................................................165<br />

If the desire is great enough....................................................................168<br />

Turning point..........................................................................................173<br />

Memories of the first <strong>STEPS</strong> group in Gladstone — 1989 ....................175<br />

Journey to who knows where .................................................................178<br />

Appendices, Index and Endnotes .............................................................181<br />

Appendix A — A thumbnail sketch of CQU .........................................183<br />

Appendix B — Staff writing on <strong>STEPS</strong>.................................................185<br />

Appendix C — <strong>STEPS</strong> program offerings — 2006 ...............................190<br />

Index.......................................................................................................196<br />

Endnotes .................................................................................................202<br />


Acknowledgements<br />

This book was commissioned by the Division of Teaching and Learning<br />

Services (DTLS) at <strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong> <strong>University</strong> (CQU) to celebrate the<br />

20 th anniversary of the <strong>STEPS</strong> program.<br />

I would like to thank Dr Jeanne McConachie, Director of DTLS, for giving<br />

me the opportunity to work on this project, and Karen Seary, Head of<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong>, for her endless support and direction.<br />

It has been an absolute delight writing this book and I can honestly say that<br />

I have been truly touched by the stories and memories that have been<br />

recounted to me by staff, students and supporters. Accordingly, I would like<br />

to thank the <strong>STEPS</strong> staff, both present and past, at the Rockhampton,<br />

Gladstone, Bundaberg, Mackay and Emerald campuses, who have given up<br />

their valuable resources and time to paint a vivid picture of the events that<br />

have occurred over the past 20 years. I would also like to show my<br />

appreciation to Jenny Simpson for writing The <strong>STEPS</strong> philosophy included<br />

in this publication, as well as to Mike Connon and Megan Morris who, in<br />

conjunction with Jenny, helped me to edit this book.<br />

Belinda Loakes and Vicki Dyer at the CQU <strong>Library</strong> have been extremely<br />

dedicated, and I thank them both for going the extra mile and finding some<br />

brilliant iconic photographs and invaluable information that we thought was<br />

lost forever. Also, thank you to the staff within DTLS for your<br />

administrative support.<br />

Finally, I would like to acknowledge the <strong>STEPS</strong> students. Their input and<br />

stories make up a major part of this book and I thank them for volunteering<br />

their truths. Their stories are truly inspirational and spurred me on<br />

throughout this project.<br />

It is these students who are responsible for the perpetuation of the <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

program. They persevere to complete the program, often against many<br />

odds, and then honestly and passionately promote <strong>STEPS</strong> by circulating<br />

their moving achievements and proudly displaying their ‘anything is<br />

possible’ attitude. These students are the program’s greatest believers and<br />

advocates.<br />


Their courage, determination, impact and unprecedented accomplishments<br />

are the grounds on which this book has been composed. From all of the<br />

staff and supporters of the program, congratulations and thank you for your<br />

undying support.<br />

Stacey Doyle<br />


Preface<br />

Kelly Beckett<br />

The core aim of the <strong>STEPS</strong> program is to provide people with both the<br />

necessary knowledge and the opportunity to achieve an entrance score that<br />

will qualify them to gain entry to further tertiary studies. The <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

program covers subjects such as academic communication, mathematics,<br />

computing, independent learning skills, study skills and library and<br />

information literacy skills.<br />

Although the <strong>STEPS</strong> program achieves these objectives admirably, they are<br />

not the essence of what makes <strong>STEPS</strong> the exceptional program that it is.<br />

The essence of the <strong>STEPS</strong> program is the empowering of second-chance<br />

adult learners, effecting change in their lives, and providing the avenue for<br />

them to achieve individual personal development.<br />

If you were to ask the majority of <strong>STEPS</strong> graduates about their experiences<br />

whilst in the program, they would have very different stories to tell. But I<br />

am confident that most of those accounts would have words such as:<br />

• enlightenment<br />

• empowerment<br />

• self belief<br />

• awakening of their true abilities<br />

• shattering self-imposed limitations<br />

littered throughout the telling of their <strong>STEPS</strong> journeys.<br />

When I commenced the <strong>STEPS</strong> program, I thought I was signing up for a<br />

basic academic course. I never for a moment thought I was going to walk<br />

away from <strong>STEPS</strong> empowered with the belief that I could achieve anything<br />

that I set my mind to. That is truly an amazing gift to bestow upon so many<br />

people. <strong>STEPS</strong> was one of those defining experiences in my life that<br />

changed my outlook and direction, and I will forever be grateful to the staff<br />

for their unfailing belief in me during that time.<br />


Another reason that <strong>STEPS</strong> is such a success is, of course, the other<br />

students. <strong>STEPS</strong> provides an environment for students to enjoy the sheer<br />

stimulation of sharing ideas and dreams, and I was constantly amused,<br />

surprised and amazed at the ideas of my classmates. Besides having<br />

different ideas, <strong>STEPS</strong> students have different lifestyles and backgrounds.<br />

They have different reasons for attending <strong>STEPS</strong>, and different<br />

expectations of what it will mean in their lives. They also have a wealth of<br />

generosity and kindness. They are supportive when we struggle, and<br />

delighted when we succeed.<br />

My time in the <strong>STEPS</strong> program was very special. In fact, many of my<br />

fellow <strong>STEPS</strong> graduates and I continue to recognise the significance of the<br />

experience as time passes and our achievements grow. Lessons learnt in<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> have become the foundation of our successes, as we continue to<br />

utilise the skills and mental attitudes taught whilst participating in this<br />

program.<br />

The 20 th anniversary of the <strong>STEPS</strong> program is an ideal opportunity to look<br />

back and recall with affection the process we all went through to get here<br />

today, and marvel at our achievements. <strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong> <strong>University</strong><br />

(CQU) needs to be congratulated for developing and providing a program<br />

that has led to such positive fundamental changes in so many students’<br />

lives. I would like to say a heartfelt thanks to all the <strong>STEPS</strong> team for what<br />

they do for us while we try to come to grips with subjects some of us have<br />

long forgotten existed, and with other subjects that are totally uncharted<br />

territory. The <strong>STEPS</strong> teaching staff are patience and understanding<br />

personified. I valued every bit of advice and knowledge that I could glean<br />

from these amazing people. Our success is undoubtedly due, in no small<br />

part, to their efforts on our behalf.<br />

I am proud to have this opportunity to congratulate CQU and all past and<br />

present <strong>STEPS</strong> staff for their foresight in initiating, and their continued<br />

success in delivering, such a quality program.<br />

Thank you, CQU!<br />


Introduction<br />

How do you measure the success of the <strong>STEPS</strong> (Skills for Tertiary<br />

Education Preparatory Studies) program?<br />

By the number of graduates who enrol in tertiary studies? Each year,<br />

approximately 80 per cent of <strong>STEPS</strong> graduates go on to enrol in a bachelor<br />

degree.<br />

By the growth of the program over the last 20 years? <strong>STEPS</strong> began with<br />

22 students on the Rockhampton campus. Today the program yearly enrols<br />

more than 450 students on the Rockhampton, Gladstone, Bundaberg,<br />

Mackay and Emerald campuses.<br />

By the impact the program has had on the community? There are many<br />

stories that demonstrate the impact <strong>STEPS</strong> has had on the community. One<br />

of them happened to me just the other day.<br />

My partner invited me to have a drink with two of his colleagues I had<br />

never met before. We all sat down with our drinks and started to get to<br />

know one another. Soon the conversation was directed at me, and one of the<br />

women asked what I was working on at the moment. I launched into telling<br />

them about the <strong>STEPS</strong> program and how I was writing a book to celebrate<br />

its 20 th anniversary. I could see from the expression on their faces that they<br />

knew how influential this program was. In quick succession, one after the<br />

other they said:<br />

‘My Aunty completed the program.’<br />

‘My Dad graduated from <strong>STEPS</strong> a few years ago.’<br />

‘My Mum taught in the <strong>STEPS</strong> program.’<br />

I was blown away by this telling example of how well the program is<br />

known in our community.<br />

The ‘quick drink’ automatically turned into a lengthy conversation about<br />

what led their families to the <strong>STEPS</strong> program and what they were doing<br />

now. Once again, my whole body was swept over by goose-bumps as each<br />

person told their remarkable story.<br />

Finally, does quality of teaching indicate the success of the <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

program? On the same day that I met my partner and his colleagues for that<br />


drink, Jenny Simpson, a Rockhampton <strong>STEPS</strong> lecturer, was informed that<br />

her outstanding contribution to student learning was to be recognised with<br />

the prestigious National Carrick Award for Australian <strong>University</strong> Teaching.<br />

This prize, a remarkable achievement for <strong>STEPS</strong>, is the icing on the cake<br />

for a program that has transformed the lives of thousands of students and<br />

shaped the communities where these students live.<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong>, Celebrating 20 years, 1986 – 2006, celebrates 20 years of<br />

revolutionary success for the <strong>STEPS</strong> program by recounting the tales of<br />

students and staff since 1986. The narrative is based on interviewees’<br />

individual ‘truths’ and their recollections of how events occurred, and also<br />

on a collection of oral histories from <strong>STEPS</strong> staff, students and supporters.<br />

The <strong>STEPS</strong> program has emerged as a premier bridging program in<br />

Australia, receiving uncountable accolades. The program, beginning with<br />

one man’s vision and 22 students, has seen more than 4,500 students<br />

graduate and change the direction of their lives. Free to participants, this<br />

program removes the moat from around the <strong>University</strong> for the ordinary<br />

citizen in the communities of Rockhampton, Gladstone, Bundaberg,<br />

Mackay and Emerald as well as for adults who live in isolated areas. 1<br />

Over time, <strong>STEPS</strong> has been customised to suit the 450 students it now<br />

serves and will continue to transform itself in the years to come. The<br />

program has evolved from teaching basic skills to now include information<br />

literacy, critical literacy, the use of technology, statistics and dealing with<br />

change to meet adjustments in society’s expectations. Today, the<br />

curriculum emphasises themes such as valuing life-skills, diverse learning<br />

styles and temperaments as well as transformative learning.<br />

As a consequence of <strong>STEPS</strong>, many students go on to enrol in tertiary<br />

education, seek new employment, and give back to the community and their<br />

families. Many students graduate from <strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong> <strong>University</strong> and<br />

other tertiary institutions across Australia with degrees in disciplines such<br />

as nursing, teaching, psychology and engineering. In essence, students<br />

become lifelong learners constantly searching for new ways to enhance<br />

their lives and to serve others.<br />

1 The <strong>STEPS</strong> Program, Gateway to Learning, Jeanne McConachie, 1999.<br />


The program is sustained by the ability of lecturers to identify the differing<br />

learning styles of their students and adapt their teaching styles accordingly.<br />

Their effort, which in many cases goes well beyond the call of duty, is<br />

rewarded by the fact that a continual stream of former students visit, email<br />

and call their teachers to say thank you and inform them of their latest<br />

achievements.<br />

The <strong>STEPS</strong> students rise above competing external pressures to pass<br />

assessments and ultimately complete the program. Propelled along by the<br />

support of their peers and a ‘can do’ mindset, it is these students, aided by<br />

the funding of CQU, who ultimately perpetuate the program. They continue<br />

to spread the word to their parents, brothers, neighbours and friends,<br />

throughout their communities and beyond. These students engender a proud<br />

community, one that is inspired by remarkable stories of student<br />

transformations.<br />

To mark the achievements of all <strong>STEPS</strong> students and the dedication of staff<br />

over the past 20 years, this book has four parts. The first is a succinct<br />

history of the program and tells the story of how, from humble beginnings,<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> has cleverly adapted and evolved over time to continually meet the<br />

needs of students and mirror the changing world around them.<br />

In the second part, Jenny Simpson details the philosophy of the <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

program and explains how it provides a solid foundation for adult learning.<br />

Part Three takes you on the journey of <strong>STEPS</strong> students from their initial<br />

decision to sit the entrance test to the point where they emerge as lifelong<br />

learners.<br />

Finally, Part Four presents 20 stories written by former <strong>STEPS</strong> students<br />

from the Rockhampton, Gladstone, Bundaberg, Mackay and Emerald<br />

campuses. They describe their specific <strong>STEPS</strong> experiences which, you will<br />

see, are truly inspirational.<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />


The vision<br />

Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Dr Arthur Appleton, who was the Director of the Capricornia Institute of<br />

Advanced Education, had a vision to increase the chances of adults wishing<br />

to enter tertiary education. He elaborated on his vision to Greg Harper, who<br />

had conducted some research on adult students and had found that they did<br />

better than their direct entry counterparts. 1 Dr Appleton thought the solution<br />

might be to offer more community-based courses aimed at up-skilling<br />

adults in the community who were currently ineligible for tertiary<br />

education. 2<br />

Dr Appleton assigned Greg Harper the task of working out how the<br />

Institute could practically offer continuing education courses. At the time,<br />

Greg Harper was working under Dr John Dekkers who was the Head of the<br />

Division of External and Continuing Education (DECE). They both initially<br />

responded to Dr Appleton’s vision by providing short external courses for<br />

trained nurses. Although the money derived from this service became the<br />

Division’s bread and butter, the courses were short lived. 3<br />

While Greg Harper and Dr Dekkers were devising strategies to offer<br />

continuing education locally, the Federal Government was revisiting its<br />

education policies, particularly those focussing on university education and<br />

equity. Evidence collected by the government showed that specific clusters<br />

of people were under-represented in university student enrolments.<br />

Consequently, in 1985, the Higher Education Equity Program was<br />

introduced. This program allocated funds to appropriate institutions to<br />

establish bridging programs aimed at increasing the proportion of certain<br />

groups in tertiary education. These groups included: Aborigines, migrants,<br />

women, and people from low socio-economic backgrounds and isolated<br />

areas. 4<br />

Finding that the government was issuing grants to bridge the gap between<br />

these groups and tertiary education, Greg Harper enlisted Gene Dayton to<br />

help him write a convincing application. 5 The hours spent perfecting the<br />

submission were recognised by the government, and the Institute was<br />

awarded a $30,000 grant to fund a tertiary bridging program that would<br />

comply with the rules and objectives set out by the Higher Education<br />

Equity Program. 6<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

In order to be eligible for the program, adults would need to meet the<br />

following criteria:<br />

• over 25 years of age<br />

• unemployed and have been looking for full-time work for at least four<br />

months in the last 12 months (registered with the Commonwealth<br />

Employment Service [CES])<br />

• ineligible for entry into accredited Capricornia Institute of Advanced<br />

Education courses under normal admission requirements<br />

• away from full-time education for at least four months in the last<br />

12 months<br />

• socially disadvantaged people — Aboriginal and Islander, female,<br />

handicapped, migrant, poor, family dysfunction, or technologically<br />

redundant. 7<br />

After careful deliberation over the objectives of the Institute’s program,<br />

Greg Harper came up with the name <strong>STEPS</strong> — Skills for Tertiary<br />

Education Preparatory Studies. His idea was to use the government grant to<br />

fund a program that would be free of charge for adults in the community<br />

who could demonstrate the potential to succeed at university. 8<br />

Although this small, informal program in the initial stages of development<br />

had been called <strong>STEPS</strong>, it was also referred to as STEP, which stood for<br />

Skills for Tertiary Education (or Entrance) Preparatory Program. By 1992,<br />

it had been decided that the formal name of the program would be <strong>STEPS</strong>,<br />

and it has remained this way ever since.<br />

Preparing for students<br />

A number of events took place leading up to the first intake of students in<br />

1986. Greg Harper tendered out the design of marketing materials including<br />

a pamphlet which would be distributed around the Institute and community<br />

organisations. He approached the Commonwealth Employment Service<br />

(CES) and notified them that the program could potentially assist many of<br />

the unemployed people who visited its offices in Rockhampton. He also<br />

approached lecturers in the Mathematics Learning Centre (MLC) and<br />

requested they assist him with the preparation and design of relevant<br />

courses. He also recruited Suzanne McGrath to help him teach<br />

Communication. 9<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Below is the first pamphlet designed by the Institute, which was placed at<br />

organisations such as the CES.<br />


10<br />

Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Milton Fuller was the Head of the Mathematics Learning Centre (MLC) and<br />

remembers Greg Harper approaching him in 1986 with details of a bridging<br />

program for which the government had provided funding. Milton recalls<br />

Greg relaying that, if these students were going to be successful in tertiary<br />

education, they would need a sound level of mathematics. 11 Milton, like<br />

many of the other lecturers Greg approached, including Suzanne McGrath<br />

and Phillip Farrands, began preparing materials for the first group of<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> students. 12<br />

Dr Jeanne McConachie and Milton Fuller. 13<br />

In the time leading up to the first intake of <strong>STEPS</strong> students, the Institute<br />

received over 100 phone calls from interested people wishing to find out<br />

more about the new program. The CES also recommended suitable<br />

candidates, including those who were classified as long-term unemployed.<br />

After some preliminary tests were conducted, 22 students were enrolled in<br />

the first <strong>STEPS</strong> pilot program, which was set to be launched in June of<br />

1986. 14<br />


<strong>STEPS</strong> begins<br />

Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

In June 1986, a no doubt nervous bunch of 22 adults from the underrepresented<br />

groups as specified by the government attended their first<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> class. The program would run for 13 weeks during term two,<br />

involve 20 contact hours, and have face-to-face engagement from nine to<br />

three each day. From the very outset, Greg Harper and his colleagues<br />

recognised the demographic makeup of students and, therefore, allowed<br />

participants to finish at three so that they could collect their children from<br />

school if they needed to. 15<br />

Parts of the very first press release concerning <strong>STEPS</strong> are shown below.<br />

This article was submitted by the Community Relations Officer,<br />

Aidan Burke. It shows that an introduction to research and communication<br />

techniques, elementary mathematics, word processing skills, organisational<br />

and study skills, and knowledge of basic science were the components of<br />

the first <strong>STEPS</strong> program. 16<br />

17<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Upon completion of the <strong>STEPS</strong> program, it was expected that the<br />

participants would be able to demonstrate the following skills:<br />

• read effectively and write precisely and accurately for academic<br />

purposes<br />

• deal with basic mathematical concepts and methods<br />

• develop computer literacy and basic word processing skills<br />

• gain confidence in themselves as learners<br />

• acquire organisational skills for effective learning. 18<br />

Milton Fuller remembers the first day of teaching and just how nervous the<br />

students were. Some of the students’ highest mathematics qualifications<br />

were at primary school level. Milton, however, was able to empathise with<br />

his class as he, too, had gained his tertiary qualifications as an adult<br />

learner. 19<br />

Here is Milton Fuller’s story.<br />

In 1986, the MLC was housed in Building 19, which was the<br />

Information Technology Building, and so the <strong>STEPS</strong> students came<br />

to us. At the time, this was a bit of a problem because it was quite a<br />

walk for students.<br />

I had gained my tertiary qualifications as an adult learner and so<br />

could identify with how the new <strong>STEPS</strong> students felt. Some were<br />

nervous having only completed the top end of primary school<br />

mathematics. Others did not understand why we needed<br />

mathematics and were very opposed to mathematics as a concept.<br />

And some were quite keen. We had female mathematics tutors and<br />

males in their forties attending the course, so in some cases there<br />

was some resentment there because of their own inadequacy in that<br />

discipline.<br />

The very first curriculum that I wrote was based on my knowledge,<br />

and it was a bit of a disaster. I had assumed that they would have a<br />

certain level of prior knowledge, but it was beyond them. We<br />

realised this very quickly and adapted the curriculum so that we<br />

would start at the beginning.<br />

We also devised appropriate written entrance tests, which would be<br />

carried out prior to adults being accepted into the program. They<br />

would ensure that students had adequate literacy and numerical<br />

skills to undertake the program. Greg Harper encouraged adults who<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

were not successful in gaining a place to enrol in a TAFE course to<br />

get their skills up to speed and then apply the following year.<br />

It was very much a challenge for me as it was for the students, but<br />

once we had the measure of the type of people we were getting, we<br />

were able to tailor a good course, which would not only increase<br />

their level of knowledge but also build their confidence. 20<br />

Gina Yarrow had been a nurse since she left school and wanted to go down<br />

a different path. Now that her children were at school she decided to enrol<br />

in the <strong>STEPS</strong> program. She talks about her experience below.<br />

The 1986 <strong>STEPS</strong> group was a fairly mixed bunch in age and<br />

diversity. Many of the students formed deep bonds with one another<br />

which assisted them as they progressed through the program. Two of<br />

the women that I was close to went on to become teachers. One is<br />

now a Principal at a local Rockhampton school.<br />

English was my love. I had always been pretty good at writing<br />

stories, but I had forgotten the basics and wasn’t sure how to write<br />

an assignment. The communication part of the program really<br />

assisted me by giving me the confidence to discover new things;<br />

how to research; how I learn.<br />

The lecturers were all very helpful and did not make any of us feel<br />

inferior. They de-mystified university life for us!<br />

Gina has been working at <strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong> <strong>University</strong> as an Events<br />

Manager in the <strong>University</strong> Relations department since 1996 and is the<br />

coordinator of the successful CQU Multicultural Fair and Uni Open Day.<br />

Greg Harper, who taught the communications module (today known as<br />

Language and Learning), and his colleagues used the face-to-face<br />

interactions of the <strong>STEPS</strong> classes to formulate distance education materials.<br />

In his term of teaching, Greg produced a Study Skills booklet as well as an<br />

Academic Writing Skills book that would be distributed to direct entry<br />

students to assist them in their first year of university study. In addition, all<br />

lecturers began revising and modifying their <strong>STEPS</strong> resources with the<br />

vision of eventually spreading the program to other regional locations. 21<br />

To maintain the initial positive reactions of the community, one of the first<br />

students to successfully complete the <strong>STEPS</strong> program, Alan Douglas, was<br />

profiled in the local Rockhampton paper, The Morning Bulletin. Alan, like<br />

many of his <strong>STEPS</strong> peers, went on to enrol in a program at the Institute. Of<br />

the 22 adults who began the <strong>STEPS</strong> program, 18 enrolled as first year<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

students. 22 <strong>STEPS</strong> was adhering to the stipulations set out by the<br />

government, and was also reaching the Institute’s desired objectives to<br />

increase the chances of adults gaining entry into tertiary education. Hence,<br />

the program showed great potential, even at this early stage of development.<br />

Greg Harper was promoted from Continuing Education Officer to Senior<br />

Administrative Officer at the end of 1987 for his contribution to Continuing<br />

Education. 23<br />

The article below, Program a STEP in the right direction profiled Alan<br />

Douglas to entice community members to enrol in the <strong>STEPS</strong> program in<br />

1987. Soon, however, the Institute would recognise word of mouth as the<br />

most powerful advertising medium.<br />

Alan Douglas researches an assignment ... <strong>STEPS</strong> changed his life.<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

12<br />


Early reflections<br />

Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Gail Godden began lecturing mathematics to <strong>STEPS</strong> students in 1987. ‘The<br />

students in each cohort became a real little community — there to support<br />

each other’. She remembers alternating different teaching styles to<br />

communicate mathematics principles in a variety of ways to students who<br />

were having difficulty understanding a topic. The self-paced design of the<br />

course enabled her to do this and keep the course friendly and informal. She<br />

also recalls focusing on such topics as percentages and basic algebra. At<br />

one stage, she brought in two Apple IIe computers and placed them down<br />

the back of her classroom so that students could enhance their knowledge of<br />

mathematics by doing exercises using mathematics tutoring programs on<br />

the computers.<br />

She saw many students arrive for the first day fearing maths and convinced<br />

that they weren’t capable of dealing with it. She also witnessed many<br />

students complete the course, confident they could handle mathematics and<br />

use it in everyday life or within a university course. One student, she<br />

recalls, even went on to complete a mathematics degree.<br />

One of the early lecturers, Irene Sharrock (then Irene Veach), ensured that<br />

the students would be able to practice their mathematics on computers<br />

provided by Gail. Irene was the Program Coordinator in the Business and<br />

Law faculty at that time and taught the computing component of <strong>STEPS</strong>. 25<br />

Also known as Word Processing Skills, it was taught on the ground floor of<br />

the library. Students were taught DOS, Word, Lotus (and later Excel)<br />

spread-sheeting with the aim of helping them to produce their<br />

assignments. 26<br />

Irene championed the use of computers and loved helping the students. As<br />

the <strong>STEPS</strong> program did not have the history and reputation that it does<br />

today, students were nervous and viewed university as something only for<br />

the elite. She saw her job as making students more comfortable and<br />

confident with computers as well as changing their mindsets so that they<br />

viewed themselves capable of tertiary study. Like Gail, Irene revelled in the<br />

joy of seeing students emerge as confident learners ready to tackle<br />

university. 27<br />


Pilot to program<br />

Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

From the end of the first <strong>STEPS</strong> pilot in 1986 up until 1989, the <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

lecturers would continue modifying the <strong>STEPS</strong> modules and updating<br />

flexible courses. Eventually, Milton Fuller, Gail Godden and Phillip<br />

Farrands produced a mathematics textbook. 28 They also continued to<br />

promote the program both within the Institute and externally. To ensure that<br />

the bridging program perpetuated from one year to the next, Greg submitted<br />

grant applications each year. The government provided $25,000 in both<br />

1987 and 1988. 29 Student evaluations of <strong>STEPS</strong>, modifications to the<br />

program and close consultation with government agencies meant changes<br />

such as an extension of the contact hours from 20 to 25, and a decrease in<br />

the minimum age to now include participants who were 21 years of age. 30<br />

The introduction for a Rockhampton local news story in 1988 highlights<br />

these changes:<br />

In addition to local news air time, the <strong>STEPS</strong> program was also being<br />

promoted by the Institute’s photographer at the time, Doug Steley. On the<br />

next page is an iconic picture of a <strong>STEPS</strong> graduate, Judy Fisher, taking that<br />

extra STEP.<br />

14<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> Graduate Judy Fisher. 32<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Between 1986 and 1989, the Institute added more campuses to its portfolio.<br />

The Mackay campus opened for lectures in 1987, and the Bundaberg<br />

Institute began its operations in 1988. The following year, the Emerald<br />

campus would also open for operation. 33<br />

Below is one of the first photographs taken of the Mackay College of<br />

Technical and Further Education.<br />

Mackay branch campus (from left) Steve Mathieson and David Haussmann. 34<br />

Spreading to Gladstone<br />

In 1989, the Institute was again successful in securing a government grant<br />

to continue providing <strong>STEPS</strong> as a much needed pathway into tertiary<br />

education for local adults who had been marginalised from formal<br />

education.<br />

With three years behind them, Greg Harper and his colleagues decided that<br />

this would be a good time to extend the <strong>STEPS</strong> offering to the Gladstone<br />

campus. This would enable the Institute to widen the geographical scope of<br />

the program, thereby enabling more people to benefit. By this stage, the<br />

Gladstone campus had been operating for 11 years. 35<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Greg approached Rex Metcalfe, who was the Head of the Gladstone<br />

campus and remained so until 2001, to work out how to set up the already<br />

successful program in Gladstone. Rex remembers sitting down with Greg in<br />

the campus office and discussing how the program would be executed. 36<br />

Rex Metcalfe presents a student with her graduation certificate. 37<br />

A Gladstone <strong>STEPS</strong> Coordinator would need to be appointed in order for<br />

the <strong>STEPS</strong> program to be successfully incorporated into the Gladstone<br />

campus offerings. In response to this requirement, Marian Metcalfe (then<br />

Marian Knapp) was appointed as the first <strong>STEPS</strong> Coordinator (1989 –<br />

1993) and would be responsible for overseeing the program and ensuring<br />

that it ran smoothly. 38 As in Rockhampton, the Gladstone campus would<br />

have to work hard to promote this new program and secure appropriate<br />

students.<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

To assist with this challenge, a team of lecturers were asked to teach the<br />

first classes. Lynne Campbell and Julie Lovell (then Julie Millington) were<br />

among the first lecturers to be approached. 39<br />

Lynne Campbell 40<br />

Prior to the first year of teaching, many enquiries were received regarding<br />

the program. Before students were eligible for enrolment, they were subject<br />

to a face-to-face interview so that the lecturers were able to gauge whether<br />

the interviewees had the right level of skills to endure the <strong>STEPS</strong> program.<br />

Megan Hindmarch (who, as Megan Grayson, began teaching <strong>STEPS</strong> in<br />

Gladstone in 1994 and was the Gladstone <strong>STEPS</strong> Coordinator until early in<br />

2003) always found this process extremely fascinating. She enjoyed the<br />

stories of people from all walks of life who, for so many reasons, wanted to<br />

embrace university study. 41<br />

In 1989, 12 students enrolled in the Gladstone <strong>STEPS</strong> program. 42 They<br />

would come to a small classroom on Dawson Road to be taught subjects<br />

including Communication, Mathematics and Study Skills. At this stage, the<br />

Gladstone Marina Campus as it is known today was not constructed, and so<br />

lecturers and students had no choice but to suffer the strange odours coming<br />

from the vet next door, and the smell of fresh prawns oozing from the fish<br />

market when the wind was blowing in a specific direction. 43<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Aerial photograph of CQU Gladstone Marina campus as it looks today. 44<br />

Below is a photograph of the first Gladstone <strong>STEPS</strong> students and lecturers.<br />

Front row (L to R):<br />

Linda Grundon, Cheryl Lee-Brown, Julie Lovell (staff), Marian Knapp<br />

(Coordinator), Lynne Campbell, (mathematics tutor), Gwen Forrest,<br />

Ulysses Aquilizan.<br />

Back row (L to R):<br />

Wendy Tomlinson, Jill McLeod, Lesley Greig, Jenny Wilson, Raelene Thams,<br />

Pat Rose, Christine Petersen. 45<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Julie Lovell found the first class to be a delightful bunch of people whose<br />

prior work experience and skills developed from raising children provided<br />

the foundation that allowed them to meet the challenge of independent<br />

learning. 46<br />

The demographical composition of the first Gladstone group reflected that<br />

of the first Rockhampton class. They were mostly women wanting to make<br />

a career change, and a small percentage of men. However, over the years,<br />

with fluctuations in the economy and changes in societal attitudes, the<br />

demographic makeup of <strong>STEPS</strong> classes would no longer depict the above<br />

ratio.<br />

While the lecturers had to adhere to mandatory assessments as set out by<br />

the <strong>STEPS</strong> curriculum, the Communications lecturers enjoyed the great deal<br />

of flexibility. The program was very ‘outcomes’ focussed. Megan<br />

Hindmarch recalls:<br />

We were a little law unto ourselves. Of course we had a basic<br />

curriculum and we had certain assessment items we needed to do,<br />

but there was flexibility in how we could get to the end result. 47<br />

Marian used this flexibility to begin her classes with self esteem and team<br />

building, along with other exercises designed to create an effective support<br />

network among the students. She and Greg Harper anticipated that, given<br />

their competing external pressures, students would require solid peer<br />

relationships and built in mentors to help them to successfully complete the<br />

program. 48<br />

Julie Lovell, when asked what her earliest memories of <strong>STEPS</strong> were,<br />

commented:<br />

Marian fed their souls. She would lift their spirits, keep them<br />

focused and encourage them to keep moving toward their goals<br />

while Lynne knew her maths and was able to reset their attitude to<br />

mathematical problem solving. 49<br />

The mathematics component was taught in the same fashion as the lessons<br />

taught in Rockhampton. Lecturers followed the mathematics text that had<br />

been devised and modified by Milton Fuller and his colleagues.<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Welcome Bundaberg and Mackay<br />

By the end of 1989, the <strong>STEPS</strong> program was successfully running on two<br />

campuses, Rockhampton and Gladstone, and, in doing so, was enabling<br />

more adults from a larger geographical region to participate in this bridging<br />

program. That year, one <strong>STEPS</strong> student was accepted into Griffith<br />

<strong>University</strong> signalling that the program was not only valued by constituents<br />

of the local communities but was also recognised by metropolitan<br />

universities. Out of the remaining 30 people who also completed the<br />

program, 29 gained admission into the university the following year. 50<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> coordinator, Carole Lane (second from the left) surrounded by some of the<br />

graduates from the 1990 Rockhampton program. 51<br />

In 1990, after continuous hard work through a climate of under-funding and<br />

over-enrolments, the Institute was granted university status. The Institute<br />

became the <strong>University</strong> College of <strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong> after a national<br />

decision to merge colleges of advanced education with universities<br />

throughout Australia. 52<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

By this time, the <strong>STEPS</strong> program, after continued government funding, was<br />

in its fifth year, and the benefits of the program were tangibly emerging<br />

within the university context. Many students had graduated from <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

and had commenced tertiary study, like Bernadette Stacey pictured below. 53<br />

Former <strong>STEPS</strong> student Bernadette Stacey gains some practical classroom<br />

experience as a student teacher as part of progress towards her Graduate Diploma in<br />

Teaching.<br />

However, the modest government grants that had funded the program to<br />

date were not enough to continue spreading <strong>STEPS</strong> to the other campuses,<br />

Bundaberg and Mackay, which had been established a few years earlier. To<br />

enable the <strong>STEPS</strong> program to be provided in these regions, the <strong>University</strong><br />

for the first time provided financial support from its recurrent funds. 54<br />

As the campuses at Bundaberg and Mackay were relatively new, Dr Arthur<br />

Appleton saw the provision of the <strong>STEPS</strong> program in 1990 as an excellent<br />

opportunity to mark out the <strong>University</strong>’s territory, that is, to further<br />

establish its reputation as the major provider of tertiary education in those<br />

regions. 55<br />

Bundaberg <strong>STEPS</strong> banner.<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Once again, campus teams were established. These were mostly made up of<br />

existing lecturers who were either already lecturing in one of the faculties<br />

or working as part of the Maths Learning Centre or the Communications<br />

Learning Centre. They would divide their workload between lecturing in<br />

the <strong>STEPS</strong> program and their previous duties. Gail Godden, who was<br />

lecturing in <strong>STEPS</strong> at Rockhampton, travelled to the Bundaberg campus to<br />

assist with staff interviews, and Milton travelled to Mackay to set the tone<br />

for dealing with students through drawing on his previous mathematics<br />

teaching experience. 56<br />

Lois Pinkney, one of the early Mackay <strong>STEPS</strong> maths lecturers, remembers<br />

Milton imparting words of wisdom that reflected his years of experience.<br />

We were to be encouraging and helpful, approachable and kind to<br />

help overcome that common condition picked up in primary and<br />

high school called maths phobia. In other words, we were to be a<br />

maths motherly person. 57<br />

Lois Pinkney<br />

Susan Shaw was appointed as the first coordinator in Bundaberg. In<br />

addition to her position as <strong>STEPS</strong> Coordinator, she would also tutor in<br />

Study Skills as well as in Writing and Reading for Academic Purposes. 58<br />

Susan, no doubt, used resources such as the <strong>STEPS</strong> pamphlet and<br />

organisations such as the Commonwealth Employment Service to create an<br />

interest in the program within the Bundaberg community. Interested adults<br />

would first be screened to ensure they were capable of completing the<br />

program.<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Students were then interviewed by the staff. Ensuring that the interviewees<br />

possessed an appropriate standard of English, mathematics and computing<br />

was, and still remains today, a major purpose of the student interviews. The<br />

lecturers did not want to set up anyone for failure and so continued to refer<br />

unsuccessful applicants to TAFE courses. These TAFE courses would assist<br />

them to increase their numeracy and literacy skills so that they could<br />

reinterview for a <strong>STEPS</strong> position the following year. 59<br />

In 1990, 100 students, having successfully passed their written tests and<br />

interviews, enrolled in the <strong>STEPS</strong> program across Rockhampton,<br />

Gladstone, Bundaberg and Mackay. 60 In five short years, the number of<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> students had more than quadrupled. The <strong>University</strong> was beginning<br />

to be seen as a university not for the elite but for the masses.<br />

The very first Bundaberg class of <strong>STEPS</strong> students.<br />

Gordon Albrecht, Laurel Beck, Alison Bond, Scott Buchanan, Rick Crawford,<br />

Judith Dullaway, Leigh Edmonds, Imelda Jesurasingham, James Lee,<br />

Margaret Luck, Lynn McLaren, Jennifer Moss, Karen Pitt, Mary Round,<br />

Jeanette Roy, Anne Senini, Olwyn Silby, Sandra Zwisler. 61<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Given that the Bundaberg and Mackay campuses had only been established<br />

for two to three years, resources were very limited and teaching<br />

accommodation was very basic.<br />

Gordon King taught the mathematics and computing component at<br />

Bundaberg and remembers:<br />

The computers were quite old. We used a very unusual word<br />

processing program and we had no Internet connection at that time.<br />

However, the students benefited greatly from the course as it<br />

required innovation and improvisation. 62<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> lecturers Karen Seary, Margaret Flanders and Gordon King.<br />

Susan Shaw tells her story about the students and her teaching style below:<br />

The early groups were mainly made up of women whose children<br />

were now of an age that meant some independence and a chance for<br />

these women to get back into the workforce. Most of them were<br />

looking to eventually get into teaching and various forms of social<br />

and community work.<br />

The men in the groups were there to retrain — retrenchment,<br />

medical reasons etc. Whatever the reasons, the students were<br />

incredibly enthusiastic and most appreciative of what they saw as a<br />

second chance.<br />

And there was no lack of ability. Some of them were quite daunted<br />

at the thought of tertiary studies and their ability to cope, but there<br />

were some very bright people there and once they got over their<br />

initial lack of confidence, they really enjoyed and got into academic<br />

exchange.<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

In those days, all texts were provided by Rockhampton and we had<br />

no input into the content of the course, although my teaching<br />

experience meant that I could draw on resources from many places<br />

to make the course fit my clientele.<br />

My abiding memory is of the optimism of the first groups of<br />

students and their appreciation of the <strong>University</strong> for recognising that<br />

they were entitled to successful academic lives even though they<br />

didn’t go to university immediately after school. 63<br />

New found funding<br />

In 1991, the <strong>University</strong> was proclaimed the <strong>University</strong> of <strong>Central</strong><br />

<strong>Queensland</strong> (UCQ) and, accordingly, received full university status. The<br />

picture below captures the formal declaration ceremony on the 6 September<br />

1991. 64<br />

Proclamation of the <strong>University</strong> of <strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong> by Justice Bruce McPherson<br />

in the Rockhampton City Mall, 6 September 1991 (from left)<br />

Justice Bruce McPherson, Dr J. Mahony, Education Minister Paul Braddy,<br />

Chancellor Stan Jones and Vice-Chancellor Geoffrey Wilson.<br />

UCQ was only one step away from the adoption of its permanent name,<br />

<strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong> <strong>University</strong>. Other changes had also taken place within<br />

UCQ.<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

The <strong>STEPS</strong> program was now being coordinated by Leonce Newby. 65<br />

Leonce Newby 66<br />

The <strong>STEPS</strong> section of the 1992 Financial Report below lists other staff<br />

members who were part of the <strong>STEPS</strong> team at this time. 67<br />

As seen from the above article, the course materials were still being<br />

evaluated and customised. Different ways of teaching the components were<br />

also constantly being explored. The results of these changes were that some<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> students enrolled in degree programs were doing better than their<br />

undergraduate counterparts. In many courses, lecturers were also beginning<br />

to see that the retention rates of students graduating from <strong>STEPS</strong> were<br />

higher than those of direct entry students.<br />

The Mackay <strong>STEPS</strong> graduating class of 1993 met at Brothers Leagues Club for a<br />

celebration lunch. (l-r) Tracey O’Connor (tutor), David Baudistel, Fiona Matheson,<br />

Deanna Hartin, Susan Primm, Amanda Barber, Ronda Danastas, Susan Ilich,<br />

Jennifer Peoples, Del Wardzinski (tutor), Pauline Brown, Helen Joyce<br />

(coordinator), and Danette Lonergan. 68<br />

In 1994, UCQ decided to provide 100% of the program’s funding,<br />

following the cessation of grants from the Department of Employment,<br />

Education and Training. This milestone showcased the value that the<br />

<strong>University</strong> placed on the program, recognising its impact on students,<br />

faculties and the community. 69 The year 1994 was also a significant<br />

milestone for the university entity. The name <strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong><br />

<strong>University</strong> (CQU) and its corporate identity were permanently adopted. 70<br />

See Appendix A for more information regarding CQU as it stands today.<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

1994 Bundaberg <strong>STEPS</strong> graduates. 71<br />

With funding solely from CQU came increased offerings of the <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

program. A second level of mathematics was introduced that students could<br />

take in addition to the mandatory component. Transition Mathematics 2,<br />

which was similar in content to grade 12 mathematics, was introduced to<br />

enable students to apply for degree programs such as Science and<br />

Engineering. 72<br />

Also, Part-Time <strong>STEPS</strong> was introduced. This now made <strong>STEPS</strong> accessible<br />

to many more students who could work part-time as well as study. Part-<br />

Time <strong>STEPS</strong> was offered three days per week for the duration of terms 1<br />

and 2. 73 Megan Hindmarch saw this as a major development that really<br />

focused on students’ needs. Adults who had originally been excluded from<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> due to work or other commitments were now also given the<br />

opportunity to take part in the program. 74<br />


The vision evolves<br />

Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

The addition of Transition Mathematics 2 and Part-Time <strong>STEPS</strong> came at a<br />

time when <strong>STEPS</strong> numbers were beginning to increase. In 1995, 135<br />

students were enrolled in the <strong>STEPS</strong> program across four campuses:<br />

Rockhampton, Gladstone, Bundaberg and Mackay. 75<br />

With the increase in students came an increase in staff. Dr Jeanne<br />

McConachie was one of the Rockhampton staff members at this time. In<br />

fact, she was the unofficial <strong>STEPS</strong> Coordinator. 76 Phyll Coombes,<br />

previously a Rockhampton <strong>STEPS</strong> lecturer, comments on Jeanne’s<br />

management style.<br />

Right from the early days, Jeanne was a wonderful manager. She<br />

adopted a flat management style which meant that you were left free<br />

within the confines of what you were doing to do it in the way you<br />

wanted to. She has been extremely supportive of staff and students. 77<br />

Dr Jeanne McConachie<br />

Jeanne observed the transformations that were taking place as a<br />

consequence of the <strong>STEPS</strong> program and envisaged more people benefiting<br />

from this radical program. Her strong working relationship with Ian<br />

Goulter, the Pro Vice-Chancellor, meant that she was able to lobby for an<br />

increase in <strong>STEPS</strong> student numbers. 78 Jeanne was extremely passionate<br />

about CQU providing educational opportunities for people who had been<br />

marginalised from education, and lobbied strongly for <strong>STEPS</strong> at the levels<br />

within the university where it really mattered. 79<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Ian Goulter reflects on the <strong>STEPS</strong> program.<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> is one of those programs that gives you great faith in the<br />

transforming role of a university. From a student perspective, it<br />

provides those who would not normally try higher education or be<br />

eligible for enrolment, a chance to try the experience in a safe, but<br />

challenging environment. However, <strong>STEPS</strong> provides more than just<br />

the technical knowledge and study skills necessary for success in<br />

university study. It also provides students, should they choose to go<br />

on to degree study, the confidence and knowledge that, with hard<br />

work, they can obtain a university qualification. Hence, students in<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> can get to learn whether university study is for them and get<br />

a sense of whether they are likely to succeed in their studies.<br />

From a university perspective, <strong>STEPS</strong> produces students who are<br />

better prepared for success, through both commitment to study and<br />

knowledge of what is required.<br />

In summary, <strong>STEPS</strong> is a double winner — it is great for the student<br />

and great for the <strong>University</strong>. 80<br />

As a result of Jeanne’s perseverance, CQU funded an increase in <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

students across Rockhampton, Gladstone, Bundaberg and Mackay. 81 The<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> program could now enrol a quoter of 400 students. In 1996, <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

student numbers escalated from 135 to 240. 82 The following year, 80% of<br />

students completing the <strong>STEPS</strong> program would enter tertiary education. 83<br />

A Gladstone <strong>STEPS</strong> student. 84<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Further funding meant that more modes were offered to include as many<br />

participants from the community as possible. In 1996, a part-time evening<br />

version of <strong>STEPS</strong> was trialled in Gladstone to allow full-time workers to<br />

reap the rewards of this increasingly popular program. 85 The Gladstone<br />

campus shared a close relationship with local industry, which was<br />

reflected in the changing nature of the <strong>STEPS</strong> program. The availability of<br />

evening part-time classes made it possible for those with work<br />

commitments to upgrade their skills and meet the educational demands<br />

placed upon them by the workplace. It also provided an opportunity to<br />

retrain for another job or career. A greater degree of flexibility with<br />

attendance was required with these groups due to shift work and industry<br />

shutdowns. Students were also given the opportunity to join in with the day<br />

time group for catch up classes.<br />

Some 1996 <strong>STEPS</strong> lecturers.<br />

Front row: Jeanne McConachie.<br />

Back row (L to R): Phyllida Coombes Karen Seary, Jenny Simpson,<br />

Kevin McLean, Megan Hindmarch. 86<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> was beginning to expand not only its modes of delivery but also the<br />

groups of people from which <strong>STEPS</strong> students were selected. Any adult over<br />

the age of 21 who came from a socially disadvantaged background was<br />

eligible to sit for the entrance tests.<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

In a further response to client needs and a thrust from local industry and the<br />

Engineering faculty, a 13 week full-time Extended <strong>STEPS</strong> program was<br />

developed and commenced in Gladstone in 1998. This program aimed<br />

to prepare students specifically for study in the fields of engineering and the<br />

sciences. The curriculum included more advanced mathematics and<br />

computing, and scientific and technical communication, largely report<br />

writing and delivery. Later, Extended <strong>STEPS</strong> was offered on the<br />

Rockhampton campus. Altogether, Extended <strong>STEPS</strong> was offered for four<br />

years.<br />

Through constantly evolving curricula and the right combination of<br />

lecturers, the program was helping as many people as possible. Lecturers<br />

were also constantly searching for better ways to communicate their lessons<br />

and meet the needs of their students.<br />

Jenny Simpson, a Rockhampton <strong>STEPS</strong> lecturer and ex-drama teacher, had<br />

always been interested in the power of story to reflect the everyday lives of<br />

people, and had taken particular interest in Joseph Campbell’s research into<br />

the universality of myths and legends. Campbell had shown that myths are<br />

really a blueprint for our own lives, and, if understood, have great power to<br />

transform. There were recurring patterns in these universal stories, and<br />

Campbell’s research had also shown that stories of heroes on a quest such<br />

as Ulysses, Hercules, or the Arthurian legend knights went through specific<br />

stages that he named the Hero’s Journey. Christopher Vogler, in his book<br />

The writer’s journey, had then taken those stages and simplified them.<br />

Jenny realised that those very stages — or many of them — were<br />

undertaken by all <strong>STEPS</strong> students during the course of each program. Here<br />

was a pattern that they could identify with — and that had positive<br />

outcomes. In 1997, the 12 stages of the Hero’s Journey were presented to<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> classes in Rockhampton as a model for transformational change in<br />

adult learners and, later, it was introduced to the other campuses. Over the<br />

past ten years, this timeless wisdom has helped students reflect on learning<br />

journeys that allow them to emerge as ‘the transformed wanderer on the<br />

quest with the freedom to live.’ It is a popular strategy as participants are<br />

made aware that the difficulties of the learning journey not only can be<br />

faced and overcome but also have the power to transform the learner. 87 On<br />

page 64 you can read more about the Hero’s Journey and, on page 83 one<br />

student’s personal Hero’s Journey.<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Front row (L to R): Phyll Coombes, Jeanne McConachie,<br />

Professor Glenice Hancock, Ingrid Kennedy, Jenny Simpson.<br />

Back row (L to R): Sue McIntosh, Angela Sankey. 88<br />

Jenny Simpson, left, with 1997 <strong>STEPS</strong> graduates in Rockhampton. 89<br />


<strong>STEPS</strong> and Emerald<br />

Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Jenny Simpson was also involved in taking the <strong>STEPS</strong> program to the<br />

Emerald campus, which by now was in full swing. Bronwyn Reid, a<br />

computing lecturer at the Emerald campus remembers a group of staff<br />

including Ingrid Kennedy and Jenny coming out from Rockhampton to talk<br />

to her about <strong>STEPS</strong>.<br />

I remember we talked about what it was and how we were going to<br />

go about it, and I remember thinking, ‘Oh, my goodness’. 90<br />

Below is an email from Dr Jeanne McConachie to Emerald staff outlining<br />

the <strong>STEPS</strong> program. 91 From this email you can see just how far the <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

program had developed.<br />

Natalie Cassano was appointed as the first Emerald <strong>STEPS</strong> Coordinator in<br />

1998 and remained in this position until 2001 when Stephanie Garoni took<br />

on the role. 92 Stephanie wanted to resign after three weeks.<br />

I just thought it’s too much. I can’t do it. My son was only five<br />

months when I started and then I went and had a wine with my<br />

friend Theresa. She said ‘Pull yourself together. Get over yourself.<br />

Of course you can do it.’ And it was the best advice she ever gave<br />

me. She said, ‘Of course learning something new always takes time<br />

doesn’t it?’ My first impressions were quite scary too. 93<br />

Stephanie went on to coordinate the <strong>STEPS</strong> program for five years and has<br />

been recognised as one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

program by students and staff. 94<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Stephanie Garoni, left, with current Emerald <strong>STEPS</strong> Coordinator,<br />

Jo Rosenblatt. 95<br />

In 1998, eight adult learners enrolled in the Emerald <strong>STEPS</strong> program and<br />

graduated at the end of 13 weeks. 96 These students are pictured below.<br />

Gai Sypher, front left, has been working as a Senior Administration Officer<br />

at the Emerald campus for six years.<br />

Front row (L to R): Gai Sypher, Tiffany Hunter, Kerin Szymes,<br />

Lorraine Kruse.<br />

Back row (L to R): Dorothea Lennane, Trudy Moss, Don Cameron,<br />

Lyn Gray. 97<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

With the inclusion of the Emerald campus, in 1998 there were now 420<br />

students enrolled across five campuses. 98 In the space of two very short<br />

years, CQU had successfully superseded the visionary quota of 400<br />

students. <strong>STEPS</strong> was providing a bridge to higher education for adults in<br />

the communities of Rockhampton, Gladstone, Bundaberg, Mackay and now<br />

Emerald.<br />

Community support<br />

1998 <strong>STEPS</strong> students at work. 99<br />

It seemed that 1998 would be a big year for the <strong>STEPS</strong> program. Statistics<br />

had been released that demonstrated the retention rate of <strong>STEPS</strong> students in<br />

undergraduate study was 25% higher than for direct entry students. 100 Also,<br />

news of the very first <strong>University</strong> medal earned by a former <strong>STEPS</strong> student<br />

hit the papers on 19 October 1998. Steve Chadwick’s story is told in the<br />

newspaper article on the next page. 101<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Steve now works as a lecturer in the CQU Humanities Faculty in Bundaberg. 102<br />

(Source: Bundaberg NewsMail 19 October 1998)<br />

By this time, many people within the communities of Rockhampton,<br />

Gladstone, Bundaberg and Mackay knew at least one person who had<br />

completed the <strong>STEPS</strong> program, had subsequently completed a degree (or<br />

even doctorate) or had bettered their employment situation. Bundaberg staff<br />

indicated that the <strong>STEPS</strong> program was actually better known throughout the<br />

community than was the university itself. 103 <strong>STEPS</strong> had definitely made its<br />

mark.<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

<strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong> <strong>University</strong> Student Gai Sypher (right), with <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

co-cordinator Stephanie Garoni, is now completing her masters after being one of<br />

the first students to complete the <strong>STEPS</strong> program in Emerald. 104<br />

Liz Cunningham, <strong>Queensland</strong>’s Parliamentary member for Gladstone,<br />

recognised the success of the program, openly praising it on many formal<br />

occasions and taking a prominent role at Gladstone <strong>STEPS</strong> functions.<br />

Liz Cunningham handing a graduation certificate to a Gladstone <strong>STEPS</strong> student. 105<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Liz records her views of the program below. 106<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Now the program was being recognised not only by the communities of the<br />

campuses but also by other areas within <strong>Queensland</strong> and beyond. <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

lecturers have told of students coming from as far as New South Wales,<br />

Canberra and Brisbane. Some have even moved whole families to one of<br />

the centres just to do <strong>STEPS</strong>. 107<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> was also receiving support from powerful lobby groups both<br />

internal and external to the <strong>University</strong>. There were little pockets of support<br />

within the <strong>University</strong> in just about all of the faculties. 108 Lecturers in the<br />

faculties were no doubt impressed with their first year students from <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

and now had a vested interest in the program. In addition, interest groups<br />

such as the JET program for single mothers and the Women’s Health<br />

Centre were advocates of the program, directing their members wherever<br />

appropriate. 109 On page 135 you can read how a social worker helped one<br />

woman find <strong>STEPS</strong>.<br />

The <strong>STEPS</strong> staff also developed good relationships with employment<br />

agencies such as Centrelink, CRS Australia and Jobs Network as well as<br />

mayors and local members of parliament. 110 The link between the<br />

employment agencies and the program was vital. These agencies had<br />

witnessed how it benefited their clients and accordingly directed customers<br />

to <strong>STEPS</strong>. The agencies were also able to pinpoint the type of person who<br />

was ready to tackle the <strong>STEPS</strong> program and succeed. 111<br />

The belief in the program by such agencies is demonstrated by a speech<br />

given at the 1999 Gladstone graduation ceremony by Greg Case, the<br />

<strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong> JET Adviser at the time.<br />

I believe <strong>STEPS</strong> is arguably the best tertiary preparation program in<br />

the land. I base this not only on the obvious success of the program<br />

through graduates continuing on to further study, but also as a result<br />

of the dedicated and professional approach of all lecturers and others<br />

involved with <strong>STEPS</strong> at CQU’s campuses. They take genuinely the<br />

hopes and aspirations of all students within <strong>STEPS</strong>. The <strong>University</strong><br />

and the community as a whole should be very proud of these<br />

people. 112<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> continued to be recognised by other universities. In 1999,<br />

429 students enrolled, and a number of <strong>STEPS</strong> students were accepted into<br />

other universities including the <strong>University</strong> of Melbourne to study medicine,<br />

the <strong>University</strong> of Sydney to study law and the <strong>University</strong> of New England<br />

to study archaeology. 113<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> students. 114<br />

In 2001, <strong>STEPS</strong> commanded an international stage when Milton Fuller<br />

spoke about the program at the British Congress of Mathematics, at Keele<br />

<strong>University</strong>. Milton continued to write papers on mathematics with an<br />

emphasis on <strong>STEPS</strong> and, accordingly, spoke at conferences at the<br />

<strong>University</strong> of Loughborough in the United Kingdom and the Royal Institute<br />

of Technology, Haninge Campus in Sweden. 115 Appendix B presents a list<br />

of published journal articles and book chapters that refer to the <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

program.<br />

This was also the year that CQU piloted an external version of the <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

program. External <strong>STEPS</strong> was run from Gladstone and was designed and<br />

coordinated by Val Cleary and Megan Hindmarch. In addition, that same<br />

year CQU implemented a unified student feedback system across all<br />

campuses, enabling comments and suggestions from <strong>STEPS</strong> students to be<br />

collected more methodically. 116<br />

Taking shape<br />

In 2002, Dr Jeanne McConachie was recognised for her hard work by being<br />

appointed the Director of the Division of Teaching and Learning Services at<br />

CQU. 117 In the same year, Karen Seary of Bundaberg was appointed Head<br />

of <strong>STEPS</strong>. Like Jeanne, Karen’s enthusiastic leadership would bring her<br />

recognition as an icon of the <strong>STEPS</strong> program. 118<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Karen Seary and Megan Hindmarch. 119<br />

In 2002, <strong>STEPS</strong> was also recognised for its excellence by receiving runnerup<br />

in the Australian Teaching Awards, and was praised for being an<br />

innovative and practical program that contributed to the community. CQU<br />

was extremely proud of this achievement. 120<br />

When this award was announced, Phil Ainsworth, the Chair of the<br />

Bundaberg Advisory Committee, commented that <strong>STEPS</strong> had been<br />

responsible for taking the <strong>University</strong> into the community. 121 In 1986, the<br />

government had recognised that people envisaged university as a privilege<br />

for the elite and, in a short time, the <strong>STEPS</strong> program had transformed this<br />

perception and showed the community that university was for anyone.<br />

A major change occurred to the mathematics component in 2002 when<br />

Antony Dekkers led the redesign of the course. This involved<br />

Sharon Cohalan completely rewriting the mathematics text (now called<br />

Transition Mathematics 1 — Introductory Mathematics Modules). 122 The<br />

maths text was work in progress, being changed and updated every term<br />

from the input of the lecturers and students and by the demands and varying<br />

popularity of the degree course. 123 This new text incorporated all of the<br />

changes and feedback into one book. The text, in addition to being the<br />

primary text for <strong>STEPS</strong> students, is also used for students who come to the<br />

Mathematics Learning Centre for assistance with their degree studies. 124<br />

The text has become quite sought after, as Lois Pinkney reflects:<br />

Over the years, I have had many requests to purchase the text from<br />

all sorts of people outside the university such as parents wanting to<br />

help their children with their homework as well as school<br />

teachers. 125<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

With the new text came changes to the way the course was taught. There<br />

was less emphasis on self-paced teaching and more on board work. 126<br />

Other courses were also undergoing change. A new Language and Learning<br />

text Immigrants into a new time was written in 2000 by Jenny Simpson and<br />

has continued to be updated yearly. Similarly, the Computing text,<br />

originally written by Ingrid Kennedy in 1995, was also undergoing change<br />

to include computing skills that students would require as undergraduates in<br />

the 21 st century.<br />

Professor Glenice Hancock, the Vice-Chancellor of CQU from 2001 to<br />

2004, was a great supporter of <strong>STEPS</strong>. She comments below:<br />

Throughout my adult life I have been an educator first and foremost.<br />

At various points in my career I have been responsible for the<br />

delivery of educational programs to students in schools, prisons and<br />

universities.<br />

When I first joined CQU and throughout my stay there, <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

captured my educator’s heart and imagination. Of particular<br />

importance to me was the creativity of staff, the freshness of the<br />

courses and the overwhelming joy of the student participants.<br />

The participants, most of whom had never seen themselves as<br />

students and many of whom had been rejected by or ejected from<br />

mainstream education at an early age, tentatively explored an<br />

opportunity to have a peek through the university window to see if,<br />

at this stage of their lives, they might make some useful connection.<br />

The staff and their courses helped them to find out aspects of their<br />

personalities and latent talents they had scarcely believed they had.<br />

Graduation day was always an enchantment for me as I watched the<br />

confidence that had emerged, the thrill of success on graduands’<br />

faces and the pride bursting forth from family and friends. The<br />

wonderful life and career stories of <strong>STEPS</strong> graduates would make an<br />

inspirational bestseller and an invaluable source document for<br />

educators who, from time to time, may question the value of what<br />

they are doing.<br />

From the point of view of a DVC/VC of a regional university,<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> fired the imagination even further. <strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong> as a<br />

region has very much lower than the national average participation<br />

rates in higher education. As a university, I always saw, and<br />

continue to see, CQU as having its primary purpose in opening<br />

educational windows for the people of <strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong>.<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> has proven itself over and over again in doing just that.<br />

However, the <strong>STEPS</strong> story does not stop with opening the windows.<br />

For hundreds and hundreds of graduates, <strong>STEPS</strong> has been the start<br />

of academic and professional success, which continues and<br />

continues. Long may <strong>STEPS</strong> continue. 127<br />

Other advocates of the <strong>STEPS</strong> program were recognised in 2003. Lynne<br />

Campbell became the <strong>STEPS</strong> Coordinator for Gladstone and Lynnette<br />

Forbes-Smith was appointed the <strong>STEPS</strong> Coordinator in Mackay. The<br />

following year, Julie Willans would accept the position of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Coordinator in Rockhampton. Both Lynnette and Julie remain coordinators<br />

on their respective campuses today.<br />

Tackling change<br />

The gradual change to all courses as well as the rigorous effort by staff to<br />

incorporate student feedback would distinguish CQU’s bridging program<br />

from other similar programs throughout Australia.<br />

Lauchlan Chipman, Vice-Chancellor of CQU from 1996 to 2001 comments<br />

on the program below:<br />

I’ve seen a lot of well-intentioned preparation programs but I was<br />

very impressed at that early stage with the track record of <strong>STEPS</strong>.<br />

One of the good things about the way it was managed is that the<br />

staff were scrupulous about actually finding out if <strong>STEPS</strong> delivered<br />

the results that it was set up to deliver. 128<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> staff at a planning day in 2005. 129<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Muriel Strahm, Michael Connon, Lynne Campbell and Gerda Whiteley at a<br />

planning day in 2005. 130<br />

By this time, the change in the composition of <strong>STEPS</strong> classes across all five<br />

campuses was obvious. Jenny Simpson called it a real switch for a program<br />

that originally started out to help mostly women improve their education<br />

and career possibilities. Now, it was a program that encompassed 400<br />

students, many of whom were men. 131 Megan Hindmarch attributes this to<br />

the gradual shift in the mindsets of people in the community, and the<br />

increased acceptance of men taking time out to study in the hope of<br />

furthering their careers. 132<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> students hard at work. 133<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Other factors such as technology and the age of students had also changed<br />

the focus of teaching styles and the <strong>STEPS</strong> curriculum, particularly the<br />

computing course.<br />

Bronwyn Reid from the Emerald campus explained how technology had<br />

impacted on the delivery of the computing component. On the one hand,<br />

she had students who used computers at home or in the work environment<br />

and, therefore, had a sound understanding. On the other hand, some<br />

students didn’t know where the ‘on’ button was. This meant tailoring the<br />

classwork so that all students were able to learn at their own pace and<br />

increase their knowledge. 134<br />

Students in Computing for Academic Assignment Writing. 135<br />

Emerald’s ability to stay abreast of such changes was recognised when<br />

Stephanie Garoni accepted an award on behalf of the <strong>STEPS</strong> program.<br />

After only six years of operation, the Emerald <strong>STEPS</strong> program won the<br />

Outstanding Program section in the Adult Learners’ Week competition.<br />

Shown on the next page is a picture of Stephanie receiving the award from<br />

Adult Learners’ Week representative, Chris Kroehn. 136<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

In 2005, <strong>STEPS</strong> had a change of offerings to allow both the part-time and<br />

full-time programs to be Austudy approved through Centrelink. Centrelink,<br />

through the JET program, provides top-up payments to those undertaking<br />

education and training packages such as <strong>STEPS</strong>. 137 The full-time program<br />

was reduced from 13 to 12 weeks, and the new Extended <strong>STEPS</strong> replaced<br />

the old part-time program. 138<br />

At the beginning of 2006, Jo Rosenblatt replaced Stephanie Garoni as<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> Coordinator for the Emerald campus. Lynne Campbell also retired<br />

from her position as <strong>STEPS</strong> Coordinator for the Gladstone campus on 7<br />

July 2006. During her 16 years as a <strong>STEPS</strong> employee, Lynne made a<br />

notable teaching and administrative contribution to the <strong>STEPS</strong> program.<br />

Muriel Strahm replaced Lynne as the Gladstone <strong>STEPS</strong> Coordinator.<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Today and tomorrow<br />

Now in its 20 th year of operation, the <strong>STEPS</strong> program is continuing to<br />

evolve. In 2006, an external adaptation of the program has been introduced.<br />

This has enabled another sector of the community to participate in <strong>STEPS</strong>,<br />

that is, people in remote areas who could not participate in the program on a<br />

face-to-face level. This introduction has meant that men in isolated areas are<br />

able to access CQU’s preparatory programs (as women could already enrol<br />

in the WIST [Women Into Science and Technology] preparatory program<br />

externally). This year, the program has also further reduced the age limit of<br />

participants to 18 years of age. 139<br />

Today, the program covers four specialist areas:<br />

• Language and Learning<br />

• Transition Mathematics<br />

• Tertiary Preparation Studies<br />

• Computing for Academic Assignment Writing.<br />

Depending on students’ personal circumstances, they can choose one of<br />

four modes of delivery, shown below:<br />

• <strong>STEPS</strong> Accelerated, 12 weeks, 4 days per week<br />

• <strong>STEPS</strong> Extended, 24 weeks, 3 days per week<br />

• <strong>STEPS</strong> Flex, 24 weeks, 3 nights per week<br />

• <strong>STEPS</strong> External, 15 hours of study per week.<br />

See Appendix C for a description of each of the courses above as they fit<br />

into the modes of delivery.<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> is constantly going from strength to strength and has permanently<br />

embedded itself in the <strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong> <strong>University</strong> landscape. Over<br />

4,500 students have graduated, with a large percentage embarking on<br />

tertiary study. The <strong>STEPS</strong> program for the past 20 years has been fulfilling<br />

Dr Arthur Appleton’s vision of assisting adult learners to gain access to<br />

tertiary education, directly enhancing CQU and central <strong>Queensland</strong><br />

communities.<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

The impact of <strong>STEPS</strong> on CQU is demonstrated by the photograph below<br />

which shows a group of students who were given the opportunity to teach<br />

in Korea. 140<br />

In 2006, 13 students were carefully selected from the Bachelor of Learning<br />

Management program across all campuses to spend the summer teaching<br />

English to Korean students. A total of 43 applications were received, and<br />

selection was based on a face-to-face interview and student grades. 141 Out<br />

of the 13 students chosen, three were ex-‘Steppies’: Peter Kirby<br />

(Bundaberg), Simone Ganter (Rockhampton) and Chris Daly (Gladstone).<br />

An example of how <strong>STEPS</strong> students have infiltrated the CQU Bundaberg<br />

campus was shown when a selection of Multimedia students exhibited their<br />

work on 26 April 2006 at the Bundaberg Arts Centre. The exhibition<br />

entitled New Media Makings displayed the collections of 12 students, five<br />

of whom were past <strong>STEPS</strong> students. They were: Crystal Jones, Carol<br />

Dunstan, Peter Williams, Max Fleet and Paula Swift. 142<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> now boasts an array of stakeholders who all hold a vested interest in<br />

this successful program. Whether they are the faculties of CQU who cherish<br />

the competent students they receive, employment agencies, or the students<br />

themselves, this program has transformed the lives of thousands of people.<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

The achievements of <strong>STEPS</strong> over the past 20 years have culminated in the<br />

program being recognised as CQU’s Flagship Program — the Jewel in the<br />

Crown — as Karen Seary puts it. 143<br />

The program will continue to reshape the lives of those who muster the<br />

courage to take that first step. The photographs presented in the next section<br />

show the 2006 Term 1 <strong>STEPS</strong> students on the different campuses, who,<br />

along with their lecturers, are taking steps into the future and beyond.<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Staff and student photos — 2006 Term 1<br />

Rockhampton<br />

144<br />

Extended group one.<br />

Front row (L to R): Joanne Nichols, Natasha Mossman, Lee Steele, Yun-Suk Lee,<br />

Ingrid Kennedy (lecturer).<br />

Second row (L to R): Jane Cleal (lecturer), Tabatha Byrnes, Janine Chadwick,<br />

Rose Melton, Jodie Rabaut, Cherylene Price, Rohan Tan.<br />

Third row (L to R): Violetta Todorovic (lecturer), Sandra Pahlke, Donald Britton,<br />

Sue McIntosh (lecturer), Veronica Stuart-Smithers, Leigh Van Breeman,<br />

Nicholas Naughton.<br />

Back row (L to R): Campbell Walker, Alex Hopes, Jeffrey Hudson,<br />

Douglas Pailthorpe, Athena Harcus-Duus.<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Accelerated group.<br />

Front row (L to R): Graham Durkin, Jaye Tonkin, Deborah England.<br />

Second row (L to R): Lisa Warwick, Matthew McKane, Laine Barclay,<br />

Thomas Johnston.<br />

Third row (L to R): Leanne White, Sarah Rota, Naomi McDonald, Val Mifsud.<br />

Fourth row: Shirley Froschauer.<br />

Back row (L to R): Ingrid Kennedy (lecturer), Geoff Danaher (lecturer),<br />

Sharon Cohalan (lecturer), Julie Willans (<strong>STEPS</strong> Coordinator).<br />

Absent: Jorell Galiki.<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Extended group two.<br />

Front row (L to R): Geoff Danaher (lecturer), Tim Dillon,<br />

Sue McIntosh (lecturer), Phillipa Sturgess (lecturer), Gail Coverdale, Grant Hixon,<br />

Cherie Gibbings-Johns, Karen Neitz, Michael Tremaine, Antony Dekkers (lecturer).<br />

Second row (L to R): Robert Walsh, Daniel Wonnocott, Chris Perry, Jessica<br />

Rankin, Kerrilee Christensen, Sue Wathen, Donna Marshall, Megan Safstrom,<br />

Christopher Long.<br />

Back (L to R): Matthew Hangan, Richard Devine, Darren Webber.<br />

Pam McMahon, Learning<br />

Support Administrator.<br />

54<br />

Georgina Pickering, Learning<br />

Support Administrator.

Gladstone<br />

145<br />

Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Extended group.<br />

Sitting (L to R): Ruby Costigan, Sharon Sweeney.<br />

Front row (L to R): Sonya Robson, Danny Kapay, Tina Burmeister, Mike Connon<br />

(lecturer), Pat Bigg, John Devney, Karen Lester.<br />

Second row (L to R): Andrew Keefe, Dean Watts, Samantha Lennon, Kurt Russell,<br />

Trish White, Clare Figueiredo, Trevor Clarke.<br />

Back row (L to R): Ann Pearson, Hannah Feder, Ben Ward, Aimee Anderson,<br />

Liz Bondareff.<br />


Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Flex group.<br />

Front row (L to R): Julie Howard, Renee Jurgens, Mike Connon (lecturer),<br />

Heather Congram, Joelene Beazley, Karen Wouters.<br />

Second row (L to R): Andrea Phillips, Lisa Wilson, Jan Mitchell, Kerri Flintham,<br />

Grant McDonald, Carolyn Vickery, Stafford Ellery, Dianne Spinks, Peter March.<br />

Back row (L to R): Harley Moss, Stephen Walker, Peter Rose, Nicole Birch,<br />

Ross Neill.<br />


Bundaberg<br />

146<br />

Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> Staff.<br />

Front row (L to R): Karen Seary (Head of <strong>STEPS</strong>), Wendy Davis.<br />

Back row (L to R): Ann Monsour, Jinx Atherton, Therese O’Donnell,<br />

Megan Hindmarch.<br />

Peter Christiansen, Lecturer.<br />

57<br />

Jan Salmon, Lecturer.

Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Accelerated class.<br />

Sitting (L to R): Sean Springham, Scott Torcetti, Jodelee Readford, Linda Elliott,<br />

Anjee Rathbone, Mitch McClenahan, Alyssa Bush, John Manderson,<br />

Mark Simpson.<br />

Back row (L to R): Kerry Grant, Ruth Thompson, Rhys Maclean,<br />

Roslyn Ferguson, Alison Charlton, Nicolle Warren, Andrew Chilcott, Jaye Spence,<br />

Narelle Noakes, Damien Petfield.<br />

Extended class.<br />

Sitting (L to R): Caleb Hutchinson, Amanda Corsetti.<br />

Back row (L to R): Angela McGavin, Megan Toohey, Veronica Nichols,<br />

Tracey Ansell, Phil Skeet, Tatania Griffiths, Sam Auer, Jody Hughes,<br />

Kim Mathews, Evelyn Rippon, Julie Cislowski, Lesley Sands.<br />


Mackay<br />

147<br />

Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Extended group one and two.<br />

59<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> staff.<br />

Front row:<br />

Nadine Adams.<br />

Back row (L to R):<br />

Katrina Richmond,<br />

Alexis Reedman,<br />

Frank Armstrong,<br />

Lyn Forbes-Smith (<strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Coordinator), Lois Pinkney.<br />

Front row (L to R): Tammy Muller, Debra Rush, Reef Jamieson, Mistral Dobson,<br />

Thomas Perkins.<br />

Second row (L to R): Trina Reibe, Marianne Kraal, Wendy Young,<br />

Sheridan Maher, Elena Borg, Jason Sam, Duncan McLean.<br />

Third row (L to R): Cindy Gunther, Peter Miskell, Susan Hodgson,<br />

Maria Johnston, Heather White, Laura Schaap, Stephanie Wright, Tanya Bugeja,<br />

Kerry Wilson.<br />

Back row (L to R): Samuel Challenor, Samantha Rogers, Stacey O’Loughlin,<br />

Ebonie Hockings, Tracey Vella, Tara Graffunder, Benjamin Henderson,<br />

Nenelia O’Riely, Sandra Pullom, Alex Young, Adria Dodds.

Emerald<br />

148<br />

Part One: The history of <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Flex class.<br />

Front Row (L to R): Stella Bowyer, Claire Jones, Chris Graham.<br />

Back row (L to R): Jo Rosenblatt (<strong>STEPS</strong> Coordinator), Gay Mabin,<br />

Rachael Brandis, Melinda Fowler, Judy Scarpelli (lecturer).<br />


Part Two: The <strong>STEPS</strong> philosophy<br />

Part Two: The <strong>STEPS</strong> philosophy<br />


Part Two: The <strong>STEPS</strong> philosophy<br />

Adults need both change and stability. But to change, they must<br />

experience instability and uncertainty.<br />

To change they have to expose themselves to the threat of failure.<br />

But if they avoid this, they stagnate.<br />

Source unknown<br />

They say that paradox is an essential element of adulthood. For those who<br />

take on the <strong>STEPS</strong> program, it is this very sense of growth-producing<br />

uncertainty that makes it so challenging and exciting, yet frustrating, for<br />

learners and lecturers alike. For many adults, fronting up to be challenged<br />

once more by institutionalised learning after years away from classrooms<br />

takes courage. Read some of the 20 <strong>STEPS</strong> stories in this book and you will<br />

see how many past students have used words like terrified, overwhelmed,<br />

fear, panic, and anxieties as they have approached either the initial testing<br />

and interview, or the first day in <strong>STEPS</strong> classrooms. Will it be, many<br />

wonder, a repeat of what they disliked most about some of their school<br />

experiences? But <strong>STEPS</strong> is a learning experience for adults, and adults<br />

learn differently from children or adolescents. And so, <strong>STEPS</strong> aims to<br />

achieve what all good adult learning programs set out to do: to transform<br />

beliefs and attitudes that are no longer productive.<br />

The theory of transformational learning<br />

The aim of the <strong>STEPS</strong> program is to equip learners with the lifelong<br />

learning skills, confidence, knowledge and independence to enter university<br />

and complete their tertiary studies. In today’s university setting, any<br />

successful enabling program must do more than just teach the rudiments of<br />

the academic essay or how to comprehend algebraic equations. It should<br />

aspire to produce self-aware, lifelong learners who will take responsibility<br />

for their own learning.<br />

Adults are most ready to learn when the learning meets an immediate life<br />

need, and are most motivated when learning fills an internal need.<br />

Consequently, the inner as well as the outer lives of adult learners must be<br />

catered for in any worthwhile adult learning program. 149 One of the<br />

unproductive beliefs that many participants bring with them is that they are<br />

failed learners. Transformational learning, through empowering students to<br />

challenge and change negative or misguided worldviews, therefore prepares<br />


Part Two: The <strong>STEPS</strong> philosophy<br />

them to face new opportunities as they overcome their past difficulties and<br />

disadvantages.<br />

Nevertheless, transforming beliefs presents challenges for those involved in<br />

the program. American educationalist Parker J. Palmer 150 writes about the<br />

need to educate in ways that might heal rather than wound us and our<br />

world, and this philosophy is taken very seriously in <strong>STEPS</strong>. Healing can<br />

be uncomfortable. For adults, any worthwhile learning experience will<br />

encounter some negative periods that cause discomfort. Because learning<br />

takes us somewhere that we did not know exists, the journey of discovery<br />

must pass through confusion and uncertainty as we find that some ideas we<br />

once may have held dear are challenged. Most adult learners who come to<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> have rich lived experiences, and these experiences contribute<br />

greatly to their tertiary learning. Lecturers are well versed in the tenets of<br />

adult learning principles and transformative learning, an important element<br />

of which is acceptance of the importance of people’s personal experiences.<br />

Because of these experiences, many <strong>STEPS</strong> students are experts in their<br />

own knowledge, and reflecting on their learning journeys, and the changes<br />

they are making both during and after the program helps to develop greater<br />

self-awareness and self-knowledge, both necessary attributes for effective<br />

tertiary learning.<br />

The Hero’s Journey<br />

A strategy that aids this reflection, and which has proved very popular with<br />

students over many years, is the use of the Hero’s Journey model. Drawing<br />

on the work of psychologist Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell 151 researched<br />

myths and legends of many cultures and found that the hero myth followed<br />

predictable stages, which he named the Hero’s Journey. More recently,<br />

writer Christopher Vogler 152 adapted those stages, which show<br />

transformational change, into the 12 that we use in <strong>STEPS</strong>:<br />

• the Ordinary World<br />

• the Call to Adventure<br />

• Refusal of the Call<br />

• Meeting with the Mentor<br />

• Crossing the First Threshold<br />


• Tests, Allies and Enemies<br />

Part Two: The <strong>STEPS</strong> philosophy<br />

• Approach to the Innermost Cave (the Second Threshold)<br />

• the Supreme Ordeal<br />

• Reward (Seizing the Sword)<br />

• The Road Back<br />

• Resurrection<br />

• Return with Elixir (Freedom to Live).<br />

From the moment they learn of the Hero’s Journey model, students<br />

recognise and are excited by its truth. Many feel a sense of empowerment,<br />

and recognition dawns at every new encounter. Quick to recognise parallels<br />

in their own lives, students can accept that those same stages will be<br />

encountered during the program. They can recall the stages in well-loved<br />

stories, and films are analysed as they are recognised there as well. The<br />

students also become aware that the journey’s stages will begin all over<br />

again with their entry into university as one Ordinary World is forfeited and<br />

another Call to Adventure is responded to.<br />

The Hero’s Journey is a powerful model to use as it shows that the<br />

discomfort and confusion brought by challenges are necessary for growth<br />

— and that this knowledge is timeless. As did Ulysses of old, the adult<br />

learner leaves the comfort zone of the known and, crossing the first<br />

threshold, encounters tests, allies and enemies as he or she unlearns<br />

outmoded habits. The past must be deconstructed before the learner can<br />

reconstruct the future. Once the future is reached, the learning can be said<br />

to have been truly transformative. If it does not pass through this stage of<br />

confusion and conflict and then be transformed through reflection, adult<br />

learning is less effective. 153 It is this apparent paradox that suggests that the<br />

benefits of learning cannot be achieved without some personal, and<br />

sometimes painful, costs to the learner.<br />

During the program, <strong>STEPS</strong> students are asked to journal on each of the<br />

12 stages as they are met. Students always express surprise that their shared<br />

experiences follow a pattern. This is a revelation, and it is very freeing for<br />

them to see purpose in the difficulties their participation in the program may<br />

have brought. This research into their own learning journeys has given them<br />


Part Two: The <strong>STEPS</strong> philosophy<br />

both the language and the skills to hold their nerve when the realities of<br />

undergraduate living and learning seem difficult.<br />

Using the 12 stages of the Hero’s Journey to chronicle their experiences<br />

during <strong>STEPS</strong> gives students the certainty that the journey is worthwhile<br />

and can bring success. With hard work and motivation, they can seize the<br />

sword and reach the stages of Return with Elixir and Freedom to Live.<br />

Here, again, is the paradox of adult learning. Challenging times create<br />

uncertainty, but the stages give certainty, and confirm to the students that<br />

they are capable of transforming their own lives.<br />

This transformation of her life is faithfully recorded by Penny Gorlick from<br />

Bundaberg:<br />

The Ordinary World<br />

Once upon a time, I lived in a safe cocoon of order, peace and routine. My<br />

daily life, indeed my whole role in life, was defined by the needs and wants<br />

of others. Satisfied to have the love and approval of my children as a mark<br />

of my personal worth, and to have my identity defined as a nurturer and<br />

provider for my children, I was content.<br />

Call to Adventure<br />

When my youngest child started school, I began to wonder whether it was<br />

enough just to feel content and peaceful. I began to realise that, without my<br />

children to validate who I was, I really felt quite lost. I began to feel the<br />

need for an identity that went beyond just being a mother and a<br />

housekeeper. At my late age in life, I realised that I didn’t have a sense of<br />

who I was, what I believed, or who I wanted to be — an individual. It left<br />

me feeling quite empty and unfulfilled. Although the happy world I lived in<br />

was serene and safe after years of turmoil, I felt that it could possibly<br />

become a little too safe and comfortable. My secure cocoon, while<br />

protecting me from harm, began to feel a little too much like a shroud that<br />

could end up suffocating me.<br />

After reading about the <strong>STEPS</strong> program, I thought that this could be an<br />

opportunity for me to improve my academic ability. I believed it would be<br />

something I could easily fit into my life without it being unnecessarily<br />

demanding or time consuming.<br />


Refusal of the Call<br />

Part Two: The <strong>STEPS</strong> philosophy<br />

From the moment I received the application form, I began to make excuses<br />

to validate my not going ahead with the program. I was filled with doubts<br />

about my own abilities. I thought that I was deluding myself to think that<br />

someone like me could even attempt a program at a university. I was too<br />

old, too busy, too dumb, and had too many responsibilities. My list was<br />

endless. The day of the entrance exam, I sat in my car in the car park<br />

thinking how much easier it would be just to turn around and go home.<br />

Why did I want to give myself more stress after all I had been through in<br />

my life? That was the day I would justify going home, back to my safe little<br />

haven.<br />

Meeting with the Mentor<br />

From the moment I met Karen, with all her enthusiasm and supportive and<br />

encouraging words, I started to believe that I could do the program. If she<br />

could have confidence in me, then perhaps I should too. From the<br />

beginning, and all through the challenges and problems that made me want<br />

to just give up, Karen helped me to keep going. She made me feel<br />

worthwhile.<br />

Crossing the First Threshold<br />

Perhaps one of the first challenges I faced, apart from just going through<br />

the door on that first day, was to be in a group of total strangers, and to be<br />

expected to form some kind of bond with them. Although it appears to<br />

others that I am an outgoing person who finds it easy to mix, this is really<br />

far from the truth. At the time, to have to be part of a group of strangers and<br />

to have to see them frequently seemed like a huge ordeal to me.<br />

Tests, Allies and Enemies<br />

Looking back, it seems amazing that I found it hard to be part of my <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

group. Throughout the program, we all gradually became good friends,<br />

giving support, encouragement and help to each other. Sometimes, it<br />

seemed that old friends, who I had expected to give me the most help, failed<br />

to be supportive. It also seemed as if many of the friends I had had for years<br />

would have liked it better if I quit. (Sometimes I would have liked it better<br />

too). It was often the most unlikely people who were my strongest allies.<br />

My children, who I had thought would resent the fact that I was no longer<br />


Part Two: The <strong>STEPS</strong> philosophy<br />

at home all the time, became great pillars of support. They encouraged me<br />

to keep going when everything went wrong in my life. They helped by<br />

doing an extra share of housework, and by telling me how proud they were<br />

of me. They listened to endless rewrites of essays and oral presentations,<br />

and brought me continuous cups of tea at night when I had left studying or<br />

writing to the last possible minute.<br />

It was difficult sometimes to want to continue. At times, all the small<br />

problems of everyday life joined together like a huge haystack of ‘last<br />

straws’. When the car broke down, when my children were sick, or there<br />

were emotional issues to cope with, it was very hard to see the importance<br />

of ‘y=mx+b’ or to look up information on the throwaway society.<br />

Approach to the Innermost Cave<br />

For someone whose memory of schooldays had long disappeared in the<br />

mists of time, sitting for maths exams was a major ordeal. Many times it<br />

just seemed impossible to learn all the details of algebra and linear<br />

equations. Maths exams were an ordeal to be faced regularly and gave me<br />

many sleepless nights before and after the event. I managed to get through<br />

them, and survive, which was cause for celebration.<br />

The Supreme Ordeal<br />

Perhaps the hardest problem I had throughout the program, my personal<br />

Supreme Ordeal, was conquering my own self doubts. It was hard to accept<br />

it, but there came a moment when I realised that the worst enemy I had was<br />

myself. I was the one saying, ‘You can’t. It’s too hard. You can’t cope’.<br />

Once I acknowledged that I was sabotaging my own efforts, I stopped<br />

feeling as overwhelmed and out of control.<br />

Reward<br />

Each test completed and each essay assignment handed in became a<br />

triumph over self doubt. Every time I proved to myself that I could do<br />

something I had originally thought too hard, I felt a sense of pride and my<br />

self esteem was boosted.<br />

The Road Back<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> changed me in many ways. The person I was at the beginning of my<br />

journey has gone forever. The person who travels on the ‘Road Back’<br />


Part Two: The <strong>STEPS</strong> philosophy<br />

comes with a more open mind. My opinions, now, are my opinions based<br />

on what I have found to be my truth. I also accept that others can have<br />

entirely different opinions that are equally as valid and as truthful as my<br />

own are to me. <strong>STEPS</strong> opened my mind and made me want to continue to<br />

journey and explore and discover.<br />

Resurrection<br />

Originally, I had thought <strong>STEPS</strong> would be like a gentle little dip in the<br />

ocean, nothing too strenuous, and then a return to shore. I was wrong.<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> was like a tidal wave that swept me off my feet and often pulled me<br />

under. So many times I wanted to just give up and go back to that safe<br />

shore I had left. The frightening thing was that I knew I had already been<br />

taken too far out, and I couldn’t even see that secure bit of ground any<br />

more. Thankfully, whenever I felt like I was drowning, there always<br />

seemed to be someone there to help me lift my head above water or to<br />

throw me a life raft, and give me time to breathe.<br />

Eventually, I stopped looking back at the fast disappearing shore I had left,<br />

and started using my energies to swim harder to reach the other side. I<br />

know that this difficult swim through <strong>STEPS</strong> has changed the person that I<br />

was forever. Reaching the other side, I will be resurrected to a new way of<br />

looking at myself, at others, at the world I live in and my place in it.<br />

Return with Elixir: Freedom to Live<br />

On an academic level, <strong>STEPS</strong> has taught me many new skills. I have learnt,<br />

if not to love computers, then at least to cope with them adequately.<br />

Researching for essays has taught me so much about my world, and has<br />

inspired me to learn more. My journey through <strong>STEPS</strong>, though, has done so<br />

much more for me on a personal level.<br />

It has made me realise things about myself, things that didn’t always please<br />

me and things I often found hard to believe. My perceptions and values<br />

have changed incredibly. One of the most important lessons I will take<br />

away with me is that I am not a powerless victim, swept along by people<br />

and forces beyond my control. I realise that it is within my power to change<br />

who I am, and that my past experiences do not have to affect me for the rest<br />

of my life. I have gained the strength to recreate who I am, and make my<br />

own personal world the one I want to live in. I realise I can have informed<br />

opinions that do not have to be the same as anyone else’s to be valid. I also<br />


Part Two: The <strong>STEPS</strong> philosophy<br />

know that I can accept the perceptions and values of others as being as<br />

equally valid as my own. <strong>STEPS</strong> has given me the Elixir of strength, self<br />

esteem and the confidence to believe in myself as an individual.<br />

Transformational learning applied to<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Each of the <strong>STEPS</strong> courses endeavours to provide the curriculum and<br />

strategies that will encourage students to transform their worldviews.<br />

Tertiary Preparation Studies (TPS) empowers students to change the way<br />

they view themselves as scholars. In the first few weeks of the <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

program, students begin to develop self-awareness through gaining a better<br />

understanding of themselves as learners. They identify personal strengths<br />

and weaknesses according to their unique sets of learning preferences and<br />

temperament types, and begin building individual profiles. This information<br />

is used to provide a sound platform to maximise their learning journeys.<br />

Next, they are given strategies to support their preferred learning styles, and<br />

are also encouraged to develop skills in learning in ways which they do not<br />

prefer. New learning strategies are essential for many who see themselves<br />

as damaged learners as they may be reluctant to revisit old ways that have<br />

brought past failures. Innovative strategies, which include the six coloured<br />

hats and parallel thinking of Edward de Bono and mind mapping, are then<br />

carried over to be used in other <strong>STEPS</strong> courses, particularly in the writing<br />

course, Language and Learning. TPS also introduces students to oral<br />

presentations through group work. In addition, through facilitating an<br />

awareness of all that <strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong> <strong>University</strong> has to offer students,<br />

TPS provides a context for developing study and life skills that will help<br />

students position themselves as confident, proactive and self-directed<br />

scholars of the university, who know where to go to seek help and guidance<br />

should the need arise.<br />

Transformation in Language and Learning is attempted through a holistic<br />

course that focuses on social change in contemporary Australian society.<br />

Language and Learning embraces the paradigm of learning that comes from<br />

the new world of science. This sees that all things are interconnected.<br />

Emphasising community and co-operation in an empowering environment,<br />

this course reflects the view that all worthwhile learning creates a ‘capacity<br />

for connectedness’ in learners; 154 therefore, developing the ability to think<br />


Part Two: The <strong>STEPS</strong> philosophy<br />

‘whole’ is an important goal. So, too, is understanding the power of<br />

reflection in the learning process. Language and Learning encourages other<br />

ways of knowing. Whole brain learning strategies such as clustering, mind<br />

mapping, visualisation, graphic organisers and coloured hats are<br />

emphasised in thinking and writing. Writing that is personal and creative is<br />

experienced before writing that is academic as encouraging students to find<br />

their authors’ voices is necessary before the intricacies of academic writing<br />

are undertaken. Because it is the belief of the <strong>STEPS</strong> Language and<br />

Learning team that the thinking of the future will encompass parallel<br />

thinking as well as critical analysis, students are introduced to these ways of<br />

thinking as a means of preparing them for life and learning in 21 st century<br />

learning organisations.<br />

Computing aims to transform students’ perspectives of themselves as<br />

technology users and empower them as they learn the skills to carry them<br />

through undergraduate studies with confidence. The course presents a real<br />

challenge as beginning <strong>STEPS</strong> students range from those who are<br />

technology literate to those who have never turned on a computer.<br />

Computing for Academic Assignment Writing (CFAAW), which is closely<br />

allied to Language and Learning, does this by developing skills necessary<br />

for word processing assignments correctly using Microsoft Word, and<br />

creating spreadsheets using Microsoft Excel. In addition, the use of the<br />

World Wide Web and Webmail seeks to develop research skills necessary<br />

for academic studies. <strong>STEPS</strong> students become proficient in the setting out<br />

of documents through learning the latest typographical conventions based<br />

on the work of international editors. They discover that layout is important,<br />

and learn little known quick and easy ways of doing this effectively. The<br />

course is skilfully designed so that attitudes to technology are transformed,<br />

both in those who have had no previous skills, and also in those who are<br />

computer literate.<br />

Transformational learning is further evident in the Mathematics course as<br />

one of its aims is to change the negative perception that many <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

learners have of their maths abilities. The mathematics component of the<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> program aims to give students elementary mathematics skills and<br />

content for successful learning at university. As many of these students<br />

have not studied mathematics for quite some time, the material is delivered<br />

in a way that engages the adult learner. The content is presented in an<br />

interactive, self-paced style that encourages independent learning, while<br />


Part Two: The <strong>STEPS</strong> philosophy<br />

also promoting cooperation among students in achieving the course aims.<br />

The key tool used is the formative assessment that allows a non-threatening<br />

engagement between the students and the teaching staff. To encourage<br />

active learning in class, the mathematics component of <strong>STEPS</strong> is using<br />

tablet PCs (notebooks which allow users to write on the screen). This<br />

delivery method combines the advantages of a blackboard with the<br />

efficiencies of a Powerpoint presentation.<br />

Perhaps the <strong>STEPS</strong> philosophy of learning can be summed up in words<br />

from the classic children’s story The velveteen rabbit. Learning is a lifelong<br />

process of discovering who we are meant to be.<br />

‘What is Real?’ asked the Rabbit one day when they were lying side<br />

by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room.<br />

‘Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stickout<br />

handle?’<br />

‘Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that<br />

happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not<br />

just to play with, but really loves you, then you become Real.’<br />

‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit<br />

by bit?’<br />

‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It<br />

takes a long time….’ 155<br />

This becoming — the reaching of full potential — takes courage, but<br />

students see there is purpose in the challenges. When they dare to risk<br />

change, as so many <strong>STEPS</strong> students have done, adult learners are able to<br />

engage successfully with the uncertainties that give their lives<br />

empowerment.<br />


Part Two: The <strong>STEPS</strong> philosophy<br />

The student-centred model<br />

This student-centred model demonstrates the interconnectedness of<br />

the curriculum of Language and Learning. However, it also reflects the<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> philosophy of transformation, and, for this reason, is included in the<br />

following diagram.<br />


Part Three: The student learning journey<br />

Part Three: The student learning<br />

journey<br />


Part Three: The student learning journey<br />

The decision to join <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

At this very moment, interactions or incidents are taking place between<br />

potential students and their friends, families, work supervisors or<br />

acquaintances that will ultimately lead them to the <strong>STEPS</strong> program.<br />

Whether it is a conversation, a fight or a debilitating accident, there are a<br />

multitude of reasons why <strong>STEPS</strong> is the right option for so many people.<br />

Often, a person will experience a change in circumstances that will trigger<br />

the memory of a conversation they had with an ex-<strong>STEPS</strong> student, which<br />

brings back information they once deemed irrelevant. Read below to see<br />

how a series of events led Bonnie Paterson to <strong>STEPS</strong>. Bonnie was aged 66<br />

when this article was published by CQU UniNews.<br />

Gino Zussino had completed the <strong>STEPS</strong> program and had gone on to<br />

get a degree in Information Technology and was running his own<br />

computer business.<br />

We spoke about <strong>STEPS</strong> and at the time I remember thinking that it<br />

was a great thing he had done, but at the same time it wasn’t for me.<br />

But a couple of years later my husband passed away, and all of a<br />

sudden I realised I’d missed the train. I’d found myself on my own<br />

with all this nervous energy, just twiddling my thumbs.<br />

Like most ladies of my generation, I had devoted my life to my<br />

family and all of a sudden I was in a situation where I had to find<br />

something to do for me and I’m no good at golf.<br />

Then one day out of the blue, I remembered the conversation I’d had<br />

with Gino. Then I remembered a story I’d read on Grace Johansen (a<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> graduate who became the oldest Gladstone student to earn<br />

her PhD) and for some reason I started thinking that if they could do<br />

it, maybe I could too. 156<br />

For Bonnie, it was the death of her husband that changed her life and<br />

prompted her to sign up for <strong>STEPS</strong>. For others, it may be a divorce, where a<br />

parent is left with the children and needs to update skills to re-enter<br />

employment, or the decision to attend university to further a career and<br />

become more financially stable.<br />


Part Three: The student learning journey<br />

Frantiska Brazier, now a secondary teacher, enrolled in <strong>STEPS</strong> in 1996 at<br />

Rockhampton.<br />

I wanted to break the cycle of poverty and show my children that<br />

being raised by a single parent did not mean they would be burdens<br />

on society. Both my children attend private schools, and my<br />

daughter is now working full-time in a solicitors’ firm while<br />

enrolled in law externally through QUT in Brisbane. 157<br />

Other people may not have had the opportunity to go to university when<br />

they completed their formal high school education. One example among<br />

hundreds is the case of Lorraine Wright who finished high school in 1965<br />

and had no choice of furthering her studies at that time. Lorraine enrolled in<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> in 2003 to prove to herself that she had the ability to further her<br />

education. She wanted to improve her skills and increase her awareness of<br />

career opportunities. 158 Also, often high school students may not receive the<br />

OP or UAI they were hoping for, and commence <strong>STEPS</strong> as another way of<br />

gaining entry into <strong>University</strong>. 159<br />

A shift in the general attitudes of society has meant that it is more<br />

acceptable and, therefore, easier for women to attend university. It is also<br />

more acceptable for men who are the bread winners to take time out to<br />

invest in tertiary education in the hope of advancing their employment<br />

situations. 160<br />

Changes in the environment may alter the course of many people’s lives.<br />

Christopher, a 1996 student, came from the land. He was in his 50s when<br />

his farm was crippled with drought. He attended the <strong>STEPS</strong> program to<br />

ensure the survival of his family, particularly his six children. Christopher is<br />

now a social worker. 161<br />

Similarly, economic fluctuations influence people’s life journeys. Whether<br />

it be a redundancy or a decrease in demand for a specific skill and the<br />

subsequent recommendation from an employment agency, many people are<br />

forced to retrain. The <strong>STEPS</strong> program provides a viable option for people<br />

who, understandably, discontinued school to pursue lucrative jobs such as<br />

mine work and then, for varying reasons, no longer wish to pursue this line<br />

of work. 162 Due to the geographic location of the CQU campuses, it has<br />

been noted that the fluctuations in demand for mine workers impact on<br />

student numbers for <strong>STEPS</strong>. 163 Also, the reduction in blue collar jobs and<br />

the increase in technology has meant that higher education is becoming<br />

almost a necessity to obtain, or advance in, particular occupations.<br />


Part Three: The student learning journey<br />

In their early years, many people may successfully train to be tradespeople<br />

and then due to a debilitating accident are no longer able to work in their<br />

chosen trades. Keith Winstanley enrolled in the <strong>STEPS</strong> program after<br />

enduring a serious back injury. The doctors told him he would walk with a<br />

limp and require a cane for the rest of his life. A few years after completing<br />

the <strong>STEPS</strong> program, Keith moved to England and set up his own company<br />

which has now multiplied into a chain of companies. He is a very<br />

successful businessman who no longer requires the assistance of a cane. 164<br />

Other incidents such as car accidents can have the same impact. One young<br />

man, Troy Perkins, was involved in a very serious car accident at Yeppoon,<br />

and was not expected to live. Despite serious damage, he survived and had<br />

to learn how to talk all over again. Troy successfully completed both the<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> program and a teaching degree, and now teaches in<br />

Rockhampton. 165<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> certainly has its humorous side, as is shown in the following<br />

incident that occurred to a woman who wasn’t even contemplating enrolling<br />

in <strong>STEPS</strong>. One day, this woman was wandering around the Rockhampton<br />

campus waiting to pick up a friend. She needed to go to the toilet so<br />

decided to walk into the closest building and ask for directions. This<br />

happened to be the <strong>STEPS</strong> office. Elaine Ross was working at the front<br />

desk on this day — which also happened to be a <strong>STEPS</strong> testing day. In the<br />

rush, Elaine took the woman’s particulars and ushered her into the testing<br />

room! To her great surprise, the woman successfully tested for <strong>STEPS</strong>, was<br />

enrolled, and, after 13 weeks, completed the program successfully. 166<br />

79<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> staff on the Rockhampton<br />

campus (L to R):<br />

Jenny Simpson, Phyll Coombs,<br />

Elaine Ross and Angela Sankey.<br />

This story also points out the vital role of the <strong>STEPS</strong> Administrative staff in<br />

encouraging people to join <strong>STEPS</strong>. These support staff, in many instances,<br />

are the first point of contact for adults contemplating enrolling in <strong>STEPS</strong>

Part Three: The student learning journey<br />

and, as a result, many people choose to take that leap of faith due to the<br />

accommodating nature of these people. Elaine Ross always felt she was<br />

able to determine from the first contact with a potential student, whether or<br />

not they would succeed in <strong>STEPS</strong>. 167 Not only do the Administrative team<br />

assist the lecturers on a day-to-day basis, but they are also a recognised<br />

support and sounding board for the students as they progress through the<br />

program.<br />

Finally, many people choose to enrol in the <strong>STEPS</strong> program so that they<br />

can assimilate or reintegrate back into the local community. One ex-student,<br />

who had a doctorate in Chinese medicine and had just moved to Australia,<br />

enrolled in the <strong>STEPS</strong> program to increase her understanding of Australian<br />

culture and make new friends. 168<br />

The examples above show just a small sample of people who have enrolled<br />

in <strong>STEPS</strong>. Often there are innumerable reasons and a complex<br />

accumulation of events that lead to the <strong>STEPS</strong> journey. The decision to<br />

change through attempting this program is only the first step. Often, the<br />

most terrifying part of the journey is the entrance tests or the first day of<br />

class, as you will see in the next section.<br />

Fears of the first day<br />

As shown in the first section of this book, students must pass tests and an<br />

interview prior to being accepted into the <strong>STEPS</strong> program. Students are<br />

asked to sit for a multiple choice mathematics test, write an English piece,<br />

and attend an interview with one of the <strong>STEPS</strong> lecturers. Prior to these<br />

tests, students are gathered in one of the <strong>STEPS</strong> lecture theatres and told<br />

about the different components of the program. Lecturers communicate the<br />

resources required and the commitment the newcomers will need to make in<br />

order to successfully complete the program, the length of which will depend<br />

on their chosen mode of study ( i.e. Accelerated, External, Extended, etc.).<br />

Students are asked to consider their home and work environments when<br />

deciding if the program is right for them.<br />


169<br />

Part Three: The student learning journey<br />

The testing day is often very daunting for some people, considering many<br />

have not attended formal schooling in many years. For example, some<br />

people who come along to the testing day are in their fifties or older and,<br />

due to the values of their generation, may not have completed schooling<br />

beyond 12 years of age. 170 Others may be on the brink of making a very<br />

risky decision, for example, resigning from a job that they have had their<br />

whole life to try something new. When Juanita Joy tested for <strong>STEPS</strong> she<br />

remembers feeling scared to death. She felt out of place and wondered<br />

seriously if she should be there at all. 171<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> students at the testing day. 172<br />

The lecturers try to put the students at ease by gently communicating what<br />

the classes offer and how they can help by extending an open invitation for<br />

potential students to contact them with any questions, big or small. <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

graduates, usually from the previous program, also ease the tension by<br />


Part Three: The student learning journey<br />

attending the testing day and telling their stories about how they felt on the<br />

first day, where they are now and the amount of work they had to put in to<br />

complete the program. The presence of the <strong>STEPS</strong> graduates enables<br />

potential students to see and question someone who has completed the<br />

program, survived, and is now thriving.<br />

Previous <strong>STEPS</strong> students return to help out new students. 173<br />

Each potential student brings with them their individual ‘skill gaps’ and<br />

corresponding insecurities. Some may be inexperienced in using a computer<br />

and worry that they will be the only one in the class to have never turned<br />

one on. Others will be concerned that they are ‘shocking spellers’ or bad at<br />

maths, and attempt to sit the exam with a dictionary or calculator. Often,<br />

where a person lacks in one skill area, they will make up for it in another.<br />

The classic example is where somebody has excellent writing skills but<br />

finds it difficult to grasp mathematical concepts, and vice versa. When<br />

making a decision to accept a student, lecturers will take into account a<br />

variety of factors, including the tertiary degree they are interested in and the<br />

student’s combined potential. 174<br />

The feelings of nervousness are often followed by a dramatic feeling of<br />

elation when students are notified that they have passed the tests and have<br />

been offered a place in the program. The first door of many has been<br />

opened for them in their journey to succeed. Tania Murphy, who enrolled in<br />

Mackay <strong>STEPS</strong> in 2003, remembers feeling thrilled and proud of herself<br />

when she received the letter telling her that she had been accepted. At the<br />

same time, she felt nervous and excited about what the future had in store<br />

for her. 175<br />


Part Three: The student learning journey<br />

The next daunting experience is their first day in class. Ann Monsour, a<br />

Bundaberg lecturer, talks about her first day of teaching.<br />

The first day I walked in and I started my little blurb. It was so quiet<br />

that you could hear a pin drop. It put me right off. After thirty years<br />

of high school teaching, I could hear myself. I just couldn’t believe<br />

how quiet it was. I had to tell a joke just to break the tension. 176<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> students on their first day.<br />

Fayleen Zemlicoff completed <strong>STEPS</strong> in Rockhampton in 1997, and<br />

recorded the stages of her Hero’s Journey. Her story below is an example of<br />

the conflicting pressures that contribute to the feelings of ‘What am I doing<br />

here?’ and ‘Can I even do this?’ that are reported by many students when<br />

they front up for their first class. The story also demonstrates the many balls<br />

these students juggle as they continue on their student learning journeys. 177<br />

The Ordinary World<br />

Six years! For six long years I remained in my comfort zone. My house, my<br />

daughter, my solitude. This was my ordinary world. There was no alteration<br />

to the daily events; there was just living and surviving. I had created this<br />

area to keep me away from the outside world. To venture forth meant<br />

realizing and facing my fears. This life, I thought, would never change,<br />

until one day something inside of me, some bright light shining, made me<br />

realise that there is a better life; there was something out there in the real<br />

world — for me.<br />


The Call to Adventure<br />

Part Three: The student learning journey<br />

After much soul searching, I realised what I needed was mind stimulation. I<br />

needed to put to use my intelligence and not just through some menial job. I<br />

needed more mental exertion. A friend had spoken to me about a program<br />

at <strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong> <strong>University</strong> called <strong>STEPS</strong>. He said this program<br />

would give me the mental stimulation I was after, and, as an added bonus, it<br />

would prepare me for university if this was the road I chose to take. I threw<br />

myself into the deep end and took the first step — I sat the entrance exam.<br />

What a day that was. My heart was pounding, my palms were sweating and<br />

my mind racing. I was actually amongst people I didn’t know. I don’t recall<br />

much from that day as it was a blur and I was so full of fear.<br />

I was to wait a week or so to find out if I was accepted. This week was the<br />

longest time I can recall. The amount of hope, fear, reluctance and<br />

excitement I felt during that week was overwhelming. I remember hoping<br />

in some way that I wouldn’t be accepted. Then I could remain in my<br />

comfort zone, but I also hoped that I would pass so I could go on and<br />

change my life for I realised what a dreary life I had. The letter arrived to<br />

say I was accepted and the program would start in July. I rang my family<br />

and friends and told them excitedly that I was in! I was going to uni!<br />

Refusal of the Call<br />

Then at 1.00 a.m. the next morning I awoke with a fright. There was no<br />

way in the world I was going to do this program. How could I ever have<br />

imagined that I would. I couldn’t leave my house, my daughter. Who would<br />

look after my daughter when I was in class? No. I would just have to call<br />

them to say I had made a mistake. I wouldn’t be doing <strong>STEPS</strong>.<br />

Crossing the First Threshold<br />

On July 14 th 1997 I crossed the first threshold. I left home, took my<br />

daughter to school and drove to the <strong>University</strong>. I sat in the car for what<br />

seemed like hours, but in reality was only minutes. I needed to gather my<br />

thoughts and control my fears before going to the first class. We gathered in<br />

the courtyard. As I looked around, everyone appeared calm, laughing and<br />

standing with friends. I stood alone, not venturing to talk to anybody. I felt<br />

so out of place, an imposter, asking myself could I really do this? I was so<br />

unsure, but I stayed and survived the day. I came home full of excitement<br />

and readiness to continue.<br />


The Supreme Ordeal<br />

Part Three: The student learning journey<br />

Being out of the real world for so long brings with it a naiveté. I thought I<br />

would go to uni, come home to my daughter and manage this way for 13<br />

weeks. How wrong was I! My daughter decided that she didn’t want me<br />

going to university. She said that she could not cope with me not being<br />

there for her all the time. She had also lived life within the confines of our<br />

comfort zone, and change was not welcomed. Walking away from her to go<br />

to the <strong>University</strong> with her cries of ‘Mummy!’ was heart wrenching and it<br />

nearly worked. I started to doubt myself as a caring mother and thought of<br />

not continuing the program. I needed to work this out. Having trouble at<br />

home and finding uni work different and challenging, especially maths, was<br />

filling my head with confusion.<br />

As have many others before her who have faced their Supreme Ordeal,<br />

Fayleen did complete <strong>STEPS</strong> and was able to record her triumphant final<br />

stages of her Hero’s Journey.<br />

Resurrection<br />

I know I am still going through this transformation and this will continue<br />

throughout my life. However, this stage of transformation has been<br />

enlightening and a great achievement….<br />

Freedom to live<br />

I have travelled the 12 stages of the Hero’s Journey and I can return to the<br />

Ordinary World with the knowledge and experience that will be useful one<br />

day. I have achieved love, freedom, and knowledge. This I know, because I<br />

have survived the journey.<br />


Part Three: The student learning journey<br />

From tragedy to triumph<br />

When students conquer the challenging initial days of the program, they<br />

begin to settle into a routine. The surroundings of CQU become familiar<br />

and so do their class mates. Many students in the first few weeks are<br />

pessimistic about their ability to get on with such a vast range of people and<br />

have actually admitted that they never thought they would get on with the<br />

people in their group. 178<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> students in class.<br />

There are a variety of mechanisms that are built into the <strong>STEPS</strong> curriculum<br />

that aid the fostering of tolerance among the students. Lecturers encourage<br />

students to tell their life stories and celebrate them. 179 Through this exercise,<br />

they are able to not only empathise with their peers but also understand<br />

where they have come from and the challenges that they face. Bill Noble, a<br />

former Bundaberg <strong>STEPS</strong> lecturer, remembers reminding students of how<br />

tough some people do it.<br />

Bill Noble<br />

If the young ones started to whinge a bit about the<br />

workload you’d given them, I’d nudge them and<br />

say, ‘Look at that lady over there. She’s come from<br />

a night shift to be here.’ 180<br />


Part Three: The student learning journey<br />

Students are also encouraged to change their perspectives on the hardship in<br />

their lives and view it as a necessary platform for change, a gift for<br />

transformation. 181 The following statement develops this theme:<br />

The <strong>STEPS</strong> program at CQU is a curriculum that is based on the<br />

underlying philosophy of ‘wholeness’ and ‘connectedness’. It is<br />

important that many of the <strong>STEPS</strong> students from disadvantaged<br />

backgrounds have a shift of worldview from seeing themselves as<br />

helpless reactors to active participants in shaping their own<br />

futures. 182<br />

From this, students learn a lot about themselves and those around them.<br />

This knowledge can eliminate the victim consciousness, break down many<br />

barriers, and ultimately foster tolerance. A student commented in an end-of-<br />

year evaluation that the biggest transformation for her was learning that her<br />

opinion carried no more weight than the opinion of the person sitting beside<br />

her. Another student commented:<br />

I have found myself to be more tolerant of different people. My<br />

class was a very diverse group and I was inspired by how well<br />

people got along and supported each other. 183<br />

This tolerance, however, is balanced with respect for fellow students and<br />

staff members. An Emerald lecturer remembers one of her students<br />

‘chucking a tantrum’ one day as the lecturer wasn’t paying enough attention<br />

to her. The student threw her books down in a big huff and stormed out of<br />

the classroom yelling, ‘That’s it. I’m leaving!’ This disrupted the room<br />

greatly. When she eventually returned to her desk, the woman sitting beside<br />

her said, ‘Sit down, shut up and do your work!’ This student had dealt with<br />

truck drivers and was just straight to the point. She didn’t want anyone<br />

disrupting the class and disrespecting the lecturer. 184<br />

In the Mathematics course, lecturers also endeavour to change the<br />

viewpoints of students towards maths as a discipline. Many adults believe<br />

they are failed learners, particularly when it comes to mathematics. 185 By<br />

achieving early successes in the first week, students learn that their past<br />

failures are not insurmountable. 186<br />

One student’s attitude to mathematics completely changed. This student had<br />

never been good at maths. In fact, she had never received a grade on any of<br />

her tests that she had completed at school. She thought this was because she<br />

didn’t understand her teacher. For her, maths was a living nightmare. With<br />

a shift in her mindset and dedication from her lecturer, on her first in-class<br />


Part Three: The student learning journey<br />

test she received a mark of 39%. While by normal assessment standards she<br />

didn’t pass, she had improved her school results by 39% and so proceeded<br />

to do cartwheels down the hallway. This was a major achievement for her<br />

and she realised that maths was not so bad. 187<br />

The lecturers also demonstrate that everybody learns in different ways. In<br />

addition to the necessary modules taught to prepare students for university,<br />

such as academic essay writing, research skills, mathematics and<br />

computing, students also discover their temperament types and their<br />

learning styles and this helps them to further understand themselves and the<br />

learning techniques that best suit them. 188 Many lecturers assess their<br />

classes and adapt their teaching styles accordingly. Professor John Dekkers<br />

reflects:<br />

I think the <strong>STEPS</strong> program is not so much about giving people<br />

knowledge, but getting the right tutor to help people change their<br />

attitudes — how they feel about learning material such as maths and<br />

writing. 189<br />

These aspects of the curriculum mentioned above are just some of the<br />

strategies that begin the learning process for students. The students are<br />

given many other tools to assist them with their learning journeys. These<br />

tools, combined with the encouragement and perseverance of lecturers,<br />

motivate and energise students to overcome the challenges that the <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

program presents.<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> students. 190<br />


Part Three: The student learning journey<br />

Below are some quotes from <strong>STEPS</strong> students reflecting on their lecturers.<br />

They were funny, sympathetic and kind, never patronizing. Mike<br />

was an exciting lecturer, Muriel was endlessly kind and went out of<br />

her way to help and Lynne just endowed everyone with<br />

confidence. 191<br />

<strong>University</strong> student.<br />

I raise my hat to Sue McIntosh, Antony Dekkers and Ingrid<br />

Kennedy. You were and are my heroes. You all managed to keep us<br />

together and build confidence in us. 192<br />

Sandra Weedon, CQU employee.<br />

And our tutor, the lovely, the gentle Jenny Simpson carried us all<br />

through our self-doubt and became my role model for my own<br />

teaching career. 193<br />

Sharron Shields, Specialist teacher.<br />

Approachable, realistic, professional and very, very tolerant. 194<br />

Wendy Smith, <strong>University</strong> student.<br />

Dulcie Tolcher describes <strong>STEPS</strong> as a ‘watershed year in my life and I will<br />

never forget it’. She talks about Geoff Danaher, a <strong>STEPS</strong> lecturer below.<br />

I challenged him on every aspect of grammar and not only was he<br />

unfazed, he was delighted. Something had to be wrong with him.<br />

We soon all became delighted to have him as well. 195<br />

Refer to Part Two, The <strong>STEPS</strong> philosophy, for a more in-depth analysis of<br />

how the <strong>STEPS</strong> curriculum is conducive to adult learning.<br />


A juggling act<br />

Part Three: The student learning journey<br />

Along the way, there are various external pressures that compete for<br />

students’ attention as they progress through the <strong>STEPS</strong> program. The<br />

family or partner of the student can help or hinder their journey. Many<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> students’ families are extremely supportive of their ventures and<br />

their subsequent achievements; this message from Glenn Jones and family<br />

to Maria Jones exemplifies such support:<br />

Congratulations Maria on your truly, truly, amazing achievement.<br />

Your family is ever so proud of you. Who would have thought that<br />

someone who never learnt to read at school, was placed in a<br />

remedial class at high school, and who never even completed Grade<br />

10, could go on to complete the <strong>STEPS</strong> program and then a Bachelor<br />

of Psychology degree through external study while managing a<br />

family household and part-time work at the same time. We who are<br />

close to you know what courage and effort it took to complete this<br />

remarkable feat. You are a wonderful model for your children and<br />

all who know you. You thought you were ‘dumb’, but we who knew<br />

you knew you never were. We all wish you well in your new career.<br />

Enjoy the fruits of your labour. 196<br />

On the other hand, some students have to manage physically abusive<br />

partners throughout the duration of the program. One <strong>STEPS</strong> student told a<br />

staff member that her husband was beating her, and she just wanted him to<br />

leave her alone so she could complete her assignment. Others have to<br />

endure verbal abuse from their families and friends. Many <strong>STEPS</strong> students<br />

are the first ones in their family to go to university and, consequently, face<br />

criticism from family members. It is not unusual for a family member to<br />

tease, ‘You think you are so good just because you are at uni.’ 197<br />

Another student overcame adversity and destruction to complete the<br />

program. In 1994, Jenny Simpson remembers being really concerned for<br />

her student, Keith Winstanley, who hadn’t turned up to class for two days.<br />

There had also been no phone call of explanation. This was extremely<br />

unusual as Keith was always very punctual and reliable. That Wednesday,<br />

Jenny heard Keith’s voice in the next office talking to Jeanne McConachie<br />

and she then discovered what had caused his absence. On the previous<br />

Sunday, his house had burnt to the ground. He and his family had lost<br />

everything; however, he had managed to save an essay that was due to be<br />

handed in on the Friday of that week. There was the essay in his hand —<br />

and he had made the trip to the <strong>STEPS</strong> office especially to hand it in.<br />


Part Three: The student learning journey<br />

Other stories tell of the same sort of courage and fortitude. Debbie<br />

Fitzgerald passed <strong>STEPS</strong> even though her son was very ill and needed 12<br />

prescriptions of antibiotics. One student had a baby in hospital, and the next<br />

day, while still in hospital, did her maths exam and scored 99%. 198 She also<br />

completed her major essay in hospital, and handed it in a day early. Another<br />

student had a stroke during <strong>STEPS</strong> and, after her recovery, returned to class<br />

and finished the program. 199 Others have endured chemotherapy treatment<br />

and have still attended classes.<br />

Often, when students are struggling to balance their outside lives with the<br />

pressures of studying, they will turn to their classmates for support. The<br />

students themselves form very deep bonds which carry them through.<br />

Juanita Joy, a former <strong>STEPS</strong> student, remembers these times:<br />

I remember the lunch breaks being filled with laughter and support.<br />

Any crisis or problem was usually being experienced by another one<br />

of the <strong>STEPS</strong> students (or had been) and the lighter side of life<br />

education was discussed during those wonderful tension easing<br />

‘lunch crisis meetings.’ 200<br />


Part Three: The student learning journey<br />

Lunch time discussion amongst <strong>STEPS</strong> students. 201<br />

The strength of these friendships also allows students to laugh and have a<br />

good time as they progress through the program. Stephen Ricketts tells the<br />

story below:<br />

A person I now call my best mate and I were both standing looking<br />

at a cheat sheet for a mock assignment, when he started to sing ‘I<br />

found my thrills on Blueberry Hills’ and I started to sing the deep<br />

‘Shoodoodoowaps’ (backing vocals). It was so impromptu, that we<br />

sang our way to glory. We were so wrapped up in our duet that we<br />

did not realise the whole class had stopped and were silently<br />

listening. It was a very funny moment; we were cheered for best<br />

entertainment. 202<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> students enjoying a barbecue together. 203<br />


Part Three: The student learning journey<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> students. 204<br />

Simone Ganter, an ex-<strong>STEPS</strong> student believes that the program is designed<br />

so that students are supported by the lecturers, and ‘kept in the nest’, right<br />

up until the last part when they are ‘set free’ and have to accomplish the last<br />

bit on their own. Some people at this point drop out because it gets too<br />

hard, but not without a fight from their fellow classmates. 205<br />

Sometimes, a student will succumb to an external pressure and will not turn<br />

up to class. Other students see this as the beginning of a bad end, and will<br />

do everything in their power to coax the student into coming back to<br />

classes, spurred on by the realisation that if one person doesn’t finish then<br />

they might not either. 206 In many cases, this means a home visit. When<br />

asked, ‘What are the important things that helped you to complete the<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> program?’, one student responded: ‘other class mates telling me if I<br />

quit, they would hunt me down.’ 207<br />

In some cases, the students are absent because they are unwell. Mackay<br />

staff remember a student returning to class after an illness. Instead of giving<br />

the usual ‘Hi’ when the student returned, several classmates rose to their<br />

feet and gave this person a welcome back hug. 208<br />

Vicki Stewart formed a special bond with one of her fellow classmates,<br />

Andrew Stewart. <strong>STEPS</strong> changed her life in more ways than one. Here is<br />

her story:<br />

It was during the <strong>STEPS</strong> program that Andrew and I met and fell in<br />

love.<br />

In December 2002, Andrew and I married at Ferns Hideaway at<br />

Byfield, bringing together three children from my first marriage, two<br />

children from Andrew’s first marriage and our child together. Our<br />


Part Three: The student learning journey<br />

very own <strong>STEPS</strong> family. In June 2004, we added our baby daughter,<br />

Mackenzie Belle, to our clan!<br />

After five years of study, transferring town twice, a marriage, two<br />

pregnancies, and births to follow (talk about the highest stress<br />

indicators!), I very proudly graduated with a Bachelor of Business<br />

(Accounting) with Distinction in March 2006 at CQU in<br />

Rockhampton. Of course, none of this would have been possible<br />

without the support of Andrew and my kids. 209<br />

Doors open<br />

Over the course of the program, students work hard to fill the gap in their<br />

skills and knowledge, rise above external challenges and support their<br />

peers. This hard work culminates in their completion of the <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

program.<br />

One student, Sandra Challen, when asked what was the biggest<br />

achievement of the <strong>STEPS</strong> program, simply, yet powerfully wrote, ‘the<br />

graduates it has produced’. 210<br />

Bundaberg graduation ceremony.<br />

To celebrate and recognise the inspiring achievements of these students, a<br />

graduation ceremony is held at each campus. This is a formal event, which<br />

usually incorporates a procession, speeches by academic leaders and past<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> student and, in some instances, a creative presentation written and<br />

performed by the graduates. 211<br />


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A performer at a Rockhampton <strong>STEPS</strong> Celebration of<br />

Learning ceremony. 212<br />

Students invite members of their families and friends to witness their<br />

graduation and the beginnings of a new journey. This is an extremely proud<br />

moment for the students as they reflect on their triumphs and those of their<br />

peers. Leo Zussino, Director of <strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong> Ports Authority and<br />

highly regarded <strong>STEPS</strong> supporter, reflects on the graduation ceremonies<br />

below:<br />

The worth of equality of access to higher education is no better<br />

demonstrated than at a <strong>STEPS</strong> graduation. At those happy occasions<br />

you witness the graduates’ pride and exhilaration at gaining entrance<br />

to university — an entrance usually denied in the past by life’s<br />

circumstances.<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong>, as the graduates will tell you, is a life-changing experience<br />

— a pathway towards individuals being able to fully exercise their<br />

minds and towards fulfilment of their career and life desires. 213<br />


Part Three: The student learning journey<br />

A <strong>STEPS</strong> student with a lecturer Ann Monsour at<br />

the Bundaberg graduation. 214<br />

96<br />

Professor John Rickard, CQU<br />

Vice-Chancellor, at the<br />

Bundaberg <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

graduation. 215<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> students perform a dramatic piece at their Celebration of Learning in<br />

Rockhampton. 216<br />

At this point, students reflect on how far they have come and where they<br />

are going next. Since the <strong>STEPS</strong> program began in 1986, only two<br />

Gladstone <strong>STEPS</strong> students have achieved a score of 100% on their final<br />

mathematics test. Patricia Jones and Gail Lutton pictured on the following<br />

page achieved this excellent result. 217

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In the good humoured tradition of maths on the Gladstone campus, they are<br />

each holding a Golden Freddo, the customary reward for a perfect score in<br />

the final maths exam. Indeed, a fellow student was inspired to create a<br />

perpetual trophy for this achievement at Gladstone, a golden painted frog<br />

on a wooden shield.<br />

The majority of students attest to the growth they have achieved. Perhaps<br />

this is best expressed by a student — a self-confessed failed learner — who<br />

wrote these words and presented them as part of a Rockhampton graduation<br />

ceremony:<br />

Something keeps me going.<br />

Along this journey a Warrior has emerged in me —<br />

not to conquer,<br />

but to lead the Wanderer back to himself.<br />

Life is my quest and I have much to learn.<br />

I have feared myself —<br />

I have hated myself —<br />

And now I am at peace with myself.<br />

I was lost,<br />

but now I have taken steps to soothe my weary feet.<br />

I am ready to celebrate the magic of learning —<br />

the magic of life —<br />

the magic of me.<br />

I will go boldly on beyond the edge of my world<br />

into an exciting future. 218<br />


Part Three: The student learning journey<br />

One student, no doubt, reflected on his ability to rise above his fears of<br />

public speaking in the Tertiary Preparations Studies course. This student<br />

confided in Phyll Coombes, a previous Rockhampton <strong>STEPS</strong> lecturer, that<br />

the thought of giving an oral presentation to his peers made him physically<br />

sick. However, this student was determined to pass this assessment on his<br />

own. While he was extremely nervous when it was his turn, he delivered his<br />

speech. By overcoming his fears, this student was able to transform himself<br />

from someone who was too shy to participate in classroom discussions to<br />

someone who was constantly raising his hand, signaling his willingness and<br />

desire to contribute. He had found his voice. 219<br />

While the oral presentation was once a solo act, now it is a group exercise. Here are<br />

some <strong>STEPS</strong> students giving their oral presentations. 220<br />

Below are some quotes from students reflecting on what they had learnt<br />

over the course of the program. 221<br />

In maths we learnt to laugh at our mistakes and our idiosyncrasies<br />

and not take ourselves too seriously. 222<br />

Now I know I have the ability to change the direction of my life to a<br />

much better destination.<br />

It opened my mind to possibilities, and showed me my personal<br />

power was within, not sitting with someone else. 223<br />


Part Three: The student learning journey<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> showed me that my level of English was not a barrier any<br />

longer to achieving my dreams. 224<br />

It is also worth mentioning that the <strong>STEPS</strong> lecturers also reflect on their<br />

experiences over the course of the year. Stephanie Garoni tells how <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

benefited her:<br />

I’m thankful for the <strong>STEPS</strong> program because I learnt about what<br />

type of a learner and teacher I am and why I really couldn’t quite<br />

reach a certain group of kids. I couldn’t quite figure out why I<br />

wasn’t able to get the message across to them. As a result, I did<br />

some research on myself and I really learnt that people don’t learn<br />

the same as I learn. The way that I learn is not the best way for<br />

everyone to learn, and I can’t force that on other people.<br />

In the first year, I remember teaching how to write an essay to this<br />

group of students. I’m very sequential in the way I do things so I<br />

said: ‘Well first up we write the introduction and then you write…<br />

This is how to write it…. Everyone go home and write an<br />

introduction and then you write the second paragraph, this is how<br />

you do it… Off you go…. Do it…. Then you write the body, then<br />

you write the conclusion…’<br />

After about three weeks, the students looked at me and said, ‘Oh my<br />

gosh we don’t know what you’re talking about. This doesn’t make<br />

sense to us.’ Because they came in with a completely different<br />

perspective — and that was a huge awakening for me. 225<br />

As a result of the <strong>STEPS</strong> program, students may change their original ideas<br />

of what they wanted to be. Many students come to <strong>STEPS</strong> wishing to be a<br />

teacher or counsellor and may end up enrolling in an engineering program,<br />

for example. 226 The decision of which degree to enrol in is assisted by<br />

career counsellors and guest speakers from CQU faculties.<br />

Whatever discipline they choose to study, many students are extremely<br />

successful. Below are some awards achieved by Bundaberg <strong>STEPS</strong> students<br />

in 2003/04 after enrolling in a Bachelor degree at CQU. 227<br />

2003<br />

Bundaberg Campus Graduation Medal — Kelly Beckett<br />

CPA Australia — Bundaberg Branch Prize — Kelly Beckett<br />

Rotary Club of Bundaberg — Sunrise Prize in Business and Law —<br />

Kelly Beckett<br />


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TriCare Bundaberg Nursing Centre Student Prize — Catherine Mills<br />

Coastline Newspapers Pty Ltd — Coastline Communication Prize —<br />

Robyn Saint<br />

Rotary Club of Bundaberg — Sunrise Prize in Informatics and<br />

Communication — Paul Mark<br />

2004<br />

Bundaberg U3A Learning Management Prize — Kresha Hodges<br />

Rotary Club of Bundaberg — Sunrise Prize in Arts, Health and Sciences —<br />

Catherine Mills 2005<br />

Bundaberg Campus Graduation Medal — Christine Thompson<br />

Bundaberg Newspaper Company — CQU Bundaberg Student of the Year<br />

— Robyn Saint<br />

Jessie Mary Vasey Memorial Bursary — James Ukena<br />

Rotary Club of Bundaberg — Sunrise Prize in Arts, Health and Science —<br />

James Ukena<br />

Rotary Club of Bundaberg — Sunrise Prize in Education —<br />

Christine Thompson<br />

Kelly Beckett receiving the Bundaberg<br />

Campus Graduation Medal. 228<br />

100<br />

Diane Britten, left, a previous <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

graduate, receives the Friendly Society<br />

Chemist Prize in 1999. 229

The surrender value<br />

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While approximately 80% of students go on to enrol in a Bachelor degree<br />

either at CQU or another university, some students opt for another path.<br />

Professor Lauchlan Chipman calls this ‘the surrender value,’ when a<br />

student surrenders the opportunity to go to university, instead choosing to<br />

better themselves in another way using the value that was added to them by<br />

the <strong>STEPS</strong> program. This might be giving back to the community or<br />

helping a family member. 230<br />

An example of how one student, Kate Kiernan from Gladstone, gave back<br />

to the community as a result of completing the <strong>STEPS</strong> program is shown<br />

below:<br />

I entered the 2004 Harbour Festival Queen Quest. I would have<br />

never entered this fundraising contest with the lack of confidence<br />

that I used to have. <strong>STEPS</strong> helped me with my book keeping,<br />

writing letters for sponsorships as well as public speaking. I ended<br />

up raising $27,000 for charity. 231<br />

Suellen Florer completed <strong>STEPS</strong> in 1990 and, instead of starting a degree,<br />

opted for a different path:<br />

I completed <strong>STEPS</strong> in 1990 and was offered a position at university<br />

to complete a Bachelor of Arts. Unfortunately, family commitments<br />

changed and I was unable to take up the position. However, I still<br />

found that the program was a valued experience that gave me<br />

confidence in many areas of my life. I continued on with my love of<br />

writing and have had work published in nine different anthologies<br />

(along with other authors). These works included short stories,<br />

poems, anecdotes and limericks. I’ve won competitions from ABC<br />

radio with limericks and had other works published in magazines.<br />

I’ve also been able to help others who have struggled with English<br />

as a language or a school subject. The <strong>STEPS</strong> program’s primary<br />

function in enabling people to further their studies to enter university<br />

is certainly worthwhile on its own, but it can also have a positive<br />

effect in other areas of people’s lives. 232<br />


Part Three: The student learning journey<br />

A <strong>STEPS</strong> student demonstrates to her peers how she composes quilts. 233<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> also has positive effects on family members. A woman who hadn’t<br />

completed the <strong>STEPS</strong> program due to personal reasons came back to the<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> building one day to say thank you to a maths lecturer for helping<br />

her improve her maths. She was forever grateful as she was able to<br />

understand and help her son with his maths. He would now be a better<br />

student because of her and <strong>STEPS</strong>. 234<br />

‘The surrender value’ was the intention of the university from the very<br />

beginning. While there was a push to increase the number of adult learners<br />

wishing to study at university, Greg Harper realised that not all learners<br />

would want to pursue university studies, and the program would assist them<br />

in other ways. This is demonstrated in the first press release in 1986. 235<br />

Professor Lauchlan Chipman further supports this notion below:<br />

The <strong>STEPS</strong> program doesn’t actually bait people to come into the<br />

<strong>University</strong>; its appeal is really the program in itself, that is,<br />

something where there’s an opportunity to achieve. 236<br />

There are a number of students who, after completing the <strong>STEPS</strong> program,<br />

have been snapped up by employers because they’ve demonstrated a high<br />


Part Three: The student learning journey<br />

standard of literacy and numeracy. Because of this fact, and the success that<br />

ex-<strong>STEPS</strong> students show with academic studies, Professor Phillip Clift,<br />

Head of the Mackay campus, believes <strong>STEPS</strong> is one of the premier bridging<br />

programs in Australia.’ 237<br />

Jeff Davie, a Bundaberg <strong>STEPS</strong> student, was one of only four Australians,<br />

and the only <strong>Queensland</strong>er, this year to become an Airforce Nursing Officer<br />

by gaining an RAAF nursing scholarship. This scholarship offers Jeff<br />

guaranteed employment in the field of nursing, and also makes it possible<br />

for him to enter his desired field of aeromedical evacuation upon<br />

completion of his nursing studies at CQU Bundaberg, due at the end of<br />

2006. 238<br />

Jeff Davie<br />

One employer who welcomes ex-<strong>STEPS</strong> students is <strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong><br />

<strong>University</strong>. Here are some comments from current staff members who have<br />

completed <strong>STEPS</strong>:<br />


Rockhampton<br />

Part Three: The student learning journey<br />

Laurie Armstrong — <strong>STEPS</strong> 1990<br />

Lecturer<br />

Nulloo Yumbah<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> provided me with a bridge into tertiary<br />

study and academic life. Being a grade 10<br />

dropout in 1975, I completed my undergraduate<br />

degree 20 years later. <strong>STEPS</strong> and the wonderful<br />

CQU teaching and administration staff made that<br />

possible. 239<br />

Stephen Millan — <strong>STEPS</strong> 1997<br />

PhD student<br />

Course Coordinator for two numeracy courses; a lecturer in the Bachelor of<br />

Learning Management degree and Numeracy Coordinator for the Faculty of Arts,<br />

Humanities and Education<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> allowed me to find out that learning was a process that I could successfully<br />

engage with. I found that learning and progressing through higher education degrees<br />

was something that anyone with the will, and the support of a program like <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

to give you the best foundation, could do. <strong>STEPS</strong> was the entry way, the block upon<br />

which my degree, and subsequent study was founded, and I would commend the<br />

program to every student entering <strong>University</strong>. 240<br />

Cheryl Ryan — <strong>STEPS</strong> 1999<br />

BBus(Hons), Masters by research<br />

Lecturer and tutor,<br />

Faculty of Business and Informatics<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> helped to turn me into the person I am today — more confident and sure of<br />

myself. Having completed undergraduate and Honours degrees, I do not fear the<br />

goal that I have set for myself, that is to gain my PhD. If not for the <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

program, I am not sure where I would currently be in my life. Thank you to the<br />

lovely people in the <strong>STEPS</strong> program.<br />


Part Three: The student learning journey<br />

Lois Langley — <strong>STEPS</strong> 2002<br />

School Administrative Officer<br />

Infocom/Client Services<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> helped me by showing me new ways of<br />

learning, how I learn best, how to work at my<br />

pace and what university life is and can be.<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> has opened new doors in every area of<br />

my life and continues to do so through lifelong<br />

learning. 241<br />

Sandi Weedon — <strong>STEPS</strong> 2005<br />

Executive Assistant to the Executive Dean<br />

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Education<br />

Having worked at CQU for seven years and<br />

attended many graduations, I know this is where<br />

dreams are realised. To fulfil my dreams, I<br />

enrolled in <strong>STEPS</strong>, specifically to improve my<br />

writing skills and prepare me for a degree. At the<br />

beginning of <strong>STEPS</strong> my aim was just to do it as I<br />

had never had the opportunity to progress further<br />

than Grade 10. Now — who knows? I have<br />

enrolled in the Bachelor of Multimedia and I now<br />

believe the world is my oyster. <strong>STEPS</strong> gave me<br />

the confidence to progress further. It is a great<br />

stepping stone into <strong>University</strong>. I wish to<br />

acknowledge the dedicated staff who tirelessly<br />

make this happen.<br />


Part Three: The student learning journey<br />

Leanne Booth — <strong>STEPS</strong> 1997<br />

Helpdesk Officer<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> was definitely a turning point in my life. I<br />

am now employed at <strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong><br />

<strong>University</strong> and my colleagues joke that I will be<br />

Vice Chancellor some day as a result of my<br />

overwhelming bias and dedication to CQU. The<br />

knowledge, support, experience and advice<br />

offered by <strong>STEPS</strong> staff and students were — and<br />

continue to be — overwhelming, inspirational<br />

and irreplaceable. 242<br />

Jeffrey Glover — <strong>STEPS</strong> 1999<br />

Lecturer<br />

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Education<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> was a wonderful and enlightening<br />

experience and to become a lifelong learner was<br />

a gift of incalculable value. The lecturers in<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> brought out the desire in me to follow<br />

my hitherto suppressed passion for language and<br />

literature. I went on to complete a double degree<br />

of a BA and B. Ed (Sec) passing both with<br />

distinction. Since graduation, I have worked as a<br />

teacher of English and the Study of Society for<br />

both Catholic and <strong>Queensland</strong> Education. I have<br />

also worked as a casual lecturer and tutor for<br />

CQU where I have taught the foundation subject<br />

‘Competence in English’ to Primary, Bachelor<br />

of Learning Management students. I am<br />

presently completing a Master of Education<br />

(Research) at CQU.<br />


Part Three: The student learning journey<br />

Gina Yarrow — <strong>STEPS</strong> 1986<br />

Corporate Events Manager<br />

Uni Relations<br />

I truly believe that the <strong>STEPS</strong> program gave me<br />

the incentive to push forward with my goals in<br />

life, and certainly assisted me in my studies<br />

down the track. The best thing for me was<br />

learning my way around the library before I<br />

commenced study. It helped me tremendously.<br />

When I finally had to do my own research, I<br />

knew exactly where to go. The communication<br />

part of the <strong>STEPS</strong> program really assisted me by<br />

giving me confidence to discover new things,<br />

particularly how I learn. Thank you <strong>STEPS</strong>!<br />

Josh Batts — <strong>STEPS</strong> 2000<br />

Information Technology Officer<br />

Technology Services Section<br />

Faculty of Business and Informatics<br />

Before I started my studies at university I<br />

undertook the <strong>STEPS</strong> program. If I hadn’t<br />

completed that program before starting<br />

university I am more than sure that I wouldn’t<br />

have survived the first term of my degree.<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> gave me the necessary skills and<br />

confidence to approach each subject and<br />

assessment type throughout my degree. I am<br />

indebted to the coordinators and staff involved<br />

in the <strong>STEPS</strong> program for the amount of<br />

support, advice and knowledge they have given<br />

me to get me where I am today.<br />


Part Three: The student learning journey<br />

Vincent Wilkinson — <strong>STEPS</strong> 2003<br />

Social Work Student on Placement at Student Services CQU<br />

As a third year SWIT now on placement in the work environment, the <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

program gave me an introduction to <strong>University</strong> life that was both positive and<br />

nurturing. The learning environment of uni is complex and completely different to<br />

any type of learning I had previously experienced and could have overwhelmed me<br />

quite easily if it had not been for the <strong>STEPS</strong> program. From a foundational aspect,<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> provided me with the tools and access I needed to make my first year a<br />

successful one, and the years after that have reflected this foundation.<br />

Jason Lancaster — <strong>STEPS</strong> 1995<br />

CQU Bookshop<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> got me out of a rut I was in, and opened my<br />

eyes to many possibilities. I have been working here<br />

since 1992 and I did <strong>STEPS</strong> in 1995.<br />

I can mostly thank <strong>STEPS</strong> for making me realise that I<br />

can do anything I put my mind to.<br />

I got on really well with all the students and teachers at<br />

the time. I’m still amazed at the vitality that Jenny<br />

Simpson seemed to show. Ingrid was a champ, and<br />

Antony did really well to put up with my questions.<br />

They’re the three that I remember the most, but there<br />

were others that helped to make me what I am today,<br />

and I can’t thank them all enough.<br />

There’s an old saying ‘Any day you learn something is a<br />

good day.’ My days at <strong>STEPS</strong> were nothing but good.<br />


Helen Gallehawk — <strong>STEPS</strong> 1998<br />

Administration Assistant<br />

Facilities Management<br />

Part Three: The student learning journey<br />

Undertaking <strong>STEPS</strong> has improved my self confidence and self esteem which has<br />

empowered me to be assertive in all aspects of my life for my own benefit and my<br />

children’s. The <strong>STEPS</strong> program opened the door to university for me and helped me<br />

graduate (with Distinction) with a Bachelor of Science at CQU despite not completing<br />

years 11 and 12. After working in industry, I am now undertaking my Master of Applied<br />

Science at CQU in a field that I have been interested in for many years.<br />

Allan Gadsby — <strong>STEPS</strong> 1994<br />

Technical Support Officer<br />

Information Technology Division<br />

I enrolled in <strong>STEPS</strong> in 1994 at the age of 31. I was part of<br />

the first part-time <strong>STEPS</strong> and Leonce Newby was our<br />

lecturer.<br />

We did Law and Welfare 1B as a part of the <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

program and it actually counted towards our degree when<br />

we finished. I enjoyed this course so I enrolled in an Arts<br />

degree. During <strong>STEPS</strong>, my untidy hand writing was<br />

causing me to lose marks on assignments so I bought a<br />

brand new 486 computer with Windows 3.11 for<br />

Workgroups, and a printer, as a glorified typewriter.<br />

While struggling with the ‘airy fairyness’ of the Arts, I<br />

started to pick up a few computer subjects and also tried<br />

Biology and Botany in the Science faculty. I was<br />

eventually almost ready to graduate in Information<br />

Technology but was still enrolled in the Arts. After<br />

consultation with a course advisor, I transferred as many<br />

electives as I could and finally graduated with a BIT in<br />

2002.<br />

After graduating, I was offered work as a Computer Tech<br />

Support Assistant with Infocom and have continued to<br />

work at the CQU since, and I’m now with ITD. I highly<br />

recommend the <strong>STEPS</strong> program.<br />


Bundaberg<br />

Mackay<br />

Part Three: The student learning journey<br />

Heather Patricia Uren — <strong>STEPS</strong> 2000<br />

Student Services Officer<br />

The <strong>STEPS</strong> program was a significant turning point<br />

in my life. This program gave me the opportunity to<br />

begin university equipped with the skills to succeed.<br />

The <strong>STEPS</strong> program also inspired me to seize<br />

opportunities which led to me becoming involved<br />

with the CQU Student Association, firstly as a Board<br />

Director, and secondly in my present position as<br />

Student Services Officer. I have completed a<br />

Bachelor of Learning Design with Distinction and<br />

have just begun my second degree, a Bachelor of<br />

Psychology. 243<br />

Stephen Chadwick — <strong>STEPS</strong> 1994<br />

Lecturer<br />

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Education<br />

The <strong>STEPS</strong> program opened doors for me that I never<br />

even knew existed. It gave me the skills and<br />

opportunity to create a career and to give me a future<br />

that had never previously existed for me.<br />

Susan Joyce Ilich — <strong>STEPS</strong> 1993<br />

Lecturer (Contract), Tutor, Moderator and<br />

Marker<br />

Faculty of Business and Informatics/Faculty<br />

of Arts, Humanities and Education<br />

I came to <strong>STEPS</strong> as a 38 year old mum of three who<br />

had been out of the workforce for over ten years. The<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> program gave me the skills, confidence and<br />

determination to graduate with a Bachelor of<br />

Arts/Bachelor of Business (both with distinction),<br />

qualifying me to step into so many exciting and varied<br />

roles at CQU. Thank you <strong>STEPS</strong>! 244<br />


Emerald<br />

Part Three: The student learning journey<br />

Lyn Risson — <strong>STEPS</strong> 1997<br />

Faculty Administration Officer<br />

Faculty of Business and Informatics<br />

The support and encouragement I received while<br />

undertaking the <strong>STEPS</strong> program allowed me to<br />

achieve my goal of completing a Business degree<br />

through CQU. The skills I acquired through the<br />

program — effective communication, organisational<br />

skills and time management — I have been able to<br />

apply to my work and other areas of my life .245<br />

Gai Patricia Sypher — <strong>STEPS</strong> 1998<br />

Senior Administration Officer<br />

I decided to do the <strong>STEPS</strong> program in 1998 before<br />

commencing a Bachelor of Arts degree. I had not<br />

studied since leaving school 20 years prior and<br />

needed to develop a knowledge of academic writing<br />

and presentation. My family also benefited from the<br />

program because it showed them the amount of<br />

commitment required from me to undertake tertiary<br />

study. 246<br />

Kathleen Howard — <strong>STEPS</strong> 2004<br />

Administration Assistant<br />

I did the <strong>STEPS</strong> program in 2004 and found it<br />

extremely helpful, both academically and personally.<br />

Being with like-minded people who were trying to<br />

better themselves, and learning skills such as<br />

computing and academic assignment writing were<br />

very beneficial to my confidence and further study. 247<br />


Learning for life<br />

Part Three: The student learning journey<br />

After the completion of <strong>STEPS</strong>, students become lifelong learners. Whether<br />

they pursue a professional career or not, they carry with them a deeper level<br />

of thinking and strategies that assist them with their day-to-day lives. Two<br />

students comment below: 248<br />

My thinking has changed in the sense that I have a broader range of<br />

thought on any given subject. I am no longer a shallow thinker.<br />

I used to just read novels; now I look for answers in books.<br />

Many students have also found that their deeper understanding of<br />

mathematics assists them at their place of work. One believes that, ‘In my<br />

casual job, maths is good and helpful’. 249 Other students talk about how the<br />

strategies imparted to them by the <strong>STEPS</strong> program assist them at university.<br />

When I get to the point of thinking, ‘This is beyond me. I’m not up<br />

to this,’ I fall back on practical exercises learnt in the <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

program, such as thinking on a deeper level about the subject at<br />

hand. I’ve learnt to ask, ‘OK, what do I know about this subject at<br />

all?’ and ‘Where have I come across this issue in the past?’ 250<br />

The bonds that are made during <strong>STEPS</strong> also continue as students venture<br />

into the challenges of obtaining their Bachelor degrees.<br />

When Gai Sypher first started her degree, she remembers picking the same<br />

subjects as her <strong>STEPS</strong> friends did to ensure that they were in the same<br />

classes and had each other’s support. The following year, they branched out<br />

on their own and began to mix with non-‘Steppies’. However, they still met<br />

once a week for support. The items of discussion weren’t usually what<br />

assignment was due but rather how everyone was coping with studying and<br />

dropping the children off at school and sport. 251 The bonds that they had<br />

formed would carry them through tertiary education and on to success. Gai<br />

now helps new <strong>STEPS</strong> students as they progress through the program by<br />

answering any queries they might have and listening to any problems.<br />

James Lindley, who completed <strong>STEPS</strong> through the Rockhampton centre,<br />

also returns to the Rockhampton <strong>STEPS</strong> building on a regular basis to assist<br />

any <strong>STEPS</strong> students in need of support.<br />


Part Three: The student learning journey<br />

Ex-<strong>STEPS</strong> students also make the most out of their university lectures by<br />

participating in discussions. Many lecturers have reported that it is the<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> graduates who challenge and question the norm. When present<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> lecturer Wendy Davis was teaching with the School of Humanities<br />

on the Bundaberg campus, she could quickly determine who had completed<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong>.<br />

Whenever I got a <strong>STEPS</strong> student in those classes, they would stand<br />

out in a way — just for their awareness of what they had to do and<br />

their understanding of how university worked. The students also<br />

show great respect for the lecturers. 252<br />

When the undergraduate students who have come straight from school to<br />

university are talking among themselves in lectures, the <strong>STEPS</strong> students are<br />

the first ones to tell them to stop that nonsense. They were there to learn.<br />

They soon remind the disruptive students that they need to show respect for<br />

the lecturer as well as all the other students. Ex-<strong>STEPS</strong> students have been<br />

given a learning opportunity that they have worked hard to achieve, and<br />

want to make the most of it. 253<br />

Janet Brennan, left, a previous <strong>STEPS</strong> student takes on the role of mentor for new<br />

<strong>University</strong> students. 254<br />


Part Three: The student learning journey<br />

The next story also demonstrates the respect one student had for<br />

Dr Jeanne McConachie. 255<br />

Jeanne remembers walking into a bottle shop to buy a bottle of wine as she<br />

was going out to dinner that night. She was in a rush and failed to observe<br />

there was a long line of people, alcohol under their arms, waiting to be<br />

served as she approached the counter, head down, card out, ready to pay.<br />

There were loud grumbles from the queue as Jeanne presented her bottle of<br />

wine. The man behind the counter, who just happened to be six feet tall<br />

with broad shoulders (he obviously was a frequent attendant at the local<br />

gym) bore down on Jeanne and then loudly shouted to his angry customers.<br />

‘There’s no queue here for this lady’. There was prompt silence from the<br />

line. The man behind the counter was an ex-<strong>STEPS</strong> student.<br />

Interconnectedness and perpetuation<br />

As we transform, we contribute to the transformation of all systems<br />

of which we are a part — from families, workplaces and<br />

communities to our country and the very planet itself.<br />

These words by Carol Pearson, an archetypal psychologist and author of<br />

The Hero Within, have influenced the <strong>STEPS</strong> philosophy. The<br />

transformations of students do impact on the people in their inner circles —<br />

often dramatically. These people, in turn, impact on others, and the positive<br />

spiral continues. 256<br />

Many students, by completing the <strong>STEPS</strong> program, positively influence<br />

their families in more ways then one. Jody Galdal remembers:<br />

The <strong>STEPS</strong> program has changed the life of my daughter. It is a<br />

funny story. Each Tuesday night I would leave her and her dad to<br />

fend for themselves. Unbeknownst to me, my husband cooked<br />

sausages ‘every’ Tuesday night for a year. Our daughter now refers<br />

to Tuesday as Sausage Tuesday and will not consume sausages —<br />

even at barbecues. It has become her and her dad’s own little<br />

memory. It reminds me of the wonderful times at <strong>STEPS</strong> when I<br />

hear this. Their relationship grew in my absence and it makes me<br />

smile to think <strong>STEPS</strong> changed their lives as much as it did mine. 257<br />

Family members see the fruits of their sibling’s or parent’s labour and, in<br />

many cases, choose to follow in their footsteps and enrol in the <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

program. In one year, there were two sisters, two husband and wife teams,<br />


Part Three: The student learning journey<br />

and a mother and son participating in <strong>STEPS</strong> in Bundaberg. 258 This ability<br />

to influence the education prospects of family members is often replicated<br />

on the other four campuses.<br />

Llewellyn Swallow and her husband Rob wanted to reinvent themselves<br />

after their children had left home, and so both decided to enrol in the<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> program. Llewellyn comments: 259<br />

You would think as a couple attending the same program that we<br />

would help and support each other. The support was definitely there,<br />

but help, I don’t think so. Rob and I have vastly different<br />

personalities and vastly different ways of assessing and achieving<br />

the same outcome. I think perhaps a better way of expressing our<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> experience would be to say it was a constant ‘butting of<br />

heads’.<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> was certainly an eye opener and was fondly known as the<br />

beginning of the trials and tribulations of the Swallow’s formal<br />

education. Rob’s first attempt at an English assignment was quite<br />

amazing. We had been asked to prepare a paragraph. Yes, that’s<br />

right a single paragraph. Rob’s paragraph consisted of two<br />

sentences. Looking back, I would hazard a guess and say that<br />

Narelle Pennells, our English tutor, was suitably astounded. Rob<br />

graduated with a Distinction for his major assignment — a credit to<br />

both him and Narelle.<br />

Our next dilemma involved computers. Neither Rob nor I knew how<br />

to turn on a computer before we began the program. My first five<br />

lessons were quite disastrous and I managed to leave each one of<br />

them in tears vowing never to return. The irony of the situation is<br />

that one of my two degrees involves computers.<br />

Rob graduated with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Environmental<br />

Studies, History and Geography. I graduated with a Bachelor of<br />

Business (Accounting) and a Bachelor of Business (Information<br />

Systems). We both graduated as members of the Golden Key<br />

Honour Society. I am currently studying the CPA program and was<br />

recently awarded a CPA scholarship.<br />


Part Three: The student learning journey<br />

Another family enrolled one by one in <strong>STEPS</strong>. Robyn Saint tells her story<br />

below. 260<br />

It’s said ‘Your children teach you many lessons’ so, with four<br />

offspring, I must have learned a few. However, none were quite so<br />

‘out of left field’ as the lesson taught by my ‘baby’ daughter, Kel,<br />

six years ago — not just to me, but to two others in our family.<br />

Never academically-inclined, Kel left school at the end of Year 10,<br />

working in a deli and a factory before marrying and producing two<br />

girls. She and her elder sister would often joke that they were the<br />

dumb ones of the family because they didn’t finish high school.<br />

It took on-going difficulties in her personal life for Kel to decide to<br />

take a mighty leap into the unknown. She announced she wanted to<br />

become a registered nurse! Lovely pipe dream, I thought, but Kel<br />

had thought it through. She had heard about the <strong>STEPS</strong> program and<br />

set about getting herself enrolled in the part-time group. I could only<br />

look on in amazement as she muddled through Maths, laboured<br />

through Language and cursed Computers — but she was<br />

succeeding! Then the ripple effect began.<br />

Katie Murrell, part of our ‘family’, had been watching Kel’s<br />

progress — and transformation. By second semester, Katie had<br />

closed down her fitness business and joined Kel as a full-timer. By<br />

this time, I had seen assignments hashed and re-hashed, fingernails<br />

bitten during the dreaded Maths tests and watched numerous<br />

practices for the oral presentation. Naturally, when they graduated, I<br />

was as proud as punch.<br />

An odd thing happened though, as we stood around chatting after the<br />

ceremony. I had a very powerful feeling that somehow I belonged<br />

there. But would Karen also understand this overwhelming desire?<br />

Those who know her, know Karen often has to think outside the<br />

box, and I will be forever grateful that she gave me a chance to be<br />

part of the <strong>STEPS</strong> family. So now there were three!<br />

However, Kel’s lesson was not done yet. She and Dale Bray (now<br />

her husband) had become close mates during this time so Dale had<br />

seen <strong>STEPS</strong> close-up. Like Katie, he decided to move out of his<br />

business, and soon he also was on his way through the program.<br />

Perhaps the greatest compliment we could pay to <strong>STEPS</strong>, Karen and<br />

her staff, is that we all have graduated. In order of appearance, we<br />

have Bachelor Degrees in nursing, psychology, communication and<br />

learning management. Definitely a lesson we’ll never forget!<br />


Part Three: The student learning journey<br />

Dale, Kel and Robyn<br />

At this point, it is interesting to note that 80% of new students come from<br />

student referrals. This powerful form of direct marketing has meant there is<br />

little need to formally advertise the program, thus freeing up funds for more<br />

beneficial areas such as resources.<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> students over time have also given back to the <strong>University</strong>. Professor<br />

John Rickard recalls one ex-<strong>STEPS</strong> student who had seen the<br />

professionalism of CQU first hand, after securing a high ranking position in<br />

the government sector, contracted work out to the university. 261 In many<br />

other examples, when the <strong>University</strong> needs assistance with a project or in<br />

obtaining scarce resources, there is often an ex-<strong>STEPS</strong> student who has the<br />

right connections to gratefully assist with the task at hand.<br />

It is these students who ensure that the <strong>STEPS</strong> cycle continues to spiral,<br />

gaining momentum and improving the <strong>University</strong> and the program from<br />

year to year. <strong>STEPS</strong> students are the greatest advocates of the program,<br />

passionately spreading the word and encouraging other worthy recipients to<br />

ponder this chance. Their advice to others to enrol in the <strong>STEPS</strong> program<br />

may sit in the memory bank of the potential student until a change in their<br />

personal circumstances triggers a recall of this conversation and gives them<br />

an avenue to change their life.<br />

And then the student learning journey begins again.<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

Part Four: Student transformations<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

My life, my journey: living my dream<br />

Kevin McNulty<br />

My name is Kevin McNulty (Colless) and I am a Koori who was born on an<br />

Aboriginal Mission at La Perouse in NSW. I grew up in the outer western<br />

suburbs of Sydney and attended Sadlier Public and Ashcroft High Schools.<br />

Whilst at school my Aboriginality was continually challenged by teachers<br />

and some students, which got my back up and led to many physical<br />

altercations. I got sent to the principal’s office on a regular basis to be<br />

caned and, over time, I thought why should I go to school if the principal<br />

and teachers are going to cane me, so I only started to attend school for<br />

sporting events. When I left school, I could not read or write.<br />

Upon reaching the age of 21 years, I started work as a coal miner and<br />

approximately two years later, was buried in a cave-in for 19 and a half<br />

hours. I was transported to the hospital by helicopter and went into a coma<br />

and did not wake up for seven weeks. I stayed on life support for 16 weeks<br />

with no feeling from the waist down for around 20 weeks; I had also broken<br />

25% of the bones in my body from my skull to my left ankle. I finally got<br />

the feeling back into my lower body but was in a lot of pain for which I was<br />

prescribed morphine and became addicted.<br />

After 14 months in hospital I was released and, I guess, hooked up with the<br />

wrong crowd and got into drugs. In 1985 my life and my journey turned<br />

bad and I was sentenced to prison for a crime I did not commit. Whilst in<br />

prison, I became very aggressive towards whoever got in my way and I was<br />

put into TRACKS at Goulburn prison. TRACKS was a cell that was<br />

approximately six feet wide by eight feet long with no windows, a steel<br />

toilet and bars with bulletproof perspex above me. The screws (prison<br />

guards) covered the perspex with a canvas so I usually only had 30 minutes<br />

daylight per day. I was fed twice a day with jam or tuna sandwiches, neither<br />

of which I eat today.<br />

The only exercise I got was when the screws threw a dog in with me, or<br />

came in with their batons to try and give me a hiding. I spent 24 hours a day<br />

for almost seven months in that cell, and I used to flick a button and listen<br />

for it to land and go and find it as that was the only way I could keep myself<br />

occupied and sane. I was finally let out to go to court to have my appeal<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

hearing. I was found not guilty and set free from the court house. I had a<br />

big chip on my shoulder and was dirty on the world and got right back into<br />

drugs.<br />

In 1987 I moved to the Sunshine Coast in <strong>Queensland</strong>, and things were going<br />

all right as the Health Department put me on a methadone program, which I<br />

guess helped stabilise me for a while. I moved to Rockhampton in 1989 and<br />

worked as a cook in a number of establishments. However, one day I decided<br />

that I needed to get off the methadone and live a healthy life. Unfortunately,<br />

sometime during my self detoxification I robbed a chemist shop and ended up<br />

in jail again. One night whilst in prison, I heard this voice in the middle of the<br />

night calling to me, ‘Kevin, this is not the way.’ I looked out of the bars at the<br />

back and front of the cell, but nobody was there.<br />

I then realised that the voice was my grandfather’s, who had gone to the<br />

spirit world a number of years before, and he was talking to me from within<br />

my cell. I decided then and there that I needed to do something about my<br />

situation and make something of my life. I decided that the first thing I<br />

needed to do was to learn how to read and write, so I started on my journey<br />

of education by reading Little Golden Books (children’s fairy tales), comics<br />

and cook books as they had small words, and with the help of my fellow<br />

inmates learnt the basics. I was then shown how to play Scrabble and how<br />

to use a dictionary, which further improved my new skills.<br />

Upon my release from prison, my journey continued and I went to the<br />

Knight Street Halfway house where the manager was completing the<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> program at CQU. He shared all the information with me and I<br />

enrolled in the <strong>STEPS</strong> program in 1995. I received so much support from<br />

the <strong>STEPS</strong> staff, and in particular Jenny Simpson, that I could not do<br />

anything but succeed.<br />

After graduation, I applied for and was accepted into a Bachelor of Arts<br />

degree, which I graduated from in 1999. I then completed an Honours<br />

degree from CQU and went on to graduate from the <strong>University</strong> of<br />

Technology Sydney with a Masters in Indigenous Social Policy. I also<br />

completed a Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment from the<br />

Yangulla Centre and am currently writing up my PhD thesis titled The big<br />

con: racism, paternalism and politics: the rise and fall of ATSIC.<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

Today, I am working in my dream job where I get to work closely with the<br />

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities of <strong>Central</strong><br />

<strong>Queensland</strong> to develop working partnerships between them, all tiers of<br />

government and private enterprise. I love my job as working together we<br />

can get real, positive outcomes for our people. The only other position that I<br />

consider a dream job would be working as a student recruitment and<br />

retention officer within an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander support<br />

centre at a university. Many of our students drop out of university in their<br />

first year due to many factors including missing family, lack of financial<br />

resources, limited support, culturally unsafe study environments/support<br />

centres, and limited, if any, opportunity to get part-time work.<br />

Therefore, it is essential to create Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander<br />

support, education and research centres that are community and familyorientated.<br />

The support centres must make community, including children,<br />

welcome to their learning environment; it must be a culturally safe<br />

environment for both students and community. It is essential that links are<br />

made with traditional custodians and community organisations, thus giving<br />

students the opportunity to build strong relationships, and to share and learn<br />

new skills. Through this process, students can feel a sense of belonging, and<br />

develop that family environment that is generally missing whilst away from<br />

their country. Employment opportunities can arise from the<br />

family/community environment, which will help students who are generally<br />

living below the poverty line. Early in my undergraduate degree, I was<br />

lucky to study in such an environment, and I firmly believe that was a major<br />

contributing factor to my success.<br />

The ultimate milestone in my journey was last year when I was married to<br />

my beautiful wife, Rose, who comes from Malaita in the Solomon Islands,<br />

and we are just going through the immigration process. Rose should be here<br />

permanently in the next month or two, which will make my life complete.<br />

From my perspective, your life is in your hands, and you can achieve<br />

anything you want. You just have to make the choice, be strong, and never<br />

give in; always look for the positives and be happy. This is my life; my<br />

journey continues. I am living my dream.<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

Jenny Simpson and Kevin McNulty.<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

Curiosity, fascination and a thousand<br />

questions of ‘Why?’<br />

Stacey Ritchie<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong>! Would you believe that it’s been 20 years of continual lifelong<br />

learning? I’m proud to have been a part of the ongoing process of learning<br />

with the staff involved in <strong>STEPS</strong> at <strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong> <strong>University</strong> in<br />

Rockhampton. However, as I sit here trying to put my thoughts to paper<br />

with tremors of fear — or maybe it’s adrenaline bounding along my pulsing<br />

veins — as my thoughts tumble to be found, I realise that to talk about<br />

yourself face-to-face with people you meet is very different to placing your<br />

life on paper for all to see.<br />

My name is Stacey Ritchie. I was born in1965 in Bankstown, New South<br />

Wales. The early years of my life were split between living in Illawong on a<br />

peninsula which is situated between the Georges and Waranoora Rivers,<br />

just south of Sydney, and various suburbs around metropolitan South<br />

Australia. Growing up with a large family in two states and a father who<br />

served in the Australian Navy, we moved quite regularly. The moving<br />

helped shape my young personality already intrigued by a world of<br />

questions about new areas, cultures and things I just couldn’t yet explain.<br />

My fascination with the world started at a very young age. I remember my<br />

Nana shaking anything that I had worn outside at the laundry door, always<br />

nodding her head back and forth as a variety of things that had taken my<br />

fancy tumbled to the ground. The trinkets would be stones of different<br />

shapes, sizes and colour, shells, bits of bark or a few live creatures that<br />

would amble around for a moment getting their bearings before they<br />

scurried off through the garden, into the bush. By the age of nine, I had<br />

attended one kindergarten and four primary schools, my parents had been<br />

divorced for a while, and my mum was about to remarry. With the<br />

impending wedding, my two younger brothers, Mum and I moved in with<br />

Mum’s husband-to-be and his four sons. We were often referred to as ‘The<br />

Brady Bunch’, but that’s another story.<br />

Over the next ten years, school was definitely a place of growing in a<br />

variety of social and academic learning experiences. As I gasped for air in<br />

the turmoil of puberty, and the tomboy lost the board shorts for perky little<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

boobs in crocheted bikinis, I discovered all the apparently different social<br />

groups of society through public and private schooling. Once I was able to<br />

understand the strategies behind a new topic, group or person of interest, I<br />

was thrown into a flurry of a thousand more questions. Now, with the<br />

availability of freedom that only seems to come with age through sport,<br />

close friends, older boys, restored Holdens and an intriguing exciting world<br />

on the other side of the fence that society would have called ‘the bad boys’<br />

— alcohol binge drinking, late nights and long weekends — I flitted<br />

eagerly through different drugs in strange states of fascinated exhilaration. I<br />

was absorbed in the intoxication of wonder. I floated along looking at the<br />

levels of society from outside the logical, racing through every level of<br />

skin-tingling, adrenaline-pumping activity, like cart-wheeling down a<br />

runway at a seedy strip parlour in Kings Cross for $60 an hour. Experiences<br />

like this allowed me to race headlong independently, determined to<br />

understand or find the underlying structures of all the things in this life that<br />

were on offer. The future always held a thrill of searching for a rush. I was<br />

still always asking questions while pondering the ‘Why’s’ of my life.<br />

A physically exciting, although violent, first relationship muddled my<br />

thoughts, putting them into a blender, giving it a whirl. I tried to make sense<br />

of those last three years as flashes of memories, exploding in loud colour or<br />

even black and white, shouted at me from inside my head. Did you ever feel<br />

that you didn’t quite fit in, or that a small part of you was missing? I needed<br />

to escape, find a quieting of the soul, to feel whole or just be at peace. It<br />

drove me to find myself. I was soon on the move again, this time heading<br />

south.<br />

I was now living in Adelaide, the city of churches. My 21 st was just around<br />

the corner, and my whole family would be there.<br />

Excitement welled as I anticipated seeing my siblings. Soon, all of the<br />

family had gone home, so life was back to normal: go to work, party hard<br />

and revel in the night life of Adelaide city or Hindley Street — an<br />

incredible, colourful place the equivalent of Kings Cross in Sydney. Six<br />

weeks later, I had completely written off my car, a little orange and fawn<br />

Datsun 180B, broken a disc in my lower back so I had no feeling from the<br />

pelvis down, smashed my knee caps, broken my ribs and ripped up my face.<br />

For a few weeks, in the back of my mind, niggled the question: ‘Will I walk<br />

again?’. Moving parts of my anatomy was excruciatingly painful. During<br />

one physio session, I just about had a two-year-old’s tantrum and collapsed<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

on the floor swearing at the nurses, cursing them with all the horrors of the<br />

plague, when, into my vision, crawled an elderly gentleman, bump over<br />

bump. Tears streamed silently down his cheeks, dropping to the mats before<br />

him. I realised that, if I wanted to get out of the hospital back to my journey<br />

of enlightenment, I just had to get on with it. As Nana would say, ‘Up an’ at<br />

’em’.<br />

By 29 I was married and moved to the wild outback of northern Australia,<br />

worked in some of the roughest places, and saw parts of our country in its<br />

natural untouched state — as it is meant to be. These areas had very limited<br />

access to the public. Motor bikes, the usual array of party drugs, four<br />

wheel-drives and safari-style camping were the norm. Crocodile Dundee<br />

had nothing on us. During this time, I became the proud mother of two of<br />

the cutest imps you have ever seen, returned to the Sunshine Coast, and was<br />

divorced. With small children in tow, I crusaded on my new path in leaps<br />

and bounds, though for years I always took two steps backwards into the<br />

excitement of our layered society. The children grew into such inquisitive<br />

creatures that my legal, and not so legal, lifestyle came under some<br />

excruciating study. Nevertheless, their lifestyle never suffered because of<br />

my habits, due to the fact that I did not inflict my lifestyle on them but<br />

pursued it around their normal routine.<br />

My reality check came when friends were implicated and questioned about<br />

the death of an acquaintance in circumstances that could have been avoided.<br />

During the investigation, it was proven that close friends and I, as well as<br />

our children, had been watched over a period of time by the associates of<br />

the guilty. How far I had gone backwards! I took a good look at my life,<br />

and at last I began to see the patterns of habits I had chosen to keep and not<br />

leave behind. I no longer had the desire to freelance on the wild side of life.<br />

I didn’t wish to bring my children up on the fringes of society, or subject<br />

them to unsafe situations. I wanted a place to be free. Having made my<br />

choice to move, I found a new house with land at the right price, and a<br />

buyer for my house on the coast with a 20-day settlement. All this happened<br />

so quickly that I believe it was a sign of good things to come. I was a<br />

survivor, and was now more determined than ever to get it right.<br />

And so the children and I lived on our little piece of paradise. They put up<br />

with my mood swings, my cravings, a wish to sleep away my thoughts, and<br />

lack of interest in making new friends for fear of sliding backwards again.<br />

A couple more months passed, and, for the first time in a long life, I was<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

clean, bored and feeling restless. The kids argued, pumps broke down, my<br />

car fell apart, and, not having worked for a while, I was beginning to feel<br />

trapped. I knew these feelings that began to rumble, and I started to think of<br />

mischief I could find. However, I didn’t go looking for drugs. Instead, I<br />

exploded my frustration down the phone line on some poor unsuspecting<br />

Centrelink operator. Centrelink gave me the number of a counsellor, who<br />

helped me realise I wasn’t mad, just a little disturbed, and definitely in need<br />

of mental stimulation. Secondly, they informed me about a program of<br />

study at <strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong> <strong>University</strong> called <strong>STEPS</strong>. I looked into the<br />

requirements and felt like running away, hiding from the very thought of<br />

going back to school, let alone university. The first testing, I missed. I did<br />

ring and make another appointment after soft persuasion from the voice at<br />

the end of the phone, or maybe it was a little reassurance that I was not the<br />

only person to feel apprehension. This was an omen, as the date of my<br />

confrontation was now 21 June 2004, my Nana’s birthday.<br />

The day arrived to begin <strong>STEPS</strong>, and my guts were churning. I began to<br />

freak as I came closer to my destination. Trying to still the nerves, I took a<br />

big breath and remembered to breathe. Once I had settled myself, I realised<br />

everybody here was in the same boat — terrified. A couple of weeks passed<br />

and my brain suffered from a constant hum. They were trying to tell me that<br />

it was making new pathways to collect and store information. Yeh! Right! I<br />

had a headache and now suffered from sleep deprivation. Every time I<br />

turned around, I was late with a piece of due work, my sentences didn’t<br />

make sense, and I had wiped everything from my computer. My frustration<br />

grew as I felt trapped inside a confused ice-cream machine that only<br />

produced yoghurt! Then we are introduced to the Keirsey temperament<br />

sorter, and learning styles. I was now in my element, due to the fact I<br />

understood the fundamentals of a personality that has driven my passion to<br />

understand the world in which I live. But no one explained why I had such<br />

trouble retaining the information I read and reread. Then the penny dropped<br />

as the realisation sank into the empty space of destroyed brain cells that<br />

were the resulting damage of my past curiosity. The group was walked<br />

through Edward de Bono’s hats, mind maps, clusters, and the use of colour<br />

to show the different references we had sourced, and the torture of writing<br />

an essay with referencing. Gradually, I began to learn.<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

Making friends, being able to share the fascination of my view of the world<br />

or having input into a group discussion made the 13-week process a huge<br />

learning experience. At times, I wanted to pull out but, with encouragement<br />

from the group, I survived to apply for a place at <strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong><br />

<strong>University</strong>. When I found I had been accepted to study for a double<br />

Bachelor of Arts and Learning Management degree, the excitement bubbled<br />

wildly — and another fear arose. Anticipation of the unknown forces that<br />

are at play in my life has now become my fear, not the slipping into the<br />

habits that haunt from the past.<br />

I am now in the second year of my degree and look forward to one day<br />

being able to influence the learning experiences of the youth of tomorrow.<br />

Some people would say that I’ve had an exciting and intriguing life by the<br />

way I share the intensity of my feelings for the things I have seen or tried,<br />

and places I have been. I would have to say they are probably right, but at<br />

what cost?<br />

Stacey Ritchie<br />


A new chapter<br />

Jane Morrow<br />

Part Four: Student transformations<br />

My name is Jane Morrow, and, along with my fellow <strong>STEPS</strong> students, I have<br />

spent 12 weeks studying. In this time, I met some wonderful people, I<br />

celebrated my 30 th birthday, and I feel I have been lucky to have such<br />

amazing people around me. My journey has been one of sadness and laughter,<br />

and, at times, one of wondering if it was all worth it. However, I am here, I<br />

finished, and I’m not sure of what’s next. If someone had said to me 12<br />

months ago that this is where I would have been, I would have laughed. You<br />

see, priorities change, circumstances change, and our outlook on life changes.<br />

This time last year, I was a wife and mother, and my main concern in life was<br />

whether I had finished all the washing. Then, one sunny Sunday afternoon,<br />

my world collapsed, everything changed, and I would never be the same<br />

person again. On the 9 January 2005, after spending the morning outside, my<br />

husband Danny, the kids and I had lunch. Within an hour, he was gone. He<br />

had a severe and sudden asthma attack at home, and our life would change<br />

forever. How does a fit 32-year-old man with a wife and three beautiful<br />

children just go? Why were we dealt this hand? I will never be told an answer<br />

to this question. Danny was my soul mate, my best friend, and the person in<br />

my life who made each day brighter. I have found the saying ‘life can change<br />

in the blink of an eye’ to be so true. Danny lived with water in his veins and<br />

worked hard to support his family, skippering a coral trout boat on the Swains<br />

Reef. I do know that wherever he is, he will be ‘forever fishing’. My<br />

wonderful children Clohee, Joshua and Sarah are my incentive to wake up<br />

and face each day, and, without them, I do not know how I would have coped.<br />

At present, it is difficult for me to see what I want or where I will be in 12<br />

months time as I live one day at a time.<br />

With not working or studying for over ten years, the thought of what I was to<br />

do was a hard one. Actually, just to get out of bed in the morning was a huge<br />

step in my life. My wonderful friend, Angela, gave me the idea of completing<br />

the <strong>STEPS</strong> program. It was something she had done, and I figured it gave me<br />

a reason to get out of the house every day. I needed something to help me get<br />

a routine, something that I had to focus on, and something where there was a<br />

purpose for me being here. Thank you, Angela. You are truly a wonderful<br />

friend, and you have helped my family and me so much. You are an<br />

inspiration and I feel so fortunate to have had you around me at such a<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

difficult time in our lives. My journey here has had its ups and downs. There<br />

have been sad moments, but happy ones too. I have made new friends and feel<br />

in a sense that I have started writing on a new blank page of a new chapter of<br />

a book about my life.<br />

Sometimes, what we get out of programs such as <strong>STEPS</strong> are not the grades<br />

we have received, but how we grow on a personal level. I want to say thank<br />

you to Karen Seary for giving me the opportunity to give this program a go,<br />

and for understanding my situation. Thank you to the teachers who have<br />

dedicated their time to teaching us new skills, and of course, my fellow<br />

classmates who have touched my life. What you have given me is something<br />

special. You might not realise how important this is, but to me it is something<br />

that will be with me forever. You have given me the opportunity to express<br />

who I am and the courage to start that new blank page. To my family, thank<br />

you for standing by me. It has been a hard 12 weeks trying to maintain the<br />

house, look after the kids and deal with the reality of life on a day-to-day<br />

basis. My father, Ray, has been my rock since Danny died, and I could not<br />

have got through this without him. Thank you, Dad. You have given me the<br />

space to learn who I am, the time I needed to start to heal, and the inspiration<br />

to put one foot in front of another. I remember you telling me that one day I<br />

would wake up and realise I did like living, that I did like mornings and that it<br />

was OK to grieve instead of fearing every new day and being scared of the<br />

future. Dad, you were right. I can raise my head out of bed and not look for<br />

the medication bottle any more. I can walk outside and say that it is a nice<br />

day, and I can laugh and play with my children.<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> has given me that new start, and, although I have learnt that time does<br />

not heal even though we would like to think so, time enables acceptance of<br />

whatever has unfolded in our lives. Externally, wounds may appear healed,<br />

but internally, damage will remain there forever. All I can do now is embrace<br />

my children and realise how lucky I am to have them, be grateful to have<br />

shared Danny’s life, and be appreciative of the people who have been there to<br />

support me throughout my life’s journey. Today is the beginning of that new<br />

chapter, and, without each and every one of you, I could not have done it. So<br />

thank you, and remember that life’s journey was never meant to be easy.<br />


One STEP at a time<br />

Dr Jodi Cronin<br />

Part Four: Student transformations<br />

My name is Jodi Cronin and I am a graduate of the innovative Skills for<br />

Tertiary Education Preparatory Studies (<strong>STEPS</strong>) program offered by CQU<br />

in Mackay.<br />

Not long after the birth of my first child, at the age of 19, I began to realise<br />

that I would never be able to help my child with his homework, not even in<br />

his higher primary years. You see, I had a disrupted childhood and had<br />

attended 11 primary schools before my troubled high school years. By my<br />

second year of high school, I was constantly in trouble, a truant and the<br />

brunt of several high school bullies’ taunts. In Year 9, it became evident<br />

that I was not cut out for school, either academically or socially. By second<br />

term in Year 9, my parents were told to discipline me or I would face<br />

expulsion. I was barely passing most subjects and I failed Year 9 science.<br />

Just prior to my 14th birthday, my parents finally decided it was time to pull<br />

me out. It was not unusual in my family to leave school early as my father<br />

left to learn a trade at the age of 13, and my mother left school at 15 due to<br />

illness. Over the next 10 years, I met and married my husband, worked as a<br />

labourer, ship repairer, checkout operator, baby sitter and any other position<br />

that became available. I also had my two beautiful children.<br />

Just after the birth of our second child, Alanah, we realised it was time to<br />

get serious about changing our lives. While still breastfeeding, I began to<br />

look for courses I could do in the hope that I could improve my education<br />

and perhaps help my children with their homework in the future. I applied<br />

for an early childhood course at TAFE in 1995 only to be told that my level<br />

of education was too low, even for a TAFE course. I was devastated and<br />

began to think that I was only ever going to be a checkout operator. My<br />

mother (Sue Ware) was also looking for a way to improve her education<br />

level and had experienced similar problems finding a course that would<br />

accept her. As fate would have it, not long after these rejections, a pamphlet<br />

came in the mail and an ad appeared in the newspaper for the <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

program. It was with great fear that Mum and I turned up for the required<br />

test, which we both had difficulty passing!! We assured the coordinators of<br />

the program that we would apply ourselves and would not disappoint!<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

We gained entry and, indeed, applied ourselves. Mum and I spent hours<br />

helping each other master fractions, speeches and essays. We drew courage<br />

from one another and thrived on the smallest of successes. I remember one<br />

day, after exceeding even my own expectations in a maths test, Lois<br />

Pinkney took me aside and asked, ‘What do you really want to do?’. It<br />

didn’t take long to say I really wanted to do medicine. Lois did not laugh,<br />

jeer, or even take a deeper than usual breath. Instead, she went about<br />

explaining to me what extra courses I would have to do and which degree<br />

would be best for pre-med. I often wonder if she knows how much her faith<br />

in me changed my life. I completed the <strong>STEPS</strong> program and the advanced<br />

maths, chemistry and biology subjects that would be required for entry into<br />

Biomedical Science at James Cook <strong>University</strong> in Townsville. I graduated at<br />

the top of my class in Biomed with three university prizes and, yes,<br />

eventually (after many rejections), gained entry into medicine at the<br />

<strong>University</strong> of Melbourne.<br />

I am now a GP Registrar in Coffs Harbour and it has been a long (and<br />

expensive) journey. There are so many people along the way to thank: Lois<br />

for her undying faith in me, Kevin McLean for his incredible patience, my<br />

mother for inspiring me, my sister for her assistance (frequently financial),<br />

my husband for his continued support, and my kids for their amazing<br />

adaptability and strength.<br />

Upon reflection, it is hard to imagine what might have been without the<br />

incredible opportunity offered to me by the <strong>STEPS</strong> program. I was a high<br />

school dropout who could easily have been overlooked by the system. My<br />

motto in life now is to NEVER give up, and I hope that other school<br />

dropouts continue to be offered this second chance. I am a perfect example<br />

of how one person, Lois Pinkney, can make a difference to many lives. A<br />

little bit of faith can go a long way.<br />


Dr Jodi Cronin, GP Registrar<br />

Paediatric Department<br />

Coffs Harbour Health Campus NSW.<br />

Part Four: Student transformations<br />

134<br />

Jodi with her husband Shane and<br />

children Robert and Alanah.

My life: my way<br />

Johanne Stoodly<br />

Part Four: Student transformations<br />

I was born in the North Island of New Zealand, and came from a<br />

background of significant sexual, physical and emotional abuse where<br />

education was given no value. I did extremely well at school, but was given<br />

no encouragement by family or teachers. I concluded from this that it didn’t<br />

make any difference what I did, or whether I tried or not, so it never<br />

occurred to me that education was something that was going to be useful in<br />

my life. This notion was further validated by the fact that none of my<br />

11 brothers or sisters ever went past Grade 8.<br />

I was kicked out of home when I was 14 and sent to live with other family<br />

members. By the time I was 15, I was alone and living homeless on a river<br />

bank in Nelson on New Zealand’s South Island. When I was 17, I came to<br />

live in Australia and by 20, I was married and had my first child. At 29, I<br />

had three children and was in a refuge for domestic violence. Fortunately,<br />

the refuge was staffed with good social workers. One day, I told one of<br />

them that I wished I could have been a social worker, and she said to me,<br />

‘You can be’. I was dumbfounded as it had seriously never entered my<br />

mind that I could do something like that.<br />

This planted a seed, and when I had my life in order again, I eventually<br />

made enquiries. This led me to <strong>STEPS</strong>, and Karen Seary. I had no idea how<br />

this would change my life (or what I was letting myself in for). I thought I<br />

was lucky to be accepted because, at the one-on-one interview with Karen,<br />

she asked why I thought I should get a place in the <strong>STEPS</strong> group and I<br />

answered something along the lines of ‘Why shouldn’t I!’. However, this<br />

statement was quickly followed by serious back pedalling and a more<br />

dignified grovelling tone. But I am pleased to say that I must have said<br />

something right as I got in.<br />

I found <strong>STEPS</strong> very challenging as I had never learnt how to study, or open<br />

a text book for that matter, but Karen was very motivating and supportive. I<br />

do remember thinking she either hated me or thought I was completely<br />

stupid, until I realised she knew that I knew the answer to whatever the<br />

crisis of the moment was and she wasn’t buying into the drama of the whole<br />

thing. In other words, I carried on like a pork chop and had a few ‘dummy<br />

spits’ along the way.<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

Completing <strong>STEPS</strong> gave me confidence to take on challenges I had never<br />

even thought of. I attained a BA in Psychology and Sociology, taught<br />

English in South Korea, and was one of 36 people chosen from over 1000<br />

applicants to complete a Diploma of Government for the ACT Government.<br />

I have also worked in child safety in both Canberra and <strong>Queensland</strong>. I<br />

would never have done any of these things had it not been for the <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

program, and specifically Karen Seary. Even with all my other successes, it<br />

was <strong>STEPS</strong> that gave me the greatest sense of achievement and satisfaction.<br />

Through <strong>STEPS</strong>, I gained the ability to learn and think in a different way,<br />

as well as a new understanding of myself and the world we live in.<br />

However, the greatest gift <strong>STEPS</strong> has given me is that my children and<br />

others close to me are proud of my achievements and look to me as<br />

inspiration for their own goals. The ability to make better choices and the<br />

confidence to pursue new opportunities have forever benefited me and<br />

those close to me, and every day I see examples of this.<br />

Karen told our <strong>STEPS</strong> group, early in the piece, that ‘once you start to<br />

study you never really stop’. Of course, our group laughed hysterically at<br />

this statement, but not surprisingly, Karen has had the last laugh. To this<br />

day, her words haunt me and spur me always on to new challenges. I will<br />

always be grateful for her ability to guide and encourage those who are<br />

lucky enough to fall under her guidance.<br />

Johanne Stoodly<br />


Einstein and Dion<br />

Jenny Simpson<br />

Part Four: Student transformations<br />

Dion Thomas is an amazing young man in his early thirties. He also<br />

happens to be an ex-<strong>STEPS</strong> student who succeeded in the program without<br />

having attended either primary or secondary schools. Early in his life he<br />

was diagnosed as mentally retarded, fit only for basket weaving, was put on<br />

regular doses of heavy drugs for hyperactivity and anti-social behaviour,<br />

and spent 11 years in a special school. As a young adult, for six years he sat<br />

at home, unable to leave it. Dion’s future prospects looked very bleak, work<br />

at the sheltered workshop his only option, but in 1998 Bundaberg Customer<br />

Service Centre psychologist Craig Cook from Centrelink gave Dion an<br />

eight-hour assessment and discovered that he had Asperger’s Syndrome, a<br />

rare form of autism. This condition is characterised by impaired social<br />

functioning, repetitive behaviour and obsession. Craig also discovered that<br />

his client had a very high IQ.<br />

In the January edition of the Australian Women’s Weekly, Dion was<br />

featured in the Your Lives, Your Stories section under the title ‘Einstein<br />

and me’. Here is a part of what he wrote:<br />

On my bedroom wall hangs a poster of my hero, Albert Einstein. His ideas<br />

were once rejected, but he never gave up.<br />

I’m the same. Since I was 16, I’ve longed to go to university to study<br />

computer science, but until I was 24, education officers told me it was<br />

impossible because all I studied at my special school was basket weaving<br />

and finger painting…. I knew I was different, but I also knew I wasn’t<br />

stupid. And I knew I wanted to do something with my life.<br />

While most of the kids at school watched cartoons, my favourites were the<br />

science, biology and chemistry segments on Open Learning on ABC-TV. I<br />

was quite good with craft, and I used to love taking radios and motor<br />

mowers apart and putting them back together – and they always worked.<br />

I wanted to go on to university, but everyone thought it was a big joke.<br />

His mother, Joy, convinced that her son could learn, found a maths tutor,<br />

Dennis Muller, who was amazed at his pupil’s ability to work out<br />

Pythagoras’s theorem on the calculator, and his knowledge of electric<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

currents. Later, Dion went to TAFE, over six years studied plumbing, motor<br />

mechanics and electronics – and won a gold medal for his excellent efforts.<br />

Still, he found getting a job was difficult.<br />

During these years, Dion’s dream of university study had never dimmed —<br />

and he was fully supported by Joy. As he said, the ‘miracle’ happened when<br />

he met up with Craig Cook, and doors opened everywhere. Another<br />

psychologist, Ian Hills from the <strong>University</strong> of Southern <strong>Queensland</strong>,<br />

became a trusted mentor, and soon Dion was phoning the university and<br />

being told about <strong>STEPS</strong>. Here are his words about the <strong>STEPS</strong> testing:<br />

I had to come and sit down and do a test because they weren’t sure that I<br />

would ever be able to do it. And I wrote out a full page. I had no schooling<br />

whatsoever, not an equivalent high school schooling. I wrote a full page<br />

with no paragraphs, no spaces between the letters, no punctuation. And my<br />

mathematics! Without a calculator I was hopeless. It was pretty bad….<br />

Karen Seary, the compassionate Head of <strong>STEPS</strong> and Bundaberg <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Coordinator, seeing that Dion was a capable young man, decided that it was<br />

his time, and organised for him to do the program, part-time, over two<br />

years. To give him extra assistance with his writing, Karen undertook to<br />

work with Dion herself for the year it took him to do the Language and<br />

Learning and Tertiary Preparation Skills courses. Margaret Flanders, Dion’s<br />

mathematics course lecturer in <strong>STEPS</strong>, was also committed to his success.<br />

Other areas of the <strong>University</strong> such as Student Services and Equity came<br />

together to help him through those two years of <strong>STEPS</strong>.<br />

Dion’s dream of being a student at <strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong> <strong>University</strong> finally<br />

came to fruition when he enrolled in a Bachelor of Information Technology<br />

on the Bundaberg campus. He is now in his third year of study with only<br />

seven courses to finish, and he is particularly proud that he has achieved a<br />

grade point average of 5. <strong>University</strong> study has not come easily to Dion. He<br />

is still an Asperger’s sufferer and the condition does not make life — or<br />

study — easy. However, Dion’s achievements were recognised last year<br />

with a special commendation in <strong>Queensland</strong>’s Adult Learners’ Week<br />

Outstanding Learner category. He is also a member of the <strong>Central</strong><br />

<strong>Queensland</strong> <strong>University</strong> Chapter of the Golden Key International Honour<br />

Society, which recognises and promotes academic excellence. For the last<br />

eight years, every month Dion has been seeing Craig Cook, who is now in<br />

private practice. Ian Hills has retired.<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

Dion also now gives back to the community in ways that once he would<br />

have thought impossible by helping at the Salvation Army’s Tom Quinn<br />

Community Centre. Whenever he can, he teaches people computing skills.<br />

I have far more contact with a lot more people now. Beforehand, I was just<br />

a hermit… By sheer perseverance and determination I have broken down<br />

barriers and overcome difficulties put before me to achieve what has been a<br />

lifelong dream – to study at university… I used to think ‘why bother going<br />

forward’ but now I have got something to do with my life.<br />

Dion Thomas and Karen Seary.<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> — The vital rung<br />

Dr Denzil Nash<br />

On Thursday 20 April 2006, I walked proudly onto the stage of the<br />

Innovation Centre at the <strong>University</strong> of the Sunshine Coast to receive my<br />

Doctor of Philosophy award. I can justify claiming this as a pinnacle of my<br />

short academic career. However, I would be undervaluing the importance of<br />

other influences in attaining my potential. As significant as the experience<br />

may be, earning the title of Doctor represented an end and a beginning, as<br />

can be said for any other significant event in one’s life. My story could<br />

begin with my induction into the <strong>STEPS</strong> program at the <strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong><br />

<strong>University</strong> Bundaberg campus. However, it was much more than that<br />

because my participation in <strong>STEPS</strong> was pivotal in transforming ‘what could<br />

have been’ to what is now a reality.<br />

To tell my story, I need to go further back in time to a bleak, cold Welsh<br />

winter’s day in 1958. As the final bell rang on my last day in school, I<br />

returned my books to the appropriate master, and with the words ‘I’m<br />

leaving’ turned and strolled boldly on to the next chapter of my life. Like<br />

many of my fellow pupils from the outlying villages and farms, I had<br />

passed what we called the 11Plus examination, and had found myself<br />

struggling with a system of education that made little sense to me. My<br />

decision to enlist in an RAF boy apprentice scheme was greeted with<br />

disdain by members of the staff, who considered such an act as a blight on<br />

the good name of the school. Nevertheless, convinced that education was<br />

for others, on that cold December day, I stole away like a thief in the night<br />

on my way to the most important and most rewarding learning institution of<br />

all, life itself.<br />

As a member of the armed services, I learned a trade, I saw the Red Sea at<br />

Aden, the Persian Gulf, and Germany where the Cold War was real. I<br />

enjoyed great friendships and camaraderie, and learned how to win and how<br />

to lose. I enjoyed the love and support of my family and hoped that I gave<br />

the same in return. My military life ended and our lives in Australia began.<br />

And here we did more or less what others did in the real world: worked,<br />

raised our children, played and paid off a mortgage. I worked on the highrise<br />

buildings of Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast, taking a small part<br />

in the reshaping of their skylines. I also had great pleasure in kayaking on<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

the rivers and lakes of Australia. But a desire for change took us on a twoyear<br />

drive into country areas, working on farms, in vineyards and on a halfmillion-acre<br />

cattle station. For two years, our home was a yellow bus and<br />

our front lawn, the great Australian outdoors. But life takes some<br />

unexpected turns, and when our yellow bus rolled into Bundaberg, I had no<br />

premonition that a new and very different adventure lay in store.<br />

Perhaps I had been fortunate in the past, but, suddenly, as I celebrated my<br />

50 th birthday, I was at a crossroads. ‘Where to now?’ I asked. Returning to<br />

high-rise buildings was not an attractive option.<br />

‘Why don’t you go to uni and get a degree, Dad?’ suggested my daughter,<br />

who was in the process of enrolling in a CQU Arts program.<br />

‘I agree,’ said Julie, my wife.<br />

My immediate response was to laugh. After all, was not academia for<br />

others? Still, the idea had been planted. Enrolling in the 1994 Spring<br />

Semester <strong>STEPS</strong> program, I began my new journey.<br />

I entered the <strong>STEPS</strong> program with a certain degree of trepidation. The<br />

memory of my Grammar School education haunted me like a recurring<br />

nightmare. But as I settled into my new life, I began to realise that <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

to me was more than a precursor to academic achievement. It was also a<br />

culmination of what I had learned through life, and redemption for what<br />

had not been realised. Certainly, the academic writing prepared me for<br />

university, but, more importantly, it taught me without a doubt that there is<br />

no failure, only unrealised potential. This was substantiated when<br />

Karen Seary looked at my carefully written paragraphs, and after a quick<br />

perusal pushed them back across the table and said almost dismissively,<br />

‘You’ve got it’. They were three simple words, but they were worth a<br />

thousand pictures. Academia was not just for others after all. In fact, there<br />

are no others in that context. And just as importantly, it became clear that<br />

my Grammar School education had been invaluable. So, too, were my years<br />

in the RAF, the noisy building sites of our cities, my role as husband,<br />

father, grandfather and friend, our two years in the wilderness, and my love<br />

of the river. For me, <strong>STEPS</strong> was the realisation that we can we do anything<br />

we desire, but only if we make the most of what is offered to us, and if we<br />

acknowledge the love and support of others.<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

So, on Thursday 20 April 2006, I was not just celebrating my achievement,<br />

but the joys of being, sharing and belonging. I raise my glass to Julie, my<br />

wife and best friend, and to the staff members of CQU, who were so<br />

supportive during my time at the Bundaberg campus. I thank my colleagues<br />

at USC and my students from whom I can learn so much. And finally, I<br />

salute Karen, Margaret Flanders and the <strong>STEPS</strong> class of 94, for<br />

consolidating the past and shaping the future.<br />

Dr Denzil Nash<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

Nothing is impossible<br />

Chris Daly<br />

The day I made my maths teacher walk out the room crying, I knew I had<br />

gone too far. However, I hated the way she taught and could not cope any<br />

longer. Besides, there was always heaps of work to do on the farm, and,<br />

being a cocky teenager, I knew what was best for me. So, after being given<br />

yet another 'six of the best', I told the principal that he did not have to worry<br />

about me returning to school. I mean, why bother. I only used to go to<br />

school two or three days a week anyway. But I wasn't always bad. I used to<br />

make my classmates laugh too. I used to tie the fan blades to the window<br />

sill or tie my maths teacher’s chair to the table, or once, I even put a rubber<br />

snake in her top drawer. Those days were really funny — or so I thought.<br />

So after working on the farm, then getting a job in the Post Office, at the<br />

ripe old age of 39 I decided on a career change. But where was I going to<br />

school? It was here that I realised, 'Struth! I haven't got any formal<br />

education to get me into university.’ I had worked my way up from being a<br />

postman to managing the Biloela Post Office, but had not gained any<br />

tertiary degree throughout my life. By a stroke of luck, my younger sister,<br />

who is a teacher in Moranbah, rang me one night to have a chat. It was<br />

during this chat that she mentioned the <strong>STEPS</strong> program run through CQU.<br />

But I lived in Biloela. So was I to move to Rockhampton to do this<br />

program? She offered to assist me so I think that is what persuaded me to<br />

ring up and find out about it. I rang the Gladstone campus and spoke to<br />

Lynne Campbell, who advised me that an information night was to be held<br />

that night in Gladstone. I umm’d and ahh’d about it, jumped in the ute and<br />

took off to Gladstone for the evening. On the way over, I was<br />

contemplating what would be talked about. What information would I have<br />

to tell them? Would they know about me crashing into the hearse while<br />

delivering mail in Mount Isa? About losing the mail when I skidded into the<br />

lake, on the postie bike in Townsville? Or worse still, when I upset my<br />

maths teacher, Mrs O'Connor? All of these 'incidences' were going through<br />

my mind on the trip over.<br />

When I got there, things weren't so bad. There was a bit of tucker on the<br />

table, a cup of tea for everyone and a questionnaire for everyone to fill out.<br />

I hoped there wasn't a section to explain why I had not completed school. If<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

there was, I was determined not to tell the truth. Surely they wouldn't want<br />

me? Luckily, no such question existed and I fairly sailed through the<br />

questionnaire and the night with confidence. Ha, that wasn't so bad after all.<br />

Better was to come. The program would only cost $13.50 and I’d have fuel<br />

money left over. ‘Oh, bugger it, I'll do it,’ I thought. After all, it was only<br />

for 13 weeks and then I could go to university and build bridges. For as<br />

long as I can remember, I have had a fascination with bridges.<br />

So <strong>STEPS</strong> started the following week with one Chris Daly enrolled. On the<br />

first day, I jumped into the ute and drove over to Gladstone, and there were<br />

these other people waiting around. I introduced myself and discovered that<br />

they were to be my classmates. Actually, they seemed fairly cool. There<br />

were a couple of young ones, male and female, but there were also people<br />

older than me. Now that was very important because I did not want to be<br />

the oldest person there, especially as I am male. The first day went without<br />

a problem. I didn't upset anyone, the teachers all stayed in the classrooms,<br />

and I learnt something about computers. After all, I was a digital immigrant.<br />

‘Yep! I'm coming back here’, I said to myself as I drove home to Biloela<br />

that night.<br />

The following morning I hopped back into the ute and headed over to<br />

Gladstone. And so, my experiences as a university student had begun. One<br />

thing that quickly bugged me though was the driving. So, after the first<br />

week, I threw the swag in the back and slept in it Monday, Tuesday and<br />

Wednesday nights. On Thursday evenings, I would sit in the bath for two<br />

hours. Friday became my day for completing university work, while the<br />

weekends were spent bragging about my 'university studies'.<br />

Having always enjoyed maths, my eldest brother being a bookmaker and<br />

my uncle teaching me how to gamble when I was ten, I thoroughly enjoyed<br />

showing my fellow classmates how to calculate interest, as well as easy<br />

methods for working out algebraic problems and fractions. The best bit<br />

was, I was allowed to do it all on the whiteboard. Amazingly, my teacher<br />

Lynne Campbell encouraged me to do so. I suppose it was at this point that<br />

teaching became the most obvious path for me to take. Sure enough, when<br />

the <strong>STEPS</strong> program finished (much to my disappointment), I chose to study<br />

the Bachelor of Learning Management (BLM).<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

But city living is not for me. Can you believe, a BLM program was starting<br />

up in Emerald the following year and I had enjoyed living there when I was<br />

a postie. Look at me! I had just completed a bridging program and now I<br />

was off to uni. That was late 2003. Here I am, April 2006, and I am about to<br />

complete my undergraduate degree. I have also gained a Diploma in<br />

TESOL during my spare time from uni studies, gained entry to the Golden<br />

Key Society, mentored for two years, been awarded the highest GPA in the<br />

first year and been selected by CQU to teach Korean students in Korea<br />

earlier this year. What a complete turnaround from the boy who loathed<br />

school and caused so much heartache for his teachers. I now have a life and<br />

can walk around with my head held high because of what I have achieved.<br />

But it was only achievable through the <strong>STEPS</strong> program in Gladstone. I<br />

cannot believe how rewarding such a program can turn out to be. Shortly, I<br />

will be jetting off back to Korea or China to teach. Secretly, I have always<br />

wanted to travel the world and now I will be able to do so. I am so grateful<br />

to have been afforded the opportunity to complete <strong>STEPS</strong>, and I am living<br />

proof that nothing is impossible.<br />

Chris Daly teaching in Korea.<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

Kicking and screaming<br />

Simone Ganter<br />

I began <strong>STEPS</strong> in Rockhampton when I had run out of excuses. I wasn’t a<br />

terribly hopeless student — I just didn’t know what I wanted to do, and I<br />

didn’t know how to go about doing it. It was just before my 25th birthday<br />

when, adding up my accomplishments, I found myself reminiscing about<br />

winning a high school basketball competition. Sadly, that was the most<br />

recent triumph. With a ‘tender nudge’ from my well-meaning mother, a<br />

lifelong professional and former <strong>STEPS</strong> success story, I found myself at the<br />

testing day, terrified and attempting to slink out of the building. They must<br />

have been expecting that sort of behaviour because I bumped right into<br />

Ingrid Kennedy, whose expression advised against it.<br />

A letter in the mail informed me of my acceptance. Admittedly, I was<br />

surprised; secretly, I was shocked (Official Accomplishment Number 1). I<br />

remember the first day as though it were yesterday. I felt like I was eight<br />

years old starting at a new school. I didn’t know anyone, and I had<br />

forgotten my lunch. That was when I met Lisa. It seemed we had been<br />

rowing the same boat in the wrong direction for far too long. We both<br />

wanted to be teachers and were feverishly hoping that the <strong>STEPS</strong> program<br />

would get us there as painlessly as possible.<br />

So there we were with Jenny Simpson, Ingrid Kennedy, Sue McIntosh and<br />

Sharon Cohalan as the centres of our universe for six hours a day and,<br />

together, we went through it all: maths exams, essay deadlines, computer<br />

trauma, temper tantrums, meltdowns and sugar highs (and the inevitable<br />

crashes). Not least of all was Jenny, who insisted on intense self-reflection<br />

(not for the fainthearted).<br />

The maths was scary, and one could not help but wonder where Sharon<br />

drew her enthusiasm from. It must, however, be catching because both Lisa<br />

and I decided to major in Mathematics and Science, although we have been<br />

known to scurry back down to her room before an exam.<br />

Then there were the office staff, Georgina Pickering and Pam McMahon,<br />

shaking their heads as we would dash in five minutes after our class had<br />

started, or sneak our late assignments in, helping both of us avoid detection<br />

as often as they could.<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

I would like to say that the staff at <strong>STEPS</strong> were gentle, but that would be<br />

misleading. Behind their caring exteriors, it was a take-no-prisoners<br />

attitude, and I remember at least once sitting in Sue’s office, trying to crawl<br />

under her desk, begging her to make it all go away. I think that scenario<br />

(I wish it were untrue) best describes my <strong>STEPS</strong> experience. I was dragged,<br />

kicking and screaming to the finish line only to find that they were all there,<br />

standing to the side, cheering me home.<br />

So then, with our certificates in hand, we were off to ‘Big School’ to<br />

study to become teachers (Official Accomplishment Number 2). I will<br />

never forget how anxious I felt waiting for the results of my first piece of<br />

assessment. It seemed as though my entire future was in the balance.<br />

Casually flipped onto the desk in front of me, there it was, circled in red<br />

— a High Distinction (Official Accomplishment Number 3). I can’t<br />

remember a bigger smile in ten years. I’m quite sure I forgot to excuse<br />

myself from class, instead, rushing off to find Sue, who was, predictably,<br />

just the right shade of proud.<br />

Since then, things couldn’t be better. I have been invited into the Golden<br />

Key Society (Number 4) for academic excellence; I accepted a scholarship<br />

to teach in Korea earlier this year (Number 5); I have made some valuable<br />

and rewarding networks with some incredible people (Number 6), and, best<br />

of all, I don’t mind the ‘I told you so’ from my Mum (Number 7).<br />

Lisa and I still have our meltdowns (though never simultaneously — that<br />

would be far too stressful), and still ignore the consequences of too much<br />

sugar, but we are still here, and, with six months remaining, our dream of<br />

standing up and accepting our degrees is becoming more realistic every<br />

day.<br />

I don’t need to count my accomplishments any more. I am very proud of<br />

this time in my life, and I am indebted to all of the wonderful people at<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> who, despite my protests, never let me lose sight of what I had set<br />

out to do.<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

Simone Ganter<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

It’s never too late to learn<br />

Mary Cowper<br />

Before 1997, I had been enjoying the U3A, studying creative writing under<br />

the inspiring personage of Kevin McLean. He told me about <strong>STEPS</strong> and<br />

persuaded me to come to the Mackay campus and do a small test. This<br />

allowed me to start on my adventure into the realms of university life. I spent<br />

13 weeks putting myself in the hands of Kevin, Lois Pinkney and Nicky<br />

Ockle. I achieved the certificate I required to apply for a university program,<br />

and this totally amazed me. At the age of 12, I had been bombed out of my<br />

school and my home in Liverpool. I had always loved reading and writing<br />

letters to my brothers and sisters who were away in the forces fighting a war,<br />

and here I was at the age of 68, a student at uni.<br />

While I was waiting for university to begin in 1998, I did a volunteer’s<br />

certificate at TAFE and achieved two certificates in tutoring in English. I<br />

graduated with a BA in 2004 and I have just graduated with a Masters degree,<br />

MLitt.<br />

I want everyone to know what the <strong>STEPS</strong> program did for me, and about all<br />

the wonderful staff at Mackay and Rockhampton who have been so helpful<br />

over the past few years. In August, I will be 77 years old, but I still feel only<br />

35. As an external student, I enjoy that contact with other students, and we are<br />

constantly recommending the <strong>STEPS</strong> program to anyone who will listen.<br />

I congratulate the <strong>STEPS</strong> team, and say thank you so much for giving me the<br />

opportunity to achieve my life’s ambition.<br />

Mary Cowper<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

Taking <strong>STEPS</strong>: learning in leaps and<br />

bounds<br />

Nerida Wirriganwalters<br />

Whenever anyone asks me about my experience of <strong>STEPS</strong>, I invariably tell<br />

them ‘It was the best thing I ever did’. Mind you, I have since said the same<br />

thing about other things in my life, for example, completing my Bachelor of<br />

Communication degree, accepting my current job as an employment<br />

consultant, and reaffirming (after much soul searching) my belief in the<br />

institution of marriage — for the fourth time. The thing is, had I not done<br />

the <strong>STEPS</strong> program, I would not have been as confident or capable when it<br />

came to making these, and other, decisions that profoundly affect my life<br />

and the lives of the people I care about.<br />

Before I started <strong>STEPS</strong> in 1998, about 22 years after completing Year 11, I<br />

was in my third marriage with seven children to care for (my five plus two<br />

stepchildren) and I was working three part-time jobs in three local schools<br />

as a teacher aide, an indigenous education worker, and an Aboriginal<br />

Tutorial Assistance Scheme (ATAS) tutor. We called a family meeting to<br />

discuss the pros and cons of Mum doing the <strong>STEPS</strong> program because I<br />

knew I could not achieve the degree of success I wanted without the<br />

family’s agreement. My children were, for the most part, very supportive of<br />

my efforts to educate and improve myself and therefore the family situation.<br />

However, I realised that they didn’t really understand what we had agreed<br />

to when my eldest son came to me on a number of occasions, usually late at<br />

night while I was working on an important assignment or trying to master<br />

the intricacies of algebra, asking ‘Why are you doing this?’. I always<br />

answered him the same way: ‘We all agreed that it would be good for me to<br />

do this. Do you really want me to quit now? Just say the word and I’ll<br />

cancel out of the program tomorrow’. I never cancelled, of course, and<br />

didn’t really expect to. The <strong>STEPS</strong> experience reinforced what I had taught<br />

my children from an early age: if something is worthwhile doing, then<br />

quitting is usually not an option, except under exceptional circumstances.<br />

This same son, together with his siblings, very proudly attended my <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

graduation ceremony and witnessed my first very nervous public speaking<br />

effort. Much later, they attended another more elaborate graduation when I<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

received my Bachelor of Communication degree in 2004, but were spared<br />

the speaking engagement.<br />

Life is about taking steps towards the achievement of goals and the<br />

fulfillment of dreams. It is a gradual process of learning how to do the<br />

things we need to do to get by in life, to master certain skills, and to become<br />

who we are meant to be and what we are meant to become. Often we don’t<br />

know what that is, and so we stumble along and sometimes we fall. But as<br />

long as we keep our sights firmly fixed on our goals of learning, we can<br />

pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off and continue on our way. Even<br />

during my first tentative steps into the academic world, I understood very<br />

well the concept of lifelong learning that Muriel Strahm spoke about in our<br />

academic writing classes.<br />

Recently, I caught up with both Muriel and our Maths teacher, Lynne<br />

Campbell. It was an interesting experience. I learnt that I was the only<br />

student Muriel has ever sent home from class due to fatigue. Knowing that I<br />

live 50 minutes drive from Gladstone, understanding the weight of<br />

responsibilities I had taken on, and recognizing that I suffer from the<br />

condition that all high achievers suffer from (very high self-imposed goal<br />

posts), Muriel did the responsible thing and sent me on my way. This state<br />

of mind/body became very familiar over the ensuing years of my studies<br />

and into my present learning experiences, because I firmly believe the<br />

advantages derived from learning are worth staying up for.<br />

One of my proudest achievements in the <strong>STEPS</strong> program was graduating<br />

with a top overall score of 94% for Transition Maths. I will always<br />

remember that score because, with patient and supportive teaching from<br />

Lynne, and determination and effort on my part, I was able to turn around<br />

my Year 10 Maths score of 49%. I had always readily identified myself as a<br />

writer because I was very good at English, but Maths never came easily to<br />

me. Throughout the <strong>STEPS</strong> year, I was continuously frustrated when I<br />

looked around and saw others in the class ‘getting it’ after doing only a few<br />

exercises. I would go home and spend hours going over and over the same<br />

exercises, but I wouldn’t give up until I also ‘got it’. Sometimes I would<br />

have to do hundreds of these exercises — and I still keep my workbooks as<br />

a testament to my persistence to master skills I had previously thought<br />

beyond me. It was about that time that the words ‘I can’t do that’ were<br />

erased from my vocabulary and from my thinking. Moreover, this<br />

achievement gave me the confidence to accept more tutoring positions for<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

Maths as well as English from Year 1 through to first year undergraduate<br />

students in Bachelor of Education and Learning Management programs. By<br />

the time I finished <strong>STEPS</strong>, the rate of growth I was experiencing had<br />

enhanced my personal and family life, and I knew that it would continue to<br />

do so as long as I nourished it and continued taking steps on the learning<br />

pathway.<br />

The real value in doing <strong>STEPS</strong> is the excellent preparation it provides for<br />

going on to further university study. I am reminded of the Chinese proverb<br />

that ‘a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’, and the first step<br />

in any learning experience is admitting our ignorance. When <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

students begin the program, they are generally ignorant of the requirements<br />

of academic learning. However, there is a dedicated group of teachers who<br />

are there to share their knowledge of how to learn, how to study, how to<br />

research topics, present academic essays, pay attention to relevant and<br />

accurate referencing, and then put it all together with the help of computer<br />

technology. Without doubt, the training given and received in the <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

program lays a solid foundation on which to build a successful academic<br />

pathway. For some students in the part-time class of 1998, the pathway was<br />

short; there were some who stumbled once or twice and left the building.<br />

For others, including myself, it led to the achievement of goals and dreams<br />

(and a degree of course) and our education continues on a daily basis in the<br />

true spirit of lifelong learning. And for me, that is very exciting. My sincere<br />

wish is that others will take <strong>STEPS</strong> to change their lives in positive and<br />

productive ways, whether or not they go on to study as undergraduates.<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> is a life-changing process of learning in leaps and bounds that has a<br />

profound impact on the lives of students and the people they care about. To<br />

the <strong>STEPS</strong> team: I honour you and I am truly grateful.<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> — A guide to learning, a guide<br />

to living<br />

James Ukena<br />

Sometimes we never achieve our potential because we have no idea what it<br />

is. In 2003, I entered the <strong>STEPS</strong> program with reservations. I was already<br />

unsure of attempting a university program, and I felt uneasy about the<br />

possibility of discovering I was not even worthy of the preparatory<br />

program.<br />

I had not completed high school, preoccupied with the distractions that a<br />

wayward youth offered. I can recall in one of my early classes sharpening a<br />

pencil for ten minutes, avoiding the mathematics problems laid out before<br />

us. I was certain that I had made the wrong decision. I was 34 years old,<br />

sitting in a classroom, sweating over year 11 mathematics problems. I was<br />

overwhelmed with the thought of not being able to cope with real university<br />

courses.<br />

Every week, the <strong>STEPS</strong> Coordinator, Karen Seary, spoke to us about us.<br />

We were relieved of our maths and English commitments to look into our<br />

own lives more closely and to understand how to use our minds to achieve<br />

our goals. I will not lie to you. It felt a little bit like a support group. Instead<br />

of abusing alcohol, we had been victims of abusing our life’s potential.<br />

These moments of self-awareness were the greatest revelations I have ever<br />

experienced. Suddenly, I had a basis for understanding the origins of my<br />

cynical nature. I understood that my brain worked differently from other<br />

brains, and it’s OK to solve problems differently. With all this new<br />

information on board, I allowed my mind to let go of all its past<br />

preconceptions of how I should think. Essentially, I had gained a sense of<br />

confidence that I never had as an adolescent.<br />

The introduction to the famous De Bono’s lateral/global thinking methods<br />

was a profound experience. I had always thought I was clever at some<br />

things, very few things. I was never able to transfer that cleverness to other<br />

activities. Therefore, I assumed that simply was how life was going to be —<br />

that was my lot. The De Bono experience, which millions of people around<br />

the world have already been exposed to, opened up my mind to endless<br />

possibilities. I guess what I am trying to say is that my brain worked fine; I<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

simply had no way of organising it. And organisation, in my opinion, is the<br />

key to academic success.<br />

Organisation of my mind allowed me to piece together a functioning<br />

academic brain. Suddenly, I had the tools to deal with any situation that the<br />

lecturers threw at me. I understood the importance of some things and the<br />

irrelevance of others. Most importantly, I was able to show to my lecturers,<br />

and hopefully future employers, my ability to balance multiple concepts and<br />

discuss material from a broader perspective, yet still be precise about<br />

specific details. I had truly become a nerd!<br />

The <strong>STEPS</strong> program was ultimately responsible for the advances I made on<br />

my own into the art of exam preparation. I initially felt that my exam<br />

preparedness was still not good enough, so I took the initiative to explore<br />

and research techniques that may suit the way my brain works. This led me<br />

to discover several exam techniques that were conducive to my particular<br />

way of thinking, resulting in a dramatically increased ability to recall vast<br />

amounts of information as required by the examination.<br />

I even credit the <strong>STEPS</strong> program with the way I approached my life outside<br />

of the <strong>University</strong> setting. Historically, I am an unorganised individual. For<br />

no known reason, I was disorganised in many features of my personal life.<br />

This caused unnecessary stress and regret. My wife tells me that I am still<br />

messy around the house, but at least now everything else runs like<br />

clockwork. And now I finally understand that, in order for it to run like<br />

clockwork, you must be ever vigilant to the changes that life brings to you<br />

and address these alterations immediately. It is fair to say that who I was<br />

before <strong>STEPS</strong> and who I am now are truly different people.<br />

A feature of <strong>STEPS</strong> that may not be appreciated by the outside observer is<br />

the intuitive manner in which staff have achieved an atmosphere of<br />

learning. It is safe to say that all the participants in the <strong>STEPS</strong> program are<br />

enthusiastic to enter the program, but many of us still carry the burdens and<br />

fears that stole us away from higher learning many years ago. I recall one of<br />

the favourite topics of discussion during our breaks was to bring up our<br />

high school academic failings, or the limitations our personal lives had on<br />

our ability to study. The teaching staff remain constantly sensitive to these<br />

issues. Thankfully, they also have a plan to guide us through this period of<br />

low self-esteem and lack of self-belief, of which small but significant<br />

achievement is the key.<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

With hindsight, I probably did not want to admit I was also damaged goods<br />

— that I was unsure of myself. The development I made in the 13-week<br />

period of the <strong>STEPS</strong> program allowed me to finally deal with a lot of<br />

demons that I thought were going to prevent me from achieving academic<br />

success. Indeed, I bloomed. I was so glad to rid myself of the ignorant<br />

shackles that I carried with me for almost 20 years that I became a model<br />

undergraduate student.<br />

In 2004, I topped my <strong>University</strong> program in my first year. In fact, I topped<br />

the entire Faculty of Arts, Health and Science at my campus. There was no<br />

prouder man on this earth when I received formal recognition, surprising<br />

this high school dropout and underachiever. And there is no clearer<br />

connection than that between my renewed academic success and the<br />

wisdom dispersed during the life-changing term spent in the <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

program.<br />

The limits of my potential are still not known, but I now know how to get<br />

there and am forever grateful for the insights shared with me through the<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> program.<br />

James Ukena<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

Lucy’s steps of change<br />

Lucy Lowry<br />

My name is Lucy. I am now approaching my 45 th birthday and I am<br />

currently separated after a 20-year marriage. I also have two sons, Daniel<br />

20 and Jacob 18, who both live with their dad at present. As I write this, I<br />

am sitting at my computer in my lovely little single bedroom flat in<br />

Mackay, and gladly reflect on my journey into further education and my<br />

desire to change my employment choices.<br />

I have always had a love of communicating with people on an intimate and<br />

deep level. What I mean by that is drawing out of people their stories, their<br />

journeys and how that is for them, in the hope that I might share or gain<br />

some new insight or knowledge that might add to the experience of life.<br />

Therefore, a career in counselling seemed to be the inevitable way to go for<br />

me, but my life circumstances did not present that choice. I grew up in<br />

England and had a very amazing childhood, one filled with travel and<br />

constant change — changes in schools, home location, the county we lived<br />

in, social life, family and friends. My education was far more honed by life<br />

experience than that of the formality of school; in fact at 14 years of age,<br />

staying in school no longer was an option for me. Thank goodness<br />

hairdressing apprenticeships were in abundance in 1975, because this is<br />

where my young adult journey started.<br />

I loved hairdressing and excelled during my apprenticeship, winning many<br />

awards and eventually buying my own little salon in Sydney. However,<br />

even though my hairdressing career served me well and gave me many<br />

communication skills, I wanted something more out of working with<br />

people. After I married Steve Lowry in 1985, hairdressing took a back seat<br />

for a few years so that I could devote myself to our two sons, Daniel and<br />

Jacob. During this time, Steve and I became involved in church-based<br />

youth groups and church ministry, which for me filled a great void in<br />

connecting with people and speaking about their lives.<br />

When Daniel and Jacob were settled into school, I opened another<br />

hairdressing business and ran that for five more years, loving every minute<br />

of it too. But I still wanted more out of my life. I wanted to give more back<br />

to others and have a greater impact in the helping process. I felt frustrated<br />

and trapped by my lack of formal education and, in many ways, helpless to<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

change that. I found it hard to see beyond my own educational<br />

shortcomings, and believed that it would not be possible for someone like<br />

me, a woman in her forties, to change career. Even though my involvement<br />

in church life at that time offered many different education and support<br />

tools for equipping you to help people, it became obvious to me that, to be<br />

really capable of counselling people, I needed more training, preferably<br />

from tried and tested sources such as a university degree. But how could I<br />

get a degree having only completed Year 8 and doing the first term of Year<br />

9 at school 28 years earlier? It seemed such an impossible task to overcome<br />

the education barrier, and how to do that eluded me until I stumbled across<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong>.<br />

One afternoon in Autumn 2004, I went to TAFE in Mackay to find out if I<br />

could do Years 11 and 12 so that I could enter university. They directed me<br />

to CQU that afternoon, where I met Lyn Forbes-Smith, the Head of <strong>STEPS</strong>.<br />

Lyn encouraged me to enter the <strong>STEPS</strong> program and answered my many<br />

questions, revealing that for me to achieve my goal, this program was most<br />

definitely the best option. But was I ready to commit myself to the learning<br />

curve ahead? I believed I was very ready to take on the challenge to achieve<br />

my dream of entering uni, even though I had no idea how deep I would<br />

have to dig within myself and uncover so much self-doubt.<br />

Within a month, I was sitting in my first Tertiary Education Preparatory<br />

Studies class, and I was terrified that some awful mistake had been made,<br />

that I was taking up the space of someone else who would be far more<br />

capable of completing this program than I. The overwhelming feeling of<br />

inadequacy tormented me daily for at least the first half of <strong>STEPS</strong>, and I<br />

shed many self-loathing tears. Self-defeating attitudes cloaked in frustration<br />

ran wild. The learning curve was so steep that many colleagues fell by the<br />

wayside, despite the incredible support offered by the lecturers and support<br />

staff (who might I say were sensational). Completing the <strong>STEPS</strong> program<br />

was, for me, so life-changing in as much as it gave me not only the<br />

confidence to enter university, but also the skills. There is no way that I<br />

would have been able to get through my first year of Psychology without<br />

having gone through the <strong>STEPS</strong> program.<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> also connected me to a terrific small group of new friends, bonded<br />

by the intense learning journey that we undertook together; people I am still<br />

in touch with today and can draw upon for support and laughter. I am now<br />

in my second year of a Social Work degree. I switched programs from<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

Psychology to Social Work because it will suit my intended employment<br />

outcomes better. Even though my life has had the most tumultuous change<br />

recently with the break-up of my marriage, resulting in my having had a<br />

total nervous breakdown, I am still so excited that I have this chance to be<br />

re-educated and change the course of my life.<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> was not at all easy for me. I struggled with everything — the maths,<br />

English, everything — but what a great thing to overcome and do. I could<br />

not recommend it highly enough to anyone who is thinking of changing<br />

their life choices by gaining further education. The program equips you so<br />

thoroughly in more ways than just academically; it grounds you into the<br />

study mode that gaining a degree requires. Additionally, it eases you into<br />

the academic world of a university, taking the mystery out of uni life and<br />

familiarising you with the campus, which in itself was worth attending the<br />

program for. I am one very happy <strong>STEPS</strong> graduate, who is in the process of<br />

realising her dreams.<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

The pleasure was worth the pain<br />

Scott Cousin<br />

Oh God! I haven’t got a thing to wear. Does my bum look big in this? Does<br />

it look ridiculous if I comb this bit across here? All crucial considerations<br />

as I prepared for my first day of <strong>STEPS</strong>. I couldn’t believe that I’d become<br />

a nervous, insecure basket case on the day that I’d looked forward to for so<br />

long. Surely I would handle junior level maths and a little essay writing<br />

with ease. After all, I was a mature person with extensive life experience.<br />

Therein, of course, lay the rub. I was so ‘mature’ that I hadn’t experienced<br />

any formal education for at least 20 years. My last encounter ended with a<br />

creditable social and sporting result but a dismal academic record, leaving<br />

North Mackay State High School with a serious ‘Fail’ on my senior<br />

certificate. I wasn’t overly concerned at the time as it was assumed that I<br />

would follow my brother onto the family farm. So I did. The next few years<br />

saw me follow several pursuits, all rural in nature. The last and most lasting<br />

of these was a dairy at Colston Park south-west of Sarina. In between all of<br />

this, I married a special girl, who followed me (reluctantly) into a life of<br />

early mornings and monotonous holiday-free activity. We spent a dozen<br />

years improving and innovating, culminating in the construction of a<br />

processing and bottling factory on our property.<br />

These exciting times came to a crashing halt with the deregulation of the<br />

dairy industry, leaving us at the mercy of the huge multi-national<br />

processors. We were crushed in the stampede to provide the cheapest<br />

possible product to the public through mercenary supermarket chains.<br />

(Don’t get me started — This is another story for another time.) We were<br />

forced to sell the processing plant and eventually our property in 2002. The<br />

silver lining was my opportunity to pursue my ambition to become a<br />

teacher.<br />

I contacted CQU in March 2003 to ask about available courses and entry<br />

qualifications. It was then that I first heard about the <strong>STEPS</strong> program. It<br />

seemed to be just what I needed. I enrolled in the full-time program, which<br />

started in July. The first barrier to overcome was the dreaded entry exam. I<br />

worried for weeks, not knowing what to study and hoping my long-term<br />

memory would come to my rescue when called upon. As is usually the case,<br />

the test wasn’t as bad as I thought, and I was able to complete it within the<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

allotted time to the apparent satisfaction of the staff. Then, just when I<br />

thought the torture was over, I was informed that I would have to front for<br />

an ‘interview’! This was where I found out that the teachers weren’t the<br />

intimidating stand-over merchants that I remembered from high school.<br />

They were, in fact, real people who seemed keen to help in any way they<br />

could (a revelation!!).<br />

The feeling of relief at being accepted into the program was soon overtaken<br />

by the aforementioned panic. I worried about the most insignificant of<br />

things, including whether to take an ordinary pencil and sharpener or to go<br />

with the formally cool (20 years ago) clutch pencil; and had the clutch<br />

become ultra nerdy in the interim? As it turned out, I needn’t have worried.<br />

Of course, no one gave a hoot what sort of pencil I used, how old my<br />

calculator was, which way I parted my hair, etcetera, etcetera — although,<br />

as the program progressed, some of my colleagues admitted to a few similar<br />

concerns. These petty worries were soon overtaken by genuine doubts<br />

about some of the content of the courses. The maths posed few problems<br />

(long-term memory did kick in), but I faced some huge hurdles in trying to<br />

write creatively. We were also asked to reveal ‘feelings’ in front of the rest<br />

of the class. At this point, they were still relative strangers and I had trouble<br />

talking about feelings to my closest family let alone to this unfamiliar<br />

bunch. As the program progressed, these sessions became the source of<br />

much motivation. Hearing of the journeys undertaken by some of my<br />

classmates just to get the opportunity to participate put all my perceived<br />

hardships well into perspective.<br />

These opportunities for personal disclosure were eventually revealed<br />

merely to be a tool to ease us into the most terrifying part of my whole<br />

university experience — the 20-minute oral presentation! This involved<br />

participants (most of whom had never spoken to more than two people at a<br />

time) standing in front of the class, speaking with authority on a subject of<br />

their choice for 20 minutes, and trying to remain in a standing position<br />

throughout. Eventually, we all achieved most of the criteria. Of all the<br />

subjects and social interactions involved in <strong>STEPS</strong>, I think that the oral<br />

presentations did most to forge the friendships that we have carried with us.<br />

The empathy and encouragement shown were often inspirational, and the<br />

bonds formed throughout the 13 intense weeks helped to see most of us<br />

through to completion.<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

I am currently in my final year studying Learning Management (teaching)<br />

and have used just about every academic, social, emotional and practical<br />

skill I learned in the <strong>STEPS</strong> program. I would like to take this opportunity<br />

to encourage all those thinking of participating in <strong>STEPS</strong> to do so. It will<br />

not only equip you with important study tools for your future learning, but<br />

will allow you to cultivate lasting friendships with some amazing people. I<br />

would also like to document my gratitude to the <strong>University</strong> staff, to my<br />

fellow students and to my family, all of whom have facilitated my journey<br />

so far.<br />

Scott Cousin<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

Stepping stones of life<br />

Kerin Szemes<br />

My name is Kerin Szemes and I am going to tell you my story that comes<br />

from being a past <strong>STEPS</strong> student. I will give you a brief background<br />

followed by the achievements I personally gained from <strong>STEPS</strong>, the impact<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> has had on my life, the commitments I have had to make, along with<br />

the persistence it takes to study, and the innovations that have become part<br />

of my life. Overall, I will tell you what <strong>STEPS</strong> has done, not only to my<br />

own life, but to the lives of my family members as well.<br />

I grew up in Brisbane and moved to the Gemfields at the end of 1989 where<br />

I finished high school in Emerald in 1982. At that time, I found that I had<br />

fallen pregnant to my partner, Chris. His support is invaluable in all areas of<br />

my life. I am very lucky in this respect as I know this is not something<br />

everyone has. I was accepted into James Cook <strong>University</strong> in 1983, but I had<br />

made a choice and started my family so did not take up the challenge of<br />

university. Whilst pregnant with my third child, I went and sat for my<br />

QTAC exam again and did quite well but, once again, I was having a baby<br />

and that came first. After my fourth child was born, I felt that I needed to do<br />

more with my life than be at home. My children were growing up, and I<br />

needed to grow too. In 1998, I saw advertised the <strong>STEPS</strong> program at the<br />

<strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong> <strong>University</strong> Emerald campus, and, with my husband’s<br />

support in looking after the children, I made the effort.<br />

I joined up and attended the initial <strong>STEPS</strong> program at the Emerald campus.<br />

Sometimes, it was difficult, especially learning how to approach the<br />

different styles of writing we needed to become skilled in. I feel that I<br />

achieved excellent results in <strong>STEPS</strong>, gaining high distinctions in Maths and<br />

Computer Studies, and credits for both the English and communications<br />

side of the program. I was also lucky enough to be offered my first<br />

preference at CQU the following year to start a Bachelor of Early<br />

Childhood. This was not to be, however, as it meant splitting up my family<br />

and moving to Rockhampton, so instead, at the last minute, I started a<br />

Bachelor of Arts, first year at Emerald campus. Many years later I am still<br />

attempting to get this finished.<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

Through the <strong>STEPS</strong> program, I feel that I achieved a number of things that<br />

have been both beneficial and life-changing. First, I developed greater selfesteem,<br />

personal growth and personal organisation and, most importantly, I<br />

gained a place to quench my thirst for knowledge. The impact of the <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

program for me has been interesting. I went from being a mum and<br />

housewife to someone who had ideas and thoughts and learnt to<br />

communicate them in various ways far more easily than before. I also had<br />

the opportunity to listen to other people’s ideas and thoughts. I was more<br />

confident in public and felt that I was a valuable member of my community.<br />

From <strong>STEPS</strong>, I also realised that, if I want, I can set goals and reach them<br />

or, if I can’t reach them, adjust them and try from another angle. <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

had an impact on my family too. Time once before spent doing things for<br />

and with the family now had to be rearranged to suit time spent researching<br />

and writing assignments. It has its up-side too. With the gaining of<br />

knowledge, I have been able to impart little treasures of knowledge to my<br />

family.<br />

From <strong>STEPS</strong>, I moved into full-time study (first year internal/external). The<br />

following year I dropped my study load and took on a position as a<br />

journalist for nine months at a local paper, although I had only completed a<br />

couple of units in this area. This really tested my commitment to study and,<br />

to this day, I love to work and be out there in the real world with people.<br />

However, I really want to get through my studies and complete my degree<br />

one day. I now complete most of my study externally, and committing<br />

myself to my studies, especially at home, is far more challenging than<br />

joining a classroom full of like-minded people. Nevertheless, I feel that<br />

having taken on the challenge of being a <strong>STEPS</strong> student has given me the<br />

ability to accept the commitment to the studies I have embarked upon. I<br />

have also realised that with achievement comes the realisation of goals.<br />

Goals are what I try to keep in my sight as I embark into a new unit of<br />

study.<br />

I started <strong>STEPS</strong> as a person who loves learning, reading and writing, and it<br />

has enhanced my ability to gain valuable knowledge and understanding, not<br />

only as a student in my particular area of study, but within my life and<br />

community. Some of these things have impacted not only on me personally,<br />

but also on my family and, to a smaller extent, on the community I live in.<br />

Being a continuing student takes a great deal of commitment, and finding<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

the persistence to continue takes me back to <strong>STEPS</strong> and why I set out on<br />

the path I am currently on.<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> brought into my life a commitment to complete my studies and to<br />

one day use my degree to gain employment that I will enjoy. It also taught<br />

me to be a valuable team member who may one day make a small<br />

difference to the world in which we all live.<br />

Kerin Szemes<br />


Run with it<br />

Ursula White<br />

Part Four: Student transformations<br />

Bi-polar has haunted me since my very early teens, creating turmoil with<br />

my schooling and personal life. Uncertain of what was really happening, I<br />

stumbled through the years making consistent errors of judgment, delving<br />

into the depths of darkness, a place I knew I didn’t want to be but could not<br />

rise through it. This ‘thing’ was destroying me, but I was maturing and<br />

refused to give in. Finally, in my early 30s, I was correctly diagnosed, and<br />

stability entered my life. Time and medication improved circumstances; I<br />

was steadily recovering and rebuilding my life when the unimaginable<br />

occurred. On 10 June 2001, I fell from a horse and broke my back and hip. I<br />

recall thinking this was only a small inconvenience. I was alive. I was not<br />

paralysed. I would endure and resume living.<br />

I have never focused greatly on the adversities that have emerged during<br />

my life or let them weigh me down, but have always looked for alternative<br />

directions and moved forward. I’ve resolved that these challenges are life’s<br />

ingredients to test and build character and managed correctly, are valuable<br />

learning instruments for future endeavours. With two failed marriages<br />

behind me, a teenage son who appeared lost, bi-polar and a broken back in<br />

2001, it was get up, shake myself down and run another race. So, in late<br />

2001, when an opening for the Skills for Tertiary Education Preparatory<br />

Studies (<strong>STEPS</strong>) program arose, it seemed a fitting venture. Ten months<br />

after my accident, there I was, not realising I was on the greatest journey to<br />

freedom and self-improvement, not just for my own future but that of my<br />

son as well. There was no doubt previous experiences had more than<br />

prepared us both for the next few years of university, schooling and life’s<br />

ultimatum. However, mostly, this is a story about how my son and I<br />

achieved beating adversity through perseverance.<br />

Education is the key to freedom and when the opportunity to complete the<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> program came about, I grabbed hold of it with both hands and ran<br />

with it. <strong>STEPS</strong> was not a challenge. I felt it was more a necessity than<br />

something I had ever dreamt of achieving. Yet, <strong>STEPS</strong> proved to be more<br />

than that; it was an opportunity to flourish, grow, and prepare for the bigger<br />

picture of university life, and accomplish a degree in my chosen field of<br />

study. <strong>STEPS</strong> was easy to commit to; nothing could hold me back from this<br />

new way of life. The program was totally enjoyable. With my love of<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

writing and being a deep thinker, I needed to examine in detail every aspect<br />

of discovering writing in a new light. I couldn’t get enough and became<br />

frustrated with myself for wanting to move on faster than the program<br />

allowed. Mathematics, not my strongest skill, taught me a little more about<br />

patience and persistence, and has since been an invaluable asset in my<br />

learning. This has highlighted its absolute necessity in life.<br />

It was wonderful to be surrounded by like-minded people. At no time did<br />

lecturers, staff, or fellow students make me feel inadequate. Support<br />

through out the journey was excellent, making the experience more<br />

valuable and positive. Yet, my son was not having as good a time as I as his<br />

school situation was proving difficult, and nothing was coming together.<br />

Selfish as it may appear, I could not discontinue my studies but only<br />

provide support, advice, and approval through this hardship. Although this<br />

approach did not provide an overnight resolution, in hindsight, it was the<br />

precise attitude to resolve many issues and groom him for his objective of<br />

completing his senior education and enlisting in the navy.<br />

After completing <strong>STEPS</strong> in 2002, I began a Bachelor of Communications<br />

degree; however, late in 2003 I became sick and withdrew from study for<br />

the whole of 2004. Subsequently, a most unexpected tragedy struck in<br />

October of 2004. My brother was accidentally killed, causing much sorrow<br />

and disbelief. This was a time for reflection and to evaluate my options for<br />

the impending 2005. After much deliberation, I resolved that time waits for<br />

no-one and made the decision to endure, and applied to QTAC for a<br />

placement in the Bachelor of Learning Management. I recommenced study<br />

in 2005.<br />

Although that year found me battling illness, pain, grief, and the exertion of<br />

being a single parent administering to my son’s life and making<br />

considerable decisions instantaneously, I succeeded in completing the<br />

year’s study and saw my son graduate after twelve years of schooling. He<br />

enlisted in the navy this year. In a sense, through my own perseverance and<br />

commitment, he learned that nothing worthwhile in life is easy, and that<br />

only dedication and determination will see you through to achieve your<br />

ambitions. I am extremely proud of his achievements and know that he will<br />

be pre-eminent in his chosen career. 2005 was difficult but a year that I put<br />

behind me. I know that it was worth all the pain and suffering it dealt.<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

This year sees me in my second year of a teaching degree, bringing the light<br />

closer to the end of the tunnel. I have always been passionate about writing.<br />

Whether it was a simple story or a legal document, I loved to manipulate<br />

words; yet, it was <strong>STEPS</strong> that truly taught me how to write academically.<br />

Without that strength, I believe I would not have dared attempt university<br />

life. <strong>STEPS</strong> equipped me with constructive and vital strategies necessary to<br />

walk a new path. The <strong>STEPS</strong> program also elevated my self-confidence and<br />

confirmed that I was capable of achieving anything I desired. <strong>STEPS</strong> and<br />

university have been amazing experiences, which impact upon you even<br />

when you’re not looking. It was not until I pondered on my time at<br />

university that I appreciated how great are the rewards of expending time<br />

and effort on an objective that places you in a position to take control of<br />

your own destiny. I recommend to anyone who has a dream and desire to<br />

continue their learning and personal development to enter the world of<br />

learning and realise the power within. Unless one focuses on the broader<br />

prospects, dismisses the inconsequential, and runs with opportunities that<br />

arise, regardless of obstacles that appear, then endless possibilities have<br />

been lost. Becoming a teacher, my secret fantasy from my earliest<br />

memories, is now almost in my grasp. Limitless opportunities for work,<br />

travel, and choice become clearer daily, a vision I will not relinquish.<br />

They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them<br />

yourself.<br />

Andy Warhol (1928-1987)<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

If the desire is great enough<br />

Amanda Patzwald<br />

From a very early age I wanted to be a facilitator of learning, an educator of<br />

young minds — a teacher. Whenever we visited my young cousins, we<br />

would play school and I was the teacher. My family moved occasionally,<br />

and in twelve years of education I attended five schools, but most times this<br />

did not worry me.<br />

At the end of grade 12, I was accepted for a teaching degree at Darling<br />

Downs Institute of Advanced Education, Toowoomba. However, as I was<br />

the eldest of seven children, university was too expensive. I completed high<br />

school on Friday and began work as a nurse’s aide on Saturday in order to<br />

finance my university studies. Fate had other ideas and I became a full-time<br />

mother, wife and farmer’s labourer. When Andrew was six months old, I<br />

was employed as a teacher’s aide. Eighteen months later, Patricia was born,<br />

and again I became a full-time mum, milking cows, feeding cattle,<br />

mustering, volunteering at school and as the P&C secretary. Almost three<br />

years later I became a single mum, moving 600km to another town —<br />

Gladstone. I worked as a kitchen hand at Q.A.S.C. (Yaralla) for some time,<br />

but with young children, night and weekend work was difficult so I<br />

resigned. I began as a checkout operator at Woolworths, and soon became a<br />

service supervisor.<br />

With a wonderful man in my life, we decided to become a bigger family<br />

and Bryce was born in 1993. I really enjoyed the time home with three busy<br />

children and volunteer work at the school. Almost two years later, Travis<br />

was born and our family was complete. I was kept busy especially when<br />

Patricia decided to fundraise for the Leukaemia Foundation. Still desiring<br />

teaching, I had a good friend completing <strong>STEPS</strong> at CQU and, with my<br />

family’s and her encouragement, I began <strong>STEPS</strong> in 2001 when Travis<br />

began grade one. Thus began the stepping stone to my lifelong dream.<br />

Initiative<br />

Taking the first step towards a change requires a desire. In life, it is easy to<br />

sit back and let familiarity guide us. We really do only get one chance at<br />

life, and it is detrimental to happiness to resist all feelings to self-improve,<br />

attempt new ventures, or taste new achievements.<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

My main driving force was the prospect of fulfilling the dream to become a<br />

teacher. With my youngest child at school, I would soon be endeavouring to<br />

re-enter the workforce so why not attempt to be employed in a career of my<br />

choice? I took the initiative to participate in <strong>STEPS</strong> 2001 because my friend<br />

was enjoying <strong>STEPS</strong> and for minimal outlay, I could discover if I really did<br />

want to study again or if I should just find a job. <strong>STEPS</strong> would be a<br />

stepping stone to a new career, a fulfillment of my aspirations. For<br />

approximately $100 and six months commitment, <strong>STEPS</strong> would enable me<br />

to taste education again, explore my determination to undertake the<br />

commitment, and assess if, after almost 20 years, I had the mental capacity<br />

to triumph. <strong>STEPS</strong> was to be my testing ground and, if I decided afterwards<br />

that I did not wish to continue studying, then I had lost nothing but had<br />

gained direction, confidence and skills.<br />

Impact<br />

Impact is ‘the contact of one thing against another’. Whenever we make<br />

choices, there is impact. Luckily, <strong>STEPS</strong> refined my time management<br />

skills (somewhat). Families become accustomed to mothers being home.<br />

With a shift-worker husband, a working son, a daughter in high school and<br />

two sons in lower primary school, sport, household chores and life in<br />

general, combined with full-time study, it was hectic. Everyone had to learn<br />

new skills, adapt, attempt to be more organised and work as a team. A little<br />

more independence was learnt and my children saw that adults also learn<br />

and have homework.<br />

Commitment<br />

‘They are able who think they are able.’ Commitment meant keeping to<br />

deadlines, keeping balance between study and family, and not surrendering<br />

to the urge to quit when life got too chaotic. Knowing what I wanted and<br />

having the drive to carry on meant achieving the end result — completion<br />

of the program and the launch towards my goal. At <strong>STEPS</strong>, commitment<br />

was characterised by friendship, the kind of friendship where each student<br />

supplied strength and encouragement. We spent every day with each other,<br />

sharing our lives and offering positive encouragement.<br />


Durability<br />

Part Four: Student transformations<br />

Attempting to renew old skills and knowledge and learn new, sometimes<br />

‘alien’, concepts, I found it was sheer willpower, stubbornness, friendship<br />

and support that kept me focused. The excitement of learning and<br />

succeeding, plus the adrenaline rush, were what drove me. It was a new<br />

experience studying again after so many years, but the human body is much<br />

more durable than we give it credit for. You only need to look at life in<br />

general to discover the strong will and resilience of the human body and<br />

mind. ‘What does not destroy me makes me strong.’ I believe the<br />

excitement of learning, the support of family and friends and my constant<br />

determination assisted in overcoming any fatigue. I knew I wanted to learn,<br />

to achieve and to do it well.<br />

Innovation<br />

Innovation! Let us talk computers, attending class, creative writing and<br />

public speaking. Computers were a challenge, almost an alien life form;<br />

they certainly had a mind of their own. We became creative with our<br />

writing, overcoming challenges and keeping each other positive.<br />

The most innovative component for me was the public speaking. The<br />

lecturers were extremely helpful in developing our skills from that first twominute<br />

talk about ourselves through to the grand finale, a 20-minute<br />

researched, entertaining and informative presentation. I found the most<br />

difficult element was actually deciding on a topic. Finally, I selected<br />

‘Laughter is the best medicine’ — an apt topic. Deciding to enjoy the<br />

ordeal, I dressed in a clown costume with clown hair and a red nose, and<br />

with the assistance of circus music and a ‘creative’ dance routine,<br />

encouraged the audience to be involved. One may as well make an<br />

entrance! Using medical advice, video footage and research on Patch<br />

Adams and the Gesundheit Institute, I managed to keep the audience<br />

interested and educate them on the physical, emotional and mental benefits<br />

of laughter. Quite impressive, I thought. I guess it was not too shabby as I<br />

was asked to repeat the performance for other students as well as integrate<br />

the concept at graduation when I spoke on behalf of the students.<br />


Achievements<br />

Part Four: Student transformations<br />

I have many accomplishments in my life, as do we all. A happy marriage,<br />

four wonderful children, a caring and supportive family and a rewarding<br />

career are the most obvious.<br />

From <strong>STEPS</strong>, I continued studies, completing a Bachelor of Learning<br />

Management with distinction in 2004. In 2005, I began my new career as a<br />

learning support/special needs teacher at a local high school; married the<br />

wonderful man with whom I have shared a life, a home and children for<br />

many, many years; turned forty on the same day; and in July proudly<br />

participated in the graduation walk up the main street of Gladstone. At the<br />

ceremony I was awarded the Education and Creative Arts prize. While at<br />

CQU, I was a student mentor for two years. I was also invited to be the<br />

graduate speaker at Orientation but, regretfully, could not attend. Last year,<br />

I was invited to be guest speaker at the <strong>STEPS</strong> Graduation, which was a<br />

great honour, and in August, a friend (a fellow teacher) and I were guest<br />

speakers for the Gladstone Career Pathways night at CQU. This year, I have<br />

proudly been part of a CQU promotion on the benefits of study, and now I<br />

am part of this celebration of <strong>STEPS</strong>. From humble <strong>STEPS</strong> beginnings<br />

came a bundle of opportunities and experiences that I cherish and enjoy.<br />

In conclusion, I would like to thank everyone who supported and guided me<br />

during those first six months of study. Completing <strong>STEPS</strong> was a new<br />

beginning, a formation of friendships and a boost for morale. The lecturers<br />

were not only educators; they were friends, mentors and moral supporters.<br />

For me, <strong>STEPS</strong> was a testing ground, an instrument, but also a wonderful<br />

experience.<br />

Life encompasses change. Embracing it is our prerogative. Taking the<br />

advice of friends, daring to challenge oneself and resisting the fear of<br />

change enable each of us to STEP beyond our comfort zones to experience<br />

more from life. Life is a journey where sometimes we choose the<br />

destination, either local or uncharted horizons. <strong>STEPS</strong> was a stepping stone<br />

across the oceans, a path to a dream, a lever to a career of my choice. Even<br />

in those who choose not to continue study, <strong>STEPS</strong> develops confidence and<br />

instills a sense of pride and achievement that allows the individual to step<br />

out into the world with self-belief. New friendships are formed, and the<br />

literacy, numeracy, technology and public speaking benefit everyone.<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

Thank you <strong>STEPS</strong>, and thank you to my wonderful family and friends who<br />

are always there for me.<br />


Turning point<br />

Max Fleet<br />

Part Four: Student transformations<br />

Service station attendant, bricky’s labourer, shark fisherman, pizza delivery<br />

boy, waiter, second chef, restaurant manager, highway maintenance worker,<br />

sports shop manager, fruit picker, tyre fitter, wide-load pilot driver, farm<br />

supervisor and drop-saw operator at a timber mill. Between the age of 16<br />

and 30, I held these and many other positions. Although considered<br />

respectable ways to make a living, none of them suited what I wanted to do<br />

with my life by a long shot. They were a means to an end, a way to keep the<br />

wolves from my door and to give me a sense of self worth. Nevertheless,<br />

none of them helped me release the skills I knew existed within me…until I<br />

found <strong>STEPS</strong>!<br />

I completed high school in Year 10 in Tasmania and, although I went on to<br />

further my education, I didn’t take it seriously. Years 11 and 12 were a<br />

write-off for me. It wasn’t that I couldn’t cope with the workload; it was<br />

more a case of not wanting to. I was more interested in my freedom, my<br />

mates, my girlfriends. As a result of my frivolity, I was relatively unskilled<br />

at the age of 18 and moved from one unskilled job to the next for 12 years,<br />

sometimes of my own accord and sometimes not! During those years, I<br />

tried to find what it was that I felt was missing in my life by travelling and<br />

sometimes living overseas. England and America were two major ports of<br />

call for me, and I spent several years in both countries, searching for<br />

something to fill the void in my life. Upon my return to Australia, then aged<br />

27, I began the difficult cycle of re-establishment again: odd jobs, renting a<br />

house, buying a car. However, by the time I was 30, I wasn’t any better off<br />

than I was when I was 18! That was the turning point in my life.<br />

I had always desired to further my education to enable me to get a career<br />

doing something I enjoyed, but, because of my failure to successfully<br />

complete Years 11 and 12, I never dreamt it was possible. I thought of the<br />

prospect of going to university akin to daydreaming about winning the<br />

Lotto. Not me. I’d never get in. My grades aren’t good enough, and it’s far<br />

too expensive anyway. These were the comments that continuously entered<br />

my head, coupled with laughter at my folly for even thinking about it.<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

Then a door opened. Standing in this doorway was Karen Seary, Head of<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong>, who invited me in for a chat. What followed changed my life. To<br />

my amazement, I was shown a way to make my life complete, to fill that<br />

void and to break out of the rut which I had created for myself. Karen<br />

described the <strong>STEPS</strong> program to me thoroughly and I was convinced that I<br />

could do it … and I did! I sat the entrance test and passed, and a date was<br />

set for me to begin the <strong>STEPS</strong> program. Three long months went by as I<br />

waited (in a caravan — working in a timber mill) for my second chance at<br />

success, and, finally, it came. Nervousness, anticipation, anxieties, fears and<br />

excitement raced through my body and mind on my first day back, my first<br />

day back at ‘big school’!<br />

I didn’t know what to expect from <strong>STEPS</strong> at first, but it soon became clear<br />

that it was a comprehensive vehicle for me to attain entry level to<br />

mainstream university and a shot at following my dreams. The staff were<br />

(and still are) amazing. They were always happy to help, and more than<br />

able to do so. It was their efforts that made my transition to academic life a<br />

breeze. They are the dream-makers; they are the magicians who can turn<br />

what seems like a hopeless pre-ordained lifestyle into an amazing change of<br />

perspective. They helped me realise that I could follow my long-lost dreams<br />

and stamp my foot confidently on whatever career path I chose. For that I<br />

am eternally grateful. To the <strong>STEPS</strong> program, and all the staff at Bundaberg<br />

campus, thank you for changing my life.<br />

Maximilian Fleet, 3 rd year Multimedia student and aspiring film writer/director.<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

Memories of the first <strong>STEPS</strong> group in<br />

Gladstone — 1989<br />

Christine Petersen<br />

‘1000 words! My God! How will I ever be able to write that much. That<br />

will take me forever. What could I possibly write about? It’s a book!’ Well,<br />

almost a book. A chapter in fact, and a short one at that.<br />

And that’s what the <strong>STEPS</strong> program was all about — teaching mature-age<br />

students some of the necessary academic requirements for tertiary<br />

education, and awakening their memories to all things learned and forgotten<br />

in school. What a task! What a challenge for the dedicated and wonderfully<br />

talented, patient lecturers at the Gladstone campus of the then Capricornia<br />

Institute of Advanced Education, as well as for the 12 participants of the<br />

first program –Wendy Tomlinson, Jill McLeod, Leslie Greig, Raelene<br />

Thams, Pat Rose, Linda Grundon, Gwen Forest, Cheryl Lee-Brown,<br />

Nic Grommitt, Ulysses Aquilizan, Jenny Wilson and Christine Petersen.<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> then, as now, offered mature-age students an opportunity to bridge<br />

the gap between school leaving and university via the upgrading of skills<br />

and scores. Our class, the first <strong>STEPS</strong> group in Gladstone, was made up of<br />

mostly mature women enthused by a desire to attempt higher education, to<br />

return to the workforce or have a chance at a missed education. We had two<br />

young men, Nic and Ulysses, as part of our group, both with a keen need to<br />

improve their English skills for entry into nursing.<br />

We were all within a similar age range. Most of us had kids somewhere in<br />

the school system, and we all had enthusiasm, and a sense of humour — the<br />

ability to laugh at ourselves and our mistakes. In fact, most of what I<br />

remember is the hilarity in the classroom, the friendships formed, endless<br />

discussions about life, the world, other worlds and our newly acquired<br />

anxieties. Could we really go on and attempt university? Where did all the<br />

information frequently lost on the computer end up? And what does it all<br />

mean?<br />

Education is not merely the acquisition of knowledge but the gaining of<br />

self-confidence in the classroom, in our everyday interactions, and in our<br />

ability to test and stretch ourselves. Four people worked diligently at<br />

helping us achieve these things. One of those people assigned the task of<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

teaching these 12 willing adults was Marian Knapp, a delightful expat from<br />

the USA, whose job it was to find exactly what we did know about<br />

essay/assignment writing, information gathering and sifting, sorting and<br />

reassembling all the parts into a coherent, cohesive and a hopefully<br />

meaningful piece of work. Marian was definitely an optimist.<br />

We longed for break-time where we would rush outside and grab a coffee.<br />

The smokers would light up, and we would rehash everything just learnt.<br />

Our assignment with Marian was on the environment. I still have it<br />

somewhere in my own archives, along with every handwritten note I took<br />

in all my years of undergraduate and postgraduate work. (I think I foolishly<br />

believed that some day I would sit down and re-read each sheet slowly in an<br />

effort to understand what it was I had actually learnt.) Still waiting for that<br />

one.<br />

We talked out loud to each other and to Marian in class, and we laughed.<br />

We laughed at what we knew, what we didn’t know, and even more when<br />

we thought of the task in front of us — an assignment. The minutes before<br />

class were abuzz with the exchange of information and news — mostly<br />

with each other’s lives. One was having a baby with her partner; another<br />

was wondering how she would cope with study, a husband and a job. We<br />

helped normalise each other’s day-to-day traumas, and encouraged each<br />

other. For a newcomer to Gladstone as I was, the town became a much<br />

smaller and friendlier place.<br />

Julie Lovell (then Julie Millington), young, enthusiastic and a whiz with<br />

maths and computers, invested hours explaining the benefits of modern<br />

technology — spreadsheets, Word programs and Excel. We all dutifully<br />

booked our computer times, and, armed with pencil and notebook for<br />

recording all the necessary commands and functions, hung on every word<br />

that fell out of her mouth. Getting into and out of PCs was to prove an<br />

enormous task for me over the ensuing years as I tackled my tertiary terms<br />

and lost assignments, some lost to the world of hard drives forever. I<br />

remember Julie as young, talented and a very sharp dresser. I think I envied<br />

her fashion sense rather than her brilliance at the computer, although I am<br />

still working hard at mastering both.<br />

Rex Metcalfe, director of the campus, was an all-round good guy. I don’t<br />

recall what it was that Rex taught us. We did discuss some very good<br />

movies and politics, and education of course. Perhaps that was enough.<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

Lynne Campbell taught us maths, social maths I recall, not that I’ve ever<br />

discussed maths at any social event I’ve since attended. In my years as an<br />

undergraduate and postgraduate student, I did everything humanly possible<br />

to avoid maths completely. This subject proved the most taxing for some of<br />

the class long since out of school. It was definitely the more serious of our<br />

classes, and we all worked harder and quieter. It couldn’t have been easy<br />

for Lynne, digging deep into the recesses of our brains to find where we<br />

had buried our algebraic equations. And geometry! I’d almost forgotten the<br />

joy in parallelograms and equilateral triangles, transposing x’s and y’s and<br />

other consonants into a column on the far side of the page, and staring<br />

blankly waiting for an answer or something to appear. I do hope Lynne<br />

reads this and is happy that I’ve remembered.<br />

And with all the hours of work, study and searching, we all came through<br />

— graduated and relieved. What an achievement! I have wondered at times<br />

where people went to next, and what things have happened in their lives.<br />

Some of us stayed and started our first year of a tertiary degree in the same<br />

little old building that was given university status. I left at the end of year<br />

one for Brisbane, and in the huge and often overwhelming campus of St<br />

Lucia, thought of the little group I started with, and how we had helped<br />

each other in a friendly and nurturing way.<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

Journey to who knows where<br />

Carolyn Jacobson<br />

There was no question about not going on to Year 12. Besides, I was<br />

having too much fun at school to contemplate finishing at Year 10 like<br />

some of my friends — and to be a responsible citizen and become<br />

independent of my parents wasn’t worth a second thought. <strong>University</strong> had<br />

never crossed my mind. I would finish year 12 and get a job. I wasn’t smart<br />

enough to go to uni.<br />

At 18 I met the love of my life. Marriage followed, and a few years on<br />

came the first of three beautiful boys. I worked here and there, became<br />

involved in community projects, held committee positions and concentrated<br />

on being a wife and mother. I was fulfilled — or so I thought.<br />

After moving a short distance to the next town, due to my husband’s work,<br />

I was able to enjoy things that our previous town had not been able to offer.<br />

My youngest child was only 12 months old, so my priority was still to be a<br />

mother first and foremost at this stage, though I was yearning for something<br />

more. I wanted a taste so I started my first small business. What was I<br />

selling, you ask? Water. My father thought I had lost the plot! Who is going<br />

to buy water? I purchased a van, and with my 16-month-old son perched up<br />

in his car seat, we managed to convince many businesses and residents that<br />

spring water was much better than tap water. Loading and delivering 20<br />

litre bottles all week takes its toll, and five years on, the body said<br />

‘Enough!’.<br />

At last, the children were all at school. Now I would be able to do anything<br />

I wanted. That would be getting a job at the school, keeping an eye on the<br />

children and being paid as well. That would satisfy me — well, for a little<br />

while, anyway. What’s this? An advertisement for the <strong>STEPS</strong> program in<br />

the local paper? No time for that this year. I’ll think about that … next year.<br />

I found that one of my friends had enrolled and was enjoying the <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

program. I told her I had thought about doing the program but didn’t think I<br />

would be able to until the children were a little older. She said that knowing<br />

me and what I had achieved so far with three little children, doing the<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> program would be a breeze. After talking with another friend, I<br />


Part Four: Student transformations<br />

found that she had considered doing <strong>STEPS</strong> also. What better than to have<br />

a buddy to study with.<br />

The journey began.<br />

Surprisingly, I found the work quite easy. I was committed to being at the<br />

campus at set times with work completed and found that, with the support<br />

of my family, I was able to achieve what was needed. It was a bit of a<br />

juggle at times: children at sport, their homework, my homework, dinner on<br />

the table, ironing piling up — but fortunately, or unfortunately, I have a<br />

personal ethic — NEVER GIVE UP!!! I just can’t. I am not a quitter.<br />

Throughout the year, we were encouraged, helped and, for some, almost<br />

carried across the finish line. For those who didn’t make the finish line, I<br />

felt sad for they had started something they obviously wanted but were<br />

unable to continue and didn’t finish the journey.<br />

I remember fondly the laughs we had during classes, and the frustration<br />

endured when we couldn’t manage to fit anything more into our lives.<br />

Steph Garoni, the coordinator of the Emerald <strong>STEPS</strong> program, was our<br />

rock and a tremendous language lecturer also; she guided, coached, and<br />

cried and laughed with most of us at some time or another. I recall more<br />

detail of the language lessons than the other subjects we were doing, mostly<br />

because it was the subject I struggled with. Comprehension was not a<br />

favourite of mine at school, and at a mature age I still found it difficult.<br />

Also, I am not a naturally expressive person, so to open up and display<br />

feeling and emotion in a written form was somewhat foreign to me. How I<br />

have progressed! <strong>STEPS</strong> taught me how to overcome my fear of<br />

expression, and here I am doing just that.<br />

I truly believe <strong>STEPS</strong> opens up not only the door to further learning, but<br />

also to many other new paths and challenges that would never have been<br />

explored if the student had continued on, satisfied with what they had<br />

already achieved. Whether the decision to conquer <strong>STEPS</strong> is for further<br />

study or just for self-satisfaction and the ability to say ‘I’ve done it!’, it is<br />

truly amazing how a new, quite different person leaves the <strong>University</strong><br />

campus after those 26 weeks.<br />

The journey continues.<br />


Appendices, Index and Endnotes<br />

Appendices, Index and Endnotes<br />


Appendices, Index and Endnotes<br />

Appendix A — A thumbnail sketch of<br />

CQU<br />

<strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong> <strong>University</strong> is one of the most innovative, dynamic and<br />

richly diverse universities in Australia. Over the past 30 years, CQU has<br />

developed a network of campuses. It has nine campuses situated along the<br />

east coast of Australia and international operations extending into the<br />

Pacific and Southeast Asia. Its five campuses in <strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong> alone<br />

are scattered across an area bigger than Victoria, from Bundaberg to<br />

Emerald, Gladstone, Mackay and its largest — also its administrative centre<br />

— Rockhampton. In addition there are campuses for international students<br />

(and a limited number of Australian full-fee paying students) located in<br />

Brisbane, Gold Coast, Melbourne and Sydney. There is an international<br />

campus in Fiji, and offshore delivery sites in Hong Kong and Singapore<br />

that are jointly coordinated by CQU and local institutes.<br />

CQU enjoys a reputation as one of Australia's most progressive and<br />

innovative universities. In both teaching and research, our highly qualified<br />

and internationally recruited staff place emphasis on finding and<br />

challenging new frontiers in our specialist areas of the natural sciences,<br />

information technology, humanities, social sciences, media and<br />

communications, health and medical sciences, sport and human movement<br />

sciences, engineering, economics, business, education, the arts and music.<br />

In 2006, the <strong>University</strong> has a total of 24,102 students. Of this total, there are<br />

12,515 international students and 11,587 domestic students.<br />


Appendices, Index and Endnotes<br />

Figure – CQU campus locations<br />

(Source: CQU Annual Report 2004)<br />


Appendices, Index and Endnotes<br />

Appendix B — Staff writing on <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Refereed journal articles<br />

Coombes, PN & Danaher, G (forthcoming), From the margins to the centre:<br />

the power of transformative learning in Australia, (paper accepted for<br />

publication in the International Journal of Pedagogies and Learning).<br />

Kennedy, I 2004, ‘An assessment strategy to help forestall plagiarism<br />

problems’, Studies in Learning, Evaluation, Innovation and Development,<br />

vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 1–8.<br />

McConachie, J & Simpson, J 2004, ‘Social entrepreneurship: an Australian<br />

university transforms a regional community through diversity and<br />

innovation’, <strong>Queensland</strong> Journal of Educational Research, vol. 19, no. 2,<br />

pp. 100–118, viewed 30 June 2006,<br />

http://education.curtin.edu.au/iier/qjer/qjer19/mcconachie.html<br />

McIntosh, S 2001, ‘A critical writing pedagogy: who benefits?’,<br />

<strong>Queensland</strong> Journal of Educational Research, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 152–163,<br />

viewed 30 June 2006, http://www.iier.org.au/qjer/qjer17/mcintosh.html<br />

Seary, K & Willans, J 2004, ‘It’s more than just academic essays and rules<br />

of mathematics: travelling the road with Heroes on the <strong>STEPS</strong> journey as<br />

they convert the milestones of their learning journey into signposts for their<br />

future’, Australian Journal of Adult Learning, vol. 44, no. 3, pp. 306–326.<br />

Simpson, J & Coombes, PN 2001, ‘Adult learning as a hero’s journey:<br />

researching mythic structure as a model for transformational change’,<br />

<strong>Queensland</strong> Journal of Educational Research, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 164–177,<br />

viewed 30 June 2006,<br />

http://education.curtin.edu.au/iier/qjer/qjer17/simpson.html<br />

Strahm, M & Danaher, P 2005, ‘Getting them thinking: the role of the<br />

student questionnaire in promoting academic and social integration’,<br />

Studies in Learning, Evaluation, Innovation and Development, vol. 2, no. 3,<br />

pp. 44–54.<br />

Strahm, M 2007, ‘Co-operative learning: group processing and students’<br />

needs for self-worth and belonging’, Alberta Journal of Educational<br />

Research, vol. 53, no. 1.<br />


Appendices, Index and Endnotes<br />

Willans, J, Harreveld, RE & Danaher, PA 2003, ‘Enhancing higher<br />

education transitions through negotiated engagements of learning<br />

experiences: lessons from a pre-undergraduate language education course,’<br />

<strong>Queensland</strong> Journal of Educational Research, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 42–50,<br />

viewed 3 July 2006, http://www.iier.org.au/qjer/qjer19/willans.html<br />

Non-refereed journal articles<br />

Danaher, GR, Coombes, PN, Simpson, J, Harreveld, RE & Danaher, PA<br />

2002, ‘From double agents to double vision: marginalisation and potential<br />

transformation among three groups of open and distance teachers’, Open<br />

and Distance Learning Association of Australia Occasional Papers,<br />

pp. 12–25.<br />

Book chapters<br />

Brennan, MT, Coombes, PN, McConachie, J & Simpson, J 1997, ‘<strong>STEPS</strong><br />

to meeting client requirements: learning styles and open learning in an<br />

Australian university bridging course’, in J Osborne, D Roberts & J Walker<br />

(eds), Open, flexible and distance learning: selected papers from the 13 th<br />

biennial forum of the Open and Distance Learning Association of Australia<br />

(in association with the Australian Association of Distance Education<br />

Schools), pp. 70–75, <strong>University</strong> of Tasmania, Launceston.<br />

Coombes, PN, Simpson, J, Danaher, GR & Danaher, PA 2001, ‘Double<br />

vision and transforming universities: lessons from an Australian university<br />

pre-undergraduate bridging program’, in Learner-centered universities for<br />

the new millennium: 26 th international conference Rand Afrikaans<br />

<strong>University</strong>, 9–12 July, pp. 347–352, Rand Afrikaans <strong>University</strong>,<br />

Johannesburg, South Africa.<br />

McIntosh, S 2004, ‘Developing a critical writing course: a risky business’,<br />

in PN Coombes, MJM Danaher & PA Danaher (eds), Strategic<br />

uncertainties: ethics, politics and risk in contemporary educational<br />

research, Post Pressed, Flaxton, <strong>Queensland</strong>.<br />

Seary, K, Willans, J, McIntosh, S, Simpson, J & Garoni, S (forthcoming),<br />

‘Shedding past notions of marginalized education: how understanding<br />

learning styles can transform perspectives on learning’, in J McConachie,<br />

R Harreveld, J Luck, F Nouwens & P Danaher (eds), Doctrina perpetua:<br />

brokering change, expanding learning, promoting innovation and<br />

transforming marginalization at <strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong> <strong>University</strong>, Australia.<br />


Appendices, Index and Endnotes<br />

Simpson, J 2004, ‘Freedom to live: the ethical responsibilities of<br />

researching a hero’s journey', in PN Coombes, MJM Danaher &<br />

PA Danaher (eds), Strategic uncertainties: ethics, politics and risk in<br />

contemporary educational research, Post Pressed, Flaxton, <strong>Queensland</strong>.<br />

Willans, J 2005, ‘Learning about learning: a catalyst for perspective<br />

transformation’, in B Knight, B Walker-Gibbs & A Harrison (eds),<br />

Researching educational capital in a technological age, Post Pressed,<br />

Teneriffe, <strong>Queensland</strong>.<br />

Conference papers and presentations<br />

Aldred, LS & Reid, BM 2003, ‘Adopting an innovative multiple media<br />

approach to learning for equity groups: electronically-mediated learning for<br />

off-campus students’, paper presented at the 20 th Annual Conference of the<br />

Australian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education,<br />

Adelaide, 7–10 December 2003, viewed 30 June 2006,<br />

http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/adelaide03/docs/pdf/27.pdf<br />

Brennan, MT, Coombes, PN, McConachie, J & Simpson, J 1997, ‘<strong>STEPS</strong><br />

to meeting client requirements: learning styles and open learning in an<br />

Australian university bridging course’, paper presented at the 13 th Biennial<br />

Forum of the Open and Distance Learning Association of Australia,<br />

<strong>University</strong> of Tasmania, 30 September, Launceston.<br />

Coombes, PN & Danaher, G 2006, ‘The power of the partner in promoting<br />

lifelong learning: the perspective of the mature-age student’, paper<br />

presented at the 4 th International Lifelong Learning Conference: Partners,<br />

pathways, and pedagogies, 13–16 June, Yeppoon.<br />

Danaher, G 2006, ‘Inalienable interconnective lifelong learning: pathways,<br />

partnerships, and pedagogies’, paper presented at the 4 th International<br />

Lifelong Learning Conference: Partners, pathways, and pedagogies, 13–16<br />

June, Yeppoon.<br />

Danaher, G, Willans, J, Forbes-Smith, L & Strahm, M 2006, ‘<strong>STEPS</strong>:<br />

successful pathways, partners and pedagogies’, paper presented at the 4 th<br />

International Lifelong Learning Conference: Partners, pathways, and<br />

pedagogies, 13–16 June, Yeppoon.<br />


Appendices, Index and Endnotes<br />

Flanders, M & Campbell, L 1997, ‘A first STEP to undergraduate<br />

mathematics for adult learners’, paper presented at Delta 97, a symposium<br />

of modern undergraduate mathematics, <strong>Queensland</strong> <strong>University</strong> of<br />

Technology, Brisbane.<br />

Kennedy, I & Hinton, L 2003, ‘The importance of being honest:<br />

educational integrity, plagiarism and other perplexities’, paper presented at<br />

the First Australasian Educational Integrity Conference, 21–22 November,<br />

<strong>University</strong> of South Australia, Adelaide.<br />

McIntosh, S 1998, ‘Promoting competencies for lifelong learning: a<br />

collaborative teaching model project’, paper presented at the Tertiary<br />

Writers Network Conference, November, Hamilton, New Zealand.<br />

McIntosh, S 2000, ‘Curricula and literacies: the struggles’, paper presented<br />

at the Effective teaching and learning conference, 9–10 November, The<br />

Teaching and Educational Development Institute, <strong>University</strong> of<br />

<strong>Queensland</strong>, Brisbane.<br />

McIntosh, S 2002, ‘Teaching academic writing using visual metaphor’,<br />

workshop presented at the Tertiary Writers Network Colloquium,<br />

Developing a voice: critical issues in academic literacies, 5–6 December,<br />

<strong>University</strong> of Technology, Auckland.<br />

Simpson, J & Coombes, PN 2004, ‘Learned optimism: motivation for<br />

lifelong learning in a pre-university preparatory program’, in P Danaher, C<br />

Macpherson, F Nouwens & D Orr (eds), Lifelong learning: whose<br />

responsibility and what is your contribution?, Proceedings of the<br />

3 rd International Lifelong Learning Conference, 13–16 June, Yeppoon,<br />

<strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong> <strong>University</strong> Press, Rockhampton.<br />

Simpson, J 2000, ‘Telling our stories of transformation: bridging the old to<br />

the new, adult learning as a hero’s journey’, paper presented at the Effective<br />

teaching and learning conference, 9–10 November, The Teaching and<br />

Educational Development Institute, <strong>University</strong> of <strong>Queensland</strong>, Brisbane.<br />

Simpson, J 2002, ‘Writing is a hero’s journey’, workshop presented at the<br />

Tertiary Writers Network Colloquium, Developing a voice: critical issues<br />

in academic literacies, 5–6 December, <strong>University</strong> of Technology,<br />

Auckland.<br />


Appendices, Index and Endnotes<br />

Simpson, J, McConachie, J, Coombes, PN, Danaher, GR, Harreveld, RE &<br />

Danaher, PA 2003, ‘Contesting transitions and (re-)engaging with<br />

subjectivities: locating and celebrating the habitus in three versions of the<br />

first year experience at <strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong> <strong>University</strong>’, in D Nulty &<br />

N Meyers (eds), 7 th Pacific Rim first year in higher education conference<br />

proceedings, 9–11 July, <strong>Queensland</strong> <strong>University</strong> of Technology, Brisbane.<br />

Willans, J & Simpson, J 2004, ‘Somewhere and sometime I changed:<br />

student voices from an enabling program’, in P Danaher, C Macpherson,<br />

F Nouwens & D Orr (eds), Lifelong learning: whose responsibility and<br />

what is your contribution?, proceedings of the 3 rd International Lifelong<br />

Learning Conference, 13–16 June, Yeppoon, <strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong><br />

<strong>University</strong> Press, Rockhampton.<br />


Appendices, Index and Endnotes<br />

Appendix C — <strong>STEPS</strong> program<br />

offerings — 2006<br />

The following unofficial outline provides an overview of the courses that<br />

make up the various <strong>STEPS</strong> offerings. Full official details are to be found<br />

at: http://www.steps.cqu.edu.au/index.htm<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> Accelerated CZ01<br />

A 12-week (= one term) program involving 18 hours of weekly oncampus<br />

attendance<br />

Courses<br />

Language and Learning (LNGE40049)<br />

This course aims to have students acquire the reading, thinking and writing<br />

skills necessary for academic purposes. It helps students to apply recent<br />

findings on learning to writing and study. Students are familiarised with the<br />

stages of the writing process and gain practice in writing in a variety of<br />

genres. Particular attention is given to reading for planning and writing the<br />

academic essay. Through research, writing and discussion, students gain an<br />

understanding of social, political and economic influences, both past and<br />

present, on Australia as it faces social change in the 21st century.<br />

Transition Mathematics 1 (MATH40237)<br />

Transition Mathematics 1 is a course in elementary mathematics. It is<br />

designed to introduce students to those fundamental concepts and<br />

techniques that are necessary for the study of mathematics. It also aims to<br />

assist students to develop confidence in mathematics and motivate them to<br />

undertake further study in the field. Topics covered include number types,<br />

operations with numbers (including the rules of precedence), percentages,<br />

introductory algebra, statistics, exponents (indices), solving simple<br />

equations, coordinate geometry of the straight line, and units and their<br />

conversions.<br />

Computing for Academic Assignment Writing (COIT40206)<br />

This course aims to develop skills necessary for word processing<br />

assignments correctly using Microsoft Word and for creating spreadsheets<br />

using Microsoft Excel. Through use of the Internet (World Wide Web and<br />

Webmail in particular) students develop research and other skills necessary<br />


Appendices, Index and Endnotes<br />

for academic studies. In addition, they learn how to submit assignments and<br />

assessment tasks electronically, using Blackboard. Some work on using<br />

PowerPoint in presentations is also included.<br />

Tertiary Preparation Skills (SKIL40013)<br />

Students are familiarised with the <strong>University</strong>’s programs and procedures<br />

and learn how to select and apply for enrolment in different fields of study.<br />

They also develop the organisational strategies, oral presentation skills and<br />

research/information literacy skills necessary for academic studies.<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> Extended (CZ04)<br />

A 24-week (= two terms) program involving 16 hours of weekly oncampus<br />

attendance<br />

Courses<br />

Language and Learning A (LNGE40054) Term 1<br />

This course gives an introduction to recent findings on learning and shows<br />

how these can be applied to writing and study. Students are also<br />

familiarised with the stages of the writing process and gain practice in<br />

writing in a variety of genres, particularly personal ones.<br />

Language and Learning B (LNGE40056) Term 2<br />

This course further develops the whole-brain learning strategies introduced<br />

in Language and Learning A and shows how they can be applied to reading<br />

for planning and writing the academic essay. Through research, writing and<br />

discussion, students gain an understanding of social, political and economic<br />

influences, both past and present, on Australia as it faces social change in<br />

the 21st century.<br />

Transition Mathematics 1A (MATH40232) Term 1 and Transition<br />

Mathematics 1B (MATH 40233) Term 2<br />

These two courses make up the mathematics component of the <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Extended program. Transition Mathematics 1A is a course in elementary<br />

mathematics. It is designed to introduce students to those fundamental<br />

concepts and techniques that are necessary for the study of mathematics. It<br />

also aims to assist students to develop confidence in mathematics and<br />

motivate them to undertake further study in the field. Topics covered<br />

include number types, operations with numbers (including the rules of<br />

precedence), percentages, introductory algebra and statistics. Transition<br />


Appendices, Index and Endnotes<br />

Mathematics 1B follows on from Transition Mathematics 1A and includes<br />

the exponents (indices), solving simple equations, coordinate geometry of<br />

the straight line, and units and their conversions.<br />

Computing for Academic Assignment Writing A (COIT40207) Term 1<br />

This course is designed to familiarise new users with the basic skills for<br />

setting out an academic assignment. Students learn to navigate Microsoft<br />

Word and how to access shortcuts to reduce the workload associated with<br />

preparing an academic assignment. Another aim is to have students gain<br />

proficiency in the use of Webmail and its protocols as well as in Internet<br />

searching. In addition, students learn how to submit assignments and<br />

assessment tasks electronically, using Blackboard.<br />

Computing for Academic Assignment Writing B (COIT40208) Term 2<br />

This course extends and consolidates skills acquired in Computing for<br />

Academic Assignment Writing A. It also aims to develop skills necessary<br />

for using Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint in an academic context.<br />

Tertiary Preparation Skills (SKIL40013) Term 1<br />

Students are familiarised with the <strong>University</strong>’s programs and procedures<br />

and learn how to select and apply for enrolment in different fields of study.<br />

They also develop the organisational strategies, oral presentation skills and<br />

research/information literacy skills necessary for academic studies.<br />

Tertiary Preparation Skills Extended (SKIL40016) Term 2<br />

This course is centred on the theories of optimism and authentic happiness.<br />

It seeks to facilitate the acquisition of a range of psychological and practical<br />

skills that are necessary for the challenges involved in tertiary study.<br />

Through a mixture of psychological theory, reflection and practical class<br />

activities, students will become aware of the importance of the impact of<br />

their personal attitudes and beliefs on the outcomes of study, and of the<br />

facilitative nature of an optimistic and positive style. Practical skills relating<br />

to the process of study will also form a key component of the course. The<br />

course aims for students to learn to adopt a positive and directive attitude<br />

towards study and to acquire the time management and study skills<br />

necessary to successfully cope with tertiary study.<br />


<strong>STEPS</strong> Flex (CZ05)<br />

Appendices, Index and Endnotes<br />

A 24-week (= two terms) program involving a weekly on-campus<br />

attendance of 9 hours<br />

Courses<br />

Language and Learning Flex A (LNGE40040) Term 1<br />

This course aims to have students acquire the reading, thinking and writing<br />

skills necessary for academic purposes. It helps students to apply recent<br />

findings on learning to writing and study. Students are familiarised with the<br />

stages of the writing process and gain practice in writing in a variety of<br />

genres.<br />

Language and Learning Flex B (LNGE40041) Term 2<br />

This course continues on from the Language and Learning Flex A.<br />

Particular attention is given to reading for planning and writing the<br />

academic essay. Through research, writing and discussion, students gain an<br />

understanding of social, political and economic influences, both past and<br />

present, on Australia as it faces social change in the 21st century.<br />

Transition Mathematics 1 Flex A (MATH40230) Term 1 and<br />

Transition Mathematics 1 Flex B (MATH 40231) Term 2<br />

These two courses make up the mathematics component of the <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Extended program. Transition Mathematics 1A is a course in elementary<br />

mathematics. It is designed to introduce students to those fundamental<br />

concepts and techniques that are necessary for the study of mathematics. It<br />

also aims to assist students to develop confidence in mathematics and<br />

motivate them to undertake further study in the field. Topics covered<br />

include number types, operations with numbers (including the rules of<br />

precedence), percentages, introductory algebra and statistics. Transition<br />

Mathematics 1B follows on from Transition Mathematics 1A and includes<br />

the exponents (indices), solving simple equations, coordinate geometry of<br />

the straight line, and units and their conversions.<br />

Computing for Academic Assignment Writing Flex A (COIT40212)<br />

Term 1<br />

This course aims to develop skills necessary for word-processing<br />

assignments correctly, particularly using Microsoft Word. Students use the<br />

Internet (World Wide Web and Webmail in particular) to develop research<br />

and other skills necessary for academic studies. In addition, they learn how<br />


Appendices, Index and Endnotes<br />

to submit assignments and assessment tasks electronically, using<br />

Blackboard.<br />

Computing for Academic Assignment Writing Flex B (COIT40213)<br />

Term 2<br />

This course continues on from Computing for Academic Assignment<br />

Writing Flex A. It aims to further develop skills necessary for word<br />

processing assignments correctly and for creating spreadsheets using<br />

Microsoft Excel. Students continue to use the Internet to develop research<br />

skills and learn how to use PowerPoint for presentations.<br />

Tertiary Preparation Flex A (SKIL40007) Term 1 and<br />

Tertiary Preparation Flex B (SKIL40008) Term 2<br />

In these two courses, students are familiarised with the <strong>University</strong>’s<br />

programs and procedures and learn how to select and apply for enrolment<br />

in different fields of study. They also develop the organisational strategies,<br />

oral presentation skills and research/information literacy skills necessary for<br />

academic studies.<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> External (CZ06)<br />

A 24-week (= two terms) program of off-campus study<br />

Courses<br />

Language and Learning External A (LNGE40052) Term 1 and<br />

Language and Learning External B (LNGE40053) Term 2<br />

Together, these courses aim to have students acquire the research, reading<br />

and writing skills necessary for constructing academic essays. Throughout<br />

the course, students are familiarised with the basic conventions of grammar,<br />

the various stages involved in planning, preparing and presenting a research<br />

essay, and the use of Harvard referencing conventions to support<br />

arguments.<br />

Transition Mathematics 1 External A (MATH40238) Term 1 and<br />

Transition Mathematics 1External B (MATH 40239) Term 2<br />

These two courses make up the mathematics component of the <strong>STEPS</strong><br />

Extended program. Transition Mathematics 1A is a course in elementary<br />

mathematics. It is designed to introduce students to those fundamental<br />

concepts and techniques that are necessary for the study of mathematics. It<br />

also aims to assist students to develop confidence in mathematics and<br />


Appendices, Index and Endnotes<br />

motivate them to undertake further study in the field. Topics covered<br />

include number types, operations with numbers (including the rules of<br />

precedence), percentages, introductory algebra and statistics. Transition<br />

Mathematics 1B follows on from Transition Mathematics 1A and includes<br />

the exponents (indices), solving simple equations, coordinate geometry of<br />

the straight line and units and their conversions.<br />

Computing for Academic Assignment Writing External A<br />

(COIT40216) Term 1<br />

This course aims to develop skills necessary for word processing<br />

assignments correctly using Microsoft Word. The use of the Internet<br />

(World Wide Web and WebMail in particular) aims to develop searching<br />

techniques for research and electronic communication skills necessary for<br />

academic studies. Blackboard (e-courses) will be used by students for<br />

quizzes, downloading resources and communication.<br />

Computing for Academic Assignment Writingt (World Wide Web and<br />

WebMail in particular) aims to develop searching techniques for research<br />

and electronic communication skills necessary for academic studies.<br />

Blackboard (e-courses) will be used by students for quizzes, downloading<br />

resources and communication.<br />

Computing for Academic Assignment Writing External B<br />

(COIT40217) Term 2<br />

Students develop skills in creating spreadsheets with Microsoft Excel, using<br />

data entry, formulae and charts. The use of equipment and software for the<br />

preparation of oral presentations will also be examined, these skills being<br />

necessary for future studies.<br />


Index<br />

Academic Assignment Writing,<br />

47, 49, 71, 190, 192, 193, 194,<br />

195<br />

Accelerated, program, 49, 53, 58,<br />

80, 190<br />

Adams, Nadine, 59, 170<br />

Adult Learners’ Week, 47, 138<br />

Advisory Committee, 43<br />

Ainsworth, Phil, 43<br />

Aldred, LS, 187<br />

Apollinaire, Guillaume, i<br />

Appleton, Prof. Arthur, 3, 22, 49<br />

Armstrong, Frank, 59<br />

Armstrong, Laurie, 104<br />

Atherton, Jinx, 57<br />

Australian Teaching Awards, 43<br />

Austudy, 48<br />

awards, 99, 156<br />

Batts, Josh, 107<br />

bond, 10, 67, 91, 93, 112, 157,<br />

160<br />

Booth, Leanne, 106<br />

Brazier, Frantiska, 78<br />

Brennan, MT, 186<br />

bridging program, xii, 3, 7, 14,<br />

21, 45, 145, 186<br />

Bundaberg campus, 23, 50, 113,<br />

138, 140, 142, 174<br />

Appendices, Index and Endnotes<br />

196<br />

Burke, Aidan, 8<br />

Campbell, Joseph, 33, 64<br />

Campbell, Lynne, 18, 19, 45, 46,<br />

48, 143, 144, 151, 177, 188<br />

Capricorn Local News, 14<br />

Capricornia Institute of<br />

Advanced Education, 3, 175, 202<br />

Carrick, award, xii<br />

Case, Greg, 41<br />

Cassano, Natalie, 35<br />

Centrelink, 41<br />

Chadwick, Stephen, 37, 110<br />

Challen, Sandra, 94<br />

Chipman, Prof. Lauchlan, 45,<br />

101, 102<br />

Christiansen, Peter, 57<br />

Cleal, Jane, 52<br />

Cleary, Val, 42<br />

Clift, Prof. Phillip, 103<br />

Cohalan, Sharon, 43, 53<br />

Commonwealth Employment<br />

Centre (CES), 4, 5, 7<br />

communications module, 10<br />

computing, ix, 13, 24, 25, 33, 35,<br />

44, 47, 88, 111, 139<br />

Connon, Mike, vii, 46, 55, 56<br />

contact hours, 8, 14

Coombes, Phyllida, 30, 32, 98,<br />

185, 186, 187, 188, 189<br />

Cousin, Scott, 159, 161<br />

Cowper, Mary, 149<br />

Cronin, Dr Jodi, 132, 134<br />

CRS Australia, 41<br />

Cunningham, Liz, 39<br />

curriculum, xii, 9, 20, 33, 47, 70,<br />

73, 86, 87, 88, 89<br />

Daly, Chris, 50, 143, 144, 145<br />

Danaher, Geoff, 53, 54, 89, 185,<br />

186, 187, 189<br />

Danaher, Patrick, 185, 186, 188,<br />

189<br />

Davis, Wendy, 57, 113<br />

Dekkers, Antony, 43, 54, 89<br />

Dekkers, Prof. John, 3, 88<br />

distance education, 10<br />

Division of Teaching and<br />

Learning Services, iv, vii, 42<br />

Douglas, Alan, 11<br />

eligibility criteria, 4<br />

Emerald campus, 16, 35, 36, 37,<br />

47, 48, 162, 202<br />

evaluations, student, 14<br />

Extended, program, 33, 48, 49,<br />

52, 54, 55, 58, 59, 80, 191, 192,<br />

193, 194<br />

external, 3, 14, 41, 42, 49, 78,<br />

90, 149, 163<br />

Appendices, Index and Endnotes<br />

197<br />

External, program, 3, 42, 49, 80,<br />

194, 195<br />

face-to-face, 8, 10, 18, 49, 50<br />

family connections, 4, 44, 77, 78,<br />

84, 90, 94, 101, 102, 111, 115,<br />

116, 123, 125, 126, 130, 131,<br />

132, 135, 140, 150, 152, 156,<br />

159, 160, 161, 162, 163, 168,<br />

169, 170, 171, 172, 179<br />

Farrands, Phillip, 7, 14<br />

First <strong>STEPS</strong> class photo,<br />

Bundaberg, 24<br />

First <strong>STEPS</strong> class photo,<br />

Gladstone, 19<br />

Flagship, program, 51<br />

Flanders, Margaret, 25, 138, 188<br />

Fleet, Maximilian, 50, 173, 174<br />

Flex, program, 49, 56, 60, 193<br />

Florer, Suellen, 101<br />

Forbes-Smith, Lynnette, 45, 59,<br />

157, 187<br />

Fuller, Milton, 7, 9, 14, 20, 42<br />

full-time, 4, 33, 48, 78, 159, 163,<br />

168, 169<br />

Gadsby, Allan, 109<br />

Galdal, Jody, 114<br />

Ganter, Simone, 50, 93, 146, 148<br />

Garoni, Stephanie, 35, 36, 39,<br />

47, 99, 179, 186<br />

Gladstone campus, 16, 17, 32,<br />

48, 97, 143, 175

Gladstone <strong>STEPS</strong> Coordinator,<br />

17, 18, 48<br />

Glover, Jeffrey, 106<br />

Godden, Gail, 13, 14, 23<br />

Golden Key Honour Society, 115<br />

Goulter, Prof. Ian, 30, 31<br />

government grant, 4, 16, 22<br />

graduation, 17, 39, 41, 94, 95,<br />

96, 97, 106, 122, 150, 170, 171<br />

Hancock, Prof. Glenice, 34, 44<br />

Harper, Greg, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 11,<br />

16, 20, 102<br />

Harreveld, Roberta, 186, 189<br />

Haussmann, David, 16<br />

Head of campus, 3, 17, 103<br />

Head of <strong>STEPS</strong>, vii, 42, 57, 138,<br />

157, 174<br />

Hero’s Journey, 33, 64, 65, 66,<br />

83, 85<br />

Higher Education Equity<br />

Program, 3<br />

Hindmarch, Megan, 18, 20, 29,<br />

32, 42, 43, 46, 57<br />

Hinton, L, 188<br />

Howard, Kathleen, 111<br />

Ilich, Susan Joyce, 28, 110<br />

intake, 7<br />

intake, student, 4<br />

interconnectedness, 73, 114<br />

Appendices, Index and Endnotes<br />

198<br />

internal, 41, 63, 163<br />

interview, xii, 18, 23, 24, 50, 63,<br />

80, 135, 160<br />

Jacobson, Carolyn, 178<br />

JET program, 41<br />

JET, program, 41, 48<br />

Jobs Network, 41<br />

Jones, Glenn, 90<br />

Joy, Juanita, 81, 91<br />

Joyce, Helen, 28<br />

Jung, Carl, 64<br />

Kennedy, Ingrid, 34, 35, 44, 52,<br />

53, 89, 185, 188<br />

Kiernan, Kate, 101<br />

King, Gordon, 25<br />

Knapp, Marian, 17, 19, 176<br />

Kroehn, Chris, 47<br />

Lancaster, Jason, 108<br />

Langley, Lois, 105<br />

Language and Learning, 10, 44,<br />

49, 70, 73, 138, 190, 191, 193,<br />

194<br />

Learning for life, 112<br />

learning journey, student, 33, 64,<br />

65, 70, 75, 83, 88, 117, 157<br />

learning support, 171<br />

lifelong learning, 63, 105, 125,<br />

151, 152, 187<br />

Lindley, James, 112

Lovell, Julie, 18, 19, 20<br />

Lowry, Lucy, 156<br />

Mackay campus, 16, 25, 103,<br />

149<br />

Mackay College of Technical<br />

and Further Education, 16<br />

Macpherson, C, 188, 189<br />

Map, CQU <strong>STEPS</strong> campuses, ii<br />

marginalised, 16, 30<br />

marketing, 4, 117<br />

mathematics, ix, 7, 8, 9, 13, 14,<br />

20, 23, 24, 25, 29, 33, 42, 43, 71,<br />

80, 87, 88, 96, 112, 138, 153,<br />

185, 188, 190, 191, 193, 194<br />

Mathematics Learning Centre,<br />

MLC, 4, 7, 43<br />

Mathieson, Steve, 16<br />

McConachie, Dr Jeanne, vii, 7,<br />

30, 32, 34, 35, 42, 90, 114, 185,<br />

186, 189<br />

McGrath, Suzanne, 4, 7<br />

McIntosh, Sue, 34, 52, 54, 89,<br />

185, 186, 188<br />

McLean, Kevin, 32, 149<br />

McMahon, Pam, 54<br />

McNulty, Kevin, 121, 124<br />

Metcalfe, Marian, 17<br />

Meyers, N, 189<br />

Millan, Stephen, 104<br />

Millington, Julie, 18, 176<br />

Appendices, Index and Endnotes<br />

199<br />

Monsour, Ann, 57, 83, 96<br />

Morrow, Jane, 130<br />

Nash, Dr Denzil, 140, 142<br />

Newby, Leonce, 27, 109<br />

Noble, Bill, 86<br />

Nouwens, F, 186, 188, 189<br />

O’Connor. Tracey, 28<br />

O’Donnell, Therese, 57<br />

Ockle, Nicky, 149<br />

oral presentation, 68, 70, 98,<br />

116, 160, 191, 192, 194, 195<br />

Orr, D, 188, 189<br />

Palmer, P, 64<br />

pamphlet, 4, 5, 23, 132<br />

part-time evening, 32<br />

Paterson, Bonnie, 77<br />

Patzwald, Amanda, 168<br />

Pearson, Carol, 114<br />

peer support, xiii, 10, 20, 86, 94,<br />

98, 102<br />

Pennells, Narelle, 115<br />

Perkins, Troy, 79<br />

Petersen, Christine, 19, 175<br />

PhD, 77, 104, 122<br />

philosophy, xiii, 61, 64, 72, 73,<br />

87, 89, 114<br />

photographs (2006 staff and<br />

students), 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57,<br />

58, 59, 60

Pickering, Georgina, 54<br />

pilot program, 7<br />

Pinkney, Lois, 23, 43, 59, 133,<br />

149<br />

press release, 1986, 102<br />

Reedman, Alexis, 59<br />

Reid, Bronwyn, 35, 47, 187<br />

retention rates, 28<br />

Richmond, Katrina, 59<br />

Rickard, Prof. John, 96, 117<br />

Ricketts, Stephen, 92<br />

Risson, Lyn, 111<br />

Ritchie, Stacey, 125, 129<br />

Rosenblatt, Jo, 36, 48, 60<br />

Ross, Elaine, 79<br />

Ryan, Cheryl, 104<br />

Saint, Robyn, 100, 116<br />

Salmon, Jan, 57<br />

Sankey, Angela, 34, 79<br />

Saw, Susan, 25<br />

Scarpelli, Judy, 60<br />

Seary, Karen, vii, 25, 32, 42, 51,<br />

57, 135, 136, 138, 139, 153, 174,<br />

185, 186<br />

self-paced, 13, 44, 71<br />

Senior Administrative Officer,<br />

11<br />

Sharrock, Irene, 13, 202<br />

Appendices, Index and Endnotes<br />

200<br />

Shaw, Susan, 23<br />

Shields, Sharron, 89<br />

Simpson, Jenny, vii, xii, xiii, 32,<br />

33, 34, 35, 44, 46, 79, 89, 90,<br />

108, 122, 124, 137, 185, 186,<br />

188, 189<br />

Stacey, Bernadette, 22<br />

Steley, Doug, 14<br />

Stewart, Vicki, 93<br />

Stoodly, Johanne, 135, 136<br />

Strahm, Muriel, 46, 48, 151, 185,<br />

187<br />

student-centred model, 73<br />

Study Skills booklet, 10<br />

Sturgess, Phillipa, 54<br />

Swallow, Llewellyn, 115<br />

Sypher, Gai Patricia, 36, 39, 111,<br />

112<br />

Szemes, Kerin, 162, 164<br />

TAFE, 10, 24, 132, 138, 149,<br />

157<br />

temperament types, 70, 88<br />

tertiary education, xii, 3, 7, 11,<br />

16, 22, 31, 49, 78, 112, 175<br />

tertiary preparation, 41, 49, 70,<br />

98, 138, 191, 192, 194<br />

test, xiii, 7, 9, 24, 32, 63, 68, 79,<br />

80, 81, 82, 87, 88, 96, 116, 128,<br />

132, 133, 138, 146, 149, 159,<br />

174<br />

The Morning Bulletin, 10, 202

Thomas, Dion, 137, 139<br />

Todorovic, Violetta, 52<br />

tolerance, 86, 87<br />

transformation, 66, 73, 85, 87,<br />

114, 116, 186, 187, 188<br />

transition mathematics, 29, 30,<br />

43, 49, 190, 191, 193, 194<br />

Ukena, James, 100, 153, 155<br />

UniNews, 77<br />

<strong>University</strong> College of <strong>Central</strong><br />

<strong>Queensland</strong>, 202<br />

<strong>University</strong> medal, 37<br />

Uren, Heather Patricia, 110<br />

Veach, Irene, 13<br />

velveteen rabbit, 72<br />

Vice-Chancellor, 26, 30, 44, 45,<br />

96<br />

Vogler, C, 33, 64<br />

Walker, J, 186<br />

Appendices, Index and Endnotes<br />

201<br />

Walker-Gibbs, B, 187<br />

Wardzinski, Del, 28<br />

Warhol, Andy, 167<br />

Weedon, Sandi, 89, 105<br />

White, Ursula, 165<br />

Whiteley, Gerda, 46<br />

Wilkinson, Vincent, 108<br />

Willans, Julie, 45, 53, 185, 186,<br />

187, 189<br />

Wirriganwalters, Nerida, 150<br />

Women Into Science and<br />

Technology, WIST, 49<br />

word of mouth, 11<br />

word processing, 8, 9, 13, 25, 71,<br />

190, 194, 195<br />

writer’s journey, 33<br />

Yarrow, Gina, 10, 107<br />

Zemlicoff, Fayleen, 83<br />

Zussino, Leo, 95

Endnotes<br />

Part One<br />

Appendices, Index and Endnotes<br />

1 Telephone interview, Stacey Doyle with Greg Harper, 24 February 2006.<br />

2 Interview, Stacey Doyle with John Dekkers, 2 February 2006.<br />

3 Interview, Stacey Doyle with John Dekkers, 2 February 2006.<br />

4 <strong>STEPS</strong> to success in Higher Education at CQU: A <strong>University</strong> Bridging<br />

Course as an Actor-Network, 1998.<br />

5 Telephone interview, Stacey Doyle with Greg Harper, 24 February 2006.<br />

6 Annual Report, Capricornia Institute of Advanced Education, 1986.<br />

7 PowerPoint presentation to 2006 <strong>STEPS</strong> staff, Karen Seary, 25 January<br />

2006.<br />

8 Telephone interview, Stacey Doyle with Greg Harper, 24 February 2006.<br />

9 Telephone interview, Stacey Doyle with Greg Harper, 24 February 2006.<br />

10 Belinda Loakes, CQU <strong>Library</strong> Archives.<br />

11 Interview, Stacey Doyle with Milton Fuller, 21 February 2006.<br />

12 Telephone interview, Stacey Doyle with Greg Harper, 24 February 2006:<br />

Telephone interview, Stacey Doyle with Gail Godden, 18 April 2006.<br />

13 Gai Sypher, CQU Emerald campus.<br />

14 Media Release, Mr Aidan Burke, Capricornia Institute of Advanced<br />

Education, 31 July 1986.<br />

15 Report on Preliminary Studies Project (<strong>STEPS</strong>), <strong>University</strong> College of<br />

<strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong>, 1989.<br />

16 Media Release, Mr Aidan Burke, Capricornia Institute of Advanced<br />

Education, 31 July 1986.<br />

17<br />

Media Release, Mr Aidan Burke, Capricornia Institute of Advanced<br />

Education, 31 July 1986.<br />

18<br />

Report on Preliminary Studies Project (<strong>STEPS</strong>), <strong>University</strong> College of<br />

<strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong>, 1989.<br />

19 Interview, Stacey Doyle with Milton Fuller, 21 February 2006.<br />

20 Interview, Stacey Doyle with Milton Fuller, 21 February 2006.<br />

21 Telephone interview, Stacey Doyle with Greg Harper, 24 February 2006.<br />

22 The Morning Bulletin, Rockhampton, June 1987.<br />

23 Annual Report, Capricornia Institute of Advanced Education, 1987.<br />

24 The Morning Bulletin, Rockhampton, June 1987.<br />

25 Interview, Stacey Doyle with Irene Sharrock, 27 April 2006.<br />

26 Interview, Stacey Doyle with Irene Sharrock, 27 April 2006.<br />

27 Interview, Stacey Doyle with Irene Sharrock, 27 April 2006.<br />

28 Telephone interview, Stacey Doyle with Gail Godden, 18 April 2006.<br />


Appendices, Index and Endnotes<br />

29 Annual Report, Capricornia Institute of Advanced Education, 1987; 1988.<br />

30 Report on Preliminary Studies Project (<strong>STEPS</strong>), <strong>University</strong> College of<br />

<strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong>, 1989; Capricorn Local News, 22 June 1988.<br />

31 Capricorn Local News, 22 June 1988.<br />

32 Belinda Loakes, CQU <strong>Library</strong> Archives.<br />

33 Academia Capricornia: A History of the <strong>University</strong> of <strong>Central</strong><br />

<strong>Queensland</strong>, Dr Denis Cryle.<br />

34 Academia Capricornia: A History of the <strong>University</strong> of <strong>Central</strong><br />

<strong>Queensland</strong>, Dr Denis Cryle, p. 84.<br />

35 Telephone interview, Stacey Doyle with Greg Harper, 24 February 2006;<br />

Annual Report, Capricornia Institute of Advanced Education, 1989.<br />

36 Email, Rex Metcalfe, 17 February 2006.<br />

37 Lynne Campbell, CQU Gladstone Campus.<br />

38 Email, Marian Metcalfe, 3 March 2006.<br />

39 Interview, Stacey Doyle with CQU Gladstone <strong>STEPS</strong> staff, 20 January,<br />

2006; Email, Julie Lovell, 24 February 2006.<br />

40 <strong>STEPS</strong> website, http://www.steps.cqu.edu.au/glad.htm<br />

41 Interview, Stacey Doyle with Megan Hindmarch, 23 January 2006.<br />

42 Email, Marian Metcalfe, 3 March 2006.<br />

43 Interview, Stacey Doyle with CQU Gladstone <strong>STEPS</strong> staff, 20 January<br />

2006.<br />

44<br />

Lynne Campbell, CQU Gladstone campus.<br />

45<br />

Lynne Campbell, CQU Gladstone campus.<br />

46<br />

Email, Julie Lovell, 24 February 2006.<br />

47<br />

Interview, Stacey Doyle with Megan Hindmarch, 23 January 2006.<br />

48<br />

Email, Marian Metcalfe, 3 March 2006; Telephone interview, Stacey<br />

Doyle with Greg Harper, 24 February 2006.<br />

49<br />

Email, Julie Lovell, 24 February 2006.<br />

50<br />

Report on Preliminary Studies Project (<strong>STEPS</strong>), <strong>University</strong> College of<br />

<strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong>, 1989; Capricorn Local News, 22 June 1988.<br />

51<br />

CQU photograph collection, Doug Steley.<br />

52<br />

Academia Capricornia: A History of the <strong>University</strong> of <strong>Central</strong><br />

<strong>Queensland</strong>, Dr Denis Cryle.<br />

53<br />

CQU photograph collection, Doug Steley.<br />

54<br />

<strong>University</strong> College of <strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong> Request for Funding, 1992.<br />

55<br />

Telephone interview, Stacey Doyle with Greg Harper, 24 February 2006.<br />

56<br />

Email, Gail Godden, 10 April 2006: Email, Lois Pinkney, 25 January<br />

2006.<br />

57 Email, Lois Pinkney, 25 January 2006.<br />

58 Email, Susan Shaw, 2 February 2006.<br />


Appendices, Index and Endnotes<br />

59<br />

Telephone interview, Stacey Doyle with Greg Harper, 24 February 2006;<br />

Annual Report, Capricornia Institute of Advanced Education, 1989.<br />

60<br />

Annual Report, <strong>University</strong> College of <strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong>, 1990.<br />

61<br />

Karen Seary, CQU Bundaberg campus.<br />

62<br />

Telephone interview, Stacey Doyle with Gordon King, 23 March 2006.<br />

63<br />

Email, Susan Shaw, 2 February 2006.<br />

64<br />

Academia Capricornia: A History of the <strong>University</strong> of <strong>Central</strong><br />

<strong>Queensland</strong>, Dr Denis Cryle.<br />

65<br />

Annual Report, <strong>University</strong> of <strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong>, 1992.<br />

66<br />

Email, Peter Lawrence, 20 April, 2006.<br />

67<br />

Annual Report, <strong>University</strong> of <strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong>, 1992.<br />

68<br />

Pioneer News, Mackay, 11 November 1993.<br />

69<br />

Annual Report, <strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong> <strong>University</strong>, 1994.<br />

70<br />

The History of CQU: http://www.cqu.edu.au/about/history.htm<br />

71<br />

Karen Seary, CQU Bundaberg campus.<br />

72<br />

Interview, Stacey Doyle with Milton Fuller, 21 February 2006.<br />

73<br />

Annual Report, <strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong> <strong>University</strong>, 1994.<br />

74<br />

Interview, Stacey Doyle with Megan Hindmarch, 23 January 2006.<br />

75<br />

Annual Report, <strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong> <strong>University</strong>, 1995.<br />

76<br />

Interview, Stacey Doyle with CQU Rockhampton <strong>STEPS</strong> staff: Jeanne<br />

McConachie, 13 January 2006.<br />

77<br />

Interview, Stacey Doyle with CQU Rockhampton <strong>STEPS</strong> staff, 13<br />

January 2006: Phyllida Coombes.<br />

78<br />

Interview, Stacey Doyle with Jenny Simpson, 24 March 2006.<br />

79<br />

Email, Karen Seary, 24 February 2006.<br />

80<br />

Email, Ian Goulter, 24 January 2006.<br />

81<br />

CQU <strong>STEPS</strong> application for Category 2: Australian Institutional Awards<br />

for <strong>University</strong> Teaching, 2002.<br />

82<br />

Annual Report, <strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong> <strong>University</strong>, 1996.<br />

83<br />

<strong>STEPS</strong> to success in Higher Education at CQU: A <strong>University</strong> Bridging<br />

Course as an Actor-Network, 1998.<br />

84<br />

Lynne Campbell, CQU Gladstone campus.<br />

85<br />

An Evolving Partnership: 25 years of CQU at Gladstone 1978-2003;<br />

Interview, Stacey Doyle with Lynne Campbell, 7 March 2006.<br />

86<br />

Lynne Campbell, CQU Gladstone campus.<br />

87<br />

CQU <strong>STEPS</strong> application for Category 2: Australian Institutional Awards<br />

for <strong>University</strong> Teaching, 2002.<br />

88<br />

Marc Barnbaum, CQU Rockhampton campus.<br />

89<br />

Marc Barnbaum, CQU Rockhampton campus.<br />


Appendices, Index and Endnotes<br />

90 Interview, Stacey Doyle with CQU Emerald <strong>STEPS</strong> staff: Bronwyn Reid,<br />

22 February 2006.<br />

91 Gai Sypher CQU Emerald campus.<br />

92 <strong>Central</strong> Highlands News, Emerald, 11 Feb 2000.<br />

93 Interview, Stacey Doyle with CQU Emerald <strong>STEPS</strong> staff: Stephanie<br />

Garoni, 22 February 2006.<br />

94 Email, Gai Sypher, 2 February 2006.<br />

95 Gai Sypher, CQU Emerald campus.<br />

96 Interview, Stacey Doyle with Gai Sypher, 22 February 2006.<br />

97 Email, Gai Sypher, 23 March 2006.<br />

98 Annual Report, <strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong> <strong>University</strong>, 1998.<br />

99 Lynne Campbell, CQU Gladstone campus.<br />

100 CQU <strong>STEPS</strong> proposal for increased funding for the Skills for Tertiary<br />

Entrance Preparatory Studies Program, 1997.<br />

101 The Guardian, Bundaberg, 19 October 1998.<br />

102 Email, Karen Seary, 30 March 2006.<br />

103 Interview, Stacey Doyle with CQU Bundaberg <strong>STEPS</strong> staff, 23 January<br />

2006.<br />

104<br />

Gai Sypher, CQU Emerald campus.<br />

105<br />

Lynne Campbell, CQU Gladstone campus.<br />

106<br />

Letter, Liz Cunningham, 17 February 2006.<br />

107<br />

Interview, Stacey Doyle with CQU Rockhampton <strong>STEPS</strong> staff, 13<br />

January 2006.<br />

108<br />

Interview, Jeanne McConachie and Stacey Doyle with Ian Goulter, 11<br />

January, 2006.<br />

109<br />

The <strong>STEPS</strong> Program, Gateway to Learning, Jeanne McConachie, 1999.<br />

110<br />

CQU <strong>STEPS</strong> application for Category 2: Australian Institutional Awards<br />

for <strong>University</strong> Teaching, 2002.<br />

111<br />

Interview, Stacey Doyle with CQU Mackay <strong>STEPS</strong> staff, 18 January<br />

2006.<br />

112 CQU <strong>STEPS</strong> application for Category 2: Australian Institutional Awards<br />

for <strong>University</strong> Teaching, 2002.<br />

113 Annual Report, <strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong> <strong>University</strong>, 1999.<br />

114 Lynne Campbell, CQU Gladstone campus.<br />

115 Email, Milton Fuller, 3 April 2006.<br />

116 Annual Report, <strong>Central</strong> <strong>Queensland</strong> <strong>University</strong>, 2001.<br />

117 Email, Jeanne McConachie, 12 April 2006.<br />

118 Email, Karen Seary, 24 February 2006.<br />

119 CQU photograph, Stacey Doyle, 23 January 2006.<br />

120 Interview, Stacey Doyle with Jeanne McConachie, 13 January 2006.<br />


Appendices, Index and Endnotes<br />

121<br />

Email, Karen Seary, 24 February 2006.<br />

122<br />

Interview, Stacey Doyle with Antony Dekkers, 31 January 2006.<br />

123<br />

Email, Lois Pinkney, 25 January 2006.<br />

124<br />

Interview, Stacey Doyle with Antony Dekkers, 31 January 2006.<br />

125<br />

Email, Lois Pinkney, 25 January 2006.<br />

126<br />

Interview, Stacey Doyle with Margaret Flanders, 15 March 2006.<br />

127<br />

Email, Glenice Hancock, 9 February 2006.<br />

128<br />

Interview, Jeanne McConachie and Stacey Doyle with Lauchlan<br />

Chipman, 16 January 2006.<br />

129<br />

Karen Seary, CQU Bundaberg campus.<br />

130<br />

Karen Seary, CQU Bundaberg campus.<br />

131<br />

CQU Uni News, March 7, 2002.<br />

132<br />

Interview, Stacey Doyle with Megan Hindmarch, 23 January 2006.<br />

133<br />

Karen Seary, CQU Bundaberg campus.<br />

134<br />

Karen Seary, CQU Bundaberg campus.<br />

135<br />

Karen Seary, CQU Bundaberg campus.<br />

136<br />

CQU Uni News, September 20, 2004<br />

137<br />

CQU <strong>STEPS</strong> application for Category 2: Australian Institutional Awards<br />

for <strong>University</strong> Teaching, 2002.<br />

138<br />

Email, Karen Seary, 6 March 2006.<br />

139<br />

Email, Karen Seary, 24 February 2006; Valerie Cleary 2006.<br />

140<br />

Uni News, 31 January 2006.<br />

141<br />

Serah-Jane Lees, CQU Language Centre, 16 May 2006.<br />

142<br />

Email, Karen Seary, 20 April 2006.<br />

143<br />

Email, Karen Seary, 17 March 2006.<br />

144<br />

Email, Georgina Pickering, 19 April 2006.<br />

145<br />

Email, Lynne Campbell, 11 April, 2006.<br />

146<br />

Email, Karen Seary; Therese O’Donnell, 12 April 2006.<br />

147<br />

Email, Katrina Richmond, 11 April 2006.<br />

148<br />

Email, Gai Sypher, 12 April 2006.<br />

Part Two<br />

149 th<br />

Knowles, M, Holton, E & Swanson, A 1998, The adult learner, 5 edn,<br />

Butterworth-Heinemann, Woburn, p. 172.<br />

150<br />

Palmer, P 1998, The courage to teach, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.<br />

151<br />

Campbell, J 1993, The hero with a thousand faces, Fontana Press,<br />

London.<br />

152<br />

Vogler, C 1996, The writer’s journey: mythic structure for storytellers<br />

and screenwriters, Boxtree, London.<br />


Appendices, Index and Endnotes<br />

153<br />

Butler, J 1993, ‘From action to thought: the fulfilment of human<br />

potential’, in J Edwards (ed.), Thinking: international interdisciplinary<br />

perspectives, Hawher Brownlon Education, Melbourne, pp. 16–22.<br />

154<br />

Palmer, P 1983, To know as we are known: education as a spiritual<br />

journey, Harper, San Francisco, p. xi.<br />

155<br />

Williams, M 1995, The velveteen rabbit, Heinemann, Port Melbourne,<br />

pp. 4–5.<br />

Part Three<br />

156 CQU Uni News, 10 October, 2005.<br />

157 Email, Frantiska Brazier, 20 February 2006.<br />

158 Email, Lorraine Wright, February 2006.<br />

159 Interview, Stacey Doyle with CQU Bundaberg <strong>STEPS</strong> staff: Therese<br />

O’Donnell, 23 January 2006.<br />

160 Interview, Stacey Doyle with Megan Hindmarch, 31 January 2006.<br />

161 Email, Christoper Delany, 20 February 2006.<br />

162 Interview, Stacey Doyle with CQU Gladstone <strong>STEPS</strong> staff, 20 January<br />

2006.<br />

163 Interview, Stacey Doyle with CQU Mackay <strong>STEPS</strong> staff, 18 January<br />

2006.<br />

164<br />

Interview, Stacey Doyle with Jenny Simpson, 27 January 2006.<br />

165<br />

Interview, Stacey Doyle with Jenny Simpson, 18 May 2006.<br />

166<br />

Email, Ingrid Kennedy, 24 January 2006.<br />

167<br />

Email, Elaine Ross, 25 May 2006.<br />

168<br />

Interview, Stacey Doyle with Ingrid Kennedy, 24 January 2006.<br />

169<br />

Jeanne McConachie, CQU Rockhampton campus.<br />

170<br />

Interview, Stacey Doyle with CQU Mackay <strong>STEPS</strong> staff, 18 January<br />

2006.<br />

171<br />

Email, Juanita Joy, 16 February 2006.<br />

172<br />

Karen Seary, CQU Bundaberg campus.<br />

173<br />

Karen Seary, CQU Bundaberg campus.<br />

174<br />

Interview, Stacey Doyle with CQU Bundaberg <strong>STEPS</strong> staff, 23 January<br />

2006.<br />

175<br />

Email, Tania Murphy, 23 February 2006.<br />

176<br />

Interview, Stacey Doyle with CQU Bundaberg <strong>STEPS</strong> staff: Ann<br />

Monsour, 23 January 2006.<br />

177<br />

CQU <strong>STEPS</strong> publication: <strong>STEPS</strong> ’97 The Road Back, An Anthology of<br />

Personal Writing, 1997.<br />

178 CQU <strong>STEPS</strong> ESLS Course Evaluation, Winter 2000.<br />

179 Interview, Stacey Doyle with Jenny Simpson, 27 January 2006.<br />


Appendices, Index and Endnotes<br />

180 Interview, Stacey Doyle with Bill Noble, 23 January 2006.<br />

181 Interview, Stacey Doyle with Jenny Simpson, 27 January 2006.<br />

182 CQU <strong>STEPS</strong> application for Category 2: Australian Institutional Awards<br />

for <strong>University</strong> Teaching, 2002.<br />

183 CQU <strong>STEPS</strong> ESLS Course Evaluation, Winter 2000.<br />

184 Interview, Stacey Doyle with CQU Emerald <strong>STEPS</strong> staff: Bronwyn<br />

Reid, 22 February 2006.<br />

185 CQU <strong>STEPS</strong> application for Category 2: Australian Institutional Awards<br />

for <strong>University</strong> Teaching, 2002.<br />

186 Unpublished CQU paper.<br />

187 Interview, Stacey Doyle with Ingrid Kennedy, 24 January 2006.<br />

188 Interview, Stacey Doyle with Jenny Simpson, 27 January 2006.<br />

189 Interview, Stacey Doyle with John Dekkers, 2 February 2006.<br />

190 Karen Seary, CQU Bundaberg campus.<br />

191 CQU <strong>STEPS</strong> ESLS Course Evaluation, Winter 2000.<br />

192 Email, Sandra Weedon, 15 February 2006.<br />

193 Email, Sharron Shields, 15 February 2006.<br />

194 Email, Wendy Smith, 15 February 2006.<br />

195 Email, Dolcie Tolcher, 2 February 2006.<br />

196 Email, Glenn Jones, 19 March 2006.<br />

197 Interview, Stacey Doyle with CQU Rockhampton <strong>STEPS</strong> staff, 13<br />

January 2006.<br />

198<br />

Letter received from Debbie Fitzgerald, February 2006.<br />

199<br />

Interview, Stacey Doyle with CQU Mackay <strong>STEPS</strong> staff, 18 January<br />

2006; Uni News, 22 October 2002.<br />

200<br />

Email, Juanita Joy, 16 February 2006.<br />

201<br />

Lynne Campbell, CQU Gladstone campus.<br />

202<br />

Email, Stephen Ricketts, 15 February 2006.<br />

203<br />

Karen Seary, CQU Bundaberg campus.<br />

204<br />

Lynne Campbell, CQU Gladstone campus.<br />

205<br />

Interview, Stacey Doyle with Simone Ganter, 3 March 2006.<br />

206<br />

Interview, Stacey Doyle with CQU Mackay <strong>STEPS</strong> staff: Lynette<br />

Forbes-Smith, 18 January 2006.<br />

207<br />

CQU <strong>STEPS</strong> ESLS Course Evaluation, Winter 2000.<br />

208<br />

Interview, Stacey Doyle with CQU Mackay <strong>STEPS</strong> staff, 18 January<br />

2006.<br />

209<br />

Email, Vicki Stewart, 2 February 2006.<br />

210<br />

Email, Sandra Challen, 15 February 2006.<br />

211<br />

CQU Rockhampton <strong>STEPS</strong> graduation video, ‘Patchwork Dreaming’,<br />

2002.<br />


Appendices, Index and Endnotes<br />

212 Marc Barnbaum, CQU Rockhampton City campus.<br />

213 Email, Jane Thomasson on behalf of Leo Zussino, 3 March 2006.<br />

214 Karen Seary, CQU Bundaberg campus.<br />

215 Karen Seary, CQU Bundaberg campus.<br />

216 Jeanne McConachie, CQU Rockhampton campus.<br />

217 Interview, Stacey Doyle with Lynne Campbell, 10 March 2006.<br />

218 CQU <strong>STEPS</strong> application for Category 2: Australian Institutional Awards<br />

for <strong>University</strong> Teaching, 2002.<br />

219 Interview, Stacey Doyle with CQU Rockhampton <strong>STEPS</strong> staff: Phyllida<br />

Coombes, 13 January 2006.<br />

220 Karen Seary, CQU Bundaberg campus.<br />

221 CQU <strong>STEPS</strong> ESLS Course Evaluation, Winter 2000.<br />

222 Email, Kresha Hodges, 22 February 2006.<br />

223 Email, Phillip Millroy, 16 February 2006.<br />

224 Email, Yuliya Brandt, 24 February 2006.<br />

225 Interview, Stacey Doyle with CQU Emerald <strong>STEPS</strong> staff: Stephanie<br />

Garoni, 22 February 2006.<br />

226 Interview, Stacey Doyle with CQU Gladstone <strong>STEPS</strong> staff: Lynne<br />

Campbell, 20 January 2006.<br />

227<br />

Email, Karen Seary, 17 March, 2006.<br />

228<br />

CQU Uni News, 3 July 2003.<br />

229<br />

Karen Seary, CQU Bundaberg campus.<br />

230<br />

Telephone interview, Jeanne McConachie and Stacey Doyle with<br />

Lauchlan Chipman, 16 January 2006.<br />

231<br />

Email, Kate Kiernan, 22 February 2006.<br />

232<br />

Email, Suellen Florer, 10 February 2006.<br />

233<br />

Lynne Campbell, CQU Gladstone campus.<br />

234<br />

Interview, Stacey Doyle with CQU Rockhampton <strong>STEPS</strong> staff, 13<br />

January 2006.<br />

235<br />

Media Release, Mr Aidan Burke, Capricornia Institute of Advanced<br />

Education, 31 July 1986.<br />

236<br />

Telephone interview, Jeanne McConachie and Stacey Doyle with<br />

Lauchlan Chipman, 16 January 2006.<br />

237<br />

Interview, Jeanne McConachie and Stacey Doyle with Phillip Clift, 18<br />

January 2006.<br />

238 CQU Uni News, 25 August 2005.<br />

239 Email, Laurie Armstrong, 2 May 2006.<br />

240 Email, Stephen Milan, 4 April 2006.<br />

241 Email, Lois Langley, 11 April 2006.<br />

242 Email, Leanne Booth, 20 April 2006.<br />


Appendices, Index and Endnotes<br />

243<br />

Email, Patricia Uren, CQU, 7 April 2006.<br />

244<br />

Email, Susan Ilich, 9 April 2006.<br />

245<br />

Email, Lyn Risson, 10 April 2006.<br />

246<br />

Email, Gai Sypher, 4 April 2006.<br />

247<br />

Email, Kathleen Howard, 4 April 2006.<br />

248<br />

CQU <strong>STEPS</strong> ESLS Course Evaluation, Winter 2000.<br />

249<br />

CQU <strong>STEPS</strong> ESLS Course Evaluation, Winter 2000.<br />

250<br />

Student story: Jenny Simpson, 15 February 2006.<br />

251<br />

Interview, Stacey Doyle with Gai Sypher CQU, 31 January 2006.<br />

252<br />

Interview, Stacey Doyle with CQU Bundaberg <strong>STEPS</strong> staff: Wendy<br />

Davis, 23 January 2006.<br />

253<br />

Interview, Stacey Doyle with CQU Rockhampton <strong>STEPS</strong> staff: Phyllida<br />

Coombes, 13 January 2006.<br />

254 The Guardian, Bundaberg, 1 March 2006.<br />

255 Interview, Stacey Doyle with Jeanne McConachie, January 13 2006.<br />

256 Unpublished CQU paper.<br />

257 Email, Jody Galdal, 15 February 2006.<br />

258 CQU Uni News, 15 October 2002.<br />

259 Email, Llewellyn Swallow, 18 April 2006.<br />

260 Email, Robyn Saint, 13 April 2006.<br />

261 Interview, Jeanne McConachie and Stacey Doyle with Professor John<br />

Rickard, 17 January 2006.<br />


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