Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Homeward Bound: Recipe for a transformative leadership program (Sam Grover)

Photo by Sam Grover

Collect 76 highly motivated women scientists from all over the world, 8 talented teaching faculty, a few dozen humpback whales, and a couple of hundred thousand penguins.

Mix together in a small ship in Antarctic waters for 20 days. Stir thoroughly, agitate regularly, shake occasionally. Dip regularly into the icy waters all around. The mixture will separate, sometimes disintegrate then, with careful tending, reform into something new, something truly transformative.

The Homeward Bound alumni are courageous, newly equipped with the vision and tools to enable them to make a difference to the world.

I was lucky enough to participate in the inaugural Homeward Bound expedition to Antarctica in December 2016. I arrived in Ushuaia at the end of November, jetlagged but excited, anticipating gruelling seasickness, stunning landscapes and empowering leadership and strategy training. Homeward Bound exceeded all of my expectations.

This was a truly transformative leadership program. The insights and connections forged during the 20 days at sea will support me to grow and develop as a leader and scientist for the rest of my career.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

The research foundation for creating Safe Schools Coalition Victoria (Roz Ward)

In the past year Australia has witnessed an explosion of negative media directed at Safe Schools Coalition. 

Safe Schools Coalition Australia
| safeschoolscoalition.org.au
This attention has focused on what many have described as ‘ideological’ elements of the program's content, or on fabricated stories about what actually goes on in schools. 

Despite efforts to discredit the research-base on which the program was founded, the evidence has been crucial in defending the program against these attacks.

The research journey began in 1995 when the Federal Government commissioned the Centre for the Study of Sexually Transmitted Diseases at La Trobe University to conduct a four-year national research program, the National Centre in HIV Social Research (NCHSR), on adolescent sexual risk-taking and wellbeing. This was in response to the HIV pandemic. Its purpose was to find out what marginalised young people needed to do to keep their sexual lives safe and what factors were contributing to risky behaviours.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Are you in the loop? (Tseen Khoo)

Photo by Evelyn Berg | flickr | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
You think you have FOMO?

We also have FOMO - on your behalf!

One of the things that makes me the most sadface at work is hearing about disappointed researchers who have missed out on workshops or events because they didn't know things were on.

This is especially the case when we have special events that take place only once a semester, feature invited guests (that is, presentations that may be one-offs), or that we're piloting and would've loved to have more feedback on.

If you have ever been in this position, read on and be in that position no more!

If you want to save your friends, colleagues, and graduate research students from that anguish, point them to this post!

To know all there is to know about what's on offer at La Trobe in the research education, development, and training area, here's what you do:

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Recruiting people for your research project - plan ahead! (Sara Paradowski)

Photo by Connor McSheffrey | unsplash.com
So, you’ve got an idea for a research project.

You’ve probably reviewed some of the literature to help you focus and fine-tune your idea to a more manageable project to fit with the timelines you have.

You have had to constantly remind yourself that you are one person with limited resources and interviewing 5000 people isn’t going to be a reasonable expectation and that’s OK.

In the end, you decide that 32 participants will give you sufficient data to analyse and write about.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

2016 - challenges met (Tseen Khoo)

Photo by Wu Yi | unsplash.com
It has been quite the year. And is still being quite the year!

In the tradition of RED Alert, I asked my colleagues for their input to this end-of-year post.

My brief to them this year was to reflect on the biggest challenge they've met this year.

This proved in itself to be quite a challenge because the team has implemented big changes and taken risks every year since it has existed!

Here are their responses:

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

About penguins and silent West Coast forests: Fieldwork experiences of an ecologist (Ursula Ellenberg)

Academia is just a lot of sitting around and thinking, right?

Not always! And if you’re a field ecologist, you get to become really dirty, too.

Ursula has recently returned from fieldwork on the Tawaki project, which explores the behaviour and ecology of New Zealand’s elusive forest penguins.

She has written about the experience for us here at the RED Alert.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

The fourth #LTUacwrimo is done!

Our first all-campus 'Shut up and write' session!
Photo by Tseen Khoo
What a November that was!

You may have seen us spruiking our listing of possibilities and opportunities for researchers and their writing during November.

The RED team put this fabulous program together for La Trobe's Academic Writing Month (#LTUacwrimo).

How did it actually go in the ground? Well, I'm glad you asked!

If you missed the action, here's what went down:
  • The month had two #LTUacwrimo tweetchats that top and tailed activities, and they are Storify'd so that you can benefit from the wisdom of your peers: Opening chat / Closing chat. The chats are full of tips and strategies on how to prepare and clear time for Academic Writing Month, realistic goal-setting, the necessity of self-care in the midst of intensive writing, and much more. Many thanks to all the lovely tweetchatters, whose insights now live on!

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

The power of social media to improve knowledge translation and research accessibility #LTUacwrimo (Dr Christian Barton, SEMRC)

Social media and research dissemination | unsplash.com
Researchers who seek to deliver accessible writing and research must embrace social and multimedia innovations. The consumer demands it. There will be no ‘one size fits all’, with resource needs likely to vary depending on the individual, type of knowledge, and the context it is to be consumed. New innovations to facilitate knowledge translation are also inevitable. Academic journal publishers must watch for their emergence and embrace them. 

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Making research accessible: Is academic journal writing the way forward? (Dr Christian Barton, SEMRC) #LTUacwrimo

Photo by Aleksi Tappura | unsplash.com
On March 6 1665, in the first academic journal ever published, Henry Oldenburg wrote that academic journals were established so that researchers could "impart their knowledge to one another, and contribute what they can to the Grand design of improving natural knowledge, and perfecting all Philosophical Arts, and Sciences."

An enormous profitable industry has grown on the back of Henry Oldenburg and his colleague’s innovation in the past 350 years. As a result, researchers continue to be ineffective at translating knowledge based on their evidence because this profitable model is not effective. 

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Writing groups and the art of the Pomodoro #LTUacwrimo (Priscilla Ennals, Carmel Hobbs and Ingrid Wilson)

Writing in progress!
Photo by Carmel Hobbs, Priscilla Ennals and Ingrid Wilson.
Academic writing and doing a PhD can often feel like a hard and solitary experience, but it doesn't have to.

As part of La Trobe's 2016 Academic Writing Month, this week's post is by Priscilla Ennals, Carmel Hobbs, and Ingrid Wilson, who share their experiences of being part of writing group, and the techniques that got them through the PhD process together.