UniServe Science News Volume 14 November 1999


Australian Psychological Society Conference: Exploring Human Nature, 1999

Anne Fernandez
UniServe Science

The 34th Australian Psychological Society Conference, "Exploring Human Nature" was held in Hobart, Tasmania, 29th September to 3rd October 1999. There were approximately 600 delegates. The newly constituted Division of Research and Teaching (DRAT) sponsored a number of education focused sessions within the conference. These included:

  • "Enhancing student learning and access with information technology", convened by Steve Provost, University of Newcastle;
  • "Integrating science and practice", convened by Bill Noble, University of New England;
  • "Enhancing professional and research supervision of postgraduate students", convened by Jacquelyn Cranney, University of New South Wales;
  • "The importance of scientific psychology within the undergraduate curriculum", convened by Mike Innes, Murdoch University;
  • "Clinical training: Maximising competence using limited resources", convened by Alan Ralph, James Cook University;
  • "Doctoral-level professional postgraduate training in clinical psychology", convened by Sabine Wingenfeld, University of New England; and
  • "Clinical psychology training and practice: Is there a fit?", convened by David Smith, RMIT University.
  • Steve Provost, University of Newcastle, also held a workshop "Web page creation for beginners".

    UniServe Science believes there is a need for formal education streams within professional society conferences to allow attending academics to exchange ideas and share experiences. To this end we jointly sponsored, with Pearson Education Australia and the APS, a short seminar session "Educating future psychologists: Flexible teaching and learning in today's universities", which we hope will be the beginnings of an education stream within future APS conferences. The program included four papers from Australian academics: "The use of the web in university science teaching in Australia" by Ian Johnston, UniServe Science; "The DRAT teaching sub-committee" by Marie Carroll, University of Canberra; "Using the web for formative and summative assessment in the teaching of psychology" by James Dalziel, The University of Sydney; and "On- or off-campus study? Using information technology to remove constraints of time and place" by Christine Armatas and Hilde Lovegrove, Deakin University. Abstracts and notes from the presentations are available from the UniServe Science web site at

    There were 87 posters spread across five poster sessions. Those with an education flavour included:

  • "Student expectations of university psychology and its scientific basis" (Steve Provost, University of Newcastle and Sinden Medley, The University of Sydney);
  • "Enhancing academic performance and mental health in underachieving university students: Comparing behaviourally-focused and cognitively focused self-regulated learning training programs" (Tony Grant, The University of Sydney);
  • "Counselling and psychotherapy theoretical preferences and epistemological commitments of undergraduate psychology students" (J. Poznanski and J. McLennan); and
  • "Enhancing the 1st year experience: A qualitative evaluation of a transition to university workshop designed to foster social networks" (James Dalziel, Mary Peat and Tony Grant, The University of Sydney).
  • Clearly the main focus of the APS conference is not education. However, UniServe Science, DRAT, Pearson Education Australia and the APS all believe there is a need for a coordinated, structured education stream within the conference. They all hope this humble beginning will develop a thriving network for Australian psychology academics.

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    UniServe Science News Volume 14 November 1999

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