VCE Summer School: 2019 Directors' Report - Prepared by Chelsea Griffiths, Isabella Verrocchi, Jeremy Waite and Sabina Xiao - University of ...
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VCE Summer School: 2019 Directors’ Report Prepared by Chelsea Griffiths, Isabella Verrocchi, Jeremy Waite and Sabina Xiao
Table of Contents Table of Contents 2 Introduction 4 What is VCESS? 4 Goals of the VCE Summer School 5 Program Timetable 6 Sample Student Timetable: 7 Management Chart 7 Timeline of VCESS Events 8 Directors 11 Director Recruitment 11 Director Induction and Training 12 Director Handover 12 Team Management 13 Notes on UMSU Volunteering Department and Policy 13 Tutors 16 Tutor Recruitment, Selection and Training 16 Marketing 16 Application Process: Online Form 16 Application Process: Interviews 17 Tutor Training 19 Summary of Training Options 20 Training Schedule & Attendance 20 Training Content & Delivery 20 Training Camp Logistics 21 Training Feedback 23 Tutor Training Feedback 23 TSO Feedback 26 Further formalisation of VCESS policy 27 Changes to Special Roles 28 Indigenous Mentor 28 Welfare Team: Queer Representative 28 IT Representative 29 Tutor Social Events 29 Students 30 Student Recruitment 30 Student Application Form 30 Marketing 31
Social Media 32 Open Day 33 External Organisations 33 Discount 33 Mail Out 34 Calling Schools 34 Other schools’ contact 34 Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE) 35 VCESS Branding 35 Program Mascot : Cassie the Cassowary 35 Program T-Shirts 36 Student Demographics 39 Addressing Educational Disadvantage 40 Program 42 Academic Program 42 Student Enrolment Day 42 Subject Coordinators and Subject Booklets: 44 Guided Private Study 48 One on One Tutoring 48 Extra Curricular Program 49 Workshops 49 Seminars 50 Activities Program 51 Barbeques 52 Large Scale Activities 52 Scavenger Hunt 52 Mystery Event 53 Trivia 53 Residential Program 54 Special Roles: Program Responsibilities 56 Activities Team 56 Group Leaders 57 Operations Team 57 Residential Team 57 Subject Coordinators 57 Tutor Support Officer (TSO) Team 58 Welfare Team 58 Zine Team 58 Finance 60 Sponsorship and donations 60
VCESS Charitable Status 61 Sponsorship on the Residential program 61 University of Melbourne Sponsorship deal 62 Printing 63 Teach for Australia Sponsorship 63 Bursaries 63 Western Chances Bursaries 64 Travel Bursaries 64 Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander Scholarships 65 Residential Program Scholarships 65 Preliminary Program Budget 65 VCESS Budget Allocation from Students’ Council 66 Logistics 68 Room Bookings 68 Timetabling 68 The Tutor Management System 75 Data Management 75 Tutor Communication Management 76 Special Projects 77 Spring Revision Day 77 VCESS Homework Club 80 Program Feedback 80 Quality of Teaching 81 Quality of Program 82 Academic Program 82 Residential Program Feedback 83 Appendices 86 Appendix A: Tutor Absence Policy 86 Appendix B: Tutor Social Media Policy 88 Appendix C: Conduct Policy 89 Appendix D: Quality of Teaching Survey Breakdowns 93 Introduction What is VCESS? Since 1971, the VCE Summer School (VCESS) has been providing students from disadvantaged backgrounds a head start on their final years of education. VCESS is a two-week tutoring program for VCE students which takes place every year in January. It is run by
university students for VCE students and it provides high quality academic support to rural and regional Victorian students through classes, guided study and one-on-one tutoring. As well as academic support, students are provided with a range of team-building activities, seminars and workshops that are targeted to the interests and needs of Year 11 and 12 students. The Program aims to teach students about creating a healthy study-life balance. Goals of the VCE Summer School The broad goal of the VCE Summer School is fighting educational disadvantage in Victoria. It aims to work towards this goal by providing access to subject-specific tutoring, which is unaffordable to VCESS’ key student demographic. The Program aims to reach to as many rural and regional school students to provide them with opportunities to access the program through its Residential accommodation and targeted activities.
Sample Student Timetable: Management Chart Presented below is the Management Chart of the VCESS 2019 Program. Each team has a Coordinator or Coordinators with whom the 2019 Director Team worked closely with. It should be noted that numbers of team members change every year dependent on need.
Timeline of VCESS Events 11 April 2018 2018 Director Team opened applications for 2019 Director Team 24 April 2018 Applications for 2019 Director Team close 08 - 16 May 2018 Interviews for 2019 Director Team are held 19 May 2018 Offers for the 2019 Director Team positions made 26 May 2018 First Director Team Meeting 28 May 2018 2018 - 2019 Director Teams Handover 31 May 2018 First Meeting with Teach for Australia 06 June 2018 Director Induction Meeting 1 13 June 2018 Director Induction Meeting 2 20 June 2018 Meeting with Communications Team (Tutor Applications) 20 June 2018 Director Bonding Board Games Night (Planned by Chelsea and Isabella) 27 June 2018 First Meeting with Western Chances (Sponsorship) 05 July 2018 Director Team Meeting (Tutor Applications) 08 July 2018 Tutor Position Descriptions Finalised and Uploaded to UMSU Website 09 July 2018 Tutor Applications Opened 11 July 2018 Meeting with Melbourne Graduate School of Education 11 July 2018 Winterfest Information Session 13 July 2018 Marketing Presentation to VCE Economics Students 18 July 2018 Tutor Marketing at Winterfest Stall 21 July 2018 July Study Squad 01 August 2018 Sponsorship Meeting
03 August 2018 Tutor Applications Closed 04 August 2018 Tutor Interview Time Selection Opened 08 August 2018 Tutor Interview Training provided by UMSU HR Manager 08 August 2018 Sponsorship Meeting 10 August 2018 Interview Preparation Meeting 11 August 2018 Tutor Interview Time Selection Closed 13 August 2018 Tutor Interviews Conducted (Monday – Saturday) 19 August 2018 UoM Open Day Stall (Expression of Interest, Brochure Distributed) 24 August 2018 Tutor Interviews Completed 20 August 2018 UoM Open Day VCESS Stall (Expression of Interest, Flyers Distributed) 24 August 2018 Students Council at VCA 27 August 2018 Residential Group Interview 1 29 August 2018 Residential Group Interview 2 + 3 07 September 2018 UMSU Volunteering Policy Meeting with CEO of UMSU 07 September 2018 Dax Centre Sponsorship Meeting 10 September 2018 Student Applications Opened 10 September 2018 Tutor Interview Outcomes Emailed 22 September 2018 Tutor Meet and Greet 26 September 2018 Subject Coordinator Facilitation Day 1 26 September 2018 Meeting with Tutor Support Officers 30 September 2018 Subject Coordinator Facilitation Day 2 01 October 2018 Subject Coordinator Facilitation Day 3 03 October 2018 Meeting with Teach for Australia 2 03 October 2018 Meeting with Activities Team Coordinator 06 October 2018 Spring Revision Day 08 October 2018 Venue Management Contacted 09 October 2018 Email Days were rediscussed 10 October 2018 Meeting with Operations Team Coordinator 15 October 2018 Student Applications ‘Early Bird’ Discount Concluded 17 October 2018 Meeting with Zine Team Coordinator 19 October 2018 Tutor Social Picnic 31 October 2018 Faculty of Art Meeting for Room Bookings 05 November 2018 Subject Booklets Due 08 November 2018 Meeting with Group Leader 13 November 2018 Meeting with Queer Reps 14 November 2018 Tutor T-Shirts Ordered (Bluegum) 15 November 2018 Child Safety Meeting with UM HR Manager 20 November 2018 Training Planning Meeting 21 November 2018 TSO Meeting (Training Preparation) 22 November 2018 Tutor Training Day 23 November 2018 Meeting (Budget Proposal for 2019) 28 November 2018 DAX Centre Sponsorship Meeting 28 November 2018 Meeting with Tutor Management System Consultant 26 November 2018 Venue Management Bookings Received
26 November 2018 Student T-Shirt Ordered (Bluegum) 30 November 2018 Tutor Training Camp 01 December 2018 Tutor Training Camp 02 December 2018 Tutor Training Camp 07 December 2018 Student Applications Closed 10 December 2018 Printing Sent to External Relations 10 December 2018 Student Acceptance Emailed 12 December 2018 Meeting with Residential Coordinator 12 December 2018 Welfare and Residential Teams Mental Health First Aid 12 December 2018 Tutor Social Trivia Night 19 December 2018 Tutor December Training Refresher 21 December 2018 Block List Released to Tutors 21 December 2018 Directors Remote Work Period (until 2nd January 2019) 03 January 2019 Final Timetable Generated and Printed 04 January 2019 Student Enrolment Day 05 January 2019 Residential Program Planning Day 05 January 2019 Residential Team and Welfare Team Social Evening 06 January 2019 Residential Program Began 07 January 2019 VCESS Program Began 19 January 2019 VCESS Program Concluded 09 March 2019 Meeting (Report Writing) 01 April 2019 Projected 2020 Director Applications Opening
Directors Director Recruitment The 2018 Director Team were responsible for hiring the 2019 Director Team. Applications were open from the 11th of April 2018 to the 24th April 2018. Applications were reopened on the 26th of April 2018 and officially closed on the 4th of May 2018. The decision was made to reopen applications due to the limited pool of applicants. The 2018 Director Team believed potential strong applicants were hesitant to apply due to uncertainty about their own suitability for the role and therefore the decision was made to encourage identified strong potential applicants to apply by reaching out to them. This proved to be very effective and the applicant pool significantly increased in the second application period. Interviews were held from the 8th to the 16th of May 2018, before the selection decision was announced to applicants on 19th May 2018. The opening of the position was publicised on the VCESS website, UMSU website, and to past VCESS tutors via Facebook networks. A position description was made available, as was the 2018 Directors Report which was considered vital to the application process. Director candidates were required to submit a CV, as well as a 500 word statement addressing their suitability for the role, and vision for the Program. Interviews were scheduled by the 2018 Director Team and each interview was attended by the outgoing Director Team, a student representative of the UMSU, and the then Volunteering Coordinator, Goldie Pergl. Concern may be expressed at the size of the interview panel, however the 2018 Director Team strongly believe that it is necessary for the decision-making process for the entire Director Team to be present. It should be noted that in past years it has been possible that UMSU student representatives who attended Director interviews could later apply to be a tutor on the Program, and therefore interviewed by a Director Team they had helped appoint. This could have potentially resulted in a situation where the student representative had to work with an unsuccessful candidate on the Program. To avoid this issue, the 2018 Director Team requested that the UMSU student representative who attended the interviews be a student who has no intention of applying for the 2019 program. The VCESS Director selection procedure is known for valuing confidentiality and privacy of the candidates, especially those who are unsuccessful as they almost always continue their involvement in the Program. This is carried out to the extent that the incoming 2019 Director Team was not aware of the unsuccessful Director candidates. The 2019 Director Team recommends that this confidentiality be continued as a highly prioritised element of the process as it contributes to a culture of accessibility and growth within the program. The 2018 Director Team unanimously agreed to appoint Jeremy Waite and Sabina Xiao to join Chelsea Griffiths and Isabella Verrocchi, the returning Directors, as the 2019 Director Team.
Opposition to the candidates chosen by the Director Team has been expressed in the past due to candidates being students of other Universities. While this was not an issue during this recruitment it remains the view of the 2018, 2019, and many previous years’ Directors that the involvement of non-UoM students as volunteers of VCESS is vital to the program’s mission and quality of delivery and that discrimination against non-University of Melbourne students at the Director level would be harmful for the program. It should also be noted that the Director honoraria are paid for from VCESS student fees, and are thus not part of the allocation provided to VCESS by UMSU. The 2018 Director Team reviewed and determined Key Selection Criteria ( Availability, Ability to work independently and as part of a team, Organisational skills, Relevant experience, and Interpersonal skills) against which all interviewed candidates were given scores by every member of the interview panel. These Key Selection Criteria made clear the appointment of the aforementioned team. The 2019 Director Team would recommend retaining the Key Selection Criteria for future Director recruitment processes. Director Induction and Training During May and into June the 2019 Director Team began meeting to discuss program aims and timelines as well as begin official induction. The official Director induction provided by UMSU included an introduction to UMSU, its departments and staff. In previous years incoming Directors were provided with Volunteer Management and Finance and Budgeting training which was found to be beneficial and is recommended to be provided in future years. The absence of this training as well as delays in providing office and IT access to the incoming Directors hindered the productivity of the team and the induction process. It is recommended that this process is improved in following years. A number of further training sessions were provided by UMSU throughout the year, these included Disability Awareness Training, Mental Health First Aid Training as well as Interview and Recruitment Training and Child Safety Training provided internally by the UMSU HR Manager. The Disability Awareness and Mental Health First Aid Training were overall beneficial and recommended for future Director Teams. Interview and Recruitment Training was conducted in the weeks leading up to the interview process and assisted in the development of a thorough and consistent recruitment process. Child Safety Training was also provided in the lead up to Tutor Training events and was utilised so the 2019 Director Team was able to present a modified version of this training to all tutors. It is recommended that the Director Team seek out Child Safety Training and also consider engaging external training providers that are more specific to the high school student age range. Director Handover The Director Handover process consisted of meeting with the 2018 Director Team to discuss the successes and potential improvements that could be made to future programs. Discussing
and working with the past team enabled essential knowledge to be passed on and the program goals to be continued. It was found that publishing the 2018 Directors’ Report as part of the selection process was very beneficial to the handover as incoming Directors already had strong knowledge of improvements to and issues being faced by the program. Team Management The 2019 Director Team implemented an initial plan to organise the time and workload of various projects throughout the year. Strong communication enabled the 2019 Director Team to remain informed of all aspects of the program. Weekly 2-hour office meetings were held on Wednesdays to provide a structured working time for the team. This weekly structure was kept throughout the less busy periods of the year. However, the workload increased to full days, weeks and some weekends during busy periods such as interviews, tutor training and the 2 months leading up to the program. It is recommended that the consistency of a weekly meeting is retained as this structure allowed the 2019 Director Team to stay organised and consistently work towards projects. A plan was also considered for handling emails to the Summer School account. Many methods were trialed and a roster in which Directors are each responsible for one weekday was established as well as a flagging system to signify which Director is responsible for emails in the inbox. The 2019 Director Team was able to maintain a fast email turn-around throughout the program. Slack messaging software was used to organise discussions within the Director Team and it formed a means of separating conversation into different channels of relevance. The 2019 Director Team also began using Trello this year to organise tasks to do into sections and assigning Directors responsible for respective tasks. This software proved to be extremely useful for organising and keeping track of the large number of components and tasks that make up the VCESS program and is strongly recommended for future teams. A change in the separation of tasks compared to the 2018 program was the clear delegation of tasks and responsibilities between the tasks. In 2019 two Directors were allocated ‘Tutor Directors’ and two Directors allocated ‘Student Directors’. This smaller team of two managed all the responsibilities and tasks required for their respective group of program participants. Special Role Teams were also allocated to a Director and this relationship was made clear to the teams so they knew which Director to contact with issues they had and were able to form strong working relationships. This approach worked well for this team but it is recommended that future teams make their own decisions about delegation and responsibilities based on their individual team dynamics. The 2019 Director Team worked to support each other throughout challenging and busy periods that each member faced. Team unity enabled strong communication, work efficiency and the interests of the program to be held central to program decisions. Notes on UMSU Volunteering Department and Policy
The 2019 Program was run as a part of the UMSU Volunteering Department and supported by the Coordinator of Volunteering. The 2019 Director Team would like to express their gratitude for the support provided to the program by the Department, and in particular by the Coordinator of Volunteering, who was at all times an invaluable source of advice and support. During 2018, the UMSU Volunteering Policy was also introduced. The 2019 Director Team held concerns about whether the aims of the policy aligned with the aims of the program. These concerns were largely focused on the restriction placed on Volunteering Programs’ ability to recruit participants from other Universities. It is the opinion of the 2019 Director Team that tutors from a diverse range of Universities are vital to the positive culture of the program, as it contributes to exposing the students to the many tertiary pathways and opportunities available to them which is one of the primary goals of VCESS. These concerns were addressed by UMSU, in future programs the VCESS Director Team will submit an approximate proportion of tutors from other Universities expected to be recruited before the interview process to be approved by the UMSU CEO. This was deemed to be an acceptable method by the 2019 Director Team. One of the largest and most valuable forms of support provided by the Volunteering Department was in the form of volunteer appreciation. With the support of Coordinator - Volunteering the 2019 Director Team were able to provide tutors with coffee vouchers, catered training and catered social events which was very appreciated and was seen to have a positive effect on tutor culture. The 2019 Director Team continues to have some concerns about the Volunteering Department. The primary concern is the lack of privacy as a result of the shared office space. For many years before the creation of the Volunteering Department, the VCESS Director Teams were provided a private office space by UMSU/MUSUL. This was valuable for a number of reasons: it provided secure storage of the program’s resources and documents, a focussed workspace, and most importantly, allowed the Director Teams to maintain confidentiality in all team discussions. For these reasons, the 2017 Director Team strongly opposed UMSU’s request they move into a shared Volunteering Office. Unfortunately, whilst the 2017 Director Team’s feedback was sought in the office development, UMSU did not take this opposition on board, and in May 2017, at the commencement of the term of the 2018 Director Team, required VCESS to move into a shared office. There have been both positive and negative aspects to this move. The current Volunteering Hub Ofice has better facilities and helps VCESS present a more professional image. The provision of the VCESS Director Team with laptops and monitors provides more flexibility than the previous provision of desktop computers, and access to a printer in the office space is also very useful. The number of whiteboards in the office and meeting rooms was also found to be very useful by the 2019 Director Team. It is also positive to build a sense of collective community amongst the different Volunteering Programs by sharing an office space, and this has resulted in a higher crossover between volunteers at each program.
Tutors Every year VCESS relies on approximately 200 volunteer tutors to run the program. The 2019 Director Team would like to thank all of the volunteers for their dedication and incredible enthusiasm towards the 2019 Program. Tutor Recruitment, Selection and Training Marketing Marketing for Tutor Recruitment commenced in July 2018, and ran through the application period of the 9th July to the 3rd of August. Prior to opening Tutor Applications, Position Descriptions were edited to reflect the requirements and duties of each role, and were uploaded on the VCESS website. Promotional Material was released progressively over a range of platforms; including emails (to expression of interest lists, past tutors, past students and faculty newsletters), Facebook posts (from VCESS’ Facebook Page and on past Tutor and Student Groups) and Instagram posts. As expected, these different avenues had differing levels of efficacy. The 2019 Director Team attended the 2018 Winterfest, which had been identified as a valuable opportunity promote the program to potential volunteer tutors. However, this marketing opportunity provided quite a low level of interest from attendees, receiving 19 Expression of Interest sign-ups. A challenge that was noted during this event was that participants of Winterfest were commonly exchange students who were not available for the 2019 Program. It is thus recommended that future Director Teams attempt to attend Winterfest if time permits, however it is not as valuable as other methods of marketing. An additional source of Tutor Recruitment was UMSU affiliated Clubs and Societies. Historically, tutors coming from Clubs and Societies have played a significant role in the program. Despite challenges with communication, the 2019 Director Team placed a strong emphasis spreading the word about applications through contacting larger clubs to seek potential tutor applicants. The 2019 Director Team recommends that future Director Teams continue to explore this avenue of recruitment, and investigate more systematic methods of reaching club members. Application Process: Online Form Tutor Applications were collected via an online application form. In order to reduce the work required by applicants, the process was brief in order to reduce time burden. Those interested were required to fill out their personal details, preferred subject areas as well as answer two questions. These two questions were ‘Why do you want to be involved in VCESS?’ and ‘What skills or experience do you have that would make you an ideal candidate?’. An addition that was made to the 2019 Online Application Form was a tick box section which allowed applicants to
nominate their past experience in camps/programs similar to VCESS. This list included: UMSU Host Program, UMSU Mentoring Program, Destination Melbourne, Trinity Young Leaders Program, YMCA Camps, Western Chances and Kwong Lee Dow Programs. Data was not collected about whether or not applicants had been involved in the VCESS Program before as either a student or tutor. This was an oversight during the application process and thus it is recommended that future Director Team collect this information as it is useful in Tutor Management. The total number of applications received by the closing date was 357. This was a fantastic result and the 2019 Director Team were happy with the increase seen since 2018. This breaks the trend of reduced numbers of applications for the 2017 and 2018 program. The 2019 Director Team believes this increase in applications may be related to closing applications at the end of the first week of the University’s second semester, which was a week later compared to 2018 Tutor Recruitment. Therefore, it is encouraged that Director Teams strongly consider the closing date for applications as this factor can affect the number of applicants. The 2019 Director Team believes that having a large number of applicants creates larger diversity of applicants which connects back to one of the aims of the program. Application Process: Interviews The answers provided during the online application form were used to assess an applicant’s ‘fit’ with the program. Based on this assessment, successful applicants were emailed an invitation to attend an interview. In total, 323 applicants progressed to the interview phase. Most interviews were completed with all four Directors present, although depending on other time commitments many also were completed with three Directors, and in rare cases two Directors. During interviews the Director Team also began collecting evidence of applicants’ Working With Children Checks (WWCC). This was effective as it removed an additional step within tutor data collection and it is recommended that future Director Teams collect WWCCs in interviews. It should be noted that WWCCs were deleted in the case of an unsuccessful outcome. Prior to the commencement of the interviews, the 2019 Director Team was given an opportunity to disclose any conflicts of interest they felt with regards to any applicants. Given the highly social nature of the program the 2019 Director Team felt this was a vital step in the selection process. Directors disclosing a conflict of interest were then not expected to participate in interview for that tutor, and the conflict would be taken into account in making any decisions. Interviews were scheduled in the Meeting Rooms in the Volunteering Office in Union House for the period of the 13th to the 24th of August. A similar system to the 2018 Program was used to schedule tutor interviews. A specialised Google Form was used to allow applicants to choose their own interview time. This approach was successful and glitches in the process from 2018 were improved most likely due to updates in the software and a reduction in the number of sections present in each form, forms were separated by weeks.
All interviews were judged against a set of standardised Key Selection Criteria, developed by the 2019 Director Team prior to the start of interviews. These were decided by brainstorming the ideal qualities of a VCESS Tutor. The Criteria were as follows: 1. Motivation 2. Reliability 3. Awareness of Disadvantage 4. Interpersonal Skills 5. Knowledge Applicants received a score for each KSC. In 2019, the ‘Awareness of Disadvantage’ KSC was added to more explicitly address the program’s aims. In addition to this, applicants for Special Roles or Subject Coordinator positions were given a separate score for each additional position. The scores were all based on the same four-point scale, with the scores determined as follows: SCORE EXPLANATION 1 Applicant does not meet requirements 2 Applicant partially meets requirements 3 Applicant meets requirements 4 Applicant exceeds requirements These scores, along with additional notes and comments were recorded after each interview, allowed the 2019 Director Team to make the most informed decisions possible. The KSC framework used was largely adequate for the purposes of deciding whether applicants were fit to undertake a role within the program. The majority of selection decisions were made after the conclusion of interviews. The primary exception to this was for applicants who had been shortlisted for Residential Tutor positions after their initial interview. These applicants were required to attend a second-round group interview. For the 2019 Program, there three group interviews; one on the 27th August and then two on the 29th of August. The Residential Second Round Group Interview consisted of 2 components. The first component was a task involving evaluating an activity that was provided and the second component was responding to welfare scenarios in a debrief. After the conclusion of these interviews, outcomes were emailed to all applicants. 221 offers were made, however the final count of tutors for the 2019 Program was 181 tutors. This final
number is lower than the original number of successful outcomes sent out, due to tutors withdrawing before the start of the program. It is likely that this phenomenon is to some degree unavoidable, given that tutors have a large range of additional commitments such as part-time work, intensive study periods or other extra-curricular activities which can arise during the summer period. Nevertheless, future Director Teams are encouraged to investigate ways of reducing pre-program attrition, as it can prove highly disruptive. The 2019 Director Team recommends placing an emphasis on time commitment during the Interview Process and perhaps adding a question that addresses potential commitments that will clash with the Program including summer subjects, internships and pending applications. Tutor Training Summary of Training Options VCESS delivers comprehensive training to its tutors. The goal of this training is to ensure the quality of service provided to students, and to add valuable professional development to the volunteering experience for tutors. It is therefore necessary for each Director Team to think critically about the implementation of training, and how it can be valuable to tutors of all levels of previous tutoring experience. Tutor Training is compulsory for all tutors, regardless of whether the tutor has volunteered with VCESS before and regardless of their existing level of tutoring experience. Tutor candidates were informed that a condition of their recruitment was attendance at either Training Day on the 22nd of November, or Tutor Training Camp on the 30th November - 2nd of December. This was conveyed in position descriptions published during recruitment, and again in person at the end of their interview. Tutor Training Camp is compulsory for all tutors with Special Role positions, although all tutors are encouraged to attend the camp due to increased opportunities for socialising with fellow tutors. Training Schedule & Attendance A summary of all training provided by VCESS is listed below. Date Session Attendance 26th September 2018 Subject Coordinator Facilitation 31 Training 30th September 2018 Subject Coordinator Facilitation 10 Training
1st October 2018 Subject Coordinator Facilitation 22 Training 22nd November 2018 Tutor Training Day 66 30th November - 2nd December 2018 Tutor Training Camp 102 19th December 2018 December Tutor Training 11 3rd January 2019 TSO Drop-In Session n/a ● Subject Coordinator Facilitation Training was advertised to the 79 Subject Coordinators, however alternative methods of training were used for circumstances where availability or timing presented as an issue. (ie. online training) ● The above table excludes training, induction or planning sessions organised by Special Role Coordinators for their Special Role Team, i.e. the Residential Team training session organised by the Residential Coordinator in December. These training sessions are incredibly useful and foster a productive, cohesive and effective team and their expansion across most Special Role Teams would benefit the program. The 2019 Director Team encourages future Director Teams to consider this possibility in consultation with future Special Role Coordinators. Training Content & Delivery Tutor Training Day and Camp were delivered by the 2019 Director Team in conjunction with the Tutor Support Officer (TSO) Team. The first half was prepared and delivered by the Director Team, covering VCESS and UMSU Policy. This ran for approximately three hours, including short breaks. The second half was prepared and delivered by the TSO Team and focussed on teaching practises tailored to a VCESS context. This drew on both the teaching and program expertise of the team. Tutors at these sessions were provided with a comprehensive written resource pack. The variety of short sessions presented by a range of speakers made the Training more engaging and effective for tutors. In addition to this, it allowed for some sessions to be run concurrently for new and returning tutors, increasing the value and relevance of these sessions. The highly interactive, small-group sessions run by the TSO Team in the afternoon also ensured tutors were familiar with members of the TSO Team and aware of the services they offered to tutors. During both of these training events, tutors were given time to meet with their Subject Coordinator, or if the Subject Coordinator was absent, other tutors from similar subject areas to discuss course content, lesson planning and activity ideas. The TSO Team helped facilitate
these sessions, although the specificity of these sessions was limited by the fact Subject Booklets had not yet been finalised and distribution to tutors. In addition to training provided, the 2019 Director Team worked in collaboration with Teach for Australia (TFA), a program that has similar aims and values as VCESS. Historically, VCESS has organised a representative from TFA to train the tutor cohort about ‘Disadvantage in Education’. This initiative was welcomed back into the program in 2019 after being absent from the 2017 and 2018 Programs. Unfortunately, the representative could only attend Training Day, and the 2019 Director Team facilitated a similar session at Camp in consultation with TFA. An online quiz was provided to tutors to refresh their knowledge after training. The 2019 Director Team believe that providing this option was a beneficial way of reminding tutors of policies and their responsibilities. Training Camp Logistics Tutor Training Camp was held at Log Cabin Creswick again in 2019, continuing a longstanding relationship. Tutors were allocated into car pools as their means of transport to the campsite. This encouraged new and returning tutors to socialise and begin meeting each other. An optional Scavenger Hunt was given to each carpool complete on the way down to camp. This served as a conversation starter and icebreaker for tutors in their carpools. The Camp followed the following schedule: Friday 30th of November 12.30pm Meet on South Lawn to meet carpool group 3pm Cars arrive and Icebreakers 4pm Meet Camp Groups and Afternoon Activities 6pm Dinner and Welcome Speech 8pm Evening Activities: Card Games, Board Games, Banner Making and Biscuit Decorating Saturday 1st of December 9am Breakfast 10am - Tutor Training (including Lunch Break) 4.30pm
4:30pm Camp Activities: Canoeing, Giant Swing, ZipLine 6pm Dinner 7pm Evening Activities: Card Games, Board Games, Banner Making and Marshmallow Toasting (Bonfire Night) Sunday 2nd of December 10:30am Brunch 11:30am Pack up and head back to Melbourne Food at Camp: Tutors were provided with meals throughout the Camp. Food was ordered by the Director Team from Coles Online and delivered to the Campsite. This was very convenient and saved space within the Director Cars. It is recommended that Coles Online or a similar method is used again. The Director Team cooked for the 102 campers using the Industrial Kitchen Facilities. Activities Groups doubled as Duty Groups and campers were required to do a set-up or a pack-up around meal times. This should be organised and communicated to campers during the Welcome Speech. The Meal Plan was as follows: Friday Night Pasta (Meat and Vegetarian Option) 4 Directors preparing Saturday Breakfast Porridge or Toast 2 Directors preparing Saturday Lunch BBQ 2 Directors preparing Saturday Dinner Vegan Lentil Curry 4 Directors preparing Sunday Brunch Eggs, Baked Beans and Leftovers 2 Directors preparing The 2019 Director Team recommend that:
● One dinner meal is Vegan/Vegetarian for everyone, as this significantly lowers the cost of food, simplifies dietary requirements and reduces waste ● Laborious Food Preparation is avoided - purchase foods that are canned or pre cut as this saves a lot of time. ● Food requirements are overestimated, estimations that were accurate for other events proved to be inadequate in a camp context. ● Time requirements for cooking and preparation are also overestimated to ensure food is delivered at an appropriate time for campers. Cooking and preparation of food requires almost all available time for Directors on camp, alternative food preparation options should be investigated and considered. Training Feedback Two surveys were collected from tutors of the 2019 Program. A Tutor Training Feedback form was distributed directly after Training Day and Tutor Training Camp and received 19 responses. A general Tutor Program Feedback form was distributed after the conclusion of the 2019 Program and received 15 responses, this represents a significant decrease from 40 responses following the 2018 program. The Tutor Training Feedback Form collected highly detailed information about each of the sessions run at each training event. A summary of the results from these surveys is provided below. Tutors were given statements and asked to provide a number from one to five, where one indicated “Strongly Disagree” and five indicated “Strongly Agree”. The following results are averages over all responses received. It is important to note that the 2019 scores from Values of VCESS/VCESS Policy relate to a section of the training which largely involved the word-for-word oration of VCESS Policy. The 2019 Director Team believes this is an important process to ensure tutors have understood all policy details, but invite future Director Teams to consider more engaging methods of delivering information on VCESS policy. Tutor Training Feedback I learned I learned I found I found I thought I thought Average Average new new this this this session this session things in things in session session was was this this engaging. engaging. necessary necessary session. session. Session 2018 2019 2018 2019 2018 2019 2018 2019 Prep Welcome to ared VCESS! 4.30 4.60 4.50 4.46 4.60 4.60 4.47 4.55 & Welcome 3.80 4.25 4.00 4.12 4.40 4.12 4.07 4.18
deliv Back! ered by Child Safety 4.20 4.36 4.20 4.19 4.67 4.36 4.36 4.30 201 9 Volunteer Dire Rights & ctor Responsibiliti Tea es and m Emergency Procedures 4.07 4.36 3.87 3.81 4.53 4.36 4.16 4.09 Disadvantage in Education 4.83 4.18 4.00 4.14 4.53 4.18 4.46 4.13 Values of VCESS & VCESS Policy 4.60 4.19 4.47 3.73 4.60 4.18 4.56 4.03 Special Role Introductions 3.80 4.09 4.20 4.18 4.47 4.09 4.16 4.12 Average (Director presented) 4.23 4.29 4.18 4.09 4.54 4.27 4.32 4.21 Prep Intro to ared VCESS 4.20 N/A 4.00 N/A 3.90 N/A 4.03 N/A & deliv Practise ered Teaching 4.00 N/A 4.20 N/A 4.00 N/A 4.07 N/A by Time and 201 Classroom 8 Management 4.30 N/A 4.60 N/A 4.60 N/A 4.50 N/A TSO Tea Lesson m Planning and Activities 3.93 N/A 3.93 N/A 4.40 N/A 4.09 N/A Differentiation 4.54 N/A 4.38 N/A 4.38 N/A 4.44 N/A Lesson Objectives and Goals 4.43 N/A 4.57 N/A 4.14 N/A 4.38 N/A Subject Area Meetings 4.00 N/A 4.00 N/A 4.67 N/A 4.22 N/A
Average (TSO presented) 4.20 4.36 4.24 4.45 4.30 4.45 4.25 4.36 Total Average 4.21 4.33 4.21 4.27 4.42 4.36 4.28 4.29 Average: 3.8
Responses to: What could have been added to training to help you better teach your class? ● More engagement with other tutors from the same subject - lesson planning together ● An early meeting with my subject co-ordinators. ● Activity Ideas (meeting with specific tutor subject groups) ● More stress that you don't need to teach heaps of content and more that you just want the students to be excited and confident about the subject. Maybe have a demo activity of what you can actually do in a class. ● More time with our specific subject tutors to share ideas and plan activities ● More subject meetings for negotiating key content knowledge to teach esp for new tutors ● To get students more aware of tutoring outside of class, before or after class TSO Feedback Average: 1.3 times
Average: 3.90 On the whole, feedback about Tutor Training was extremely positive, with almost all statements receiving average responses of “Agree” or higher. No individual session received an average statement response of less than “Agree”. TSO-delivered content was highly regarded, and Director-delivered content was viewed as highly informative. This suggests that a good balance between Director- and TSO-delivered content has been achieved. The 2019 Director Team strongly recommends that future Director Teams retain this format for training, as they believe it was effective in helping tutors provide high quality services to students. Training fostered a proactive and professional development mindset in tutors, as evidenced in the significant increase in number of tutors accessing TSO services during the program. Further formalisation of VCESS policy An important innovation for the 2018 Program was the decision to formalise several long- standing VCESS Tutor Policies. In the past these had been explained to tutors as standards of behaviour, but in 2018 they were explicitly formalised in policies, and tutors were asked to confirm that they had read and agreed to follow the policies. This was intended to improve tutors’ understanding of key VCESS practices and to provide a reference document which tutors
could refer back to after any official training sessions. The three policies produced were the VCESS Absence Policy, the VCESS Fraternisation Policy, and the VCESS Social Media Policy. In 2019, the VCESS Fraternisation Policy was expanded into the VCESS Acceptable Conduct and Relations Policy. This was to include behaviours that were not explicitly “fraternisation”, but still considered highly inappropriate in a VCESS setting. Furthermore, the expansion of the policy served to supplement existing Child Safety protections already implemented by VCESS. It should be noted that the expansion of current policy has to led to a level of duplication between policies, meaning that similar provisions appear in multiple policies. It is therefore suggested that future Director Teams streamline these policies. Future Director Teams are also encouraged to retain the written policies, and continue to adapt or improve them as circumstances change. Changes to Special Roles Each year, changes are made by the Director Team to Special Role Team responsibilities, team sizes, or new roles are created. These are made in order to increase the program’s ability to meet its core values. Indigenous Mentor The role is a broadly-defined as one that provides support and mentorship to the indigenous students on the program, of which there are usually several. The role of Indigenous Mentor has existed since VCESS 2016. Despite this, the role has never been filled. This year, the role was advertised on the VCESS website alongside other position descriptions, but no applicants were received. The 2019 Director Team reached out to both Murrup Barak and the UMSU Indigenous Department by email, however received no response from either department. The 2019 Director Team suggests that future Director Teams reach out to external, Indigenous organisations to advertise the position. Welfare Team: Queer Representative The Welfare Team: LGBTQIA+ Representative was a role created in light of the 2018 Director Team’s commitment to ensuring students and tutors on the program who identified as LGBTQIA+ were included and supported as best as possible. The responsibilities of this role included providing welfare support to LGBTQIA+ identifying students and tutors, as well as, in
consultation with the 2018 Director Team, identifying ways the program could make itself more inclusive to LGBTQIA+ students and tutors. The position description was advertised on the VCESS website, which included the statement that candidates for the role should identify as LGBTQIA+. A large number of applicants were received for this position, and selection was very competitive. The 2019 Director Team therefore chose to appoint two Representatives. In consultation with the two LGBTQIA+ representatives, the position title was changed to Queer Representative. The reasons for this were: ● To bring VCESS in line with UMSU terminology regarding Queer and Questioning students ● To simplify the position title ● To acknowledge the view of both Representatives and the 2019 Director Team that the term “Queer” can be viewed as more inclusive than the alternative “LBGTQIA+”. The two Queer Representatives, in addition to their normal responsibilities as members of the Welfare Team: ● Gave a 5-minute presentation at Tutor Training Camp on why their role exists and how the role assists Queer and Questioning students and tutors at VCESS ● Held a successful Queer picnic, which was attended by over 20 tutors and students. We encourage future Director Teams to explore greater Queer-led student engagement opportunities, as this has worked effectively. IT Representative There was some discussion the previous year prior to applications opening as to whether this role should continue to exist, given the nature of the TMS (see section: TMS), and whether or not to incorporate this role into the Operations Team. The 2019 Director Team decided not to extend the IT Operations team into the 2019 Program. Instead, the role of Operations Team Member: IT Representative was established. This role involved managing all IT-related queries from tutors and students, which were previously dealt with solely through other Operations Team Members. Tutor Social Events The 2019 Director Team made tutor social events a priority. From the point of tutor recruitment, it was believed that a positive culture among tutors benefits the program greatly as well as increases tutor retention. The 2019 Director Team ran several social events to allow tutors to meet each other and form connections within the program. This was in addition to the monthly Tutor News Editions which provided information to tutors and maintained channels for communication.
The first ‘Meet and Greet’ event was held on the 22nd of September and including an afternoon of games, get-to-know-you activities and afternoon tea. The invitation to this event was sent out with the tutor acceptance emails and was determined to be very successful with a turnout of approximately 60 tutors. On the 19th of October, VCESS organised a Picnic in the Park social activity. This event was our most accessible for tutors who prefer more laid-back and smaller social settings, and this variance among events was taken into consideration. Roughly 20 tutors were in attendance, making it our lowest-attended tutor social event. While the event was intended to be a much more minor occasion compared with other tutor social events, the attendance was perhaps hampered by taking place in the evening of the last day of Semester 2 when there are often other end-of-semester celebrations and commitments for students. Future Director Teams should continue to actively reflect on the timing of events within the university timetable, especially for larger-scale occasions. On the 12th of December, the 2019 Director Team held a Trivia Night in the Ida Bar with food and a drinks tab funded by UMSU. This event was a huge success, with a turnout of approximately 60 tutors. The Trivia Night highlighted the enjoyment and benefit volunteers can receive through being involved in the VCESS community, as well as strongly positioning VCESS as an UMSU Program. This year the program received a large amount of support from UMSU, in the form of funds provided by the Volunteering Department. At a variety of different tutor training and social events, the Volunteering Department provided food, such as cupcakes, which was strongly appreciated by many tutors who conveyed this through informal feedback. It is recommended that future Director Teams continue holding regular tutor social events and include a variety of activities to ensure all tutors are included. Students Student Recruitment Student applications opened on the 17th September 2018, and officially closed on the 7th of December 2018. Student Application Form The 2019 Program split the student application form into to parts compared to previous years, which only consisted of one part. The first part consisted of information that students could fill in
independently and conveniently without the assistance of a guardian or parent. The second part comprised of sections which required additional information which may have required guardian or parent assistance such as medical information, health insurance etc. This decision to split the form up into two parts was done for several reasons. It was designed to make the application process easier and more convenient for students, as they were notified upon completing Part One, that they would require additional information or assistance to complete Part Two. This resulted in 404 completed Part One applications and 378 completed Part Two applications by the end of the 2019 Program compared to 350 completed student applications for the 2019 Program. Students who only completed Part One of the application form were accepted into the 2019 program, conditional upon completion of Part Two. To ensure that the 2019 Program would be able to cater for any potential students, arrangements were made based on Part One application form numbers and details such as subject booklet printing and timetable generation. Whilst having two parts to the application form did encourage and result in a greater number of student applications, there were some difficulties and additional complications that came as a result: ● Details across both forms had to be matched to respond to students. This was relatively fault free as names and birth dates were used to match the two forms. However there were difficulties faced when students made mistakes or used different details in the two forms. The 2019 Director Team often had to manually correct entries. ● The 2019 Director Team had to remind some students to complete Part Two of the application form on many occasions. This was particularly challenging when upon program commencement when the Operations Team and Directors had to meet with the students in person to complete the form. ● There were a greater excess of materials than previous years, in particular subject booklets than previous years. There were also a greater number student absences in classes, this was also a concern to tutors as it had not been effectively communicated to them to expect a small amount of absences. The two part application form was largely successful and resulted in a greater number of applications compared to previous years. The 2019 Director Team recommends that future Director Teams initiate a similar application process. However, the components of what is in each part of the application form should be evaluated and considered. Marketing The student recruitment process began in September 2018. As was the case during tutor recruitment, a wide variety of media were used to reach potential students. In addition to number of ‘tried and tested’ marketing avenues, the 2019 Director Team investigated a number of new opportunities, with mixed results. Some of these avenues will be covered in more detail below. The figure below details the answers to the question “How did you hear about the VCE Summer School?” from Part One of the student application form. Figure 1:
As has been observed in previous years, the most commonly nominated information source was “Friends or family”. Given that this likely represents largely word-of-mouth information, this highlights the importance in maintaining consistent student branding on VCESS marketing materials, to ensure that people who have encountered the program previously can continue to recognise it. The importance of word of mouth marketing is further highlighted by other sources such as: ‘a past participant told me,’ ‘from a homework club I go to,’ ‘my tutor,’ ‘student helper recommended.’ The 2019 Director Team sought to encourage past participants (both tutors and students) of the program to spread the word to any potential participants. All communications to participants encouraged them to spread the word and offered to send out information packs with brochures and additional information to anyone that was interested. Social Media The 2019 Director Team also sought to improve previous Director Teams’ effort to bolster VCESS’s visibility on social media. This was done through pursuing a more engaging and active social media strategy to leverage VCESS’ social media audience. A more diverse range of content was created, such as memes, videos and other image based posts. This generated a greater level of engagement with VCESS’ content. Engagement was also also bolstered by the ability to use the program’s relationship with the University’s External Relations department to obtain “shares” on the University’s Facebook and Snapchat accounts, as well as shares and promotions by UMSU’s social media channels. This resulted in vastly increased visibility (measured in post engagement and ‘views’) compared to previous years, however ultimately it
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