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English Australia reveals 2023 ELICOS winners

English Australia celebrated excellence in the ELICOS sector earlier this month when it revealed the winners of the 2023 English Australia industry awards at its conference in Sydney.

English Australia Chair Kerry Sutcliffe, with Helen Zimmerman and English Australia CEO Brett Blacker. Photo: English Australia

In the Lifetime Achievement category, English Australia chose to select two icons of the ELICOS sector

The peak body said the nine winners of eight awards represent the “incredibly diverse” areas within the ELICOS sector.

Among those selected winners in 2023 were a director at Universal English College in Sydney, an initiative focusing on Sustainable Development Goals at the University of Wollongong College as well as two Lifetime Achievement Awards going to Helen Zimmerman and Marc Weedon-Newstead.

Judges selected Richard Pincus, campus director at Universal English College, for the Academic Leadership for his “value driven” approach, his effective collaboration with team members, ability to promote the successes of others and support staff growth, as well as his clear commitment to supporting the college’s students.

UOW College’s two-week hybrid ‘Project Unite’ initiative combining English language classes with afternoon project work was recognised in the innovation category. It brings together students within the Wollongong networks in Dubai, Malaysia and Hong Kong, as well as students in Wollongong, to collaborate on UN SDGs.

Vicky Chang from CQUEnglish Melbourne was the recipient of both the Action Research in ELICOS Award and the Contribution to Professional Practice Award.

In the headline Lifetime Achievement category, English Australia chose to select two icons of the ELICOS sector.

Helen Zimmerman, who started teaching English to refugees in the 1970s, later joining ACL and Navitas before retiring in 2018, was selected as one winner.

The former English Australia board member has also previously been recognised by IEAA for her Distinguished Contribution to International Education and two Outstanding Contribution awards from the Council for International Students Australia.

With four decades in international education, Marc Weedon-Newstead’s career “encompasses a diverse range of locations, organisations and roles” English Australia said as it honoured him with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

“Marc’s unwavering support of and dedication to the ELICOS sector is an admirable legacy”

Beginning his career in Sudan, then Kuwait and Japan, Marc has worked in private and publicly owned ELICOS centres across Australia.

“Marc’s unwavering support of and dedication to the ELICOS sector is an admirable legacy and English Australia thanks him for his significant contributions,” the peak body said.

Grant and bursary awards were conferred on Benjamin Carkagis from the University of Sydney, Sandra Caon-Parsons at University of Adelaide English Language Centre and Virginia Mawer, who is behind

At the Centre for English Teaching + Learning Hub, English Australia said Carkagis has been “instrumental in the development of a new professional development program”, and has led on professional program redesign and curriculum renewal.

The peak body pointed to Caon-Parsons’s advocacy for student wellbeing and teacher professional development at the University of Adelaide.

“The judges were in agreement that Sandra’s nomination painted a clear picture of her crucial work and impact at The University of Adelaide English Language Centre and more widely across the ELICOS sector,” it said.

The full list of winners includes:

Academic Leadership Award: Richard Pincus, campus director, Universal English College

Award for Innovation: UOW College, ‘Project Unite’

Action Research in ELICOS Award: Vicky Chang, CQUEnglish Melbourne

Christine Bundesen AM Grant: Benjamin Carkagis, education manager (Professional Programs), University of Sydney Centre for English Teaching & Learning Hub

Contribution to Professional Practice: Vicky Chang, CQUEnglish Melbourne

John Gallagher Bursary: Sandra Caon-Parsons, Education Advisor, University of Adelaide English Language Centre

Award for Lifetime Achievement: Helen Zimmerman and Marc Weedon-Newstead

Anne Burns Action Research Grant: Virginia Mawer, ELICOS Teacher, Centre for English Teaching + Learning Hub, The University of Sydney

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