At Excelsia college, our education staff are passionate about the importance of literacy introduction and language development in a child’s early stages. As part of English Language Day on 23 April, Dr Pegah Marandi, Lecturer and Field Education Coordinator and Dr Gideon Boadu, Lecturer and Coordinator (Master of Teaching Program) share their thoughts.


Dr Marandi shares, ‘Literacy introduction and development in early ages can have a lifelong learning impact on a child. This development can start well before the school years. Literacy can elevate children’s experiences of talking, reading, and writing at a very early stage and provide them with a healthier future. Being literate is interwoven with a strong sense of identity and wellbeing, meaning children with stronger reading and writing skills would potentially perform better and thus show more confidence and positive self-image as adults.’


For Dr Boadu, children’s literacy development is foundational in facilitating children’s communication and social competence. ‘The representational affordances of letters, pictures, objects, words, sounds and language help children to navigate their young worlds and develop agency and independence in everyday activities. As adults, we have a role to play in supporting children’s literacy development through intentional communication, collaborative reading and literary play, to scaffold understanding and problem-solving in young children,’ he explains.


If you are passionate about developing the minds of children and young adults, why not consider our Bachelor of Early Childhood Education (Birth to 5), Master of Teaching (Primary) or Master of Teaching (Secondary)?                           

Mike Peereboom is Excelsia College’s Chaplain and involved with all pastoral care, ministry, and worship activities at the College. For nearly three and a half years, Mike has provided a listening ear, care, guidance, support, and advocacy for students. Mike is not only genuinely concerned with the spiritual wellbeing of Excelsia students, but he also cares about their physical and emotional wellbeing. With his genuine and down-to-earth nature, it’s easy to see why Mike has a natural affinity with students and staff alike. It is these qualities that make Mike an Excellent Personality.

 

When he’s not engaging with students on campus, Mike enjoys spending time with his wife and two children and adventuring outdoors. He has spent many hours climbing, bouldering, bushwalking, canyoning, mountain-biking, road cycling, kayaking, swimming, and chasing waterfalls.

 

Colossians 3:23 says to ‘work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.’ Mike aims to hold these values through his role running The Gathering. This group is a chance for all students to come together, catch up and encourage one another, and learn about God and His people through informal discussion. During the pandemic, The Gathering, praise and worship meetings, prayer meetings, small group Bible studies, Social Tuesday and discipleship groups – groups designed for students to meet together and study God’s word, growing in spiritual maturity – all shifted online. Now, thankfully, with students back on campus, these programs are resuming in person once again.

 

Throughout his various ministry roles, God has taught Mike that he is a finite being and an instrument used to further His kingdom. ‘I do not make the earth turn or the stars shine, God does. God does not need me for His work in the world, but He does want me – to partner with Him in His work in the world. I’ve learned that outcomes do not matter more than processes – especially in a ministry context. Walking with Jesus today and living like Jesus today is up to me; outcomes and what happens tomorrow is up to Him.’

 

A helpful piece of advice Mike has learned is, ‘If I don’t prioritise my time and my tasks, then someone else will. In other words, if I don’t put in the hard work of deciding how I will spend my time and energy, someone else will inevitably make these decisions for me. I have learned that abdicating the hard work of decision-making (managing my own time and my own tasks) can impact my feelings of agency, autonomy and my ability to foster a healthy self-differentiation.’

 

Mike describes the Excelsia community as a melting pot of different Christian denominations. ‘As an evangelical Christian I have been surprised by the beauty of different Christian traditions represented here at Excelsia, be they Orthodox, Catholic, or any of the many Protestant denominations. Each individual believer contributes something special to the Body of Christ – that is, the ecumenical community of faith.’

 

Do you feel inspired by Mike’s story and want to join Excelsia College or find out more about the student support services available, including pastoral support and chaplaincy? Feel free to visit our website https://excelsia.edu.au/

Since starting at Excelsia College in 2014, Cameron Lyon has worn a variety of hats, having worked as Student Recruitment Coordinator, Communications Coordinator and Student Support Manager for the College.

 

Cameron’s current role is as Screen Production Course Manager for the Bachelor of Screen Production, in partnership with Sydney Film School. He is passionate about advocating for the power of the screen, finding the stories that should capture our attention and working creatively to improve people’s skills and experiences. Cameron has applied excellence to all his roles, and it is for this reason that he is a worthy Excellent Personality.

 

Cameron works closely with Bachelor of Screen Production students to understand their worldview and oversee creative pieces from conception right through to the finished product. ‘Students surprise me frequently with their gifts, endurance, and unique way of thinking. It’s a delight to meet with students and understand their worldview. Particularly in my context of screen storytelling, it’s fascinating seeing what creativity they produce,’ Cameron explains.

 

Students in Bachelor of Screen Production also gain Cameron’s insight into the industry. Having worked in feature films as a screen actor, he uses this experience to instil a passion for storytelling in the next generation. Already Cameron has been able to develop, launch, and manage the Excelsia and Sydney Film School Award which offers students a full scholarship to the degree.

 

Throughout his nearly eight years at Excelsia, God has taught Cameron to keep Him as his central focus, even amongst the busyness of life. ‘Anytime I shift from that thinking, I miss the beauty in the day to day, His grace towards me and, paradoxically, I lose focus in my work.’ Likewise, Cameron enjoys approaching his role with innovation, creativity and difference, something Excelsia College’s CEO Peter McKeon often speaks about with his staff. ‘Peter asks, “How can I do things differently?” and I find this way of thinking crucial to work life. At times, Christians can be accused of being impartial to outcomes with eternity in mind. God calls us to a balanced way of thinking with the now and not yet. The now matters to God too. I think having this innovative and creative way of thinking moves us into a space of fascinating potential. Walt Disney once said, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths*,”’ explains Cameron.

 

When he’s not working, Cameron enjoys watching Messi play football, getting amongst his church community, woodworking, and binging a quality television series. ‘I would describe Excelsia as a place of upward voyage.’ These words seem so fitting considering all the wonderful ways Cameron has already blessed the Excelsia community and will continue to do so.

 

If you feel inspired by Cameron’s story and want to:

• explore Excelsia College’s courses, including the Bachelor of Screen Production, visit our website

• work at Excelsia College, visit our Careers page

 

Reference

*Goodreads. (n.d.). Walt Disney Company Quotable Quote. Goodreads. goodreads.com/quotes/656385-we-keep-moving-forward-opening-new-doors-and-doing-new

At Excelsia College we are proud to have females in leadership roles. Did you know 57 per cent of our workforce are female and 50 per cent are involved in senior leadership? On 8 March, Excelsia College celebrated the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of females for International Women’s Day. This year’s theme was #BreakTheBias. As part of the day, we chatted to Rachel Thompson, People and Culture Manager. We found out about her work, female role models, why she considers the day important and her advice to other women wanting to progress within their careers.

 

Q.    This year’s theme is #BreakTheBias. How does your work help to facilitate this?

A.     I seek to observe gender diversity of our staff and facilitate opportunity for women through all aspects of the employee lifecycle and various employee personal life stages. This includes empowering our women on staff and women in leadership through organisational development initiatives to stretch themselves.

 

Q.    Why do you think International Women’s Day is so important and worthy of being celebrated?

A.     Womanhood is so diverse in its expression across different peoples and groups, however equality of access to opportunity is an ideal that should be encouraged, protected, and facilitated across all contexts. International Women’s Day is an opportunity to evaluate and celebrate access to opportunity.


Q.    What advice would you give to women trying to progress in their careers?

A.     Seek to build strategic relationships and prioritise lifelong learning.


Q.    What’s a lesson that’s helped you to break the glass ceiling?

A.     Demonstrate commitment to excellence in what you have been assigned and you will attract advocates, champions, and coaches who will want to empower you and see you succeed.


Q.    Do you have a female role model you look up to? If so, what qualities do they possess that you admire?

A.     Some of my favourite authors were women who produced works ahead of their time such as Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters. These women were largely self-taught in their vocation, yet through intelligence, passion, and persistence they wrote and refined classic pieces of literature with insight that transcended their own context.

 

After two years of stopping and starting again, working remotely, putting life and travel plans on hold, Excelsia College can’t wait to welcome back students, especially international students! For those students who won’t be able to join us in person by Semester 1, 2022, we’ll have online learning options available.

 

God teaches us that He is faithful and will be with us until the very end of the age (Matthew 28:20). Even though this year was unsettling in a lot of ways, Excelsia rose to the occasion, proving just how strong our community is. Staff and students adjusted to remote working and online learning using Zoom. Excelsia was also able to support students through Foodbank, a free and confidential service that provided grocery items to students struggling financially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are also thankful for the support provided through each other and our community, and services such as counselling and onsite chaplaincy.

 

Despite the pandemic, the Excelsian community continued to produce outstanding work. Here are some of the College’s favourite projects from this year:

  1. CAPA x Fest which gave third-year Drama students experience in planning and implementing a festival. The inaugural theme ‘Play Different: Be Different’ encouraged audience members to play and think outside of the box. Music students also contributed to this new venture by performing their original work.
  1. BSP Film Scholarship which gave high school students across Australia in Years 11 and 12 the opportunity to develop and share their voice through short films of 2 to 6 minutes. Students expressed thematic content around the nature of morality, existence, spirituality, philosophy, reality and truth for the chance to win a full scholarship to the Bachelor of Screen Production, in conjunction with Sydney Film School.
  2. ACHEA Research Conference, Lumen Conferral and HEPP-QN National Forum on Changing Landscapes in Higher Education. These conferences brought together a range of researchers, panellists, workshop facilitators and professional presenters who contributed to the advancement of knowledge in higher education.

 

Although we couldn’t have in-person Open Days, our Virtual Open Days for Drama, Music and Screen Production were a success and saw students start to enrol for Early Offer entry.

2022 is already shaping up to be a big year, with an exciting range of new courses being launched! These include our Bachelor of Business (Accounting), Master of Professional Accounting, Bachelor of Music (Worship), Graduate Certificate in Christian Leadership and more.

 

If you’ve put off your studies and are ready to learn in 2022, why not explore Excelsia College? We offer courses across business, accounting, social workcounsellingeducation and creative and performing arts.

Teachers are in a profession that allows them to make a positive and life-changing difference in the lives of children and young adults. If you are interested in exploring a career in early childhood, primary or secondary education, Excelsia College offers a range of bachelor and master courses.

 

The Bachelor of Early Childhood Education (Birth to 5) is designed to provide graduate early childhood teachers with knowledge, skills and understanding to provide quality early childhood education and care. The Bachelor of Early Childhood Education (Birth to 5) is delivered on campus and is suitable for both domestic and international students. Over four years, students will cover units such as ‘Teaching for Diverse Abilities’, ‘Multicultural and Multilingual Perspective in Early Childhood’ and ‘Leadership, Creativity and Innovation’.

 

The Master of Teaching (Primary) and the Master of Teaching (Secondary) prepare teacher education students to teach in independent, state and Catholic school systems. When you complete your teacher training at Excelsia College, you gain the teaching qualifications that will fully prepare you for a fulfilling career in education, from working directly with children in the classroom, to developing educational pedagogy. In Master of Teaching (Secondary), students will choose to specialise in their key learning area including creative and performing arts, English, mathematics, science and technology, personal development, health and physical education and human society and its environment.

 

For those wanting to advance into leadership roles within the education space, looking for the next step in their career or wanting to move from a generalist position to a more specialised role, Excelsia’s Master of Educational Leadership could be suitable. The course will provide teachers with the tools to further transform their classroom and advance into leadership roles in education. During the one-year full-time course, students will study units including ‘Christian Leadership’, ‘Leading Professional Learning Communities’, and they will explore a real-world problem within the field of education in ‘Applied Education Research Project’. Students will graduate ready to teach in religious and non-religious educational environments.

 

Excelsia’s newest addition, Master of Education Research (STEM) allows postgraduate students to acquire specialist knowledge within their chosen subject field that they can share within their workplace. Over two years full-time, students will develop advanced research skills, specialist knowledge and transferable skills in critical analysis and problem- solving. Students can then go on to pursue a PhD qualification in education and STEM education. In the first year, students study the unit ‘STEM Foundations’ and explore emerging approaches to STEM education through digital technologies. Students explore different ways of thinking and practices such as ‘making’, coding programming, game-based learning, data visualisation and flipped classrooms. In the second semester of Year 1 and for the entire second year, students will undertake an intensive research project in their capstone unit ‘Supervised Research and Thesis Writing’. Their work will help to contribute to the growing field of STEM education.

 

Lead the way in creating a better tomorrow and explore Excelsia’s education courses today!

Excelsia College students come from all over the world to study social work, counselling, business, creative and performing arts, accounting, and education. Over 80 per cent of our students speak a language other than English, and over 58 nationalities are represented at the College. We love this because Excelsia College aims to be a global, multicultural community where people share the same vision and values. It reminds us of the picture painted in Revelation 7:9, which talks about every nation and tribe coming together, and we aim to create such a community.

 

Did you know that in 2018, 876,399 international students were enrolled in educational programs across Australia? This is approximately 8.3 per cent more than in 2017, during which 796,130 international students were enrolled according to Australian Government Department of Education and Training (2019). Over three-quarters of these international students entered Australia through agents (ICEF Monitor, 2019). In terms of students studying ELICOS (English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students), China made up the largest source of enrolments at 23.6 per cent, followed by Colombia at 14.6 per cent of enrolments, Brazil at 10 per cent and Thailand at 6 per cent (Australian Government Department of Education Skills and Employment International student data summary, 2020).

 

Having friends and colleagues from across the globe reflects our increasingly diverse workplace and world. So in a context where Australia, and our College community is so multicultural, how we can learn and appreciate each other’s differences? And why is Excelsia pursuing the goal of being a multicultural college?

 

Diversity and multiculturalism help students, teaching and support staff gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of their peers as they take the time to understand one another and learn about each other’s upbringings, traditions, and knowledge. Diversity and multiculturalism also foster emotional skills such as understanding, empathy, and compassion. Staff and students gain greater cultural awareness and understanding that reflects the outside world, as well as practising critical thinking on current social issues surrounding cultural diversity.

 

At Excelsia College, we take pride in loving one another, learning about one another, and removing biases and preconceptions we might have. Harmony Day is prominent in Excelsia’s calendar, where we encourage staff and students to share their cultural heritage, including through food and clothing. Our chaplain also hosts a Nepalese BBQ where we celebrate South Asian culture, food, and music.

 

Being a multicultural community with smaller class sizes means we can learn to share our strengths, potential, the way we see each other and how we work together. We can gain a more accurate representation and knowledge of cultural groups.

 

Excelsia helps staff and students to gain global perspectives and practices that go beyond our own world views and we help to prepare students for careers in a variety of global settings. No matter where our students go once they graduate, they can take those valuable skills of empathy, critical thinking, and cultural awareness they learned at Excelsia into their local, national and international communities. Excelsia is building a culturally aware, global community in not only Sydney but also throughout the world.

 

References

Department of Education, Skills and Employment. (2020). End of year summary of international student data 2020 [PDF]. Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment. internationaleducation.gov.au/research/international-student-data/Documents/MONTHLY%20SUMMARIES/2020/Full%20year%20summary.pdf

Department of Education and Training. (2019). 2018 time series graph: International student enrolments in Australia 1994–2018. [PDF]. Australian Government Department of Education and Training. internationaleducation.gov.au/research/international-student-data/Documents/INTERNATIONAL%20STUDENT%20DATA/2018/2018%20Time%20Series%20Graph.pdf

ICEF Monitor. (2019, October 30). Education agents refer 75% of Australia’s international students. ICEF. monitor.icef.com/2019/10/education-agents-refer-75-of-australias-international-students/

Congratulations to our drama students who have received a glowing review from Leo Barton, film review specialist about their short film. The film Pinch Me aired at the Bucharest Shortcut Cinefest, a Romanian film festival which aims to find and promote talented and emerging filmmakers. Directed by Michael McLennan, Pinch Me explores the disorientating line between dreams and reality, where four tight-knit students bask in their collective friendship on the eve of one leaving for new lands.

 

As McLennan explains, ‘Pinch Me was inspired by the void we all looked into in 2020. Passports became marks of death, our economic futures were suddenly exposed as empty, and it became quite apparent that it might not work out well for all of us’ (Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts, 2021). The topic is one with which inhabitants of the twenty-first century can identify, particularly those who live across and between borders. The four university students are portrayed by Excelsia students: Anjelica Murdaca, Henry Taylor, Maddison Lamb and Declan Montgomery. The production crew includes graduates Daniel Montgomery, Taleece Paki, Nicola Allen and current students Tas Madnez, Ebony Loloa and Caitlin Capon, who will face a similar fate when they come to the end of their academic road.

 

McLennan teaches the third-year unit ‘Film Project’ in the Bachelor of Dramatic Art at Excelsia College. We can’t wait to see the final short film!

 

Reference

Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts. (2021, August 10). AACTA Spotlight Featuring Pinch Me. AACTA. https://www.aacta.org/connect/aacta-spotlight-featuring-pinch-me/?fbclid=IwAR2xAoeuhssYSHsXhsGNWPh9Kzbb8PRuphBX8tY_35tf2P-7l26ujSjEJm4

In accordance with the recent Australian Government announcement, Excelsia College is looking forward to welcoming returning international students to studying in the country. Currently, international arrivals must receive a PCR test on arrival and isolate for three days. However, as the Australian Government recently announced, from 15 December, the international student community will be able to travel to Sydney without needing to apply for an exemption or quarantine.* Provided international students are fully vaccinated, they will be able to enrol in their course of their choosing. For students unable to return to campus until later on in 2022, Excelsia will still be providing online learning opportunities.

 

If you are an international student interested in studying at Excelsia College, we encourage you to focus on your application to the College, accept your offer, and enrol as soon as possible to begin your student visa application process. Your student visa is essential for travel to Australia.

Please ensure you meet the strict requirements for entry to Sydney.

  • Be fully vaccinated with a completed dosage of a vaccine approved or recognised by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). You are considered fully vaccinated from seven days following your second vaccination.
  • Hold a valid student visa.
  • Provide proof of your vaccination status.
  • Present a negative COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test taken within three days of departure.

The current list of approved or recognised vaccines include:

  • AstraZeneca (VAXZEVRIA),
  • AstraZeneca/Serum Institute of India (COVISHIELD)
  • BBIBP-CorV (Sinopharm)
  • Covaxin (Bharat Biotech)
  • Janssen-Cilag (Johnson & Johnson)
  • Moderna (SPIKEVAX)
  • Pfizer (COMIRNATY)
  • Sinovac (CORONAVAC)

We look forward to hosting back-to-campus events that many students have missed over the past two years!

 

*More information on entry requirements for international students can be found on the Australian Government website. Please note information is subject to change.