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Sally Kift

Sally Kift is Deputy Vice‐Chancellor (Academic) at James Cook University (JCU), Australia and President of the Australian Learning and Teaching Fellows (ALTF). Prior to commencing at JCU in 2012, Sally was a Professor of Law at Queensland University of Technology, where she also served as Law Faculty Assistant Dean, Teaching & Learning (2001‐2006) and QUT’s foundational Director, First Year Experience (2006‐2007).

Sally is a national Teaching Award winner (2003) and national Program Award winner (2007). She was awarded a Senior Fellowship by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) in 2006 to investigate the first year experience and is currently a Discipline Scholar in Law.

Transition Pedagogy:  Enabling Student Success in the First Year Experience.  

Students’ successful transition to higher education and a positive first year experience (FYE) are significant issues for higher education internationally. The cost and impact of early student departure and failure to succeed are highest in the first year – for institutions, individuals, their communities and society, across a spectrum of reputational, ethical, personal, economic and legal dimensions. If we conceptualise student “transition” as the “capacity to navigate change” across phases of induction, development and becoming (Gale & Parker, 2011, 25), then managing these transitions in their various guises over the course of the first year student lifecycle is a complex and multifaceted undertaking.

In response, this presentation will discuss a “whole student”, whole-of-institution framework for enabling transition success that has been developed under an Australian Learning and Teaching Fellowship articulating a “Transition Pedagogy” (Kift, 2009). The impetus for this work has been the recognition that, in all their diversity, students come to us in higher education to learn. It is therefore within the first year curriculum that students must be engaged and supported for multiple transitions and to realise a sense of academic and social belonging. 

Transition Pedagogy has been framed around the identification of six First Year Curriculum Principles, delivered by academic and professional staff working in partnership for whole-of-institution enhancements. This session will also examine these six integrative, organising Principles, together with examples and strategies for their implementation (Kift, 2015). 


Gale, T. and Parker, S. (2011). Good practice report: Student transition into higher education. Strawberry Hills, NSW: Australian Learning and Teaching Council.

Kift, S. (2009). Articulating a transition pedagogy to scaffold and to enhance the first year student learning experience in Australian higher education: Final Report for ALTC Senior Fellowship Program.  Australian Learning & Teaching Council. 

Kift, S. (2015). A decade of Transition Pedagogy: A quantum leap in conceptualising the first year experience. HERDSA Review of Higher Education, Vol 2, pp 51-86. 

Sidst opdateret: 07.04.2017