Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Newsletter 11th of July 2012

Hi there!
I don’t have much to report at the minute! Three things to highlight:
1.       The joint networking event with Curtin and Murdoch is going to go off! There is jazz, and music, and food – and it’s totally free! But you need to RSVP by the 12th – so get on to that ASAP! Consider this very strong encouragement from me to come along (also, I’ll be there and I’d love to say hi). Website:, RSVP to
2.       The Croccy photo for Week Three was captured! Winning photo will be up on Facebook and the website soon! One week left, who will win this week?
3.       Postscript is looking for contributors! Check the website to see what articles are still available, and write up something for our awesome little magazine!
All the best, I hope you’re all having a wonderful week!
(9 exclamation points... I think I’m getting worse.)
Law students: Apparently don’t subscribe to this mailing list. If they did, they would join the PSA Committee and represent postgrad law students! Email Aisling at
Scholarships: The Mid-Year round for Australian Postgraduate Awards and UWA Safety Net Top-Up Scholarship applications is now open from Friday 1st June and will close on Friday, 13th July 2012. This round is for domestic PhD, other RTS Doctoral and Masters by Research applicants for commencement in Semester 2 2012.
This round includes the prestigious Ana Africh Postgraduate Scholarships in Medical Research. These top-up scholarships are valued at $7,500 per annum, and are awarded on the basis of academic acheivement. Applicants are also required to submit a statement of financial need. See:
National Student Leadership Forum: Is running in Canberra from the 20th to the 23rd of September, info is here: See the website for how to apply:
Eco-Health Summit: The EcoHealth student section is a voluntary group of student coordinators working under the auspices of the International Association for Ecology and Health (IAEH or EcoHealth Association). Contribute your opinion/find out more:
Medically-minded? Nominations for the FMDHS 2013 Excellence in Teaching Awards are now open, for both coursework teaching and research supervision. See more:
Do you do placements? The Forum "A Place for ME" will be back on Wednesday the 1st of August at 2pm. It will be a great opportunity to talk about placement and how we would like things to change and feedback to the university. Email for more info.
Money? Money! Convocation and PSA co-fund some travel awards! Applications are open on the 1st of July:
Threesome! By which, of course, I mean the three most awesome PSAs in WA (UWA, Curtin, and Murdoch) are co-hosting a networking event! It will be held at Curtin on the 19th of July from 6pm to 9pm. Wine and Cheese/Nibbles are on the cards!
Postscript! You could contribute to the premier publication of the PSA! See the website for all the details:
Theatre: 'The Cat in the Box' is a play written by a UWA postgrad and is showing at the Blue Room Theatre! This play messes around with quantum physics a little and Schrodinger's Cat in particular. See: for all the info.
Oxfam Dinner: Announcing OxfamUWA's fund-raising event of the year – a Global Dinner. It will a rollercoaster of a night filled with Fairtrade food, global events and a taste of the inequalities faced by people all over the world. With 18 tables representing different countries, the night is sure to be full of surprises! Tickets are $25 for concession or $30 for an adult. Or you can book a table of 10, for $200. Purchase your tickets at: For more information about the event head to:
Do you want to put a notice in the newsletter? You should email me! I’ll spruik most things related to postgrads, professional development, and activities. Newsletter day is currently Wednesday, so email two sentences and any links to by 9am on Wednesday to be included!
Internal Mail: M300
Phone: (08) 6488 3194
Office: Guild South Wing, First Floor, Office 1.03
Lounge: Guild South Wing, First Floor, Room 1.05

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Faculty of Arts Casual Marking Pay (Take 2)

Today the issue of pay for marking in the Faculty of Arts came to the attention of the PSA again. Since the agreement to pay casual staff for marking was reached, there has been a great deal of confusion across faculties, admin, and casual staff about how exactly marking is paid. I hope to clarify this somewhat in this post, but will also continue working with the School and Faculty Managers in Arts so that an explanation is put on the Arts website, the process made clearer, and that terminology becomes standardised.
There are essentially three different kinds of marking in which we could be involved:
Marking as part of casual tutoring: These are the assignments you mark for your tutorial students, by virtue of being their tutor. Note that ‘reasonably contemporaneous marking’ is not entitled to additional pay – this would be any marking you do within the context of a tutorial eg: a pop quiz, tutorial presentation etc. For marking which takes up a significant amount of time outside of your tutorials, such as research essays, you’re entitled to be paid for ‘standard marking’. The rate at which you are paid is calculated by the Faculty through this equation:
1 Equivalent Full-Time Student Load (EFTSL) = 8 students.
For every 1 EFTSL you mark, you are paid for 3 hours at the standard marking rate.
This pay is calculated at the end of the semester – the reason for this being the significant fluctuation we experience in student enrolments during the semester. By calculating the marking entitlement at the end of the semester, the Faculty is able to accurately calculate how much we are owed. You should be aware that this takes time to come through – perhaps a month, since the end of semester will also necessarily include marking, submitting final results, waiting for extensions, ect.
External Marking: This is the tricky one, as everyone seems to call it something different. Other popular terms include ‘buy-out marking’ and ‘routine marking’. This is marking that you do outside of duties as a casual tutor. For example, you might not be doing any teaching, but your supervisor might ask you to mark 20 first-year essays if they’re overloaded. This marking should also be paid using the same equation and at the standard rate – but it is paid within the same pay period, not at the end of semester. This is because there is no contract, and no fluctuation in student numbers. It is important that you keep a track of any external marking you do, as opposed to marking as a tutor because of this difference. Make sure that your line manager promptly lodges the casual timesheet with the admin staff, and includes the project grant the money is to come out of, in order to be paid on time.
Exam marking: Is again worked out the same way, using the formula, but is paid at the ‘simple marking rate’.
These three different types of marking could all be conducted by the one person, within one semester. A lack of clarity in communication has proven a serious hurdle for some postgrads in being properly paid. However, all marking pay should go through by the 27th of July.
There are two things I’ve flagged with the Managers:
1.       The equation used to work out the marking amount does not always accurately reflect how much time we have to put in to marking the work of eight students.
2.       The biggest frustration for us as casual staff is the lack of clarity in communication and knowing what we can expect as staff.
They acknowledge that these are ongoing issues, and we will work with them to try and remedy them. The important thing for us to do as postgrads is to continue to communicate with the staff, and let them know if we are experiencing problems – the earlier the better!
Here are some relevant and important documents for you to be aware of – the NTEU Enterprise Bargaining Agreement, the UWA Human Resources Casual Award, and the UniCasual FAQs about marking pay.
My final advice to you is to always make sure you have a clear record of what you’ve agreed to do, and what you actually end up completing. There is some flexibility in the marking equation if it is not equitable for your marking load, so make sure you discuss it with your line manager or unit coordinator before your start teaching or marking.
If I get any new info, I'll update this page!!