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Funded Academic Projects

A broad scope of funded research projects related to the Institute’s specialisations of Foods, Tourism, Events and Hospitality are listed below. Institute staff have been successful in attracting highly competitive Category 1 funding from the Australian Research Council and the Office for Learning and Teaching.




Food systems literacy for flourishing communities: Taking action on obesity and wellbeing

Funding scheme: RMIT ECP Capability Development Fund - $20,000, 2017-2018

Project Team:
Prof Tania Lewis at RMIT
Dr Kelly Donati, William Angliss Institute
Dr Nick Rose, William Angliss Institute

Project Description:
Cardinia Shire faces major challenges to the health, wellbeing and quality of life of residents, including levels of obesity one-third higher than the Victorian average. Bringing together highly experienced researchers from Sustain: the Australian Food Network, William Angliss Institute and RMIT’s Digital Ethnography Research Centre, this study aims to work with Cardinia Council to raise levels of healthy food literacy amongst the community and to translate that literacy into changing practices and behaviours. This study will pilot innovative approaches to translating food literacy into community-led change. It will result in an ARC Linkage application in 2018 with Australian and international partners.


Creating and sustaining a strong future for volunteering in Australia 

Funding Scheme: Australian Research Council, Linkage Projects Scheme - $203,144, 2015-2017

Project Team:
This project is conducted by Associate Professor Kirsten Holmes, Curtin University, Associate Professor Debbie Haski-Leventhal, Macquarie University and Associate Professor Leonie Lockstone-Binney, William Angliss Institute, Professor Melanie Oppenheimer, Flinders University and Professor Lucas Meijs, Erasmus University.

Project Description:
Volunteering is essential to organisations, communities and societal wellbeing across Australia. Yet, not enough people volunteer in Australia and as such, some services cannot be delivered. The aim of this study is to understand what motivates people to volunteer, what prevents some from doing so, and what can be done to help more people start to volunteer in a range of sectors, including tourism and events.

The project is funded by the Australian Research Council with additional partner funding from William Angliss Institute, Volunteering South Australia/NT, Volunteering Victoria, Volunteering WA and the WA Department of Local Government and Communities.

The social and economic sustainability of WA’s rural volunteer workforce

Funding Scheme: Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre - $70,961, 2017

Project Team:
Associate Professor Kirsten Holmes, Curtin University, Australia
Dr Amanda Davies, Curtin University, Australia
Associate Professor Leonie Lockstone-Binney, William Angliss Institute 

Project Description:
Volunteering is critical to the survival and success of rural communities. The past two decades have seen an increase in the community services delivered by volunteers and demand on the volunteer workforce has intensified. Yet, over the same period there has been a decline in volunteer participation across Australia resulting in a shortage of volunteer labour. This study uses mixed methods to investigate the role of volunteering in creating a sense of community wellbeing and delivering essential services in rural areas, and identifies the strategies volunteers and voluntary organisations are using to sustain the rural volunteer workforce.

Exploring student experiences in learning accounting in a Tourism and Hospitality degree

Funding Scheme: VETDC Research Fellows Grant

Project Team:
Emma Gronow, William Angliss Institute

Project Description:
The VET DC Research Fellows Grant Program aims to develop quality scholarly practice in mixed sector institutions by supporting practitioners to undertake a scholarly project.

This study explored threshold concepts for introductory accounting as part of a Bachelor of Tourism and Hospitality Management degree in an applied or vocational institution. In this context, one of the challenges for the subject expert is to recontextualise knowledge to meet the demands of the academic subject as well as the workplace in which this knowledge is situated. It is proposed that threshold concepts may provide a framework to inform this recontextualisation. Findings indicate that threshold barriers mat be expanded from viewing accounting as dull and boring to include the difficulties that may exist in interpreting accounting terminology, especially for students where English is a second language. The full report submitted to the VETDC can be accessed at: Exploring student experiences in learning accounting in a Tourism and Hospitality degree Project Acquittal Report.

Evaluating the volunteering infrastructure legacy of the Olympic Games: Sydney 2000 and London 2012

Funding Scheme: Advanced Olympic Research Grant Programme, Olympic Studies Centre, International Olympic Committee (IOC) - $19,500 USD, 2015-2016.

Project Team:
Associate Professor Leonie Lockstone-Binney, William Angliss Institute (Project Leader)
Associate Professor Kirsten Holmes, Curtin University, Australia
Professor Karen Smith, Victoria University Wellington, New Zealand
Dr Richard Shipway, Bournemouth University, United Kingdom

Project Description:
This study examined how Olympic and Paralympic Games’ have transformed volunteering within host cities before, during and after the events. Two Games were used as case studies: the recent case of London 2012 and the longer term case of Sydney 2000. The study identified how Olympic volunteer programs can lead to post-Games volunteering legacies for host cities through engagement with the established volunteer management infrastructure and in doing so, it provides new insights into best practice Games volunteer management that may inform future host city bids and Games planning for sustainable positive volunteering legacies. The final report can be accessed at:

Setting the Standard: Setting Threshold Learning Outcomes in Higher Education in Australia

Funding Scheme: Office for Learning and Teaching - $193,000, 2013-2015.

Project Team:
Paul A. Whitelaw, William Angliss Institute (Project Leader)
Pierre Benckendorff, University of Queensland
Michael J. Gross, University of South Australia
Judith Mair, University of Queensland
Penny Jose, Victoria University

Project Description and Outcomes:
The threshold learning outcome (TLO) standard for tourism, hospitality and events was developed over a 15-month period by a five person project team. The team worked closely with an oversight committee, the project evaluator and a broad stakeholder community of nearly 900 colleagues including academics, students, graduates, industry practitioners, industry representative bodies and government departments and agencies.

The development of the standards involved a number of iterative activities including online discussions, workshops, presentations and symposia. More than 200 people were actively involved in the face-to-face activities, whilst the online discussions had more than 5,700 views with just over 250 specific postings.

The work involved identifying how tourism, hospitality and events have several common aspects that position the three fields as one that is sufficiently different from the broad raft of management and business domains as to warrant their own standards. The work also identified that whilst the similarities amongst the three fields warrant them having one single set of domains, they are also intrinsically different from each other to justify their own contextualised definitions and explications of the domains and, in turn, assessment exemplars.

Standards for each domain were mapped to the Australian Qualifications Framework level 7 (bachelor) and level 9 (masters by coursework). Examples were developed via extensive iterative processes, as were the examples of industry setting and assessment activities.

BizSims Online Simulations in Business Pedagogy

Funding Scheme: Office for Learning and Teaching - $187,000, 2014-2015.

Project Team:
Pierre Benckendorff, University of Queensland
Gui Lohmann, Griffith University
Marlene Pratt, Griffith University
Paul Reynolds, University of South Australia
Paul Strickland, La Trobe University
Paul Whitelaw, William Angliss Institute

Project Description and Outcomes:
This project evaluated pedagogies that enhance the learning outcomes of online simulations in business and related fields. Business simulations offer authentic learning experiences that mirror real world problems and enable students to practise and develop graduate capabilities, technical skills and strategic decision making skills. Emerging technologies along with increased bandwidth are creating new opportunities for online and cloud-based simulations and provide improved flexibility and portability for students. Simulations also hold some promise of complementing other innovations in online education, including MOOCs. However, online simulations are not effective unless they are embedded within a pedagogic framework that optimises learning outcomes.

Specifically, the project:
1. Mapped the features and characteristics of online business simulations;
2. Assessed the challenges associated with the integration of online simulations into sustainable teaching practice in business education;
3. Evaluated the contribution of online simulations and related pedagogies to student learning outcomes; and
4. Identified and promoted innovative pedagogies and strategies associated with the use of online business simulations in universities.

Assessment for Learning in a Mixed Sector Environment

Funding Scheme: VET Development Centre (VDC) Grant - $15,000.

Project Description and Outcomes:
The project extended the 2013 “Assessment for Learning” pilot project, developed in 2013. The evaluation methodology in the pilot project plan was applied in the first semester of 2014. Teachers involved in the project continued to implement the assessment for learning principles and practices in their classrooms.

Dr Ian Mitchell and Dr Stephen Keast from Monash University acted as mentors during the both the pilot project and the Project for Enhancing Effective Learning (PEEL). A collaborative action research model was developed from the findings of the pilot project and implemented by the Drs Mitchell and Keast. Professional development of the teaching staff involved was based on five key strategies that promote assessment for learning:
1. Provision of effective feedback to learners
2. Active involvement of learners in their own learning
3. Adjustment of teaching methodologies in response to results of assessment
4. Recognition of the impact of assessment on learners’ motivation and self esteem
5. Assisting learners to assess themselves and understand how to improve.

Attaining the Graduate Diploma in Adult Language, Literacy & Numeracy and Professional Development opportunities

Funding Scheme: VETDC Teaching Fellowship - $8,000

Staff Responsible for the Project:
Laura Fleming, William Angliss Institute

Project Description and Outcomes:
The VET DC Teaching Fellowship is designed to assist teachers in the development of their teaching skills and knowledge in areas that will benefit students, both during their period of study and in the workplace. Research over the past 15 years has found that skills deficits in the areas of Language, Literacy and Numeracy exist within the Australian adult (15 – 75 years old) population which severely impact on people’s well-being and their ability to contribute to the economic outcomes of the country. The findings of these studies and the need for this specialist skills area in William Angliss Institute determined the teaching skills area; a Graduate Diploma of Adult Language, Literacy and Numeracy, that the Teaching Fellowship was put towards.

The funding also assisted the recipient with travel to and from meetings with her Mentor, Ruth Durose the Manager of Learning and Work at Charles Sturt University. As well as with travel and entry to several conferences, including the First Year in Higher Education Conference at which Laura presented on current LLN issues experienced by WAI undergraduate students and the practices being used to assist them in this area.

A Question of “Preparedness” – Examining the Relationship between Student Performance within a CBT framework and Higher Education

Funding Scheme: TAFE Development Centre – Teaching and Learning Excellence Grant - $5,000

Project Team:
James Richards, William Angliss Institute Lecturer
Andrew Dolphin, William Angliss Institute

Project Description and Outcomes:
After a review of literature examining the transition from Vocational Education and Training to Higher Education and accepted indicators for academic success, this research reviewed the notion of preparing VET students for HE success and the role of grading within a CBT framework. From this information, the key question was derived; is there a relationship between CBT grading and HE success? The academic results of 31 students were reviewed for both VET and HE studies, and correlations analysed by Spearman Rho calculator. Students also completed a Likert style survey to assist with the interpretation of statistical findings. Results indicated a weak correlation and also that students do aim to achieve high grades.