The STARS Student Transition and Enrichment (STaE) Special Interest Group is a knowledge-sharing group for academics and professional staff who are involved in programs and initiatives focused on facilitating and enriching the transition of students towards, into, through and out of (or back to) university.

Undertaking higher education is an intentional journey of change. Students choose further education to transform their identity in alignment with a particular career or professional role, however, not all students are equally prepared to navigate change and may not have contemplated the number or variety of transitions necessary. Enabling student transition requires a whole-of-institution approach that is informed by the unique needs of that institution’s student population. It serves to not only improve student retention and progression, but also enables students to reach their full academic performance potential and enriches the student learning journey.

The STaE SIG provides opportunities for student transition and enrichment practitioners and researchers to share knowledge and best practices on topics such as:

  • Pre-enrolment skill development and expectation management
  • Orientation best practices
  • Holistic institutional transition support planning
  • Encouraging and enabling student transition planning
  • Understanding psychological correlates of academic performance
  • Enabling well-being and coping strategies
  • Embedding transition pedagogy and creating holistic curriculum design
  • Effective use of student analytics
  • Student enrichment programs and initiatives
  • and much more



Christopher Watson
Coordinator, Student Transition and Enrichment
University of Southern Queensland

Chris joined the University of Southern Queensland in 2009 and began coordinating the university’s approach to student orientation in 2010. Since then, he has reinvigorated the university’s Orientation Strategy, and successfully created a whole-of-institution approach to orientation and transition activities.

In 2012, Chris spearheaded to the creation of USQ’s ‘Office of Student Life’, a student support department that is dedicated to enriching the personal, academic and professional growth of USQ Students through providing co-curricular and extra-curricular programs and events. While leading this department he also continues to develop the universities orientation strategy and performs research into institutional student transition planning.


Professor Jill Lawrence
Associate Dean (Students)
Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
University of Southern Queensland

Jill’s motivation is to enhance the capacities of academic and professional staff to better support students in transition. In learning and teaching she role models this in curriculum design and delivery in first year undergraduate and postgraduate courses across USQ. In research she partners with colleagues at institutions across Australia to enhance individuals’ transition capabilities across a range of professional, academic and discipline contexts. This exchange of ideas has strengthened her capacity to disseminate best practices institutionally and nationally. In the service domain she has built on the strong foundation of her roles as Associate Dean (Learning and Teaching) (2008-2013) and as Associate Dean (Students) (2014-present). In both roles she has promoted a consistency of approach and purpose to enhance students’ experiences in the domains of diversity, communication and resilience to facilitate their professionalism and lifelong learning capabilities.