Indigenous higher education
Australian universities undertake a broad range of initiatives to improve higher education participation and success by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities, and to deepen Australians’ understanding of Indigenous knowledges and cultures.
Universities Australia works with its member universities (including through the UA Board, Plenary and Deputy Vice-Chancellors Committees), Government agencies, Indigenous higher education bodies and other stakeholders to make progress on these goals.
In doing so, Universities Australia acknowledges traditional owners across the vast Australian continent and pays our deep respects to community Elders – past, present and emerging.
UA Indigenous Strategy
The UA Indigenous Strategy 2017-20 (the UA strategy) is a sector-wide initiative. It brings all member universities together to achieve common goals to advance Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation and success in higher education.
The UA Strategy builds on previous work, notably the 2012 review of Higher Education Access and Outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People and the 2011 National Best Practice Framework for Indigenous Cultural Competency in Australian Universities.
Through the UA strategy, our 39 member universities committed to make further gains in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation, retention and success in universities. The formal adoption of the strategy by the UA Plenary in February 2017 was the vehicle for this express commitment by each university and its leadership.
The actions pledged under the strategy seek to:
- improve enrolments and performance in students, academics/researchers and staff;
- increase the engagement of non-Indigenous people with Indigenous knowledge, culture and educational approaches; and
- improve the university environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The UA Indigenous Strategy 2017-2020 can be accessed here.
The First Annual Report can be accessed here.
The 2011 National Best Practice Framework for Indigenous Cultural Competency in Australian Universities can be accessed here.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledges contribute to Australia’s intellectual and cultural capacity. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research undertaken across Australia’s universities includes research on languages and cultural expression, education and health, social justice, native title and traditional ownership, governance and public policy.
Developed by the Australian Council of Graduate Research in collaboration with the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Higher Education Consortium, the following resource offers guidance for research candidates, supervisors and universities.
The ACGR Good Practice Guidelines can be accessed here.
The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) also has two publications that provide information for researchers, communities, ethics committees and others:
- Ethical conduct in research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and communities: Guidelines for researchers and stakeholders
- Keeping research on track II – developed to provide advice on how the values and principles outlined in the Guidelines can be put into practice in research.
Indigenous Student Success Program
The Australian Government is responsible for the Indigenous Student Success Program (ISSP), which is currently managed by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. The ISSP is an initiative of the Commonwealth Government that began on 1 January 2017. It provides supplementary funding to universities to help students take on the demands of university and succeed.
Further information on the ISSP program is available on the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet’s website.
Partnership with NATSIHEC
Universities Australia and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Higher Education Consortium (NATSIHEC) have forged a partnership over many years.
UA regularly engages and consults with NATSIHEC through a variety of mechanisms to inform UA’s ongoing efforts – along with its member universities – to improve Indigenous higher education success.
Further information on NATSIHEC is available on their website.
Sharing good practice/useful links
Universities Australia encourages the sharing of good practice across the sector. Universities Australia will feature examples of university initiatives that deliver success for students, academics and communities. The first tranche of case studies will be available later in 2019.
If you wish to share examples of good practice with demonstrable outcomes at your institution or organisation please email UA at firstname.lastname@example.org
Existing learning, teaching and research resources:
- ACER resources and publications to support Indigenous learners
- Australian Learning and Teaching Repository documents
- Case studies from the Innovative Research Universities
- Guidelines on Ethical conduct in research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and communities.
Links to other key stakeholder groups: