UNIVERSITY OF CANBERRA
Indigenous Education Statement 2008
SECTION 1: OBJECTIVES FOR INDIGENOUS HIGHER EDUCATION
The University of Canberra (UC) has continued its commitment to Indigenous Higher
Education throughout 2008. In particular, UC observes the UC Council’s Charter of
The Council of the University of Canberra affirms that
reconciliation between Australia’s Indigenous peoples and other
Australians is central to the renewal of this nation as a harmonious
and just society, a society which lives out its national ethos of a fair
go for all; and that until we achieve such reconciliation, this nation
will remain diminished, whether as a monarchy or a republic.
We believe that the University has a clear role in promoting
understanding and acceptance of the history of the shared
experience of the indigenous peoples and the wider community. We
respect indigenous cultures and identity and encourage the
University to identify ways in which, as a University community, we
can work together in unity and harmony. As members of the Council,
we regret that Australia’s indigenous peoples have been forced to
bear an undue proportion of the costs of developing an Australian
society, and that they do not yet enjoy a due proportion of its
benefits. We pledge ourselves to work for an Australian society in
which that can no longer be said and apologise for the wrongs that
have been done.
The University values its links with the local Ngunnawal and Ngambri people, and offers
units of work for students that focus on Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander cultures. The
Ngunnawal Indigenous Higher Education Centre has a major role in the operation
and implementation of the University's Strategic Plan. This includes support of
Indigenous students, learning and teaching, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
employment opportunities, and community relations.
SECTION 2: ACHIEVEMENT OF NATIONAL ABORIGINAL AND
TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER EDUCATION POLICY (AEP) GOALS IN 2008
AND PLANS FOR FUTURE YEARS
UC Achievements, effectiveness, and outcomes for 2008, and plans for
AEP Goals the future.
1. 1. To establish Throughout 2008, the University of Canberra (UC), under the
effective leadership of Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen Parker, continued to
arrangements implement the 2008-2012 strategic plan developed in 2007. The first
for the step in this Plan is to ‘Ensure that respect for Australia's traditional
participation owners and concern for their current circumstances influences our plans
of Aboriginal and actions.’
and Torres http://www.canberra.edu.au/university/governance/strategic-
Strait Islander plans/strategic-plan-2008-2012
educational Accordingly, the Vice-Chancellor established an Expert Reference
decision- Group - the Step One Group - to progress its aims. This group includes
making. membership from each of the ACT Indigenous Higher Education
Centres, DEEWR and ACT Department of Education and Training. The
first aim of the Group was to put in place an Action Plan for the
Under UC Policy, there is an Indigenous Education Strategy.
The strategy provides information on Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander education at the University.
In addition, Tom Calma, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social
Justice Commissioner and Race Discrimination Commissioner was
appointed by the Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory, to
the governing body, the UC Council.
Mr Calma is an Aboriginal Elder from the Kungarakan language group
and a member of the Iwaidja language group whose traditional lands are
south west of Darwin and on the Coburg Peninsula in Northern
Territory, respectively. He has been involved in Indigenous affairs at a
local, community, state, national and international level and worked in
the public sector for over 35 years.
Representation on the Academic Board
Committee for Ethics in Human Research
UC Student Association.
Equity and Diversity Action Group
Open Day Committee
2. To In 2008, the Ngunnawal Indigenous Higher Education Centre employed
increase the two academic and 2 general staff members. Two of these are Indigenous.
number of In addition, an Indigenous Academic Level A was employed within
Aboriginal Nursing. A NIHEC Academic Level A has a 3-year scholarship to
and Torres complete a PhD.
Islander An Indigenous Student Equity Officer was employed on a contract basis.
employed in In 2008, Indigenous staff participated in a range of professional
education development programs offered by UC.
and training. UC recognises that rate of employment of Indigenous staff within the
University is not acceptable. The University has completed the
development of an Indigenous Employment Strategy and looks forward to
achieving positive outcomes with the implementation of this strategy using
targets in alignment with ABS statistics for the University’s catchment
area, which includes the Australian Capital Territory. It is envisaged that
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people recruited into the tertiary
education sector will contribute significantly to social, cultural and
academic development through skills and knowledge that ensure
establishment of a culture that acknowledges and celebrates diversity while
assisting the university to work towards cultural competency.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy represents
a commitment by UC to work collaboratively with Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander communities and staff to encourage and provide
opportunities for members of the community to contribute to the work of
the University while enhancing the knowledge and skills base of
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff to ensure their access to a wide
range of positions within the University and facilitate career development.
The Strategy is developed under the auspices of the University’s
Enterprise Agreement for 2006 to 2008 (Clause D10). UC's Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy was not progressed in 2008,
but it is planned that there will be a concerted effort in the second half of
3. To The Ngunnawal Indigenous Higher Education Centre’s main focus is the
ensure equitable recruitment, access, participation, retention and success of Indigenous
access of Australian students.
Aboriginal and The Indigenous Foundation Program provides opportunities for Indigenous
Torres Strait students to become comfortable with University life and to become familiar
Islander with the requirements for study and communication in the higher education
students to sector.
education and In 2008 there was an increase in enrolments in the Foundation Program and
training staff members developed alternative ways of delivering the program,
services. including a tailored support program that was put into effect in Semester 2,
2008. Prior to the commencement of the IFP, students are participate in an
interview and a written assessment. This assessment is used to plan for the
The Centre is also considering the development of a distance education
The Centre delivers an Orientation Program each semester that is aligned
with events in the overall UC orientation.
To attract and retain Indigenous students the University offers
undergraduate Access scholarships, St Vincent de Paul Society
Undergraduate Scholarships and Charles Perkins Undergraduate
Scholarships (linked with ACT Dept of Education and Training). The
Ngunnawal Centre and Scholarships and Prizes are developing a strategy to
expand the number of prizes for Indigenous students in the Foundation
program. The University of Canberra recognises that scholarships play an
important role in ensuring access, participation, success and retention for
Indigenous students. Therefore the University seeks to increase the number
of scholarships available to students at undergraduate, postgraduate and
research degree levels.
Sixteen students accepted the offer of Indigenous Access Scholarships in
The Dean of Students is exploring ways of raising funds to provide
scholarships and throughout 2008 the Indigenous Student Equity Officer’s
role was primarily aimed at attracting Indigenous students to UC.
4. To ensure NIHEC continues to administer the ITAS.
of Aboriginal UC aims to enhance the Ngunnawal Centre’s profile, while maintaining
and Torres the Centre’s core focus.
Strait Islander The Ngunnawal Centre aims to increase the participation and success
students in rates of Indigenous students in tertiary studies and increase the
education and participation and success rates of Indigenous students in postgraduate
UC has a comprehensive framework for the support of undergraduate
students through the Ngunnawal Centre and supervision and support of
postgraduate students articulated in the University’s ‘The Gold Book’.
One academic staff member undertook the ‘Supervision of Postgraduate
Students’ course in 2008.
Additional peer support and mentoring are offered through the
The Ngunnawal Centre aims to enhance its profile in terms of teaching
and learning for both staff and students and aims to provide training and
support for all Indigenous staff and students that will encourage higher
success and completion rates.
As the need for trained early childhood educators will increase
dramatically by the year 2012, the Centre has a focus on increasing the
number of qualified Indigenous early childhood educators through the
combined CIT/UC Bachelor of Early Childhood education degree.
Targetted places for Indigenous students in the Bachelor of Midwifery
degree course saw two Indigenous women enroll in 2008 ready for the
course to begin in 2009.
5. To ensure The Ngunnawal Centre aims to increase the participation rate of
equitable and Indigenous students in tertiary studies and increase the participation rate
appropriate of Indigenous students in postgraduate studies through proactive
achievement programs. To ensure those eligible can enter the foundation program, UC,
for in its Equity planning meeting of February, identified the need to provide
Aboriginal scholarships for students in enabling programs through the Ngunnawal
and Torres Centre and the University Of Canberra College.
Islander University of Canberra has signed a MOU with The Smith Family to
students. develop a partnership to support its Learning for Life Students in the ACT
and greater Canberra Region.
UC also has signed a MOU with the Canberra Institute of Technology.
6. To For many years, it has been compulsory for all students completing a
promote, Bachelor of Community Education or a Bachelor of Nursing to study
maintain and Indigenous Australia: Contemporary Issues. With the introduction of
support the Indigenous Health: Contemporary Issues in 2007, all Nursing students
teaching of must study this subject. The Ngunnawal Centre works closely with
Aboriginal Nursing to deliver this program. In 2005, the University introduced a
and Torres compulsory subject for all Bachelor of Education students - Indigenous
Strait Education: What Works. To date, some 1100 teacher education students
Islander have completed this unit.
cultures and The University's Indigenous Studies Minor was first introduced in 2006
languages to and constitutes:
Indigenous Indigenous History and Self Expression
and non- Indigenous Politics and the State
Indigenous Indigenous Representation in Australian Society
students. Indigenous Australia: Contemporary Issues
The NIHEC was responsible for the curriculum design, teaching and
learning strategies of the first three units, while the fourth sits with the
Faculty of Education and has been ongoing for a number of years.
Indigenous students consistently enroll in these subjects, as do an
increasing number of overseas exchange students.
In 2008, Indigenous staff members at UC taught into the Bachelor of
Nursing, while an staff member at the Centre convened the Indigenous
Education unit Indigenous Australia: Contemporary Issues.
In consultation with Education Faculty, a Graduate Certificate in
Professional Development Education with a focus on Indigenous
education was developed in 2007 in response to the MCEETYA
Australian Directions in Indigenous Education 2005-2008. The Graduate
Certificate is aimed at school leaders and is offered in an intensive mode
that can be completed in twelve months. Compulsory sessions during
ACT DET stand down cover leadership and curriculum development.
NIHEC continues to plan for an Indigenous Studies Major, to be in place
The subjects in this Major are:
Indigenous Australians and the Law
Indigenous Societies and Heritage
Indigenous History and Self Expression
Indigenous Politics and the State
Indigenous Representation in Australian Society
Indigenous Australia: Contemporary Issues
3 Ensure In 2008, there were 62 Indigenous students enrolled, and 9847 all
equitable students (0.61%)
Indigenous This is compared with 67 Indigenous students of 9641 students in
students to 2007 (0.64%)..
The Ngunnawal Centre worked with the Pro Vice-Chancellor
Education to develop the Entry Pathways to Enhance Regional
Participation with a focus on Indigenous students. Kaye Price
(Director, NIHEC) and Tom Calma (Council Member) were invited
onto the Steering Committee for this project.
Details of Indigenous-specific and other scholarships
offered by your university.
Promotion of scholarships to Indigenous students and
take-up rates, including reasons for low take-up.
The role played by your IEU in seeking to improve
Indigenous access to your institution.
4. Achieve the
The total number of Indigenous students enrolled in 2008 was 62,
of Indigenous compared to 67 in 2007.
higher For the same period, the total number of students was 9847 in 2008,
education, at and 9641 in 2007.
commensurate UC’s strategies to address participation rests almost entirely with the
with those of Indigenous Education Unit.
There were 11 Indigenous completions at Bachelor level and above in
students to 2008, compared to 10 in 2007.
same The total number of completions at Bachelor level and above in 2008
graduation was 2830, compared to 2909 in 2007.
award courses Indigenous percentages 0.31% in 2008 and 0.29% in 2007.
education as UC’s strategies to address completion rates rests almost entirely with
for other the Indigenous Education Unit.
6. To provide
The number of Indigenous specific subjects on offer at the University
students with has grown from two in 2006, to six in 2008.
understanding Planning with staff from Nursing and the Ngunnawal Centre took
of and respect place throughout the latter half of 2008 for a compulsory subject to be
for Indigenous taught in the Bachelor of Midwifery, a new course in 2009.
and Discussions also took place between Law and the Ngunnawal Centre
contemporary towards the content of a new subject to be introduced in 2009.
Many units within courses have Indigenous perspectives embedded.
For example, some of the Indigenous issues covered in Law units
The reception of English law into Australia and the interplay of
Indigenous Law and received law (Legal Systems and
Equality before the law and access to the legal system (Legal
The status of Indigenous Law before the Courts (Constitutional
Native title both pre and post the Mabo decision (Property Law).
The application of aspects of the Criminal Law System to
Indigenous People, including punishment and criminal procedure
such as arrest and bail (Criminal Law and Procedure).
Indigenous witnesses and the law of evidence: cultural assumptions,
witness examination and unheard stories. Confessional evidence:
Indigenous experiences with the police and the right to silence.
The existence of Fiduciary duties between the State and Indigenous
people in the context of native title and the stolen generation. The
role of the Fiduciary relationship in communal ownership situations
The application of Intellectual Property laws to Indigenous people
stopping the rip-offs, gaps in protection for cultural heritage,
protecting the integrity of Indigenous art, resale royalties for
Indigenous artists (Intellectual Property Law).
Issues for indigenous women as prisoners, as victims and as
offenders in the court (Gender and the Australian Legal System).
Racial discrimination in the workplace, focussing on Indigenous
people (Employment, Discrimination and the Law).
A high number of local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander local
community people are invited each year as guest lecturers and as
motivational speakers for Indigenous students.
The Director of the Centre, as a member of the Indigenous Higher
Education Advisory Council, was very much involved in cultural
competency workshops with Universities Australia and plans are in
train to have all UC staff participate in a similar workshop.
The Director guest lectures into Health, Law, International Film,
Education, and participates on a number of committees with staff
from other divisions.
The Ngunnawal Centre works extensively with other staff members
across the university.
Indigenous higher education expenditure 2008
INCOME for Indigenous higher education purposes
1 ISP 2008 grant only $311,000
2 Unspent 2007 ISP funds, carried over to 2008 – as reported in your providers $0
2008 audited annual financial statements
3 TOTAL ISP income for 2008 $ 311,000
4 Funds provided from UC Central Account $176,301
5 Total Indigenous higher education income for 2008 $487,301
1 Operating costs, including salaries, for Indigenous support services $444,130
2 Capital items $0
3 Equipment $0
4 Other: student recruitment travel, printing of information packages $43,171
5 Total expenditure $487,301
Other funding to Indigenous Higher Education ($176,301) above the ISP grant
includes support for peer tuition in science and a contribution from UC Central
Account towards the operations of the Ngunnawal Indigenous Higher Education
Centre (the Indigenous Education Unit).
In addition, ITAS expenditure for 2008 was $63,583.85
SECTION 4: UC's CONTACT INFORMATION
Dr Kaye Price
Ngunnawal Indigenous Higher Education Centre
Tel: 02 6201 5894
Ms Joanne Lee
Tel: 02 6201 5448
SECTION 5: PUBLICATION OF THE STATEMENT
The University of Canberra’s Indigenous Education Statement will be published at