La Trobe University has cemented its commitment to First Nations students, staff and communities with the release of a new Indigenous Strategy that promotes Indigenous leadership, self-determination and knowledge.
The eight-year Strategy, launched today as part of La Trobe’s Indigenous Week (2-6 October), outlines a range of initiatives to support its goals, including establishing an Associate Dean (Indigenous) across all its academic schools.
The University will also establish a Council of Elders to provide strategic and cultural advice on a range of matters including Indigenous access, participation and success in education, research, and employment, while an Indigenous Research Framework will provide guidance and principles on conducting collaborative research in partnership with the Indigenous community.
La Trobe University Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar AO said the Indigenous Strategy outlined the University’s commitment to improving the way it worked with Indigenous students, staff and communities.
"La Trobe aims to be an institution where Indigenous leadership, self-determination and knowledge thrive, and this Strategy is an important step in achieving that goal,” Professor Dewar said.
Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous) Associate Professor Michael Donovan said the Strategy was developed through extensive consultation with Indigenous Elders and community members, Indigenous and non-Indigenous La Trobe staff and Indigenous undergraduate and postgraduate students.
“The Indigenous Strategy breathes life into the University’s enduring commitment to walk with First Nations Australians, continuing the process of reconciliation, truth telling and treaty making,” Associate Professor Donovan said.
“It is our goal to give back to Indigenous communities, provide excellence in Indigenous scholarship through teaching and research, and be a culturally safe institution where Indigenous staff choose to work and Indigenous students choose to study.”
The Indigenous Strategy contains a range of initiatives to promote and enhance the University’s commitment to First Nations people, including:
- Under the Indigenous Research Framework, establishment of an Indigenous Research Centre, known as the Gabra Biik, Wurruwila Wutja Research Centre, to build academic Indigenous knowledge and research capacity within La Trobe, and provide a safe space for First Nations researchers.
- Mandatory training for staff and students to develop cultural awareness, cultural capability and literacy, and cultural safety.
- Establishment of a Council of Elders to provide strategic and cultural advice on a range of matters including Indigenous access, participation and success in education, research, and employment.
- Implementation of a University-wide Indigenous education advisory committee.
- Fostering a community of Indigenous leaders who are alumni of the University.
- Increasing employment opportunities across all levels of professional, academic, and executive classifications for Indigenous people.
- Developing targeted professional development to support academics to embed Indigenous knowledges in the curriculum and better understand Indigenous teaching and learning styles and Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing.
- Continuing to position RISE with La Trobe as the core Indigenous pathways program for school leaver and mature age Indigenous cohorts. RISE is an Indigenous pathway program that supports and prepares Indigenous students for university study. Students who complete the program receive a conditional offer to study at La Trobe.
La Trobe University fully commits to the principles of the Uluru Statement from the Heart and acknowledges our significant role as Victoria’s only state-wide institution of higher education to advance the treaty process.
Header image credit: Jake Sanders, La Trobe University