Today the University of New England signed a memorandum of understanding with the Northern Region Forum.
The Northern Region Forum is an umbrella group representing 14 local Aboriginal Land Councils including: Amaroo, Anaiwan, Armidale, Ashford, Coonabarabran, Dorrigo Plateau, Glen Innes, Guyra, Moombalene, Nungaroo, Red Chief, Tamworth, Walhallow, and Wanaruah.
UNE Vice-Chancellor Professor Annabelle Duncan said the agreement will strengthen ties between UNE and the Northern Region Forum and increase access to education for local Aboriginal people.
“UNE will also develop course offerings in line with the strategic aims of the Northern Region Regional Economic Development Strategy and Implementation Plan and develop new ways of identifying gifted Aboriginal students and supporting them in their educational careers,” Prof Duncan said.
In addition to the wide-ranging benefits to local communities, UNE staff and students will participate in activities to improve their cultural competency and understanding.
Other initiatives include the development of an Elders Supporting Education program to foster academic aspirations amongst young people in the region; the development and implementation of comprehensive mentorship programs; and the development of research partnerships in the fields of Aboriginal culture, language and health, and social and economic attainment.
Under the agreement, the Forum will facilitate professional placements for UNE students within Aboriginal community organisations and promote UNE as the preferred tertiary education provider for Aboriginal people in the region.
Professor Sue Thomas, Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor UNE, and Councillor Tom Briggs from the Northern Region Forum will champion the agreement which will be effective for two years from today or until a formal agreement is signed.