Cementing Indigenous leadership in higher education

Published 13 October 2020

An internationally renowned and award-winning Indigenous scholar, Professor Trudgett is the Pro Vice-Chancellor Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education, Strategy and Consultation at Western Sydney University.

She described receiving the invitation to speak at the long-running lecture series as a true honour.

“I was incredibly humbled to accept UNE’s invitation. I have watched this prestigious lecture series for many years and am absolutely delighted to be involved,” Professor Trudgett said.

“The higher education sector has existed in Australia for 170 years, yet Indigenous Australians have participated for only half a century. In my talk I’ll highlight some of the contributions and advances Indigenous people have made in this time.

“For example, there has been a steady growth in student enrolment and completions. There is also an increasing number of Indigenous people employed across the sector. Such progress is a legacy of those who have gone before us providing excellent formal and informal leadership to the sector - the pioneers of Indigenous education. It is this Indigenous leadership that bring significant benefit to all staff and students.

“In my lecture I will propose that Indigenous knowledges and culture, through embedded Indigenous leadership, need to be a core component of university business to ensure the best possible outcomes for both the university and broader communities.”

Professor Trudgett holds a Bachelor degree and two postgraduate degrees from UNE. She was also awarded the University of New England Distinguished Alumni Award in 2019.

In 2018, she received the highly prestigious National NAIDOC Scholar of the Year Award in recognition of her research, which provides considerable insight into the area of Indigenous participation in higher education, with a specific focus on the postgraduate sector as well as the Neville Bonner Award for Teaching Excellence (along with colleagues Page and Bodkin-Andrews).

The Frank Archibald Memorial Lecture is a long-standing annual event hosted by the UNE Oorala Aboriginal Centre in honour of Gumbaynggirr man Frank Archibald, a respected Aboriginal community member in the Armidale area.

Frank Archibald earned respect for his knowledge and interest in all issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, particularly education. Described as a “passionate and forceful advocate for the rights of Aboriginal people” he was a fully initiated Elder who spoke seven different Aboriginal languages and understood a further two.

Established in 1986, the lecture series provides a platform for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander speakers who are leading professionals in their fields to deliver lectures with impact. It is one of the longest-running Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lecture series in the country.

The 2020 Frank Archibald Memorial Lecture will be delivered via Zoom on Monday, 26 October at 6pm. Contact Tess Cullen on 6773 1702 or oorala@une.edu.au for more information.