AEP Goal 4: ATSI student participation rate
4. Achieve the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in higher education, at rates commensurate with those of all other Australians.
Your response to this goal needs to address but is not limited to the following points:
- The total number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student enrolments for 2015, compared to 2014 (please provide an all student comparison).
- Details of your Universities’ strategies to address Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student participation.
- Indigenous Education/Support Unit’s role.
Total number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student enrolments for 2014 and 2015 (all student comparison)
From the total number of ATSI enrolments at UNE, on campus enrolments increased from 132 in 2014 to 146 in 2015. This was a greater rate of increase than in the previous reporting period, and there has been an increase of 64.04% for this cohort since 2010. Off campus enrolments also increased at a higher rate than previously, with a total of 458 in 2014 and 550 in 2015 and an increase of 94% since 2010. In 2015, the largest numbers of total ATSI student enrolments were in courses offered through the Schools of Education (21.69%), Health (11.78%), Humanities (9.48%) and Science & Technology (8.04%).
From the overall domestic student cohort in 2015 the proportion of all ATSI enrolments was 3.11%. The parity target set in the Compact for ATSI students in higher education equates to 2.3%, with progressive targets set for each year including only the numbers of undergraduate, postgraduate and HDR students by headcount. For 2015 the parity target was exceeded for the number of ATSI undergraduate students (472, 3.2%). However, not for postgraduate, HDR students or the total student number against the progressive target.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students:
Non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students (Domestic students only):
UNE Strategies to address Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student participation
As detailed in 1.3, participation by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in higher education is one of UNE’s strategic priorities stated in the Compact and other key documents. UNE’s Research Plan 2012–2015 emphasises pathways and academic support programs as strategies to address participation in higher degree programs. The Regional Aboriginal Higher Education Strategy (RAHES) also prioritises Community Engagement principles as key to meeting strategic goals in participation and other educational outcomes. Specifically, the RAHES expresses a commitment to building and maintaining relationships with regional Aboriginal communities and providing a culturally safe environment for Aboriginal students and staff.
The services, facilities and engagement activities through Oorala Aboriginal Centre are pivotal in UNE’s participation strategies, as well as the academic programs through UNE Schools which consistently attract strong continuing enrolments from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. Since 2010 there has been a 56.42% increase in continuing enrolments in UNE’s undergraduate and postgraduate awards.
Outline of strategies
Build the number of indigenous HDR students
Three new Apted Honours and Postgraduate Scholarships offered for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Students (2014). Research Fellowships through Vice-Chancellor’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Fellowship Scheme (from 2013). New HDR Participation Scholarships for ATSI Masters and PhD students (2015).
All new Apted scholarships awarded in 2015. Continuation of inaugural Fellowship;
School of Law Fellow was recruited in 2015. Four new UNE HDR Participation Scholarships for ATSI Masters and PhD students to be offered in 2015.
(See details under ‘Programs to improve access’.)
UNE Business School continued to offer courses with Indigenous content
UNE Business School continued to offer courses with Indigenous content.
Dependent upon allocation of targeted promotion to prospective students
ATSI enrolments in Business steadily increase (25 in 2013, 28 in 2014, 42 in 2015) for courses from Diploma through to undergraduate and postgraduate level, with a promising increase in postgraduate Business degree enrolments (8 in 2013, 12 in 2014, 14 in 2015). Increases from 2014 to 2015 were mainly in the Bachelor of Business and Bachelor of Organisational Leadership.
UNE MATSITI Exploratory Research Project
Funded by the ‘More Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Teachers Initiative’ (MATSITI), commenced in 2014 by School of Education with Oorala Aboriginal Centre, includes strategy development to improve participation by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teacher education students at UNE.
MATSITI Funding guidelines and voluntary student participation
The research phase concluded in 2015, with the final report due for publication in the second quarter of 2016
Law Students Indigenous Community Moodle site
This site was been created to build an online community for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander law students at UNE, and provides information on news and events, academic supports, career and professional development opportunities, profiles of successful Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander alumni, and news items relevant to Indigenous students.
The site is currently managed by School of Law academic staff, within existing workloads and budgets.
Student engagement with the site is being monitored.
School of Humanities Indigenous Heritage project
The ongoing ARC grant led by Associate Professor Beck titled ‘Indigenous Heritage: Working ancient wetlands for social benefit and cultural understanding’ has as one of its aims encouraging local Aboriginal youth to enrol at UNE, through fieldwork participation.
Funding is for 3 years.
School of Behavioural, Cognitive and Social Sciences Respecting Indigeneity Strategic Plan
The School created the Respecting lndigeneity Strategic Plan to guide the School’s overall operations and partly to increase applications for the School's Muriel Snow Scholarship for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, details available at:
No additional funding required
Underpins the School’s strategic planning and service provision
Support to attend CATSINaM conference
The School of Health supported six Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to attend CATSINaM (Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives) in Darwin in 2015 and participate in student leadership activity. Outline of strategies
students have other commitments (e.g. family, work)
Timing of the congress can impact on student clinical placement so attendance was considered part of placement activity.
Students reported feeling proud to be Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nursing students and appreciated the role modelling of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives. Several indicated they previously had no idea of the numbers and calibre of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives as clinicians, educators, researchers and leaders. Those graduating were able to form direct links with the professional leaders in nursing. Other students stated they would provide informal mentoring for other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in the School on their return to campus in 2016.
Oorala Aboriginal Centre’s role – Participation
In 2015, Oorala’s strategies to improve participation included:
- Orientation activities including the Centre’s Pre-Orientation Program (‘POP’) for on and off campus TRACKS students and involvement in major UNE orientation events for commencing UNE students (‘Townies’ Welcome BBQ, Lifesaver Day, etc.), to foster early engagement and participation by local and regional students.
- Oorala’s successful extension of its HEPPP funded Student Retention Project continued to increase the Centre’s student engagement with its support services and ITAS tutoring.
- Involvement in ‘Youth Expo’ and ‘Well Fair Day’ at UNE, ‘A Day in the Dale’ organised by Armidale Dumaresq Council and other events with the UNE and local communities featuring Aboriginal services, organisations and local cultural activities.
- Oorala was successful in a number of proposals for HEPP funded projects to increase Aboriginal people’s participation from target regions in higher education through community engagement. [List Oorala HEPP projects.]
- Items noted under Oorala’s role in Access, Outreach and Support are also relevant to participation.
- The Student Grievance Unit (SGU) has worked closely with Oorala to improve the complaints-handling process for Aboriginal and Torres Strait students and to ensure cultural sensitivity.