AEP Goal 1: Participation in educational decision-making

1. Establish effective arrangements for the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in educational decision-making.

Your response to this goal needs to address but is not limited to the following points:

  • The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people involved in School/Directorate governance and decision-making bodies and processes and the nature of their involvement,
    i.e. memberships on boards, committees etc.
  • If there is no Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander membership on key governance and decision-making bodies, please provide an explanation.
  • The roles and responsibilities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders within your institution.

Encouraging and increasing Indigenous representation within governing and decision-making bodies, such as the University of New England (UNE) Council, Academic Board and other University Committees, as well as in management positions, is a core focus for UNE, as set out in the University’s Strategic Plan.

Participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on decision-making bodies and in decision-making processes as part of the institutional governance of the University was found within the following positions and representation in 2016 as set out below:

  • Lisa Shipley, an Indigenous lecturer in the School of Rural Medicine, is a member of the UNE Academic Board.
  • Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) is the University Ethics Committee includes the Oorala Director.
  • Directorship of the Oorala Aboriginal Centre
  • The role of Elder-in-Residence, Oorala
  • University Teaching and Learning Committee: Leader of Oorala Academic team
  • Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy Governance Committee: Oorala Indigenous Academic Advisor and UNE Aboriginal Employment Officer.
  • Council of Heads of School: Oorala Director
  • Enrolment Steering Committee: Oorala Student Services Manager
  • Student Administration & Services Forum: Oorala Student Services Manager.
  • An Indigenous scholars served on the Course Advisory Board for the Bachelor of Media and Communications and related courses that underwent a major review in November 2016. He has also advised on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content in units in his area of expertise.
  • In the School of Health, the CEO of the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM) is a member of the Bachelor of Nursing stakeholder group.
  • School of Education Teaching and Learning Committee: Senior Lecturer, Oorala
  • Library Advisory Committee: Oorala Lecturer
  • First-year Experience Committee: Oorala Lecturer
  • UNE’s WH&S Working Group, HR User Group and Finance User Group: Resource & Compliance Officer.
  • The University’s academic schools take advice from advisory committees, with both internal and external representation (depending upon purpose) at the School, discipline or course level. This is designed to ensure that perspectives and needs of key stakeholders are included. For example, the School of Health consults and reviews with its External Advisory Committees on the development of nursing and counselling curricula; the relevant Nursing Committee includes Indigenous representation from UNE and the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses (CATSIN).
  • School of Law Advisory Board includes the Director, Oorala Aboriginal Centre, as an ex-officio member.
  • The School of Law has an Aboriginal academic as a member of the School’s Teaching and Learning Committee.
  • The School of Education has Mr Steve Widders, an Anaiwan Elder, is Patron of the School of Education and is invited to significant occasions held in the School.
  • The Oorala Aboriginal Centre is represented on the School of Education Teaching & Learning Committee by Mr Guido Posthausen for the TRACKS Tertiary Preparation Program.
  • A local Aboriginal Clinical and Counselling Psychologist was invited to be a member of the Clinical Psychology Advising Liaison Committee that meets twice per year.

In 2016, Aboriginal representation on governance committees is limited to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy Governance Committee. There are a minimum of 3 Aboriginal staff members on this Committee.

In last 2016 UNE decided to establish an Indigenous Governance Working Party to examine best practice in the areas of education policy directed at Indigenous students, employment policy and in Indigenous governance. This working party will be chaired by the Oorala Director and will report to the UNE Executive in mid-2017.

Future plans

Discussions have begun with a senior consultant for Aboriginal Employment, Ms Pam Widders, on a training scheme to involve three Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in a possible TAFE articulated scheme where practicum work is undertaken in the Schools of Environmental and Rural Sciences and Science and Technology.

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