Indigenous involvement in decision-making

6. Indigenous involvement in decision-making

Your response to this area needs to address the following points:

  • the university’s current Indigenous Governance Mechanism (including how the university has met the requirements of section 11 of the ISSP guidelines);
  • the name, positions and duration of service of staff that are part of the Indigenous Governance Mechanism;
  • the number of meetings and main agenda items discussed over the year, confirming the Indigenous Governance Mechanism had a role in advising on the use of ISSP resources; and
  • other activities to involve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the decisions of the university, curriculum development and/or evaluation/review.

As per the answer to section 4 above, the particular Indigenous governance mechanism at UNE is currently awaiting a brief to the Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor. Oorala is confident that a plan will be in place during 2018 in response to the ISSP guidelines.

The current most senior Indigenous employee at UNE is the Director of the Oorala Aboriginal Centre, Mr Gregory Davison.

Current governance arrangements

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 in 2017 as set out below:

  • Directorship of the Oorala Aboriginal Centre, also a member of the Deans Committee
  • Lisa Shipley, an Indigenous lecturer in the School of Rural Medicine, is a member of the UNE Academic Board.
  • Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) includes the Oorala Director.
  • 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.
  • Enrolment Steering Committee: Oorala Student Services Manager
  • Student Administration & Services Forum: Oorala Student Services Manager.
  • 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.

Involvement of Indigenous staff in decision on curriculum evaluation and review


Within the School of Law, Marcelle Burns (an Aboriginal law lecturer), engages with her colleagues to help embed cultural competency and awareness wherever practical into Law units. In particular, the School of Law teaches the unit LAW164 – Law and First People of Australia.


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultures and Histories is a cross-curriculum priority area in the Australian Curriculum. Selected resources, texts for student analysis and readings incorporating Indigenous perspectives are included in unit materials and activities.

Rural Health

Lecturer in Indigenous Health, delivers lectures and facilitates tutorials on cultural considerations when caring for Aboriginal patients.


Oorala academic staff deliver and review the four OORA units it delivers. The Academic Coordinator is a member of the School of Education Teaching and Learning Committee. The Oorala Director is a member of the Deans Committee and regularly delivers reports to Academic Board.

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