In December 1991 the Institute of Koorie Education was formally proclaimed. The Institute grew out of work that began in 1986 when two programs for Koories were offered through Deakin University: the Koorie Teacher Education Program (K.T.E.P.) and a final year program for Batchelor College graduates.
The Institute of Koorie Education was established on the recommendation of a working party to the Vice Chancellor. This working party explored the notions of joint authority and joint management of Koorie education initiatives by the University. Here the working party sought advice on administrative structures that would enable the University and the Victorian Koorie Community to work jointly on teaching, curricula, financial, organisational and personnel matters affecting the Koorie equity programs of the University.
The Institute of Koorie Education and its Board are the means by which the partnership between the University and the Victorian Koorie community takes its formal structure. The other formal structure cementing the joint involvement of the University with the Victorian Koorie community is the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Inc. (V.A.E.A.I.) - Deakin Higher Education Agreement. This Agreement was signed on 1 September 1992 by the Chairperson of the VAEAI, Mrs Mary Atkinson, and the Vice Chancellor, Professor John Hay, establishing the joint-management principles by which the equity work of the Institute of Koorie Education, the Faculties and the University Secretariat can continue.
The Institute's programs are structured around :
- Off-campus community-based delivery
- Supported by on-campus intensive study blocks, and
- Complemented by local tutors at regional study centres.
This approach to course delivery promotes access and equity for Indigenous Australian students. Students from all areas; rural, remote and metropolitan, and across all age ranges, particularly mature age, are able to undertake studies without compromising their family and community obligations. In Australia, only a very small number of universities offer degree courses through off-campus study mode and among these, it is Deakin that has developed a comprehensive and sustained range of course offerings.
The Institute of Koorie Education prides itself on being able to develop customised, appropriate teaching styles and timetabling arrangements, together with the incorporation of Koorie cultural knowledge and perspectives into the curriculum, which can then be negotiated between the Institute of Koorie Education and Faculty Academic Staff.
Learning experience is an interactive one where students have an opportunity to contribute and make decisions on the structure and content of their programs so that it reflects their cultural perspectives and is relevant to their circumstances. Feedback received from students regarding their satisfaction with the service consistently praises the flexible nature of the programs and the support received from the Institute's staff.
The Institute's administrative and academic staff provide an extensive range of services, which support the students with their academic endeavours. Services include, co-ordinating the provision of tutorial assistance, ensuring the availability of appropriate lecture/tutorial rooms, providing support to students in the use of computer technology, managing the travel and accommodation needs of students, providing an induction service and generally being available to advise and respond to the specific needs or problems of students as they arise.