New Indigenous Strategy marks 'momentous occasion' for Deakin

Media release

13 February 2023

Deakin University has today announced its new Deakin Indigenous Strategy 2023-2028, which not only reiterates the University's strong commitment to reconciliation, but also lays out a path for continued investment in the success of First Nations students and staff.

Led by Professor Mark Rose, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Indigenous Strategy and Innovation, the document seeks to redefine First Nations engagement within the University.

Professor Rose said the strategy marked a new chapter in First Nations education and was created through consultation with Traditional Custodians and First Nations communities, as well as students, faculties and professional divisions across Deakin.

It draws together work from across the University and is linked directly to the Deakin 2030: Ideas to Impact, Deakin Education and Employability Guiding Plan and Deakin Research and Innovation Guiding Plan.

"Today we turn a new page in First Nations education at Deakin. The Deakin Indigenous Strategy builds on the three-and-a-half-decades that the University has been a lighthouse for many First Nations peoples who sought liberation for their families, communities and themselves through education," Professor Rose said.

The five strategic domains are:

Students Deakin University will grow access, participation and success in higher education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. This includes through promoting and fostering a higher education aspiration with First Nations Peoples. The University will broaden, maintain and promote access through inclusive higher education pathways, and provide dynamic, responsive and relevant academic social and emotional wellbeing, as well as financial and cultural anchoring for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

Knowledge – Deakin will support the advancement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledges and respectfully embed them in all courses. The University will create a comprehensive Indigenous research strategy for all staff and students, build cultural intelligence within Deakin staff with cultural immersion and exchange opportunities, and establish the Office of Indigenous Strategy and Innovation (OISI) as a centre for contemporary, relevant and authentic Indigenous advice.

Employment – Deakin will grow Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation among its staff and will be an employer of choice for First Nations Peoples. This will include expanding Indigenous employment through realistic, sustainable and supported growth targets across faculties and divisions. The provision of meaningful careers for First Nations staff will be prioritised through effective professional development opportunities, and the University will work to ensure the Indigenous employee experience is consistent, culturally respectful, and safe through partnership between the OISI and the People and Culture Division.

Whole of University – Deakin will embed commitment to and celebration of First Nations Peoples and Communities across all its activities. Clear targets for faculties and professional divisions will be set and monitored for delivery of the strategy. The strategy also recognises Deakin's role in moving towards reconciliation and truth-telling and to celebrate First Nations Peoples and Communities, and it will ensure appropriate strategic advice is sought from Communities, Indigenous professional entities and external stakeholders.

Community – Deakin will grow and advance respectful partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities. This includes by advancing engagement with the three Traditional Owner groups on whose lands the University's campuses sit. Deakin will seek to engage with external Indigenous groups and alumni to explore collaboration and mutual benefit, and connect Deakin activities in advancing Indigenous Knowledges, Peoples and Communities to national and international First Nations agendas. It will foster external support for programs and activities that promote Indigenous achievement through communities or individuals.

Deakin Vice-Chancellor Professor Iain Martin said the strategy was a "momentous occasion" in the history of the University.

"The strategy encapsulates our journey thus far, but more importantly, expresses our deeply held beliefs about what still needs to be done, and how we will achieve it," Professor Martin said.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic Professor Liz Johnson said Deakin extended its commitment to advancing Indigenous Knowledges and Peoples through the strategy.

"The strategy recognises that Indigenous Knowledges should be a shared heritage for all Australians; setting cultural intelligence as an attribute that every Deakin graduate will take into their professional and community life," Professor Johnson said.

Further information on the new Deakin Indigenous Strategy 2023-2028 can be found here.

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