National Indigenous Knowledges Education Research Innovation Institute

Learn together, grow together

The National Indigenous Knowledges Education Research Innovation (NIKERI) Institute has a proud 35-year history of supporting over 1000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People through community-based education programs.

Experience education that is culturally sensitive

When you study with the NIKERI Institute, you'll gain a fully accredited Deakin degree while learning in a space with shared cultural values and belief systems. You'll take part in several on-campus week-long intensives throughout the year at the NIKERI Institute then continue your studies online at home. We call this community-based delivery.

Community-based delivery

Your studies through the Institute will differ to the way that courses are usually conducted at Deakin. They have been adapted to be supportive, culturally respectful and flexible, considering the obligations and commitments you have in your home communities.

We cover all of your transport to Deakin for your week‑long intensives and back home again. We also supply all of your accommodation and meals while you stay with us at our Kitjarra Residences. And when you’re back home and taking your regular online classes, we find you a local tutor to help keep your studies on track.

Preparing you for university life

The NIKERI Institute offers an Indigenous Direct Admissions Program (IDAP). This is a week-long immersive on-campus program at our NIKERI Institute at Deakin’s Waurn Ponds campus to help you prepare for university. All prospective students who have completed an online application to NIKERI Institute are invited to attend the program.

The program is designed to give you the study skills to succeed at university. You’ll experience on-campus study blocks similar to the community-based delivery model, start to build relationships with classmates and prepare for university life.

Apply for a course or research through NIKERI

Experience the opportunity of gaining a fully accredited degree that encompasses Indigenous knowledges and experiences. All NIKERI Institute courses are adapted for community-based delivery to give you the flexibility and support to succeed. We also offer research and doctorate studies.

Our Kitjarra residences

Meaning 'learning place' in Wadawurrung language, the Kitjarra student study and accommodation residences will be your home away from home during study intensives. Located on the Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus, the healthy study environment includes:

  • spacious, comfortable and fully equipped rooms
  • social lounges and common room
  • computer areas, and
  • a kitchen where you can enjoy healthy and homely meals.

We also cover we cover all of your transport to Deakin and back home again.

Contact us on +61 3 5227 2503 for more info about the residences, or to get travel support call 0417 102 872 or email us.

Explore the NIKERI Institute

Our staff

NIKERI Institute is strengthened by our highly experienced, friendly and professional staff and our advisory board, who maintain our ability to be a world-class education institute. All our staff have experience with teaching and learning in a culturally inclusive environment.

Dr Jessamy Gleeson, Acting Director

Academic staff

Kim Browne, Lecturer, Indigenous Knowledges

Kate Chealuck, Lecturer in Education (Primary)

Mardhi Coleman, Senior Lecturer in Nursing

Naomi David, Lecturer in Education (Early Years)

Dr John Davis, Senior Research Fellow

Dr Aleryk Fricker, Lecturer, Indigenous Education

Dr Bryan Fricker, Lecturer, Indigenous Knowledges

Rebecca Gerrett-Magee, Lecturer, Indigenous Knowledges

Penny Harry, Lecturer in Education (Primary)

Jesse Ivelja, Lecturer in Social Work

Wilbert Mapombere, Lecturer in Law

Chels Marshall, Senior Research Fellow

Suzanne Nunn, Lecturer in Land and Sea

Sally Riddle, Teaching Scholar in Early Education

Joleen Ryan, Lecturer in Social Work

Rosemarie Scott, Lecturer in Education (Early Years)

Dr Manuel Solis, Senior Lecturer in Law

Dr Tyson Yunkaporta, Senior Lecturer, Indigenous Knowledges Systems Lab

Professional staff

Bradley Axiak, Institute Manager

Georgie Cameron, Marketing, Events & Project Officer

Mark Gilmore, Senior Officer, Enrolments

Dale Hunt, Kitjarra Student Residential Coordinator

Kaiylah Kail-Howell, Student Services Support (Travel)

Kaelan Mcconville, Administrative Assistant

Emmalina McLachlan, Student Services Assistant (Scholarships)

Coral Reeve, Academic Support Officer

Natasha Rossington, Team Leader Student Experience

Mahi Solanki, Student Services Assistant (ICT Support)

Jemma Solomon, Partnerships Senior Officer

Diane Telford, Student Learning Coordinator

Kate Towart, Social and Emotional Wellbeing Counsellor

Anna Tsiantas, Administrative Coordinator

Tania Wiggins, Kitjarra Kitchen Cook

Join Victoria’s #1 university for student support*

The Indigenous Tutorial Network helps you to gain access to a tutor in your area to help with your studies – even if you’re in the most remote of communities. The network is set up to be responsive and relevant to your individual needs.

NIKERI Institute Advisory Board

We provide governance advice around key areas including Indigenous knowledge, courses, student engagement and community aspirations and partnerships. The board reflects the national scale of the Institute's activities and advises on cultural context and direction on strategic objectives.

Board members are external representatives from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, as well as internal representatives from the Institute, the Faculty of Arts and Education and the broader Deakin community.


*2021 Student Experience Survey, Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT)

We deliberately use the terms Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Indigenous, First Nations, First Peoples interchangeably and in doing so acknowledge that while people have personal preferences, none of these terms are perfect and with that imperfection each carry nuanced residual forms of colonial power. This content is developed with the core value of respect.

Contact us

We're here to support you. If you have any questions or want to speak to someone about your study options, you can contact us by phone or email.

+61 3 5227 2538 
1800 063 383 
Email the NIKERI Institute