Indigenous Education Statement 2013

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Indigenous Education Statement 2013

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The University of the Sunshine Coast acknowledges all traditional custodians of the land and recognises the strength, resilience and capacity of Aboriginal people in this land.

Section 1 Objectives for Indigenous Higher Education

1.1 Institutional objectives to improve higher education outcomes for Indigenous Australians

The University of the Sunshine Coast acknowledges all traditional custodians of the land and recognises the strength, resilience and capacity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in this land. The first whole-of-university RAP to be endorsed by Reconciliation Australia was established by USC in 2009, setting the framework for working towards the reconciliation goals of true equality – in life expectancy, education, and employment - and mutual respect.

Strategies for achieving Indigenous Cultural Competency across the university and in the wider community involve many immediate and also longer term goals including: actively partnering with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in university governance; creating culturally welcoming environments; including Indigenous student and staff outcomes as key goals of the university; and establishing plans that develop real and sustainable opportunities that contribute to improving social and economic outcomes for Indigenous people.

USC is a partner in the More Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Teachers Initiative (MATSITI) through the Buranga Centre and Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering. MATSITI is a national four-year initiative to increase the number and professional capacity of Indigenous teachers in Australian schools, and was established by the Australian Council of Deans of Education.

The Buranga Centre will be relocating and expanding in 2014 to a building currently under construction on the USC Sippy Downs campus. Plans include an adjoining cultural public gathering place, designed through consultation with the Vice-Chancellor’s Indigenous Advisory Committee. This community place will be an interpretation of the traditional Gubbi Gubbi yarning circle, and includes areas representing the elements of earth, air, water and fire. It will provide a prominent place to promote cross-cultural understandings and advance knowledge about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander societies, values and traditions. It will be a supportive inspirational environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to explore learning and leadership, and to make plans for the future.

1.2 How the Indigenous perspective is embedded in the University’s Strategic Plan and other key documents

The University of the Sunshine Coast  2011 - 2015 Strategic Plan identifies and commits to a collection of values that guide and direct pursuit of its vision and everyday operational priorities. Three of these values are directly relevant to the University's commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education:

  • Engaging in and responding to the community's intellectual, cultural and economic needs.
  • Adopting consultative processes and ethical behaviour in all activities.
  • The advancement of human rights within a tolerant and inclusive society, in which respect of Indigenous and international peoples is fundamental.

The USC Top Level Plan 1 - "Enable access to the USC experience", includes aspirational targets for Indigenous student participation among its performance measures.

The USC Top Level Plan 2 - "Deliver high quality teaching, learning and graduate outcomes", includes embedding Indigenous content in curriculum design, as a key strategy.

Through its Equity Policy, the University seeks to address racial discrimination and overcome past disadvantage of students and staff in equity groups.

The University's Indigenous Employment and Career Development Strategy 2010-2012 details a framework for increasing employment and career opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and demonstrates a commitment to resourcing and supporting these outcomes.

The University's 2009-2011 Reconciliation Action Plan was the first whole-of-university RAP to be endorsed by Reconciliation Australia, with the second triennial RAP (2012-2014) launched in May 2012.

The Student Life and Learning Operational Plan 2013-2015 also articulates specific strategies for targeted expansion of school-based initiatives (eg. Murri Pathways and AIME); renewal of the USC Indigenous Employment and Career Development Strategy (for 2013-2015); and supporting achievement of campus cultural competency goals. This aims to see an annual increase in the number of commencing Indigenous students enrolling in USC programs, and enhanced rates of success and completion for continuing students.

An Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Sub-Committee was established to provide strategic and cultural guidance in achieving the Education Operational Plan goals contributing to USC’s Strategic Plan:

  • Develop pathways for different groups of students, including low SES and Indigenous students, into teacher education.
  • Open up at least one course in each teacher education program to the Headstart program to support students at secondary school undertaking a course during their final years of schooling that contributes towards a teacher education qualification.
  • Support inclusion of Indigenous content in curriculum design.
  • Undertake a curriculum review of inclusion of Indigenous content as part of the program development and review process.

Section 2 Achievement of National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Policy (AEP) goals in 2012 and plans for future years

2.1 Establish effective arrangements for the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in educational decision-making

USC recognises the importance of Indigenous people’s involvement in the high-level decision-making of the University. Opportunities for Indigenous Australians to participate in the governance and management of the University in 2012 included representation on the:

  • University of the Sunshine Coast Council (one community member)
  • Vice-Chancellor’s Indigenous Advisory Committee (19 Indigenous USC and community members)
  • Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s Student Liaison Committee (one student representative)
  • Buranga Indigenous Students Committee (BISC student group)
  • Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Sub-Committee.

In addition to these appointments, Indigenous staff and students at the University participate in meetings with state and national bodies which involve them in educational decision-making:

  • Queensland Indigenous Higher Education Network
  • Sunshine Coast Institute of TAFE Indigenous Advisory Committee
  • National Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme (ITAS) Network
  • Annual Queensland Servant Leadership Forum (Brisbane – two student representatives)
  • Annual National Student Leadership Forum: on Faith and Values (Canberra – two student representatives).
2.2 Increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples employed, as academic and non-academic staff in higher education institutions

The University is strongly committed to improving the recruitment, development and support of Indigenous people in employment in higher education. The USC Indigenous Employment and Career Development Strategy 2010-2012 was informed by rigorous community and staff consultation, and reflects the employment priority areas identified by the Indigenous Higher Education Advisory Council. The Strategy is available at Indigenous Employment and Career Development Strategy.

The University aims to raise the percentage of Indigenous staff to better reflect the percentage of Indigenous students at USC (2% in 2012). In 2012, the University established a dedicated Early Career Academic position in each faculty.

The Buranga Centre actively supports the COAG goal to halve the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous employment outcomes, through initiatives including:

  • facilitating employment opportunities at USC for Indigenous people;
  • building the profile of the University as a workplace of choice for Indigenous people on the Sunshine Coast;
  • providing Indigenous staff with appropriate induction to the University;
  • facilitating ongoing mentoring and support for all Indigenous staff, and promoting scholarships and cadetships where available;
  • coordinating cultural awareness training for University staff to understand and respect the culture and background of Indigenous people.

Table 1 – Permanent Positions

Faculty/Institute/SectionAcademic/Non-AcademicAmountRole
  • Faculty of Arts and Business
  • Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering

Academic

2

Teaching and Research

  • Buranga Centre
  • Development
  • Faculty of Science, Health,  Education and Engineering

General

3

Professional/Admin

Totals

 

5

 

Table 2 – Casual Positions

Faculty/Institute/SectionAcademic/Non-AcademicAmountRole
  • Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering

Academic

2

Teaching and Research

  • Student Life and Learning
  • Buranga Centre
  • Chancellery
  • Student Administration
  • Faculty of Arts and Business
  • Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering
  • IT Services

 

General

14

Professional/ Admin
Cadetships

Totals

 

16

 
2.3 Ensure equitable access of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to higher education

The University of the Sunshine Coast has achieved increasing numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student enrolments for the past eight years, with the progress of those students consistently exceeding the Queensland rate for as many years. USC has also consistently achieved an enrolment rate of Indigenous students that is higher than the proportion of Indigenous people in the Sunshine Coast population (1.5% in the 2011 census), and the national university participation rate.

Commencing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students

Students20112012

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students

81

79

Non Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students

3765

3869

Programs to improve access

Program NameTarget audienceOutline of ProgramOutcome

Targeted scholarship opportunities.

Indigenous students including Headstart students in Years 11 and 12 high school.

Indigenous and Australian South Sea Islander students

Over 62 scholarships/
bursaries awarded in 2012.

Indigenous Alternative Entry Program.

Any Indigenous applicants.

All QTAC applicants identifying as Indigenous are invited to participate in the Alternative Entry Program. Panel interview and assessment of applicants’ skills, experience and aspirations, may lead to offer of admission into a degree program or guide applicants to consider TPP as a preparatory program.

Only 3 students accessed the Alternative Entry Program in 2012.

Tertiary Preparation Program (TPP).

Any prospective adult learners.

Prospective undergraduate students experience university life before committing to a degree program.
Students undertaking TPP are provided with access to the same services and facilities offered to all Indigenous USC students.

29 Indigenous students were enrolled in TPP in 2012.

Headstart entry.

High school students in Years 11 and 12.

Prospective visiting students experience uni life before leaving high school. Academic credit is awarded towards USC degrees, and students gain guaranteed entry into most USC degrees with successful completion of two courses.

Only 1 student participated in Headstart.

Outreach activities

Outreach activityTarget audienceOutline of ProgramOutcome

Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME).

High schools students in Years 9-12.

Engaging 16 schools from Redcliffe to Gympie. Indigenous high school students are mentored/tutored by USC students, with the goal of increasing school retention and Year 12 completions.

136 Students participated in 2012 (increased from 60 in 2011).

Partnership in the Northern Region, Future Indigenous Leaders Program
(2011 to 2012).

High school students in Years 11 and 12.

Providing leadership, aspiration and skill building activities with school students from Caboolture to Bundaberg. [Partnership with John Pearson Consulting].

50 Students participated.

19 Completed the Cert VI Project Management.

“Murri Pathways”
(since 2008).

High school students and their families.

Collaborative road show promoting post-school options including traineeships and apprenticeships, certificate and diploma courses, defence jobs, sports and health careers, the Headstart program, TPP and undergraduate courses.

Increase in school leaver enrolments, and in TPP.

20 School leavers were enrolled in 2012.

Participation in community events and groups, and links with schools, TAFE and other VET providers – to demystify higher education and promote aspiration for tertiary study.

Prospective adult learners and high school students.

  • Sunshine Coast Indigenous Network Group
  • SCIT Indigenous Advisory Committee
  • North Coast Aboriginal Corporation for Community Health “Well Person’s Health Check Days”, Gympie/Maroochydore.
  • NAIDOC events Brisbane/Sunshine Coast
  • Indigenous Jobs market
  • USC Open Day
  • local Indigenous youth events.

Annual increase in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student enrolments for over eight years.

Scholarship details

Scholarship detailsGovernment/Private/UniversityNo. AllocatedCostNo. AwardedComments

Indigenous Access

Govt

23

$103,155

23

 

Indigenous CAS

Govt

10

$28,524

6

 

Indigenous CECS

Govt

37

$60,613

25.5

 

Indigenous Enabling CAS

Govt

0

0

0

 

Indigenous Enabling CECS

Govt

5

$4,754

2

 

Headstart – Indigenous

USC

 

$400

1

 

Jaralema Scholarship

Pte

 

$3,500

2

 

Rotary Scholarship

Pte

 

$15,000

3

 

Indigenous Honours/PGrad

USC (HEPPP)

 

$13,599

3

 
   

Total:

$229,545

   
2.4 Achieve the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in higher education, at rates commensurate with those of other Australians.

USC delivers a collaborative model for Indigenous student success that is distinctively different to many other tertiary providers. The Buranga Centre is positioned in the Student Life and Learning portfolio and operates as part of a multi-disciplinary team which includes professionals in cultural competency, Education, Psychology, Social Work, Public Health, and Careers Counselling.

Total number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander enrolments for 2011 and 2012

Students20112012

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students:

155

165

Non Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students:

8153

9584

Strategies to address participation

StrategiesOutline of strategiesConstraintsOutcome

Indigenous orientation program.

Includes academic skills workshops, tours of the campus and facilities, and personal introductions to staff. This enables a comfortable transition into uni life.

The Indigenous Orientation is held in the week prior to the general O Week, so attendance can be limited.

The retention ratio of Indigenous students at USC has exceeded the Queensland and national ratios from 2003-2010 (latest data available).

Dedicated study areas and a social room on campus.

A culturally welcoming environment that includes access to reference books and laptop computers, and “IT Yarning” tech workshops.

   

Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme.

Academic support funded through DEEWR.

 

72 students received ITAS tutoring in 2012.

Cadetships.

Promoting workplace learning opportunities and experience available through the Indigenous Cadetship Support program.

Sourcing cadetships in the field of students’ study.

29 Cadets have been placed with employers since 2010, with 12 of those employed at USC.

2.5 Enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to attain the same graduation rates from award courses in higher education as for other Australians.

Increasing the retention and completion rates for Indigenous students is a priority of the University.

Number of award course completions

Award course20112012

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students: (Higher Degree)

0

1

Non Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students: (Higher Degree)

16

16

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students: (Other postgraduate)

3

3

Non Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students: (Other postgraduate)

263

212

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students: (Bachelor degree)

12

6

Non Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students: (Bachelor degree)

872

989

Support mechanisms

Support mechanismsDescriptionConstraintsOutcome

Academic and personal assistance

Students are able to access academic skills advice, financial assistance, accommodation support, and health and wellbeing advice. Buranga staff are referrers through the North Coast Aboriginal Corporation for Community Health and can organise free medical and dental consultations for Indigenous students.

 

The success ratio of Indigenous students at USC has exceeded or equalled the Queensland and national ratios from 2004-2010 (latest data available).

Celebration of success

Student achievement is acknowledged and celebrated through biannual Indigenous graduates and family events, where students are presented with an Indigenous graduate stole.

   

Buranga Synergy Program

Accommodation and learning support provided at the student accommodation facilities. Formal on-site and culturally appropriate pastoral care.

 

8 Indigenous students resided in student accommodation facilities in 2012.

Social networking

Regular social activities are held throughout each semester for Indigenous students, and a Buranga Centre Facebook page was established for students to connect, share information, and promote events, employment, and scholarship activities.

 

186 People are members of the Buranga Centre Facebook page.

2.6 To provide all Australian students with an understanding of and respect for Indigenous traditional and contemporary cultures.

Celebrating the rich culture and heritage of the First Nation’s People of Australia is a powerful initiative for engaging and uniting all communities in this country. USC recognises the Indigenous Higher Education Advisory Council’s priority of enhancing the prominence and status on campus of Indigenous culture, knowledge and studies, and achieves this through:

  • The University of the Sunshine Coast Reconciliation Action Plan 2012-2014
    • Reconciliation Action Plan
    • The RAP builds upon the University’s:  Equity – Governing Policy; 2011-2015 Strategic Plan; and Indigenous Employment and Career Development Strategy.
  • An Indigenous Studies minor offered through the Faculty of Arts and Business.
  • USC Associate Professor Kathy Lynch, and community elder Dr Eve Fesl, undertaking the project: “Reclamation and revitalisation of the Gubbi Gubbi language on the Sunshine Coast”, through digitally recording Gubbi Gubbi language. Additional product activities include: cultural notes; phonetic guide; grammar and quizzes. This project is supported through partnership with the Sunshine Coast Regional Council.
  • Supporting the 6th annual USC Indigenous Education Symposium in 2012 hosted by the Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering.
  • High cultural visibility and respect through Welcome to Country statements by traditional custodians at all formal University events.
  • Protocols for acknowledging the traditional custodians of  the land are published on the USC website:
  • Traditional blessings opening every University of the Sunshine Coast Graduation Ceremony.
  • A framed Statement of Commitment to Reconciliation is displayed prominently in the foyers of the Chancellery; Student Central; Marketing and Communications; and both Faculties.
  • A culturally sensitive and supportive environment is fostered through cross-cultural training.
  • Events celebrating Indigenous culture, including:
    • NAIDOC events held at Cotton Tree, Sunshine Coast and at Musgrave Park, Brisbane.
    • Sorry Day and Reconciliation Week
    • National Apology Breakfast
    • Oxfam – National Close the Gap Campaign.

Section 3 Expenditure of Indigenous Support Program Grant

Income for Indigenous Support Program for 2012Amount

1 2012 ISP grant

$354,000

2 Unspent 2011 ISP funds, to be carried over to 2012 – as reported in your providers audited annual financial statements.

$0

3 TOTAL ISP income for 2012

$354,000

 

4 Expenditure of Indigenous Support Program (ISP) 2012 (from Item 1)Amount
4a Operating costs, including salaries, for Indigenous support services (salaries).

$146,121

4b Capital Items – list any major items purchased for Indigenous student/staff use only and briefly describe how they were committed to Indigenous Education.

$0

4c Higher education provider overheads (printing, motor vehicle expenses, ITS, postage, Synergy program).

$60,180

4d Other Indigenous Support Program expenditure (promotional material, travel and accommodation, Indigenous Education Symposium).

$32,699

4e Total Indigenous higher education expenditure for 2012

$249,000

 

5 Expenditure of Indigenous Support Program carry over funds 2011 (from Item 2)Amount

5a Operating costs, including salaries, for Indigenous support services.

$0

5b Capital Items – list any major items purchased for Indigenous student/staff use only and briefly describe how they were committed to Indigenous.

$0

5c Higher education provider overheads.

$0

5d Other Indigenous Support Program expenditure.

$0

5e Total expenditure of carry over funds

$0

Section 4 Higher education provider's contact information

University Officer

Director, Student Services Dr Eva-Marie Seeto
Phone: + 61 7 5430 1226
Email: eseeto@usc.edu.au

Indigenous Education Unit Officer

Head of Indigenous Services, Mr Terry Bell
Buranga Centre Phone: + 61 7 5459 4439

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