Our vision for reconciliation
Our vision is for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to enjoy the same life opportunities as other Australians in a society which values equality, diversity and the contributions of all. The University is committed to the process of national reconciliation and will work alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to develop real opportunities to improve social and economic outcomes. We acknowledge the original custodians of the lands on which the University operates.
To be the major catalyst for the innovative and sustainable economic, cultural and educational advancement of the region, through the pursuit of international standards in teaching, research and engagement.
In the pursuit of its vision, the University has a commitment to these values:
- the advancement, dissemination and preservation of knowledge through innovative and effective teaching and research of the highest quality
- fostering freedom of inquiry and expression
- the process of lifelong learning
- engaging in and responding to the community's intellectual, cultural and economic needs
- adopting consultative processes and ethical behaviour in all activities
- engendering respect among students, staff and Council of the University for their diverse roles and contributions
- fairness, openness, honesty, trust and effective communication as fundamental expectations of students, staff and all associated with the University
- developing the University and its surrounds as an environmentally sensitive exemplar
- the advancement of human rights within a tolerant and inclusive society, in which respect for Indigenous and international peoples is fundamental.
A Reconciliation Working Group was formed for the development of the University's first RAP (Reconciliation Action Plan). The USC Reconciliation Working Group consulted with individuals, community members and various organisations both internal and external to USC through meetings, email and focus groups. The consultations took place with:
- The Buranga Centre
- Buranga Indigenous Students Committee (BISC)
- Students and Staff
- University of the 3rd Age (U3A)
- Sunshine Coast Reconciliation Group
- Noosa Reconciliation Mob
- Sunshine Coast Indigenous Network Group (SCING)
A RAP Review Committee was formed for the first major review of the RAP. The Review Committee consisted of faculty staff from each of the USC faculties, staff from the Buranga Centre (Indigenous Services) and community members.
Founded in 2002, the Vice-Chancellor's Indigenous Advisory Committee (IAC) makes recommendations to and advises the Vice-Chancellor on Indigenous policy matters relevant to the University. The role of the Committee is to assist the Vice- Chancellor to achieve outcomes for Indigenous students, staff, and research and curriculum matters associated with the University, consistent with the University Strategic Plan and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Strategy. The IAC has a membership of 18 and consists of USC staff and students and community members ensuring that all outcomes are well balanced and addressing concerns of all stakeholders. The composition is:
- Vice-Chancellor or nominee (Chairperson)
- Deputy Vice-Chancellor
- Indigenous services staff
- Indigenous staff members
- Indigenous students (Buranga Indigenous Student Committee Chair and 1 Postgraduate)
- Representatives from Teaching and Research Committee (2)
- Indigenous community members (up to 5)
- Director, Student Life and Learning
- Director, Student Administration
- Director, Human Resources
- Director, Indigenous Education Qld
- Principle Advisory, (DEEWR)
- Indigenous Services Officer (SCIT)
Meeting three times a year, the RAP is a regular item of the IAC agenda.
Our use of the RAP
The RAP is a living document and while reporting and reviews will ensure continual changes and improvements are made, it is the University's ambition for the RAP to be much more than a set of tasks for identified people to complete. It is the University's goal for the RAP (and its overriding values) to become a part of our institutional culture and everyday activity.
Specific sections of the University have been identified to carry responsibility for actions of the RAP and report against those responsibilities, it is the University's philosophy that all University employees are responsible for the adoption of the RAP and implementation. The University Indigenous Services (Buranga Centre) will develop and conduct a clinic to explain the RAP and pathways for its implementation to faculties and other cost centres.
Our RAP journey
Development of this updated RAP reflects the key elements of the inaugural RAP and lessons learned from implementing the original RAP as well as the growth and development of the University.
A timeline of the development of this USC RAP is as follows:
- September and October 2011 – Review conducted of the RAP and draft completed for the revised version
- October 2011 – Draft submitted to consulting bodies for review
- November 2011 – Final changes made and submitted to University Council for approval
- December 2011 – RAP approved by USC Council
In achieving our vision (identified above), USC make a passionate commitment to the following areas:
- Tracking progress and reporting
The University of the Sunshine Coast understands that investing in strong and respectful relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples both supports our commitment to adopting consultative processes and ethical behaviours in all activities and is the basis for effective inclusion, support and reconciliation.
Focus area 1.1 : RAP Review and implementation
|1. Support the established RAP Review Committee.||University Council Buranga Centre Head of Service||February 2012||RAP Review Committee develops implements and promotes USC RAP 2012 – 2014.|
|2. Develop a clinic for all areas of the university to assist understanding of the RAP, Indigenous employment and career development strategy, Indigenous Education statement and the Welcome to Country document, and adoption of it in day-to-day operations.||Buranga Centre Head of Service||February 2012
|Clinic developed and submitted to Director Student Life and Learning for approval.
Bookings made to deliver clinic to all sectors of USC.
Focus area 1.2 : Build strong relationships with Indigenous peoples
|1. Vice-Chancellor's Indigenous Advisory Committee guides the development of policies and research programs affecting the Indigenous community.||Office of the Vice-Chancellor||Ongoing from February 2012
|At least three meetings per year.
Review the effectiveness and role of the Vice-Chancellor's Indigenous Advisory Committee.
|2. Consulting with Indigenous people on relevant matters that impact on them is standard organisational practice.||Buranga Centre Faculty / Regional Engagement Officer Human Resources||December 2012||Indigenous collaboration policy and procedure developed and explained to all staff.|
|3. Continue the Indigenous staff network to provide a culturally safe environment for networking.||Buranga Centre Faculty / Regional Engagement Officer||1st meeting held on April 2012||Current network is more formalised with the Indigenous staff network meetings held twice a year.|
|4. Establish an Elders in Residence program||Buranga Centre Elders in Residence Program Coordinator||Commencing Semester 2, 2012||A minimum of 1 public lecture / seminar presented per semester.
Elder made available for student access a minimum of twice per semester
|5. Increase Indigenous input on USC formal committees||Office of the Vice-Chancellor
Chairperson, Learning and Teaching Grants committee
|1 member of the IAC sitting on the Human Research Ethics Committee and Animal Ethics Committee.
Buranga Centre to provide input on the Learning and Teaching Grants committee on Indigenous research projects.
The University of the Sunshine Coast knows that showing respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, land, culture and history is critical to working together for better outcomes for all Australians and achieving our commitment to advance human rights within a tolerant and inclusive society.
Focus area 2.1: Acknowledging Traditional Custodians
|1. Review and revise the USC Welcome to Country document and promote the document to all USC staff||Buranga Centre Faculty / Regional Engagement Officer||March 2012||Review conducted, revised version produced, promoted to USC staff and document placed on USC website|
|2. Adoption of the USC Welcome to Country document - Acknowledge Traditional Custodians and/or arrange a Welcome to Country at all USC public events.||All of USC||On going (as needed) from February 2012||Traditional Custodians of the land are acknowledged or a Welcome to Country is conducted at the beginning of all USC public events.|
|3. Invite and encourage course coordinators, lecturers and tutors to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we operate as per the USC "Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Traditional Custodians" Protocols document.||Buranga Centre Faculty / Regional Engagement Officer
All Course Coordinators, Lecturers and Tutors
Commencing each semester (incl. Summer School)
|Revise the Acknowledgement of Country PowerPoint slide and email to Faculty Deans.
All Deans to provide the PowerPoint slide academic staff.
Traditional Custodians of the land are acknowledged at the beginning of the first lecture of each semester.
Focus area 2.2: Increase awareness of Indigenous culture and history
|1. Invite Course Coordinators and Lecturers to explore opportunities to incorporate Indigenous content into their programs.||Buranga Centre Faculty / Regional Engagement Officer
Manager, Centre for Support and Advancement of Learning and Teaching
All Course Coordinators, Lecturers and Tutors
Teaching and Research Services
Commencing Semester 2, 2012 (incl. Summer School)
|Inclusive curriculum committee established to identify course content conducive to inclusive curriculum practices and methodology for the change (including the TPP program).
Integration of relevant Indigenous Australian content as appropriate for each program.
|2. Provide Indigenous Cultural Awareness opportunities for USC staff members.||Manager, Human Resources
Buranga Centre ITAS / Cadetships Officer
June 2012 and November 2012
|External consultant identified to provide training
Indigenous Cultural Awareness training program conducted a minimum of 2 times per year. All new staff members to complete training as part of their USC induction.
|3. Develop a cultural competence survey for all USC staff to complete and report produced on survey results with recommendations made based on those results.||Buranga Centre ITAS / Cadetships Officer||March 2012
|Draft survey submitted to the Director Students Services for approval.
Survey made available for all USC staff members to complete.
Report on survey results produced – feedback received informs the need of future workshops.
Focus area 2.3: Celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and events
|1. Create an Indigenous Events Working Group to promote the importance of community events and activities such as NAIDOC, National Reconciliation Week, The Dreaming Festival and the Indigenous Education Symposia and encourage participation and attendance.||Buranga Centre Faculty / Regional Engagement Officer||February 2012
|Indigenous Events Working Group established
Feasibility study conducted identifying what events are realistic.
Communication plan developed.
|2. Increase in USC community participation in Indigenous focused community events.||Buranga Centre Faculty / Regional Engagement Officer
Marketing and Communications
As events occur
|List of Indigenous community events listed on the Buranga Centre Website and promoted to staff and students.
Other communications to all staff and students encouraging participation in relevant events.
|3. Expand on the Indigenous Education Symposium to include both a Teacher / Community symposium and Workshops for School students.||Head of School Education and Science||September 2012||Held annually
>85% highly positive feedback
The University of the Sunshine Coast's mission is to be the major catalyst for the innovative and sustainable economic, cultural and educational advancement of the region. This is facilitated through creating mutually beneficial opportunities and supporting successful educational outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and optimising the recruitment and retention of Indigenous staff.
Focus area 3.1: Regional and Community Engagement for student recruitment, retention and success
|1. Continue activities aimed at increasing recruitment, retention and success of Indigenous students at USC to reflect population demographics of the South East Queensland region – through Headstart, Tertiary Preparation Pathways (TPP), Undergraduate and Postgraduate programs.||Buranga Centre Faculty/ Regional Engagement Officer
Buranga Centre Student Support Officer
Enabling Programs Coordinator
Marketing and Communications
Regional Engagement Coordinators
|Ongoing from February 2012||Attendance at relevant Careers Markets and events in the region to promote USC to Indigenous students.
The percentage of Indigenous students at USC is at least proportionate to the percentage of Indigenous people of the region (1.6% as at the 2006 census).
Focus area 3.2: Increase the number of Indigenous people employed at USC
|1. Ensure all USC vacancies, scholarships and pathways to continued education are circulated to Indigenous community networks, employment officers and Indigenous employment agencies.||Buranga Centre Faculty/ Regional Engagement Officer
|Ongoing from February 2012||All USC vacancies and scholarships are circulated to Indigenous community networks, employment officers and Indigenous employment agencies.|
|2. Develop career services that enhance the employment outcomes of Indigenous peoples, including work experience and internship opportunities for students at USC.||Buranga Centre ITAS/Cadetships Officer
|Ongoing from February 2012||The number of Indigenous employees at USC increases to 2.5% of the universities total employee numbers (full time equivalent)|
4. Tracking progress and reporting
The University of the Sunshine Coast understands that a living and dynamic document such as an RAP requires continual review to monitor progress and revision to cater for progress.
Focus area 4.1: Review 2012 Reconciliation Action Plan
|1. Reporting to become a formal project of the Buranga Centre Head of Service.||Director Student Life and Learning
Buranga Centre Head of Service
|January 2012||RAP reporting to be included in the Buranga Centre Area Action Plan as a formal project for the Buranga Centre Head of Service to achieve.|
|2. Regular reviews monitoring progress towards meeting the 'measurable targets' of the RAP.||Buranga Centre Head of Service||Bi-monthly from February 2012
All 3 IAC meetings in 2012
|Review undertaken and information produced for bi-monthly reports to the Vice-Chancellor.
Updates provided at IAC.
|3. Annual review conducted and RAP report produced on activity and achievements against meeting the 'measurable targets' of the RAP.||Buranga Centre Head of Service
RAP Review Committee
1st IAC meeting for 2013
|Review undertaken and published report on placed on USC and Reconciliation Australia websites.
Report tabled at IAC.
Focus area 4.2: Revise 2012 Reconciliation Action Plan
|1. Refresh the RAP to produce a 2013-2015 version.||Buranga Centre Head of Service
RAP Review Committee
|2013-2015 RAP developed and submitted to USC council for approval.
2013-2015 RAP placed on USC and Reconciliation Australia websites.
For further details about our Reconciliation Action Plan, please contact:
Professor Greg Hill
Vice-Chancellor and President, University of the Sunshine Coast
Tel: + 61 7 5430 1101
Fax: + 61 7 5430 1105
^ The University of the Sunshine Coast acknowledges the art work supplied by Arthur Conlon. Arthur was born in the Cherbourg Aboriginal settlement of south east Queensland, and is a descendant of the Wakka Wakka tribe. One of 14 children, Arthur trained as a teacher and for several years taught Aboriginal art to children from pre-school age to high school level. As a child, Arthur acquired an interest in art and his many skills through stories and traditions passed to him from his uncles. All of his designs depict the motifs and symbols of hunting. His inspiration comes from the native fauna of the Kabi-Kabi region in Queensland. His designs are featured on fabric, T-shirts and canvasses. Using water based paint and ochre colours; Arthur creates scenes of ceremony, the hunt and celebration, all male activities.