Our Reconciliation Action Plan
Social justice is a key value of the University of the Sunshine Coast, which acknowledges the unique and important place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The University of the Sunshine Coast delivers a collaborative model for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander success that is distinctively different to many other tertiary providers. For example, Indigenous Services is a student empowerment service within the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students) and functions as part of a multi-disciplinary team that includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander as well as other professionals in areas such as education, psychology, social work, and health and career guidance.
The University of the Sunshine Coast acknowledges the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The University values and particularly appreciates the close relationships with those Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on whose lands it has a presence. The University embraces the opportunities that these relationships offer, recognising that as an institution of higher education it has responsibilities and a unique capacity to develop partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across a broad range of areas that will be mutually beneficial.
In particular, the University of the Sunshine Coast seeks to work collaboratively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to address social injustice in education and employment opportunities, both directly through its role as a major employer in the region and as an institution of higher education with potential to contribute through its research and education to capacity-building and wellbeing within the community.
The University has monitored and reported on its previous Reconciliation Action Plan, which was the second RAP, and pleasing progress was made in most areas against the goals that were set in our first RAP. A number of significant milestones have been reached and additional strategies have commenced development. The RAP at the University of the Sunshine Coast experienced strong Executive level support and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community representation on committees helped facilitate greater opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff to participate in shaping and achieving the University's vision. The review of the previous RAP identified that additional cultural learning workshops were required and that this type of engagement should utilise novel and online technologies to assist uptake of training. In addition, including cultural learning as a compulsory component to staff inductions and other relevant training programs was seen as an important component to enhancing the success of the RAP. There was also a desire from the USC community to hold additional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander events and this was addressed by designing and implementing the Closing the Gap event in 2015.
The USC Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) 2012-2014 provides guidance to the University community in the actions it takes to achieve specific and measurable goals, and provides accountabilities for those who have been allocated responsibility. The current review and development of the 2017-2019 RAP has been undertaken over the past 18 months to ensure consultation with staff, students, community across our all campuses has been achieved. See Appendix B.
The Reconciliation Action Plan Review Committee was chaired by the Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Greg Hill and comprised members of the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business community, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student representatives, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians of academic and professional staff including the Head of Indigenous Services, Executive Deans of both Faculties (Arts Business and Law, and Science, Health, Education and Engineering), Director of Human Resources, and Head of Student Access, Equity and Diversity. The Reconciliation Action Plan Review Committee, (See Appendix A) will be responsible for the monitoring, overseeing and the implementation of the USC RAP and will operate under the advisement of the Vice- Chancellor and President's Equity and Diversity Committee.