Professor Gary Thomas is USC’s inaugural Dean, Indigenous Education and Engagement.
Professor Thomas has worked at the University of Southern Queensland, the University of Melbourne and La Trobe University, the Queensland University of Technology and the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education. He has held academic, professional and senior executive roles.
Professor Thomas has contributed to Indigenous Education at both national and international levels over many years. He was elected Chair of the National Indigenous Higher Education Network (NIHEN) from 2005 – 2008 and was appointed National Secretary in 2012 when this network incorporated to become the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Higher Education Consortium (NATSIHEC).
As a member of the Academic and Research & Journal Working Groups for the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium (WINHEC), he has been part of the editorial team for the ERA rated WINHEC Journal since 2007. He has been instrumental in the development of the first taught programs of the World Indigenous Nations University.
Professor Thomas was an Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA) Honorary Auditor and is currently a Registered Expert for the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Authority (TEQSA).
In 2016, Professor Thomas became the first Indigenous Australian to be awarded Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (UK).
As the Dean, Indigenous Education and Engagement, Professor Thomas provides leadership across the university for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues related to the student experience, learning and teaching, research and community engagement.
Publications, reports and reviews
Dreamson, N., Thomas, G., Lee Hong, A., & Kim, S. (in press). The perceptual gaps in using a learning management system: Indigenous cultural perspectives. Technology, Pedagogy and Education.
Dreamson, N., Thomas, G., Lee Hong, A., & Kim, S. (2017).Policies on and practices of cultural inclusivity in learning management systems: perspectives of Indigenous holistic pedagogies, Higher Education Research & Development, 36:5, 947-961.
Radoll, P., Thomas, G., Skrbis, Z., Fowler, S., Giles, A., (2016) External Review Yulendj Indigenous Engagement Unit, Monash University
Dreamson, N., Thomas, G., Lee Hong, A., Kim, S. (2016) Culturally Inclusive Learning for Indigenous Students in a Learning Management System, National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education, Curtin University, Australia
Thomas, G. (2015). Connection and connectedness: Realizing the imperative for Indigenous Education. The International Education Journal: Comparative Perspectives Special Edition: ANZCIES Conference Proceedings 2014, 14(No. 2), 1 - 9.
Thomas, G (2015).The Right to be Human: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and Human Rights (Chapter) in Knowledge of Life: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia, Price, K (Ed), Cambridge University Press, 203 – 217 **
Thomas, G. (2013) Internal Report, Review of Centre Aboriginal Studies in Music, University of Adelaide,
Anning, B, Arbon, V, Robertson, B and Thomas, G. (2013). Celebrating and Sustaining Indigenous Knowledges through Higher Education, World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium Research Conference Proceedings, Taiwan Journal of Indigenous Studies Volume 6, No 1, Spring 2013, National Dong Hwa University
Robertson, B, Anning, B, Arbon V and Thomas G. (2012). Indigenous Epistemology – Creating an International Indigenous Higher Education space in the Wake of the Western ‘University of Excellence’ World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium Journal, Indigenous Research – Indigenous Youth, Change and Sustainability, Sami University College, Guovdageaidnu Norway
Robertson, B, Anning B, Arbon V and Thomas G. (2012). Celebrating and Sustaining Indigenous Knowledges through Research World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium Journal, Indigenous Research – Indigenous Youth, Change and Sustainability, Sami University College, Guovdageaidnu Norway
Oliver, R., Thomas, G., Tomlinson, M. (2011) Report of an Audit of SAE Institute Pty Limited, Australian Universities Quality Agency
Cooper, J., Thomas G., Raciti, M. (2011) External Review - Internal Report, Student Services Review, University of the Sunshine Coast
Patton, W., Thomas, G., and Leitch, A. (2011) External Review - Internal Report – Review of Oodgeroo Unit, Queensland University of Technology
Debowski, S., Thomas, G., and Treloar, K. (2010). Report of an Audit of the National Institute of Dramatic Art, Australian Universities Quality Agency
Milroy, J., Thomas G., and Mitchell, M. (2010) External Review - Internal Report – Review of Indigenous Programs, Macquarie University
Thomas, G. (1991). The Australian Aborigines in education: A conflict of cultures. St. Lucia, Qld: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander [sic] Studies Unit, University of Queensland.
** Winner – Tertiary (Wholly Australian) Student Resource, 2016 Educational Publishing Awards Australia
Research Interests: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Knowledges; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Higher Education; Quality Assurance in Higher Education; Learning and Teaching in Higher Education; Teacher Education; Human Rights; Indigenous Peoples Rights; Human Research Ethics
With: Professor Boni Robertson (Griffith University), Professor Veronica Arbon (Deakin University/University of Adelaide), Professor Berice Anning (University of Western Sydney) (Research Team – World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium 2007 - 2012) Establishment of the World Indigenous Nations University – Chief Investigator
For: Dr Christine Asmar (University of Melbourne, National Teaching Fellowship – ALTC 2008) Indigenous Teaching at Australian Universities – Advisory Panel Member
For: A/Prof Zane Ma Rhea, Peter Anderson and Bernadette Atkinson (Monash University, Project Team – Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership 2012) Improving teaching in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education: Professional Standards for Teachers – Critical Friend
For: A/Prof Deborah West (Charles Darwin University, Project Leader – Office of Learning and Teaching 2014/15) Learning Analytics Assisting Universities with Student Retention – Reference Group Member
For: Dr Chelsea Bond (Queensland University of Technology, National Fellow – Office of learning and Teaching 2014/15) Subject of Inquiry and Mode of Instruction: Indigenous bodies, Indigenous studies and cultural safety in Australian universities – Critical Friend
For: Ms Marcel Burns (Queensland University of Technology and Southern Cross University), Project Leader – Office of Learning and Teaching 2015 – 2017) Indigenous Cultural Competency for Legal Academics Program – Critical Friend
With: Dr Neal Dreamson and Professor Anita Lee Hong (Queensland University of Technology) National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education 2015 The digital divide for Indigenous students in Learning Management Systems $27,069 – Chief Investigator
For: Associate Professor Maria Raciti (University of the Sunshine Coast), Project Leader – Office of Learning and Teaching 2015/16 The ‘university place’: How and why place influences the engagement and retention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander university students – Critical Friend and Evaluator
For: Dr Gillian Lawson (Queensland University of Technology) Project Leader – Office of Learning and Teaching 2016 Learning and Teaching Academic Standards in Landscape Architecture – Advisory Group Member
For: La Trobe University - Human Research Ethics Committee 2005 – 2013, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Content Specialist
For: Queensland University of Technology – University Human Research Ethics Committee 2013 – 2017, Vice Chancellor’s Nominee