Research Projects

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Research Projects


How 'university places' influence Indigenous students

This project aimed to enhance Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander university student engagement and retention. Specifically, this project attended to the notion of the ‘university place’ and provides information and two tools that universities can use to help optimise the persistence and educational outcomes of Indigenous Australians.

The Closing the Gap Prime Minister’s Report (Commonwealth of Australia 2017) indicated that efforts directed at understanding factors that optimise persistence at university is vital to improving Indigenous student completions and reaping the benefits that are central to increasing Indigenous Australians’ quality-of-life. Growing Indigenous university student enrolments in recent times, although still significantly below parity, have been stymied by high drop-out rates that are twice that of non-Indigenous students (Edwards & McMillan 2015). Yet, for those Indigenous Australians who complete university the benefits are considerable in that they typically find work faster and have a higher commencing salary than their non-Indigenous counterparts (Turnbull 2017). Creating ‘university places’ that optimise the persistence of Indigenous Australians attends to this national agenda and was the focus of this seed project.

This project was funded by the Office for Learning and Teaching (now Promotion of Excellence in Learning in Higher Education, Australian Department of Education and Training). A summary of the project, including details of the two tools ─ The iPlace New Thinkging Prompts tool and The iPlace Ecology Tool ─ is available in this Project E-booklet.

To cite this e-booklet:

  • Raciti MM, Carter J, Gilbey K & Hollinsworth D 2017, The ‘university place’: how and why place influences the engagement and retention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander university students, E-booklet, Project Deliverable for Promotion of Excellence in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (PELTHE), Department of Education and Training, Australian Government Department of Education and Training, Canberra.
Research with Inuit people in the Canadian Arctic

‘Nunamin Illihakvia: Learning from the Land’ is one of two USC research projects in the Canadian Arctic led by Dr Tristan Pearce who is affiliated with the Indigenous Studies Research theme, and the Community of Ulukhaktok.

The ‘Nunamin Illihakvia Project’, funded by Health Canada, is a step towards a new Inuit-led cultural education that is dedicated to enabling the transfer of traditional knowledge, skill sets and values, based on Inuit knowledge and guiding principles in a changing climate.


Re-imaging Cook’s journey in the East Coast Encounter exhibition

Indigenous and non-indigenous perspectives are incorporated into the East Coast Encounter exhibition (2014-2017) co-curated by Associate Professor Lisa Chandler and John Waldron. This award-winning exhibition re-envisages James Cook’s 1770 voyage to Australia and combines historical research and creative practice to present this significant shared story from diverse perspectives. The exhibition is further informed by the artists’ responses to their visits to important contact locations and their engagements with relevant Indigenous communities. These experiences are further captured in the DVD by acclaimed journalist Jeff McMullen, and the exhibition is supported by a scholarly catalogue with essays by Indigenous and non-Indigenous writers and historians. East Coast Encounter has been touring since May 2014, with exhibitions at 12 galleries and museums along the east coast of Australia, including the University of the Sunshine Coast Gallery from 16 February to 25 March, 2017. The exhibition will have a lasting legacy as all the works have been acquired by the Australian National Maritime Museum.

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