The Wollotuka Institute
In the language of the Awabakal people "Wollotuka" means "eating and meeting place".
The Wollotuka Institute is guided by the teachings of our Nguraki (elders/cultural mentors) whose wisdoms are respected and honoured. Our Nguraki and Community played a pivotal role in shaping and developing a locally defined set of Cultural Standards which reflect and embrace the cultural essence to which our goals are directed and to guide how we operate.
We acknowledge the traditional Aboriginal owners of the lands on which our offices are located:
The Pambalong Clan of the Awabakal Nation - Newcastle Campus at Callaghan
Darkinung People - Central Coast Campus at Ourimbah
Biripai People - Port Macquarie Campus
and also acknowledge and pay respect to the other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nations from which our students, staff and community are drawn.
A leader in Indigenous education
Wollotuka is committed to the advancement and leadership of Indigenous education at a local, national and global level. It also continues to draw strength from culture, communities and past journeys.
Since 1983, Wollotuka has played an important role in representing and supporting Indigenous Australians studying at university. Through its work, Wollotuka and the University of Newcastle more broadly are regarded as leaders in Indigenous education in Australia.
In 2015 Wollotuka received Australia's first World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium accreditation, recognising its strong outcomes within Australian Indigenous Higher Education.
Wollotuka consolidates all Indigenous activities of the University under one strategic and operational body. This whole-of university approach was highlighted as an example of best practice in the 2012 Behrendt Review. The institute also proudly adheres to the Indigenous Education Statement:
The functions of The Wollotuka Institute incorporate:
- Teaching and Learning
- Research and innovation
- Indigenous Student Engagement and Experience
- Community Engagement
- Indigenous Staff Employment and Development
Indigenous-led governance and management
Our Nguraki pave the way and guide us through our governance and leadership structures providing valued input and advice, which is honoured and respected by the Wollotuka Community.
Wollotuka is an all-Indigenous staffed unit overseen by an all-Indigenous Board of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education and Research. Its management and governance structures set it apart from all other higher education Indigenous units in Australia. Board members include community representatives with skills and experience in Indigenous educational and community matters. Consultation with Indigenous communities is integral to the University's approach to supporting Indigenous education.
The University has recently announced the appointment of an inaugural Pro Vice-Chancellor, Indigenous Education and Research, Professor Steve Larkin. In this new cross-institutional executive leadership role, Professor Larkin will take responsibility for embedding and championing Indigenous education and research throughout the University, and for overseeing the work of The Wollotuka Institute.
This leadership structure provides a dynamic decision-making process which will continue to achieve outstanding results, setting the benchmark for the other 38 Indigenous Centres within Australian universities.