An Australian Government report released today on higher education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is testament to the University of Newcastle’s leadership in the field.
Senator Chris Evans - the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research - has released the Review of Higher Education Access and Outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in Melbourne.
The University of Newcastle has welcomed the report, which the Government describes as a ‘roadmap’ to boost the number of Indigenous engineers, doctors, lawyers, nurses and teachers.
Newcastle has graduated around half of Australia’s Indigenous medical doctors, and contributes the largest number of Indigenous health workers from its medicine, nursing, and allied health programs.
Close to half of the 725 Indigenous enrolments at the University in 2012 were in professional disciplines across a broad range of programs, as well as high concentrations of students in teaching, nursing, social work and engineering.
“Newcastle is a recognised national leader in Indigenous education, a university of choice for Indigenous students and employs more Indigenous staff than any other university in Australia,” Professor Kevin McConkey, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and Global Relations), said.
“The University’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student enrolments account for 2.6 per cent of the total student population, almost twice the sector average and above the report’s recommended target of 2.2 per cent.
“With 2.7 per cent of our staff identifying as Indigenous, we are also well ahead of the report’s recommended target that 2.2 per cent of a university’s staff be Indigenous,” Professor McConkey said.
“We have achieved our successes through a whole-of-university approach to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education and research, setting and achieving ambitious targets for Indigenous student and staff participation.”
The University was one of the first in Australia to launch a Reconciliation Action Plan, which outlines how it will continue to address Indigenous collaboration including creating additional pathways for entry to university, increasing completion rates, enhancing Indigenous research and introducing cultural relevance to the teaching curricula.
“We look forward to working with other universities and the Australian Government to further improve access and outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in higher education,” Professor McConkey said.
Learn more about the University of Newcastle's Indigenous collaboration here.