Directors: (l-r) Leanne Holt (Worimi); Ass. Prof Peter O'Mara (Wiradjuri); Prof John Lester (Wonnarua)
The Wollotuka Institute Directors welcome you to help us celebrate our 30 year anniversary throughout 2013
About The Wollotuka Institute (Wollotuka)
In the language of the Awabakal people "Wollotuka" means "eating and meeting place"
Wollotuka is designed to consolidate all Indigenous activities of The University of Newcastle into one operational and strategic body in order to provide high level advice and leadership to the University's strategic priority and commitment to Indigenous Education. The four functions of The Wollotuka Institute incorporate Academic; Research; Indigenous Student Engagement and Experience; and Indigenous Staff Employment and Development.
On the Callaghan campus Wollotuka is housed in a uniquely designed learning space, the Birabahn building, which was developed to incorporate aspects of Indigenous practices and culture to present staff, students and community with a warm familiar environment. The design of the building incorporates the motifs of the Eaglehawk, a primary totem of the Awabakal nation. On the Central Coast campus the Institute is housed in the Gibalee Centre. Wollotuka also has an office on the Port Macquarie Campus.
Wollotuka continues its status as a national leader in Indigenous education. The release in July 2012 of the Federal Government's Report on the "Review of Higher Education Access and Outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People: Final Report" (Behrendt review) is a testament to the University's leadership in this field.
The continuation of the innovative and traditionally oriented "Three Director" management structure is the only one of its kind in Australia and is proving to be a dynamic decision making process that is achieving outstanding results leading to Wollotuka's national prominence in Indigenous education. This structure is extremely well supported by senior management of the University which ensures a culturally supportive and productive learning environment that leads to genuine buy in and priority of the University's commitment to Indigenous education within the areas of academic and research, student experience and engagement and staff employment and development.
Wollotuka also stands alone from other higher education Indigenous units as an all-Indigenous staffed unit with its activities being overseen by an all-Indigenous Board of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education and Training whose membership includes community representatives with skills and experience in Indigenous educational and community matters.
This management structure guarantees strong Indigenous community participation in the setting of key directions and priorities particularly in relation to Indigenous education and leadership within the University. Genuine consultation with Indigenous communities and leaders is integral to the University's approach to supporting Indigenous education and is the foundation of its successes. Wollotuka plays a critical role in this achievement, spearheading an institute-wide approach to Indigenous success and strengthening the University's leadership.
Wollotuka's clear objectives and systematic approaches to coordination, implementation and evaluation has placed itself as a benchmark for the other 38 Indigenous Centres within Australian universities by providing this model of Indigenous-led management and governance.