The Wollotuka Institute recognised with Australian-first accreditation
The Wollotuka Institute at the University of Newcastle has received Australia's first World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium (WINHEC*) accreditation, recognised for its strong outcomes within Australian Indigenous Higher Education.
WINIHEC provides an international forum and support for Indigenous people to attain common goals through Higher Education, and this accreditation ensures Wollotuka can work with Indigenous leaders across the world to highlight the importance of Higher Education while enhancing and protecting Indigenous beliefs.
The Wollotuka Institute at the University of Newcastle ensures that its cultural integrity and values are at the forefront of all its endeavours.
For this reason, The Wollotuka Institute chose to test itself against a proven Indigenous accreditation process by a well-respected international Indigenous body.
Leanne Holt, Director of Wollotuka said: "We are extremely excited about the accreditation and that our leadership in Indigenous higher education is being recognised internationally."
"The opportunities for cultural academic and research exchange as well as the building of networks and relationships with Indigenous nations globally are endless," Ms Holt said.
The Commonwealth Department of Education has been following this progress and it is hoped that the success of Wollotuka through this process of accreditation will highlight the capacity of Indigenous higher education in Australia as a contributor to global higher education agendas.
This recognition and validation of an educational system grounded in Indigenous worldviews, knowledge systems and ways of knowing is an important step forward for Australia's Indigenous Higher Education system.
This long-term process has been intensive, starting with a letter of intent in 2012, a presentation of Wollotuka Cultural Standards in 2013, a Wollotuka Self Study in 2014 in Hawaii and a Wollotuka Accreditation Site visit in May 2015. "When the panel visited Wollotuka they commented that our practice and environment was the best they'd seen anywhere in the world," said Ms Holt.
The accreditation process outlines 21 criteria in which institutions are assessed against and are informed by their own local "cultural standards".
The Wollotuka Institute Cultural Standards are defined within five key areas including:
- Respect and Honouring (Ngarralin marrung)
- Community Responsiveness (Ngiyang nganggalidhi)
- Cultural Celebration (Guthi Wangga)
- Academic and Research (Djuwal Ngarralgu)
- Inter-Institutional Relationships (Bula Wiyawiyelli)
Leanne Holt, Director of the Wollotuka Institute led a team from The Wollotuka Institute, including elder "Aunty Colleen" Perry who will be received an honorary Doctorate of Letters (D.Lett) from the World Indigenous Nations University (WINU) for her lifelong commitment and outstanding contributions to Indigenous education locally, nationally and internationally.
The accreditation was awarded at a ceremony on Tuesday August 11 at 9am at Seven Generations Education Institute, Ontario, Canada. Colleen Perry's Honorary Doctorate of Letters will be conferred later that evening.
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