The University of Newcastle, Australia

University of Newcastle Indigenous education pioneer to embrace new challenge

Thursday, 1 February 2018

The University of Newcastle (UON) will bid farewell to Professor Steve Larkin, following an impressive tenure as the institution’s inaugural Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Education and Research).

One of Australia’s leading architects of Indigenous education delivery, Professor Larkin has led UON’s renowned Wollotuka Institute through a period of sustained growth and development and will continue to advocate for Indigenous education in his new role as CEO of the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education in the Northern Territory.

L to R: Professor Darrell Evans, Mrs Leah Armstrong and Professor Steve Larkin

Having grown up and started his career as a social worker in Darwin, Professor Larkin, a member of Kungarakan and Yanyula Nations, said he looks forward to applying his learnings from Wollotuka to a new challenge closer to home.

“My experience at Wollotuka has been invaluable, and I feel very proud of the progress we’ve made to continue the world-leading work being done to support and nurture Indigenous students.

“Although I’m bidding a fond farewell to Newcastle, I look forward to continuing my work advocating for an inclusive future where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are not only acknowledged but actively celebrated,” Professor Larkin said.

The Wollotuka Institute has continued to flourish under Professor Larkin’s leadership, with an increase in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander enrolments and alternate entry interviews, as well as a number of significant international partnerships.

In 2017, Professor Larkin delivered the first ever keynote address by an Indigenous person to the Universities Australia Conference, and led a national report on Increasing the Indigenous Academic Workforce funded by the Federal Department of Education and Training.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Darrell Evans, said Professor Larkin’s work had been key to UON’s continued support of Indigenous education and research.

“I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to Professor Larkin for his ongoing commitment to advancing equity for all students. I wish him all the best for this fantastic new chapter, where I am confident he will be able to apply his skills and experience to this new role.”

Committed to the 2017 – 2020 Indigenous Strategy led by Universities Australia, UON is proud to be a sector leader in Indigenous education in terms of enrolment numbers and student completions, with Indigenous enrolments soaring to over 1000 in 2016.

In particular, UON’s Joint Medical Program has pioneered a pathway for Indigenous students into medicine, resulting in UON having graduated almost half the country’s Indigenous doctors.

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