The University of SydneyPage 1 Developing a culturally competent framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student support at the University

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  • The University of SydneyPage 1 Developing a culturally competent framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student support at the University of Sydney Presenters: Tanya Griffiths, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student Support Coordinator Ana Munro, Manager, Student Transition and Retention
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  • The University of SydneyPage 2 ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY We would like to acknowledge and pay respect to the traditional owners of the land we are meeting on today. As we share our own knowledge, experiences and learning, may we also pay respect to the Elders past and present and the knowledge embedded forever within this land and its First Peoples.
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  • The University of SydneyPage 3 OVERVIEW OF PRESENTATION Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their history Indigenous participation at the University of Sydney Implementation of Wingara Mura, the Indigenous strategy Formation of the Student Transition & Retention (STAR) team Why we need a cultural framework for student support Development of the framework to date Participant feedback and discussion Please note: throughout the presentation, the term Indigenous is also used to include Australian Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people
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  • The University of SydneyPage 4 MAP OF ABORIGINAL AUSTRALIA David R Horton, creator, Aboriginal Studies Press, AIATSIS and Auslig/Sinclair, Knight, Merz, 1996. It is important to remember... that Indigenous culture and people are diverse; there is no single culture or people. (Dudgeon p. 38) There are more that 500 different nations and social groupings, and a similar number of languages or dialects across Australia Fewer than 150 Indigenous languages remain in daily use, and all except roughly 20 are highly endangered. Of those that survive, only 10% are being learned by children and those languages are usually located in the most isolated areas.
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  • The University of SydneyPage 5 OVERVIEW OF ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER HISTORY AT UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY 1963 the first Aboriginal students were admitted to the University 1966 - Charles Perkins was the first Aboriginal Australian to graduate (B Arts) from the University of Sydney and from an Australian university 1975 - The Aboriginal Teachers Aides Training program began in the Department of Adult Education 1989 - the Faculty of Education had established an Aboriginal Education Centre 1992 - the name of the Aboriginal Education Centre was changed to the Koori Centre to better reflect its purposes and community. support services. Pre 1850 before the University of Sydney was founded, the land was a traditional meeting place of the Cadigal people, called the Kangaroo Ground 2011 appointment of first Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Indigenous Strategy & Services at the University of Sydney, at the time, highest appointment in academia Charles Perkins in class
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  • The University of SydneyPage 6 ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER STUDENT AND STAFF PARTICIPATION TODAY Currently 320 Indigenous students enrolled Indigenous students are represented in all 16 faculties of the University and all levels (UG, PG, HDR) Current President of the Student Representative Council (SRC) is Aboriginal Over 1000 Indigenous graduates who are members of parliament, teachers, doctors, barristers, accountants, veterinarians, teachers, Indigenous leaders and hundreds more working in many different professions. Over 70 professional and academic Indigenous staff across in the University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Indigenous Strategy & Services remains one of the highest academic appointments at an Australian university
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  • The University of SydneyPage 7 INTRODUCTION OF THE NEW INDIGENOUS STRATEGY DVC ISS introduced a new, comprehensive, integrated strategy to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation, education, research, employment and engagement at the University of Sydney. Wingara Mura Bunga Barrabugu: A thinking path to make tomorrow: Key Aims of the Strategy Create a uniquely Australian institution Increase engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia Embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge in the curriculum of every unit of study Provide opportunities for staff & students to develop cultural competence Increase Indigenous student enrolment numbers, progression and graduations across undergraduate, postgraduate and research areas Increase Indigenous student staff numbers across both academic and professional levels Integrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education and support across all areas and faculties of the University Professor Shane Houston
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  • The University of SydneyPage 8 OVERCOMING THE CHALLENGES OF THE TRANSITION FROM THE KOORI CENTRE Supporting the students to accept the changes and adapting the delivery style of support after the transition Physical location change Creating an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander support team in mainstream student support services Transforming Koori Centre to culturally safe spaces Integration of staff into SSS now seen to be positive for ease of referrals Re-creating the sense of community, place and culture that was previously embedded within the Koori Centre environment Collaborating with the National Centre for Cultural Competence:
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  • The University of SydneyPage 9 ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER STUDENT SUPPORT TEAM The team has expanded to five members including non- Indigenous staff who: encourage greater participation in higher education through the Cadigal and Pemulwuy Alternative Entry pathways provide assistance and support to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students throughout their University journey, from admission to graduation; including provide pastoral care, advocacy and mentoring monitor academic progress, referrals & tutorial assistance host regular events such as BBQs and social activities to bring students together: build a sense of community linkages with other student services including Accommodation, Counselling, Financial Assistance and Careers manage culturally safe spaces including the common room, kitchen, computer lab and tutorial spaces: students can meet and feel safe in their identity and culture provide policy and procedural advice to the University assist student recruitment by advising prospective students, schools, parents & careers advisers
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  • The University of SydneyPage 10 FORMING THE STAR TEAM Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student Support team combined with the existing Student Experience team to form the Student Transition and Retention team the STAR team. Student Experience team remit is the orientation, transition and retention of all students across the University approximately 55,000 currently enrolled Includes both Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and non- Indigenous staff Currently comprises 9 full time staff members Shared missions To deliver a comprehensive, welcoming orientation experience for students to ease their transition to the University To provide students with information and referrals to supports and services available to them at the University both personal and academic To monitor student engagement and performance and implement a range of interventions to improve progression, enhance retention and increase graduations.
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  • The University of SydneyPage 11 STAR MISSION STATEMENT The STAR team is uniquely positioned within the University of Sydney to enhance student transition, orientation, retention and success. The team is responsible for the development and implementation of University-wide retention and support initiatives... The team... widens participation by providing access and targeted, proactive support to a larger range of students who demonstrate potential. The team is responsible for the coordination and evaluation of... programs [that] align with best practice, are timely and appropriate and offer the greatest benefit to all undergraduate, postgraduate and research students enrolled... Elite athletes Particular emphasis is placed on developing programs that enhance success for those students with higher transition and support needs: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students International and exchange students First year students, both UG & PG Students entering through alternative entry pathways (E12, Broadway, Flexible Entry, Rural) Non traditional students (Mature Age, Part time, Low SES) Students at risk of failing
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  • The University of SydneyPage 12 Transition Orientation Support Referral Retention Success STUDENTS STUDENT TRANSITION AND RETENTION (STAR) TEAM STUDENT SUPPORT CONTINUUM
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  • The University of SydneyPage 13 Transition Cadigal Alternative entry program application advice, accommodation, scholarships and all other support services advice Orientation Cadigal Orientation Day and 2 week Academic skills program mid February each year, meet the team, current students, tours across campus Support Pastoral care, individual meetings, advice, tutorial and mentoring support, events, lunches and activities, culturally safe spaces Referrals Counselling, financial assistance, scholarships, careers advice, disability services, accommodation, child care, academic advice Retention Progress meetings, staying on track agreements, tutorial assistance


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