BADUWA, MANAWARI, DJURALU
In the language of the traditional custodians of the land on which Macquarie University is situated, the Wattamattagal people of the Darug nation:
ASPIRE, DISCOVER, EVOLVE.
Macquarie has a strong commitment to its Aboriginal communities, as it has with all staff and students working at or attending the University: To serve and engage.
That commitment extends to the creation of a more equitable, inclusive and successful future by improving our recruitment, progression and the success of our Indigenous students.
We are doing this through initiatives including the Indigenous Strategy, released last year with its long term view, alignment with existing frameworks and strategic plan, and values of Scholarship, Integrity and Empowerment.
As a pointer to the Strategy’s evolving success, a record number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island students were awarded degrees during Macquarie’s April graduation round.
Now, in Reconciliation Week 2017 with its theme of ‘let’s take the next steps’, Vice-Chancellor, Professor S Bruce Dowton has launched the University’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).
The RAP is designed to complement the Indigenous Strategy and help identify practical ways to build and strengthen relationships with Indigenous communities and our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and students.
It will do this by:
- developing positive and sustainable relationships with Aboriginal communities, both locally and across Australia
- finding pathways to reflect and include Indigenous knowledge in our teaching and research
- increasing the participation in campus life of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people – whether as staff or students.
In his foreword to the document, Professor Dowton says the RAP is the University’s most significant step towards building positive, sustainable relationships with our local Aboriginal community and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
“For many years, we have considered how we can better contribute to reconciliation and, after extensive consultation and thorough planning, I am pleased to present our inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan, in collaboration with Reconciliation Australia,” the Vice-Chancellor said.
“We are just beginning our reconciliation journey, building the foundations for relationships, respect and opportunities. These three pillars constitute a “reflect” plan, and over the next two years we will develop solid support for the plan across our campus, and consider how we can best commit ourselves to cultural learning, understanding cultural protocols, and considering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment and the student experience.”
“The plan touches on every area of our mission and purpose, from investigating how we embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives into our teaching and research, to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment. It considers how we celebrate dates of significance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, how we can improve the learning experience for our growing numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, and how we produce our future Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders.”
“There is much we can do to make our campus more culturally responsive, safe and respectful,” Professor Dowton said. “I commend this plan to you as an important step on our long and fruitful journey towards a more dynamic, innovative and diverse university.”
Dr Leanne Holt, Director Indigenous Strategy at Macquarie University, says she was excited to launch the RAP.
“This year’s theme for National Reconciliation Week is ‘let’s take the next steps’ – a fitting year to launch our inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan,” Dr Holt said.
“While we’ve still got a long way to go, this Plan is a significant step forward by the University.”
The RAP complements the University’s Indigenous Strategy and includes actionable steps across the following areas:
- embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives into teaching and research
- growing employment opportunities
- how the University celebrates dates of significance
- improving the learning experience for students
- nurturing future Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders.
“Our Indigenous Strategy outlines our internal commitments, and by working alongside Reconciliation Australia the RAP extends the Strategy by providing a level of external accountability,” Dr Holt said.
“The RAP goes beyond our students and staff – it acknowledges the entire University’s responsibility to contribute to the broader community and society as a whole.”
“I believe a RAP is extremely valuable for both the University and our communities, but the Plan needs to be driven by everyone, not just Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”
“While we have the highest numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, graduates and employees in Macquarie University’s history, the RAP is a true University-wide commitment to progressing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander access and participation.”
“This RAP is a clear commitment by the University to drive reconciliation and create opportunities, in collaboration with Aboriginal people,” Dr Holt said.
“Thanks to the RAP coupled with our Indigenous Strategy, I’m positive about the University’s future in this space.”
The Macquarie University RAP will be led collaboratively by Walanga Muru, the University’s Office of Indigenous Strategy, and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), who will be the Executive Group’s RAP Champion, actively involved in the progression of current and future Reconciliation Action Plans.