10 questions with… Joe Perry


Dr Joe Perry never pictured himself working in a university, let alone dedicating most of his career to tertiary education. Mainly because he never finished high school.

Joe is a First Nations Worimi man who grew up on a small Aboriginal mission at Karuah, Port Stephens.  After a diploma in welfare and a few years working in the industry, Joe felt like he needed a career change. That ‘change’ saw him take up the challenge to be the first in his family to get a degree, completing a bachelor of adult education at UTS in the 1990s.

Joe followed that up by working for Newcastle University for 27 years. While there, he also completed his PhD in Aboriginal Studies and History at Wollotuka, an Institute committed to the advancement and leadership of Indigenous education at a local, national and global level.

Joe retired from Newcastle University after a long and successful career and renovated his house. However, an exciting opportunity enticed him to Macquarie University three years ago where he joined the Pro-Vice Chancellor (Indigenous) team as our Indigenous Director Learning and Teaching.

Retirement Take 2 is still on the cards for Joe, but let’s hope he sticks around at Macquarie for a little while longer.

1. Something you’d like staff to know about
We have just completed the first Learning and Teaching Grants internally to assist with the development and implementation curriculum and course development across the University.

2. Something you feel proud of
The work we are doing with the Mudang Dali to engage students and staff in First Nations Knowledges and perspective in the classroom which they will take with them in life. Mudang Dali is the Indigenous connected curriculum and is about imbedding Indigenous knowledges and perspectives in courses throughout the faculties and departments to enrich the student experience. It was an amazing concept and now a reality!

3. A person you admire at Macquarie, and why
No one person really, but I would have to say I admire the Vice-Chancellor and senior leadership for endorsing what we want to achieve as First Nations people at Macquarie.

4. What you need to do your best work
Engaging with, and building working relationships with people who see and understand the value in what First Nations people bring to the table.

5. Something people usually ask you when they find out what you do for living
Usually after the initial shock they ask me How did you end up in university?

6. Your definition of success
Not being afraid of failure.

7. The first person you go to for advice (and why)
Just an old wise friend in Newy who has been like a second dad to me.

8. A website or app you can’t live without (and why)
I hate to say it, but Facebook I can check on family and friends that I do not get to see very often.

9. Where you live and what you like about living there
I live in Newcastle where it’s 10 minutes to everywhere you want to go.

10. A personal quality you value in others
Honesty and being true to yourself.

11. Something you’re trying to do differently in 2022
Preparing myself for retirement and leave something that will be built on in the future.

12. I’m happiest when…
Playing with the grandkids or having a beer watching my Rabbitohs winning footy… which isn’t that often of late.





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