The highest ranking Indigenous person in an Australian university and a member of Charles Darwin University’s executive has been appointed Chair of Australia’s leading council for improving outcomes in higher education for Indigenous people.
CDU’s Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous Leadership, Professor Steven Larkin has been appointed Chair of the third Indigenous Higher Education Advisory Council (IHEAC).
In announcing the appointment, the Federal Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, and the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator Kim Carr, said that Professor Larkin would oversee and provide policy advice to the Australian Government on higher education, research and research training issues in relation to Indigenous higher education students and staff.
Ms Gillard said the Government was providing resources to enable universities to form broader and deeper relationships with schools, teachers, and parents of Indigenous and non-Indigenous students who had little exposure to higher education. A new partnership program worth $108 million over four years was being developed to link universities with schools and vocational education and training providers, she said.
Previously the Principal of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies in Canberra, Professor Larkin has extensive leadership experience in Indigenous organisations including the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, the Aboriginal Health Strategy Unit in the NT Health Services and the Community Development and Social Health Branch of the Federal Department of Health and Aged Care.
An important function of the IHEAC will be to continue its joint project with Universities Australia, the Indigenous Cultural Competency in Australian Universities initiative. The Government has provided $500,000 for this initiative, which aims to undertake a stock-take of existing Indigenous cultural competency initiatives in the Australian higher education sector, undertake pilot projects identified through the stock-take process, and develop a national best practice framework.