We want to make attending UNSW a natural aspiration for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. This is dependent upon building meaningful relationships with schools and communities including parents, teachers and the students themselves.
This relationship would ideally be established in the early high school years, to ensure a connection is made with UNSW well before year 12. We will also bring students to our campus more often, so it doesn’t feel like a foreign place to them. Increasing our Indigenous undergraduate student population will generate a bigger pool from which we can encourage students to consider academia as a career.
We will work with faculties to identify students who we can support and nurture towards postgraduate study. This will enable us to steer students towards careers in teaching and research.
Consultations were held with Indigenous students during the development of this strategy. They identified the need for Indigenous academic role models in each faculty as a crucially important factor in the success of this strategy.
With every university in the country keen to increase Indigenous workforce participation, it makes sense that we need to “grow our own” Indigenous workforce.
Nura Gili, UNSW’s Indigenous Programs Unit, pioneered the best practice nationally, ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students are recruited and supported academically. This, along with UNSW’s commitment to pastoral care, encourages students to remain at UNSW until they graduate.
We at UNSW are successful because we are measured and careful in our approach to recruitment and retention. Similarly, we hope to support our students and staff as academia and administration at universities are professions that often require decades of hands-on experience.
UNSW has adopted a Grow our Own strategy, meaning PVCI will work closely with Nura Gili and faculties to ensure that an increase of students and staff occurs at a sustainable rate and that we are “growing our own” Indigenous academics and technical staff.