Welcome cocktail reception, Tuesday 18 September 6:00–8:00pm, open to all delegates! Venue: Penny Royal
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Friday, September 21 • 10:00am - 10:30am
"It's about involving Aboriginal people in every aspect of decision making": Understanding the enablers and drivers of evaluation in Indigenous higher education in Australia

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James Smith (Curtin University), Kellie Pollard (Charles Darwin University), Kim Robertson (Charles Darwin University)

Growing Indigenous participation and success in higher education has frequently been highlighted as a priority for improving the health, social and economic outcomes of Indigenous peoples and Australian society. Recent academic scholarship has reinforced the importance of strengthening evaluation in Indigenous higher education contexts in Australia to achieve this goal. This has paralleled national and global commentary about the importance of data sovereignty within Indigenous affairs policy and program settings. Despite successive calls from high level Indigenous advisory groups for the Australian Government to invest in a performance, monitoring and evaluation framework that is tailored to the unique needs and priorities of the Indigenous higher education sector, this has not yet occurred. In this presentation we draw on in-depth interviews with 24 Indigenous scholars from across all state and territory jurisdictions across Australia to describe evaluation in higher education from an Indigenous standpoint. The research subsequently privileges Indigenous voices and identifies enablers and drivers likely to strengthen evaluation of Indigenous success in higher education contexts. These include growing Indigenous leadership; increasing funding and resources; investing in strategy development; leading innovative policy development, implementation and reform; investing in cultural transformation and quality improvement; addressing white privilege and power; improving Indigenous student outcomes; valuing Indigenous knowledges and prioritising Indigenous epistemologies; incentivising cultural competence; embracing political challenges as opportunities; promoting cultural standards and accreditation; reframing curricula to explicitly incorporate Indigenous knowledges and practices; investing in an Indigenous workforce; and recognising sovereign rights. We discuss these findings in the context of three primary domains of control - Indigenous control, Government control and University control. In doing so, we unpack the social-political complexities of negotiating evaluation work specific to Indigenous success in higher education. We show how significant transformations can be achieved in policy and practice contexts in higher education, if Indigenous standpoints are prioritised.

avatar for Carol Vale

Carol Vale

Managing Director, Murawin
I am a Dunghutti woman with an extensive career in public sector management and service delivery in the realm of Aboriginal Affairs. My academic background is primarily in the social sciences and leadership development particularly as they relate to overcoming disadvantage. What should... Read More →

avatar for Kim Robertson

Kim Robertson

Senior Analyst, Indigenous Policies and Programs, Charles Darwin University
Kim Robertson, is Senior Analyst, Indigenous Policies and Programs with the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous Leadership at Charles Darwin University and was a member of the Steering Group for Professor Smith’s 2017 NCSEHE Equity Fellowship investigating ways of strengthening... Read More →
avatar for James Smith

James Smith

Father Frank Flynn Fellow and Professor of Harm Minimisation, Menzies School of Health Research
James is the Father Frank Flynn Fellow and Professor of Harm Minimisation at Menzies School of Health Research - with much of his work sitting at the health/education nexus. Previous to this role he was a 2017 Equity Fellow with the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education... Read More →

Friday September 21, 2018 10:00am - 10:30am AEST
Chancellor 4