The Australian Centre for Student Equity and Success acknowledges Indigenous peoples as the Traditional Owners of the lands on which our campuses are situated. With a history spanning 60,000 years as the original educators, Indigenous peoples hold a unique place in Australia. We recognise the importance of their knowledge and culture, and reflect the principles of participation, equity, and cultural respect in our work. We pay our respects to Elders past, present, and future, and consider it an honour to learn from our Indigenous colleagues, partners, and friends.

You are reading: Congratulations! 2024 First Nations Fellows Announced

The National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE) at Curtin University today announced First Nations Fellowships for 2024 have been awarded to Dr Tracy Woodroffe at Charles Darwin University, Dr Darren Garvey at The University of Queensland, and Professor Peter Anderson at Griffith University.

Increasing the number of Aboriginal teachers in the Northern Territory: Planning for the future, will focus on understanding the aspirations of Aboriginal high school students to become teachers, and assist universities to increase First Nations enrolments in teacher education.

Dr Woodroffe said increasing the number of First Nations teachers will address a critical shortfall of First Nations educators in the Northern Territory, which has the highest percentage of First Nations students in Australia.

“My study aligns with the Federal Governments ‘Be that Teacher’ campaign, but will focus specifically on promoting teaching as a career of choice for Australian First Nations people, to ultimately improve educational outcomes for First Nations students.”

Dr Darren Garvey’s project, Understanding the wellbeing needs of First Nations psychology students: Identifying perspectives, needs, and strategies through the First Nations Psychology Student Wellbeing Research Project, will explore the relationship between wellbeing and university success.

Dr Garvey said his project’s findings will enhance the capability of First Nations researchers to recruit, retain, and graduate emerging First Nations psychology students. The project will build the evidence base for wellbeing as a focus for a successful university experience by utilising the robust First Nations What Matters 2 Adults (WM2A) Wellbeing measure and appropriate qualitative methods to explore participant student, graduate and support personnel perspectives and preferences.

The approach is necessarily collaborative, involving peak psychology bodies and groups whose focus includes the development of First Nations psychology and supporting First Nations psychologists and students in Australia.

Professor Peter Anderson’s project, Indigenous success: Creating a senior leadership capability model through capacity building, will progress the success of First Nations people in senior leadership positions. While universities have implemented a range of policies and strategies to support First Nations students and staff to engage and succeed in university environments, progress has since stalled. Professor Anderson said his project’s focus is on bringing about positive and sustainable change in universities.

“I aim to create a framework that highlights the necessary skills and abilities required for executive and senior leadership roles in universities, which should be both responsive and responsible. It is crucial to provide training that strengthens the knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, histories, and lifeways at this level. This will lead to positive social change and improve the health and well-being of my people through education.”

The First Nations Fellowship Program was initiated by NCSEHE to develop the research capability of First Nations people and provide opportunities for meaningful changes to public policy. NCSEHE’s first cohort of First Nations Fellows will produce high-impact, high-profile research, policy and practice work that will help First Nations people succeed at university and beyond.