JCU to establish new centre to help close the gap

James Cook University has announced plans to establish a new centre that will improve educational outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, and build on the university’s excellence in teaching and research related to Indigenous issues.

Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor, Professor Chris Cocklin said the Centre has ambitious, but achievable, goals.

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“The university is making a significant, new investment to improve the educational outcomes for Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

“What we are seeking to do through the proposed new centre is provide a better resourced and more integrated facility that works to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students across the entire university.”

“This staff in the centre will work in conjunction with staff employed in our student services and community engagement areas to value-add and offer cultural support and mentorship to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.”

The proposed Centre represents approximately a 50% increase in JCU’s current investment in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student support, learning and teaching, research and community engagement.

Professor Cocklin said the centre will reflect JCU’s place, history and strategic direction.

“As well as improving educational outcomes for students, it will be a platform from which JCU can lead in scholarship and research relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and, ultimately, Indigenous people throughout the tropics.”

Through the centre, JCU expects to revitalise its curriculum relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues and will look to more effectively imbed Indigenous cultural perspectives across the university’s programs.

Consultations conducted in recent years indicated that university employees are deeply committed to reconciliation and to closing the gap with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The centre will have a physical presence on the Townsville and Cairns campuses and be reflected in JCU’s other campuses and locations.

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