Healing and Recognition Track (HART)

In response to the Referendum results, UOW’s Indigenous Strategy Unit (ISU) emerged with a restored focus. The word ‘reconciliation’ feels profoundly empty and extractive for our people. The impacts of the result itself, the process, and the lies propagated along the way speak to a need to focus on healing and truth telling rather than reconciliation. In 2024, UOW will be developing a Healing and Recognition Track (HART) plan.

Our journey to the HART

UOW commenced our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) (PDF) journey in 2019, with the launch of our inaugural Innovate RAP.

Due to the confinements of the pandemic, UOW decided to continue on our Innovate RAP journey and in March 2022 we launched our second Innovate RAP.

With our current RAP expiring in March 2024, we were provided with an opportunity to re-evaluate our Indigenous Advancement journey here at The University of Wollongong (UOW).

In 2024, the Indigenous Strategy Unit (ISU) started our journey of trust, healing and working to put things right ways. 

Resources from National reconciliation Week 2023

National Reconciliation Week was a time to reflect on the importance of the Voice to Parliament and to celebrate the shared culture, history, and achievements of First Nations peoples.

2023 resources

Annual reconciliation statements from our senior executive

Professor David Currow

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President Research and Sustainable Futures

The Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) 2022-2024 asks that the University’s community work together to strengthen all aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research

  • Building the research capacity of all researchers to contribute meaningfully to relevant research;
  • fostering understanding of effective and respectful partnering with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in research;
  • focusing on research issues of relevance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the choice of research topics;
  • and identifying actively the next generation of researchers

To expand on the key opportunities outlined in the RAP, work has progressed in the last 12 months on the UOW First Nations’ Research Strategy (2023-2030).

This work is a critical platform for the whole University and finalising the consultation on this document a key priority in the coming months. A template that helps every researcher to consider the aspects of their work that can (or should) engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is an important next step.

Co-design is non-negotiable in these processes and will be facilitated through building communities of practice that deliver meaningful outcomes, thereby further building trust. Leadership in this work is core for the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Sustainable Futures) and all of the team in this Division.

Our continued commitment is to generate momentum for change.

Sue Bennett

Executive Dean, Faculty of the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities

The Faculty of the Arts, Social Science and Humanities embraces reconciliation as everybody’s business. We commit to action on reconciliation becoming more embedded within our everyday practices of learning, teaching, researching and connecting. 

Each year we join together to mark Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week with colleagues across the University and community. As a faculty committed to education and young people, we are also active in Indigenous Literacy Day and National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children's Day as part of our yearly calendar. In our ‘business as usual’ we continue to embed Indigenous knowledges and pedagogies in curriculum, recruit Indigenous academics and support PhD completion, and engage Indigenous providers and suppliers in our procuring of goods and services. We continue our learning through the AIATSIS Core Cultural Learning modules, with colleagues from across the faculty working through the modules and supporting discussions. We incorporate reconciliation action into the ways we work every day with a RAP working group in each School, RAP discussions as a standing item on meeting agendas and Acknowledgement of Country at gatherings, through posters and signage. We continue to work as a community partner, and as a space for community to meet on campus. We are changing our spaces and places to make them more welcoming. The Early Start building now features the UOW Acknowledgement of Country and Flame Tree signage at its entrances, and we created a First Nations Space in Building 19. Two major projects funded in 2022, helped to develop knowledge about our Indigenous art collection and promote a Workplace Culture Supportive of Aboriginal and Indigenous Communities in Early Start.

Colin Picker

Executive Dean, Faculty of Business and Law

In line with the Faculty’s statement of intent, throughout 2022, the Faculty of Business and Law has collaborated with the Indigenous Strategy Unit and Woolyungah to develop and launch RAP-related initiatives. 2022 kept us busy with 1) the identification of current and development of processes to support embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content in subjects, 2) developing and providing appropriate support for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, and 3) the Faculty’s ongoing commitment to the BAL RAP Working Group which includes student representation. During 2022, BAL had one of the largest cohorts (57 staff members) to participate in the pilot project and undertake the AIATSIS: Core - Cultural Learning modules. Engagement in the AIATSIS modules has strengthened our staff’s foundational cultural competencies and contributed towards our Faculty’s cultural capabilities. A small group of BAL staff were also provided an opportunity for an off-campus on-Country experience at the Royal National Park. Led by an Elder, the team were taught about historical sites, maintenance of culturally significant sites and how to pay respects to Country authentically. BAL are excited that this opportunity will be provided again in 2023. We are committed to our reconciliation journey and understand that reconciliation is ‘everybody’s business’.

Professor Sean Brawley

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President Strategy and Assurance

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Strategy and Assurance portfolio came into existence in January 2023.  The portfolio consists of existing and new organisational divisions. Therefore, some Divisions engagement with the RAP is a new undertaking while for others there is a significant record of engagement. As an enabling portfolio with a whole-of-institution focus, our engagement with the RAP covers a wide range of activities. 

These have included both ensuring the new Portfolio itself embarks on this transformative journey and embraces a range of respectful practices in its own conduct (such as Acknowledgement of Country as a standard agenda item at all meetings and their role in facilitating wider discussion of current reconciliation issues amongst colleagues). The portfolio has and will continue to work alongside Indigenous Strategy Unit (ISU) to assist in capability development elsewhere in our institution and the communities we serve. In 2022, the Legal Services Unit work collaboratively with the ISU to achieve ambitions of the RAP. In the policy space we have supported specific policy development (eg Anti-Racism and Cultural Safety Policy) and worked with the ISU to integrate First Nations’ perspectives into policy management. The former Chief Governance Officer (Dr Nancy Huggett) and the Chief Integrity Officer (Professor Trish Mundy) have been invited as members of UOW’s Reconciliation Action Plan Steering Committee. Their engagement in UOW’s reconciliation journey has actively benefitted the portfolio. We will continue to be work alongside the ISU and support with the facilitation of RAP related and Indigenous advancement initiatives including the Uluru Statement of the Heart through academic and corporate governance.

Professor Eileen McLaughlin

Executive Dean, Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health

The Faculty of Science Medicine and Health is committed to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples of Australia, and we believe that the continued implementation of the UOW Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in 2022 was a significant first step in achieving this goal. Our RAP achievements to-date include piloting a new Indigenous research internship program, supporting global mobility for Indigenous students, enabling the next generation of Indigenous doctors, championing Indigenous HDR students, growing our educational offerings and enhancing our understanding of Indigenous procurement.  In addition, the faculty have recruited 7 identified positions that include professional and academic roles at diverse career stages, spanning both health and science disciplines and committing to cultural awareness training for our Faculty Senior Executive. We understand that reconciliation is a journey that requires ongoing sustained effort, and our ongoing and future RAP initiatives represent our continued commitment to this journey. 

Read the full statement

Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences Executive Dean Senior Professor Gursel Alici

Executive Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences

Reconciliation within the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences (EIS) is about recognising the impact of our actions and contributing to all dimensions of reconciliation. We understand that everything we do requires us to authentically engage with, acknowledge, and maintain cultural connection with the Aboriginal lands on which we study and live.

Our commitment to reconciliation is now formally embedded in the faculty’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion strategy and action plan, launched in October 2022 and on our webpage. As part of this initiative, the faculty has committed to establishing an annual prize to recognise the achievements of our Indigenous students. In 2022, EIS was committed to expanding our partnerships with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and to continue embedding Indigenous knowledge, wisdom, and perspectives within our teaching and research programs. We understand that this journey takes time and will continue to work towards this in 2023. We investigated opportunities to create pathways into higher degree research programs and a summer scholarship for Indigenous students. We will continue to take every opportunity to learn from traditional knowledge holders and to deepen our understanding and connection to Country and the true history of Australia through engagement in the AIATSIS-Core: Cultural Learning modules. We will continue to focus on creating pathways for study and employment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, on empowering Indigenous businesses through procurement, and on sharing our reconciliation journey within EIS and our local community. We value and celebrate the contributions of our Indigenous staff and students and are committed to creating a culturally safe and supportive community within EIS where all staff and students feel welcome and respected.

Media Articles

Reconciliation Action Plan

It is our mission to create a movement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allyship at UOW, that will hold a shared vision for the future.