Jindaola program recognised for teaching and learning excellence
UOW a finalist in AFR higher education awards
The University of Wollongong (UOW) has been named finalist in the Teaching and Learning Excellence category of the Australian Financial Review Higher Education Awards for its Jindaola Program, which embeds Aboriginal knowledges and perspectives into curriculums.
The institution-wide program, established in 2017, builds staff capacity to embed Aboriginal knowledges and perspectives into university curriculums using a traditional Aboriginal learning approach.
By transforming how staff address teaching and learning, the Jindaola Program reconciles Indigenous and non-Indigenous knowledge and perspectives in higher education course delivery.
Jindaola, a name gifted to the program by local Yuin Country Aboriginal elders, takes interdisciplinary teams on an 18-month ‘curriculum reconciliation journey’ that uses Aboriginal learning methods to help them reflectively reconcile their own disciplinary knowledge with Aboriginal knowledges embedded within the Country on which they teach.
After completing the program, staff have had the experience of seeing their discipline from an Indigenous perspective and are equipped to share that perspective with students.
Impact in-person and online
The program has already had a far-reaching impact, with 167 participants across all faculties, schools and key business units in five years, 44 subject curriculums transformed, creating a culturally responsive learning environment for over 20,000 students by 2021.
Despite being originally designed for in-person delivery, the Jindaola program was successfully adapted and continued during the COVID-19 lockdowns, with the integrity of its knowledge sharing methods maintained through online ‘yarning circles’ and artefact creation and observance of Yuin protocols of respect, responsibility, reciprocity, regularity, routine and relevance.
The program’s academic lead, Indigenous Knowledges Lecturer and traditional custodian, Jade Kennedy, says the program aims to de-colonise curriculums at UOW.
“Pre-contact Aboriginal people existed in a knowledge-based economy. It was our most valuable asset.
“Jindaola is a knowledge exchange program. It’s about starting relationships between disciplinary-based knowledges and Aboriginal-based knowledges to create an understanding of the impact of colonisation on all aspects of Australian education,” Jade said.
University of Wollongong Executive Director (Indigenous Strategy), Jaymee Beveridge, being selected as a finalised in the prestigious AFR Higher Education Awards was a significant boost for the program.
“Jindaola is made possible by a small but dedicated and highly effective team working closely with local Aboriginal Elders.
“Their work has already been noted by academic journals and seen as an example by other institutions, but it is very pleasing to now see their work recognised across the sector in such prestigious awards.”
UOW supports the program through UOW grant funding, provision of staff and facilities and the support of its Academic Development and Recognition team.
It is a core element of UOW’s Reconciliation Action Plan and contributes to its strategic goal of ‘creating knowledge for a better world’ by guiding staff to authentically enhance student cultural understanding.