CDU wins excellence award for research


From left: Professor James Smith with conference delegate Brian O’Neill and colleague Sue Trinidad.

From left: Professor James Smith with conference delegate Brian O’Neill and colleague Sue Trinidad.

Charles Darwin University has won a national excellence award for a series of research projects designed to better understand the needs of Indigenous Territorians in higher education.

Charles Darwin University Adjunct Professorial Research Fellow Dr James Smith received the Australian Rural Education Award at the Society for the Provision of Education in Rural Australia (SPERA) conference in Perth this week.

It is the second time in three years that CDU has won the award, which recognises projects that demonstrate a link between a regional or remote school and the local community, and which benefits a defined equity group.

“In this case it was a team effort involving five projects that collectively have provided evidence for stronger policy and better strategies to improve remote student engagement, participation and completion in higher education,” Professor Smith said.

“The projects were managed by the Office of Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous Leadership’s Indigenous Leadership Research and Evaluation Network over the past three years.

“Some projects were undertaken in collaboration with other institutions or agencies,” he said.

The projects were: Building evidence about Indigenous pathways and transitions into higher education; Identifying strategies for promoting VET to higher education transitions for Indigenous learners; Review of the influence of Indigenous Higher Education Policy in the NT; Addressing the gap between policy and implementation: strategies for improving educational outcomes for Indigenous students; and Understanding completion rates of Indigenous higher education students from two regional universities.

Professor Smith said the award had given impetus to plans for a forum in Darwin next year, where the project findings would be presented.

“The event will give us an opportunity to acknowledge most of the contributing team members in a local context,” he said.

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