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Rise of Aboriginal PhDs heralds a change in culture

by Pamela Nathan

Re: ‘Rise of Aboriginal PhDs heralds a change in culture’, by Andrew Bock, published in The Age, Education, 17 March 2013.

Congratulations to the Murrup Barak Centre at the University of Melbourne and Professor Ian Anderson, Assistant Vice-Chancellor for Indigenous Higher Education Policy, whose centre has contributed to the growth in doctoral numbers for Aboriginal people. Professor Ian Anderson says the increase “represents a maturation of the education agenda and is significant in terms of a growing intergenerational achievement. It will enable Aboriginal people to have input into the knowledge, economy, inspire policy and influence political decision-making, leadership and institutional reform”.

This increased growth can influence knowledge parameters and lead to difference and creativity. As Margaret Weir, who completed a PhD in curriculum design, said, “It’s the PhDs in institutions that influence the knowledge parameters of those disciplines. If you are an Aboriginal PhD, you are importing Aboriginal culture and knowledge into that framework”. Professor Steve Larkin, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Indigenous Leadership at Charles Darwin University, says, “We might have those views challenged, and I think that’s a good thing. Out of difference comes creativity and innovation”.

Congratulations to all the PhD achievers and to Gary Foley for his PhD and research into the history of Aboriginal organisations. Learning and creative thought and emotional experience paves hope and future.

**Professor Ian Anderson was a guest speaker at CASSE’s Public Forum, ‘Reconciliation Australia: Psychological Perspectives‘. Click here to view his presentation online.