Skip to main content

Indigenous Cultural Competency: Our commitment

Graduate attributes

Research has shown the importance of including a graduate attribute relating to Indigenous knowledge, culture and values, to a University's graduate attribute policy. 

Curtin has embedded aspects of Indigenous cultural competency principles in its Graduate Attributes.

CAS building

 Copyright CAS foyer flags by Curtin University

Policies and procedures

As part of Curtin's commitment to Indigenous cultural competency, the University has produced policies and procedures to support staff and students.

Indigenous Terms of Reference (ITR)

Indigenous Terms of Reference are a set of protocols that ensure Indigenous knowledge, experience and values are respected and worked with during an Indigenous project or decision making process.

It defines the roles and protocols for Indigenous practitioners, non-Indigenous practitioners and other stakeholders.

In some programs run by Curtin, ITR makes up one of the core teaching areas, for eg, the Indigenous Community Management and Development programs and Indigenous Community Health program.

Curtin's vision

Curtin University is a multicultural campus where staff and students are increasingly exposed to persons from other cultures, making it an ideal environment with the potential to increase understanding and eliminate conflict.

The University is committed to Indigenous education and culture and is focused on the development of cultural competencies in the University's staff and student populations. It is also commited to assist the organisation to navigate what it means to be culturally competent and implement it into practice. 

The University strives to:

  • provide an environment that is encouraging and free from racisim
  • promote equality and respect in education, research and employment
  • produce graduates who are culturally aware global citizens
  • promote Indigenous collaboration and participation through community engagement
  • formulate guidelines and recommendations designed to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities 

Curtin is committed to:

  • ensuring all staff and student increase their understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures
  • developing the skills necessary to become culturally competent at a professional and personal level.  
  • developing Indigenous competency modules that would combine with discipline specific examples to fit in with the University's plans
  • increasing the number of courses with Indigenous content across its teaching program
  • promoting stronger partnerships through community engagement

Centre for Aboriginal Studies (CAS)

Curtin University has the highest number of Indigenous students of any university in Australia.

The Centre for Aboriginal Studies (CAS) was established in the mid 1983 and aspires to contribute to positive social change for Indigenous Australians.  The Centre is managed by Indigenous staff and offers a range of courses, programs and support services for Aboriginal people.

The Centre aims to:

  • Provide non-Indigenous students with an understanding of Australia from an Indigenous perspective
  • Equip Indigenous students with the skills, knowledge and confidence to contribute to the community
  • Promote Indigenous identity, culture and heritage
  • Broaden the body of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge
  • Assist Indigenous students with access to tertiary education                              

Indigenising the curriculum

One of Curtin's initiatives as part of the RAP is to implement plans for the inclusion of Indigenous perspectives in some of its undergraduate courses and postgraduate coursework. The University requires that these knowledge and perspectives are embedded in the aims, learning outcomes and delivery of courses and programs, where relevant.

The Teaching & Learning tab in this guide contain more information and ideas on indigenising the curriculum.

Aboriginal flag map

Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP)

Curtin University has developed and implemented its own RAP program which addresses the shortcomings that exist between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, within the University's framework.

Acknowledgement of Country

Curtin is commited to the use of appropriate Aboriginal protocols and ceremonies as a way of promoting greater understanding of Aboriginal culture. The University:

  • has developed a Nyungar Welcome to Country that is used at all staff induction ceremonies
  • encourages staff to embed the Welcome to Country into unit outlines and on the University website
  • acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land at official events
  • displays and flies the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags during significant events