Indigenous Education and Research Centre News and Events Our Events National Indigenous Learning Support Conference 2023

National Indigenous Learning Support Conference 2023

National Conference on Indigenous Learning Support Services draws delegates from 27 Australian Universities


By Prof N M Nakata, Prof B Hill, Prof C Van den Berg, Prof T Bunda & Mr S Drahm

The inaugural National Conference on Indigenous Learning Support held recently at James Cook University in Townsville drew over 100 professional support staff from 27 Australian universities.

On the first day, delegates delved into the essential outreach and engagement work with the school sector. This emphasized the importance of establishing strong connections with schools to support Indigenous students on their educational journey. The second day centered on learning support services specifically tailored to Indigenous students pursuing degree programs. This spotlighted the innovative approaches to empowering Indigenous students and improving their learning outcomes.

The conference resonated well with the attendees, who appreciated the blend of research knowledge, case studies, and practical support sessions. This approach allowed for evidence-based conversations, paving the way for more effective ways of enhancing learning outcomes.

One delighted delegate shared, "This is the first conference I have been to that focused on the work I actually do in the university... I can actually see me!"

The event truly catered to the unique challenges and opportunities faced by professionals working in Indigenous learning support services in universities.

This inaugural event follows an annual symposium of six Australian universities sharing the emerging knowledge from recent research work to map the learning journey of undergraduate students and using this knowledge to innovate the professional services to support Indigenous students to succeed in universities. This empirical work has evolved over a seven-year period and has recently been published by Routledge.

Over the two days, this new collegiate of professional support staff maintained their focus on two important educational issues: how to improve the rate of student success in the sector, and how to deliver the volume, capacity and quality of graduates back to their communities so they have the requisite knowledge and skills set to determine their own futures.

Indigenous student success and Indigenous self-determination, the Collegiate hopes, will be considered by the University Accord panel members as national priority areas to drive forward our professional work with more purpose over the next 10-15 years.

The next national conference will be held in Perth, WA next year and will include workshops and training sessions for delegates to advance our work in a concerted and consistent way across the sector.