Appointment of Prof Martin Nakata as DVC Indigenous Education and Strategy
One of Australia’s top Indigenous scholars, James Cook University’s Professor Martin Nakata, has been appointed to the role of Deputy Vice Chancellor, Indigenous Education and Strategy.
JCU becomes only the fourth Australian university to establish an Indigenous leadership position at the Deputy Vice Chancellor level.
Professor Nakata joined JCU in 2016, and as Pro Vice Chancellor has led the Indigenous Education and Research Centre.
Professor Nakata was one of JCU’s inaugural Outstanding Alumni, and he was also the first Torres Strait Islander in Australia to graduate with a PhD, which was completed at JCU.
JCU Vice Chancellor Professor Sandra Harding said Professor Nakata is a world-class researcher and educator who is recognised as a national and international leader in his field and in the community.
“Martin has made a significant contribution to JCU in his current role and through his leadership of our Indigenous Education and Research Centre and, as DVC, will expand that contribution to grow our focus on Indigenous strategy and engagement more broadly. There can be no one better for this role.”
Professor Harding said 40 percent of Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population live in JCU’s student catchment area and the University has the second highest participation rate of Indigenous students in Australia.
“The University has a proud tradition in leading the way on Indigenous issues of national importance. This includes our well-documented link to Eddie Koiki Mabo and the recognition of Native Title; the establishment of dedicated media facilities at the Townsville campus following the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody to train Indigenous journalists; and the development of extensive programs in education and health to meet the needs of Indigenous communities.
“Furthermore, since the 1970s we have provided pathways for Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, delivered courses outside major metropolitan and regional centres and committed to research activities that enrich and strengthen Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities”.
Prof Harding said building on this enduring commitment and the work that lies ahead, it was decided that the existing leadership role in this domain would be elevated to Deputy Vice Chancellor level.
Professor Nakata said he is honoured to accept the appointment.
“I am grateful to the University Executive and the University Council for this appointment but more so for the recognition of the importance of the work we do at the University to support Indigenous students to gain higher education degrees.
“This level of appointment will assist me to drive the policy work across the university, and help build strong and mutually beneficial partnerships with industry and community partners to close the education, health and employment gaps for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in North Queensland. I look forward to making a contribution also to the important role JCU plays in the region,” Professor Nakata said.
Last month, the University Council agreed to amend the University’s headline structure to create the position of Deputy Vice Chancellor, Indigenous Education and Strategy.
The Deputy Vice Chancellor, Indigenous Education and Strategy will become a member of the University Executive and have the opportunity to make a greater contribution to the achievement of the University’s strategic intent and the priorities listed in the University Plan.