1285th Ordinary General Meeting and Open Lecture

Professor Peter Radoll“Growing Black Tall Poppies”

Professor Peter Radoll
Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous)
University of Canberra

Date: Wednesday, 5 August 2020, 6.30pm
Venue: Zoom webinar
Video recording: YouTube video

How do the contradictions of success intersect with race, higher education and Indigenous cultural values?

We are at a time that doing the right thing now seems more important than considering the long-term future of our community. Governments are trying to meet Indigenous employment targets, by funnelling many of our potential best and brightest into government traineeships from year 11, taking them away from the opportunity pipeline of future university study. The competition to attract these students to universities results in letting them know that they do not have to obtain the best grades at school as there are other pathways designed just for them; a subtle message that you do not have to excel. This can become a demotivating factor for Indigenous students who ideally would be better suited to a degree that requires a top ATAR score, and one that they are capable of achieving.

Are these structures supporting our success, or stopping us from reaching our full potential? 

As new terms, such as ‘cyber feminism’ enter our lexicon in the era of gender politics, within our universities, 75% of all professors are male, yet the majority of Indigenous university leaders are female.  Female Indigenous university enrolments and completions out number Indigenous males two to one. 

As we take on these challenges and complexities,we as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people need to capitalise on our ipseity.  As a Nation, by all of us embracing Indigenous culture, as the whole of our Australian history and story, we do not lose or give away something that we hold close. Instead, we all gain so much more knowledge and become richer for the embrace.

Professor Peter Radoll is a descendant of the Anaiwan people from the New England ranges area of Northern New South Wales.He is currently Professor of Information Technology and Pro-Vice Chancellor Indigenous at the University of Canberra. Peter is also Director of the Ngunnawal Centre at the University which provides support, training and study facilities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students – a role dear to his heart.

Starting out his working life as a motor mechanic, Peter has gone on to well over ten years as a senior academic and leader in the higher education sector at the Australian National University, The University of Newcastle and the University of Canberra. Peter’s passion and commitment to Indigenous Higher Education is also evident in the roles he has outside the University. He is a Director on the Board of the Smith Family, the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre (AILC), and a Member of the Advisory Group for the CSIRO Indigenous Girls’ STEM Academy.

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