The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) has announced ‘transformative’ plans to build Australia’s first Indigenous Residential College, aiming to inspire increased participation in higher education and celebrate Indigenous heritage and culture.
The $100 million world-class facility is set to offer a comprehensive range of services above and beyond accommodation and celebrate Indigenous identity at its core.
NSW Minister for Multiculturalism, Ray Williams, and Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Education, Tanya Plibersek joined UTS staff, students, Indigenous leaders and community members for the launch of the plan in December 2018.
UTS Vice-Chancellor Professor Attila Brungs praised the commitment of leaders from across the nation’s parliaments to this one-of-a-kind project.
“The evidence is clear that higher education is one of the greatest ways to close the gap on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage. We need bold ideas to ensure we maximise the transformative benefits of further education,” Professor Brungs said.
“The UTS Indigenous Residential College is a transformative, strengths-based initiative that will both inspire more Indigenous people to enter higher education and, importantly, celebrate the richness of Indigenous heritage and culture and help forge a more inclusive society,” he commented.
Key features of the college will include:
- Accommodation for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, with 250 beds envisaged.
- Architect-designed landmark building and contemporary interior design, informed by Indigenous designers with Indigenous culture and identity at its core.
- Publicly accessible cultural, arts and community spaces: celebrating Indigenous traditions and heritage.
- Program of events and opportunities in collaboration with a range of education, cultural, community, industry and government partners.
- Scholarships and cost-covered accommodation for Indigenous students.
- Ongoing mentoring and leadership development.
The vision for the college was developed by UTS’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Indigenous Leadership and Engagement, Professor Michael McDaniel, alongside local and national Indigenous leaders, staff and students.
Professor McDaniel said the majority of Indigenous people do not have a history of participating in university education.
“By creating a place with Indigenous culture at its heart – not on the periphery – the college will help Indigenous people ‘see’ themselves at university. For the first-time Indigenous people will be the hosts not the guests in a place based around their traditions and identity,” he shared.
“The college will help remove barriers to education for Indigenous people by raising aspiration, maximising opportunities for entry to higher education and supporting the pursuit of quality employment, careers and contribution to society.”
More information on the Indigenous Residential College can be found here.