Member workshop

Posted in News on 5 July 2023

DASSH Members made their priorities clear when we asked what your long-term vision is for the higher education sector as part of the Universities Accord consultation process. We want to cement this by collating practical suggestions that will help bring about change.

Around 25 DASSH Members got together in Melbourne in July and contributed ideas in a formal workshop and shared insights into the sector.

The importance of recognising the value Indigenous Peoples and Knowledges bring the university and embedding Indigenous Knowledges and value styles into university structures was a key recommendation in our Universities Accord submission.

When Indigenous participation and the incorporation of Indigenous Peoples and Knowledges are at the forefront in decision making, this strategic influence flows through each institution, meaning that every policy decision will eventually consider the Indigenous experience.

As we prepare for the next phase of the Accord process, we are developing some concrete ideas and proposals for how this can be achieved.

During the first half of the gathering our newly appointed Network of Associate and Deputy Deans Indigenous Special Interest Group Leader Associate Professor Sandra Phillips facilitated a workshop. Sandra is a teaching and research academic in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts at Western Sydney University and is also the School’s Associate Dean (Indigenous Education).

The workshop focused on Indigenous Data Sovereignty, the student experience for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and the disproportionate cultural load carried by First Nations colleagues. This was an opportunity for members to use their collective experience as senior university administrators to think about where the challenges and opportunities lie in these areas.

The second half of the meeting was an informal discussion about common challenges facing Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences across the sector. Issues raised by members included declining enrolments, loss of academic staff and disciplinary strength, the challenges of “decasualisation” and the erosion of the academic research model. DASSH has committed to increasing its professional staff capacity with the intention to capture cross-sector data more systematically.

The third members’ gathering is slated to take place in Sydney on 28 Nov. Notably, this will take place in conjunction with the CHASS-sponsored Congress of HASS. This was the first in a series of gatherings designed to inform the next stages of the Universities Accord process.

This was the first in a series of gatherings designed to inform the next stages of the Universities Accord process.