Are you a supervisor of choice for Indigenous Australians?

This post is by Dr Lucinda McKnight is a lecturer in pedagogy and curriculum in the School of Education, Faculty of Arts and Education at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia. She completed her own PhD in 2014 and has recently completed her training in research supervision. Her research blog,  is of interest to both students and supervisors and explores the dimensions of supervision beyond formal requirements; her tagline is “becoming a PhD supervisor who cares about more than just the thesis”!

As we embark on National Reconciliation Week, this is an important question for Australian PhD supervisors of all colours and races, with implications for those in other countries. Do you:

  • highlight opportunities for your non-Indigenous students to increase awareness and understanding of Indigenous cultures?
  • demonstrate your own ongoing learning about Australians’ shared and different histories?
  • include a range of Indigenous perspectives in all doctoral coursework units taught?
  • explore Indigenous concepts and knowledge systems through your own pedagogies?
  • provide a welcome of or acknowledgement of country where appropriate, and discuss with students how they may do this too, including in their thesis documents?
  • share with students what you have learnt from your institution’s cultural awareness training?
  • actively seek recruitment of Indigenous students, for example through your awareness of scholarships and other supports?
  • ensure Indigenous Australians are represented in the visual and other media cultures of your university, including within your own office space?
  • participate in the development and/or dissemination of your university’s reconciliation action plan?

I acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands where I work, and pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging. I also acknowledge Indigenous Australians involved in doctoral study, especially in the field of education, and hope to cross paths with you in the future. Read more about National Reconciliation Week here.


Note: This post is an edited version of Dr Lucinda McKnight’s post on the blog


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