Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

Improving Cultural Safety Through Institutional Change: A Challenge for Indigenous Academics in the Northern Territory of Australia.

Cheri Williams.

The importance of Indigenous people successfully participating in institutions of higher learning has never been greater in the Northern Territory of Australia, given the current poor participation and retention rates currently experienced. Latest population trends predict that by 2020, over half of the population of the NT will be Indigenous, and as such we can no longer be marginalized as a cultural minority with special needs. This paper will explore the efforts of Indigenous staff to bring about change within the institution in order to improve its performance in Indigenous student participation and retention.

The paper will explore the meaning of cultural safety in an educational environment, and why it is considered such a priority in positively impacting on Indigenous student outcomes.

Within the context of the ‘birth’ of a new institution, arising from an amalgamation of several smaller institutions, Indigenous staff members have created a new model of leadership to bring about philosophical and practical change. Cultural safety is central to this model.

The paper will relate my experiences in a change management process, and the struggles involved in creating a nexus between Indigenous community values and practices and the university.


Cheri Williams  (Australia)
Coordinator, Indigenous Academic Support Team
Faculty of Indigenous Research and Education
Charles Darwin University

Cheri Williams is an Indigenous woman who has been working as the acting Coordinator of the Indigenous Academic Support Team at Charles Darwin University. Prior to this, she has a strong background in community organisation management.

  • Indigenous
  • Leadership
  • Institutional Change
  • Cultural Safety

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)