A LEARNING centre designed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students at Deakin’s Waurn Ponds campus has won the Education Institute of the Year award at the third annual National Dreamtime Awards.
The accolade was awarded to Deakin’s Institute of Koorie Education (IKE) based on nominations from across the country before it was forwarded to a judging panel for final selection.
Each year, the awards recognise and acknowledge Indigenous excellence in Australia, with both existing students and alumni choosing to nominate IKE for the gong this year.
Associate Professor Gabrielle Fletcher, education director at IKE, said the award solidified the hard work of the staff and students who were dedicated to the institute and its commitment to diverse communities.
“To be recognised in our dedication to student-centred learning for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the communities these students come from is very humbling.
“The award confirms that we’re on the right track in making education accessible for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in an environment that’s culturally safe, respectful and enabling.”
Associate Professor Fletcher said although IKE was among three other high-calibre nominees who were vying for the title, she believed it was the institution’s community-based education format that saw Deakin get across the line.
“We were in excellent company, however IKE has paved the path for our people by pioneering and delivering mixed-mode education, allowing students to study both on campus and off campus.
“This gives Indigenous peoples access to higher education while staying in their communities and maintaining their various cultural, family, community and work obligations.”
More than 1,000 students have graduated from the institute since its inception, including Victoria’s first Indigenous magistrate Rosemary Falla, who was named Deakin Alumni of the Year in