The University's Third Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) has just been released. As one of several key supporting plans in the University of Melbourne’s Growing Esteem 2015 – 2020 strategy, the RAP represents a University-wide commitment to using our expertise and resources in research, teaching and learning and engagement to make a sustained contribution to Indigenous development.
RAP 3 sees a shift in focus from RAP 2's six University Action Areas (Partnerships, Cultural Recognition, Student Recruitment and Retention, Staff Employment, Teaching and Learning Strategies, Research) with 57 measures and targets, to the development of a smaller number of Signature Projects, the outcomes of which will be transformational in terms of their impact. These projects are categorised under four themes: 'Leadership for Change', 'Our Place', 'Purposeful Partnerships', and 'International Engagement', and are mapped against the Reconciliation Australia Framework: Respect, Relationships and Opportunities.
RAP 3 was endorsed by Reconciliation Australia as an 'Elevate' RAP, recognising the University's "[preparedness] to take on a leadership position to advance national reconciliation.... and actively champion initiatives to empower Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander peoples and create societal change".
The University's 'Elevate' RAP 3 was launched by the Provost, Professor Mark Considine, during National Reconciliation Week on 31 May 2018. The launch was attended by the CEO of Reconciliation Australia, senior University staff, Elders and Traditional Owners and University Indigenous staff.
The University would like to thank respondents for providing thoughtful and insightful feedback on the draft RAP 2018 – 2022 document in November 2017.
Responses displayed a high level of engagement with the aims of the RAP and the University’s approach to reconciliation more generally. Close to 500 members of the University community engaged with the process.
The following changes have been made to the RAP in response to feedback from across the University community. Themes have been reprioritised in the following order:
Theme 1: Leadership for Change
Theme 2: Our Place
Theme 3: Purposeful Partnerships
Theme 4: International Engagement
In addition, two new Signature Projects have been added to Purposeful Partnerships, encompassing the University’s strategic partnerships with the Yothu Yindi Foundation and the Goulburn Valley region.
Following endorsement by University Executive in December and University Council endorsement in February, Reconciliation Australia endorsed RAP 3 with 'Elevate' status. The finalised RAP 3 was launched in May 2018.
Thank you again for taking the time to provide feedback on the RAP 2018 – 2022.
The RAP 3 development approach was endorsed by the University's Traditional Owners and Elders and by the University Executive.
In development of the draft RAP 3, consultations were held with the following groups:
- Indigenous Academic staff
- Indigenous Professional staff
- Indigenous Undergraduate students
- Indigenous Graduate Students
- Academics involved in teaching and research into Indigenous issues.
OUR CAMPUS IN THE 21st CENTURY
Our Campus in the 21st Century (OC21) was developed by the University community in a series of workshops that explored the qualities wanted across all campuses and precincts. It is the formal response to the University of Melbourne’s strategic plan Growing Esteem and is integral to how the University will plan for the future, and to developing high-quality campus-based experiences for diverse communities.
The University of Melbourne Reconciliation Action Plan 2018-2022, expressly mentioned in Growing Esteem, will support Our Campus in the 21st Century through the following:
A culture of inclusion
Through recognition of the value and contribution of Indigenous culture, the RAP provides a framework for the development of understanding and respect between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. ‘A Culture of Inclusion’ across all University of Melbourne campuses ensures that our University is a culturally safe, welcoming and respectful learning and work environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and staff.
RAP 3 focuses on a number of signature projects that we believe will be transformational in terms of their impact. Focus on the themes of ‘Our Place’, ‘Purposeful Partnerships’, 'International Engagement’ and ‘Leadership for Change’ will incorporate aspects of the three strands of the Triple Helix (Research, Teaching & Learning and Engagement) creating opportunities for Indigenous staff and students to realise their full potential and the entire University community to purposefully engage with our vision for reconciliation.
Spaces and Places
The University recognises that there is an opportunity to improve the lived experience of the University’s Indigenous cultures through shaping the physical environment and promoting cultural awareness and recognition. As such, our third RAP includes signature projects which will give prominence and due recognition to Indigenous cultures and the important role and contributions of our Traditional Custodians in the built environment.