The Reconciliation Action Plan 2018-2022 (RAP 3), as one of several key supporting plans in the University of Melbourne’s Growing Esteem 2015 – 2020 strategy, represents a commitment from the University to use its expertise and resources in research, teaching, learning and engagement to make a sustained contribution to Indigenous development.
The University is endorsed as an Elevate RAP organisation, which is a title given to describe organisations with a strong strategic relationship with Reconciliation Australia, whom champion initiatives to empower Aboriginal and 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 and was attended by the CEO of Reconciliation Australia, senior University staff, Elders and Traditional Owners and Indigenous University staff.
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 14 Signature Projects in the RAP 3 fall under the following themes:
Theme 1: Leadership for Change
Theme 2: Our Place
Theme 3: Purposeful Partnerships
Theme 4: International Engagement
The development approach for the RAP 3 was highly consultative and endorsed by the University's Traditional Owners and Elders and by the University Executive prior to the first covening panel meeting. To develop the draft RAP 3, consultations were held with Indigenous academic and professional staff; Indigenous undergraduate and graduate students; and academics involved in the teaching and research of Indigenous issues. In total, more than 800 people engaged in the development and feedback process.
In November 2017, some 500 members of the University community engaged in providing feedback on the draft RAP 3 document.
As a result, two key changes were made to the RAP, firstly the themes were reprioritised and secondly two Signature Projects were added to the Purposeful Partnerships theme, encompassing the University’s strategic partnerships with the Yothu Yindi Foundation and the Goulburn Valley region.
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.