New research to support First Nations students in Territory

Charles Darwin University

New research from Charles Darwin University (CDU) aims at further improving higher education outcomes for First Nations students and to bolster the rates of First Nations students commencing teaching degrees in the Territory.

Researchers from the College of Indigenous Futures, Education and the Arts and Asia Pacific College of Business and Law, led by educator and Northern Institute researcher Dr Tracy Woodroffe, are investigating First Nations students’ education experiences to address the education challenges that First Nations students face to improve higher education outcomes.

The new research projects will be presented on a new website, the First Nations Success project.

The first project, ‘Higher Education and First Nations Students: The CDU Story‘ will investigate the engagement of undergraduate First Nations students, and seeks to address issues of retention and completion for students enrolled in CDU courses.

A second project, ‘Pathways into Education for First Nations students’ will address issues of enrolment for First Nations students into university by increasing knowledge about streamlined pathways into studying a Bachelor of Education at CDU from the VET in Schools program in secondary schools in the Northern Territory.

Researcher and CDU Lecturer in Indigenous Knowledges, Dr Tracy Woodroffe, said the new research projects are about strengthening CDU’s focus on First Nations research to create better education outcomes for these students in the Northern Territory.

“A previous project found most research into education experiences of First Nations students was from the southern states or east coast of Australia. There was a unique opportunity here to broaden research into student experiences in the Northern Territory,” Dr Woodroffe said.

“These projects will deliver a great resource of information that will help us see what we can improve and how to create an optimum learning environment for First Nations students at CDU and in the Territory.”

Dr Woodroffe said a key component of the research would be attracting and retaining First Nations students into teaching careers.

“CDU has a substantial role to play in increasing the number of First Nations teachers in the Territory,” she said.

“First Nations teachers make up a small percentage of the total teaching workforce in the NT, and this is a critical issue when more than 30 per cent of the overall population are First Nations people.”

CDU Deputy Vice-Chancellor First Nations Leadership Professor Reuben Bolt said the projects will support the next generation of First Nations students and teachers, aligning with the CDU Strategic Plan 2021-2026.

“As the university of the Northern Territory, we have a responsibility to ensure we are connecting with communities and delivering education experiences and opportunities that best support the success of First Nations students,” Professor Bolt said.

“We want to be the most recognised university for Australian First Nations training, education and research to lead better education outcomes for First Nations student in the NT.”

The projects are funded through the CDU Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP) – Applied research stream, funded by the Australian Government’s Department of Education.

/Public Release.