Research writing workshop sharpens CQUni’s post-grad Indigenous students  

[by Greg Chapman]

(L-R) Research Higher Degree post-graduate Indigenous students Julie Rogers (Woppaburra), Sam Cooms (Quandamooka), Terry Bell (Bundjalung), Dr Melinda Mann (Darumbal), Professor Jenni Judd and Joann Schmider (Mamu). Image: supplied

Research into ways to improve connection to Country, Indigenous education and employment pathways, and tourism has been put in the spotlight during a Research Higher Division writing workshop held for a group CQUniversity post-graduate Indigenous students.


The participants, which included Deputy Director - Student Life & Wellbeing Dr Melinda Mann (Darumbal), Joann Schmider (Mamu), Julie Rogers (Woppaburra), Samantha Cooms (Quandamooka) and Terry Bell (Bundjalung), discussed their research topics and how to prepare and write their respective publications and theses.



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The group, who are in the majority, preparing their very first publications, heard from CQUni academics including Professor Jenni Judd and CQUni Dean of Graduate Research Prof Susan Kinnear, and external academics, including Melissa Drake, on academic communication, grammar and improving flow and techniques in their writing.

The students’ research topics include how connection to Country is an influence on career choices and creating stronger awareness of Aboriginal culture.


Joann Schmider, who has returned to university study after 25 years, said her tourism thesis looks at collecting, conditioning and capitalising on cultural knowledge to promote stronger awareness of Aboriginal Country and culture.


“This Indigenous writing retreat workshop is warmly welcomed. I’m part-time and in my third year and thank goodness I haven’t finished my thesis yet as I can now apply what I’ve been learning,” she said.


She said she was fascinated by the concept of ‘the genealogy of a thesis’ which looked at the author’s related publications, which in turn, add to the credibility of a thesis.


Joann said she chose to undertake her post-graduate studies (her background is in education) with CQUniversity because she found the University to be “distinctly different in its regionalisation and a very warm and inviting compared to other institutions.”


Terry Bell, who has a Bachelor of Arts, a Master of Business Administration and a Graduate Certificate in Public Administration from a number of universities, said he found CQUniversity to be significantly more supportive.


His research is looking into barriers and drivers for Aboriginal people in leadership positions in the corporate sector, focussing on BHP.


“I was looking for an institution to do a professional business doctorate with and I found that the university I was with wasn’t very supportive, so I approached CQUniversity,” he said.


“(CQUni Dean of Graduate Research) Prof Susan Kinnear went above and beyond and I’m thankful for her support.


“We Indigenous students wanted and needed to do this workshop and I wrote to Susan and she got the ball rolling.  


“The workshop has been a real benefit. To be a more accomplished academic you have to know how to write properly and academic procedure, then you’re more likely to succeed in your goal.”