Indigenous engagement strengthened through senior leadership  

[supplied by University of Adelaide]

Professor Shane Hearn. Image: supplied

Professor Shane Hearn, a Noongar man from Western Australia, has been appointed the inaugural Pro-Vice Chancellor (Indigenous Engagement).


The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Engagement) provides leadership in achieving the University’s strategic goals in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander engagement, education, research and the enhanced employment of Indigenous people in the University.


“Professor Hearn will oversee the ongoing implementation of our Reconciliation Action Plan and continue to lead the University’s efforts in relation to Indigenous Engagement, as well as building links with the community,” says University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Pascale Quester. 


“Through the Reconciliation Action Plan, the University seeks to reaffirm our commitment to communities in the key focus areas of teaching and learning, research, student services, employment and governance, community engagement and international outreach.”


With a distinguished record in the field of higher education and demonstrated leadership in indigenous research, scholarship, and management, Professor Hearn has a deep understanding of the issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the higher education sector.


Previously Dean of Indigenous Research and Education at the University of Adelaide, a position he has held since 2016, Professor Hearn was Director, Indigenous Strategy at Macquarie University and Director of Indigenous Health and Education at Sydney University. He has held a number of consultancy roles specialising in Indigenous relations and community engagement.


He is a thought leader and systems thinker with extensive experience across the higher education sector and Indigenous operations.


Professor Hearn attended today’s Reconciliation SA Apology Breakfast marking the anniversary of the Apology to the Stolen Generations.


“I am really humbled - I do recognise that the title of Pro-Vice Chancellor (Indigenous Engagement) at the University of Adelaide is both a great privilege and an awesome responsibility,” says Professor Hearn.


“It’s an exciting time to be at the University as we collectively reaffirm our commitment to reconciliation; we have developed an Indigenous strategic narrative that is critical to the commitment to social justice, equity and diversity and our enduring connection to Kaurna land. 


“Together, we are committed to becoming a place where Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous Australians can learn, teach and research alongside one another from a basis of mutual respect and understanding.


“Implementing the actions in the Reconciliation Action Plan, which was given the Kaurna name Yangadlitya (which translates as “for the future”) will be one of my main focuses.


“The plan highlights the University’s ongoing commitment to reconciliation through the creation of an environment where Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous Australians can learn, teach and research alongside one another from a basis of mutual respect and understanding.”


The Pro Vice-Chancellor (IE) also holds the role of Director, Wirltu Yarlu with responsibility for providing leadership and overall management of the Wirltu Yarlu Aboriginal Education branch, which delivers culturally appropriate and course specific mentoring for Aboriginal and Torres Strait students.


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