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CQUniversity & BMA join forces to help ‘close the gap’ in indigenous education



CQUniversity Australia and BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) have affirmed their joint commitment to ‘closing the gap’ in Indigenous education and opportunity, with the announcement of a new senior leadership role at CQUniversity, as well as 15 new scholarships for students from all backgrounds, representing a $1.8 million commitment from BMA.

Professor Bronwyn Fredericks will take up the role of CQUniversity Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Engagement) and BMA Chair in Indigenous Engagement from this month. The jointly funded position will support outreach activities between the University and the Central Queensland region’s numerous Indigenous communities.

According to CQUniversity Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Scott Bowman, the position has been a long time in the planning and will form a vital part of CQUniversity’s senior leadership team. “CQUniversity is at the forefront of Indigenous tertiary education in Australia, with an Indigenous student population that is already double the level of national targets,” Professor Bowman said.

“Professor Fredericks has an exemplary track record in academic leadership and, with her strong ties to Central Queensland, is the perfect person to take on this vital role. I am very much looking forward to embarking on this exciting journey of improved Indigenous engagement with her at the helm.

“Importantly, I would like to wholeheartedly thank BMA for their foresight and vision in providing such a substantial contribution to the BMA Chair in Indigenous Engagement. It is heartening to see the company continue to give back to the region – and specifically, local Indigenous communities – in this way. Together, I believe we can make a real difference in improved education and employment outcomes for all.”

BMA Asset President Stephen Dumble said the company was proud to strengthen its partnership with CQUniversity to help deliver improved education pathways for Indigenous people living and working in the region.

“BMA is committed to increasing opportunities for Indigenous people in the Central Queensland region, and this partnership with CQU will strengthen engagement with the Indigenous community and deliver better educational outcomes on the ground,” Mr Dumble said. “Our contribution to this important new role, along with 15 new scholarships for prospective CQUniversity students, will help build a positive, sustainable future for our communities.”

BMA is funding up to 15 undergraduate scholarships per year for five years for CQUniversity students who live in or intend to use their education to contribute to the Central Queensland region. Five of the 15 annual scholarships will be offered specifically to Indigenous students.

Each of the scholarships – to be awarded to students studying non-mining disciplines like health and education – will provide $5,000 per year to cover educational expenses for the duration of the recipients’ study programs. The first round of recipients will commence their studies in 2013. Professor Fredericks said she was honoured to be taking up the challenging but exciting new role of Pro Vice-Chancellor and BMA Chair in Indigenous Engagement.

“I am looking forward to working with Indigenous communities to identify ways to build their capacity in education, employment and general equality of opportunity, and then helping bring this to fruition,” Professor Fredericks said.

“I will work to advance CQUniversity’s Indigenous engagement agenda and endeavour to improve educational outcomes for CQUniversity’s Indigenous student cohort past, present and future. I also intend to build on the excellent platform already established by the University’s Nulloo Yumbah Centre for Indigenous Learning, Spirituality and Research.

“As the BMA Chair in Indigenous Engagement I hope to expand the University’s outreach efforts with the region’s Indigenous communities, in line with BMA’s Indigenous Relations plan, and help to put in place pathways to education, training and employment opportunities that can lead to a brighter future.”

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