Doctor of Psychology student Katherine Williams, who was interviewed as part of the project
Doctor of Psychology student Katherine Williams, who was interviewed as part of the project
21 July 2010

Closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous participation in postgraduate study is the aim of a recently launched UQ website.

Developed by staff at UQ’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Unit, the Postgraduate Meeting Place offers networking opportunities, contains information about scholarships and student profiles.

Project team member Dr Katelyn Barney said the site responded to concerns raised during discussions with current and past Indigenous postgraduate students.

“Many Indigenous postgraduates noted a lack of social networking opportunities,” Dr Barney said.

“Many said that they were not aware of other Indigenous postgraduates or that they were the only person in their course who was Indigenous.

“We’ve had very positive feedback about the website and the project in general.

“The website is also assisting students to network, or ‘take your mob with you’, as one student noted.”

Funded through the Higher Education Equity Support Program, the project was led by Professor Ian Lilley.

Dr Barney and researcher and Student Support Officer Monique Proud conducted individual interviews with Indigenous graduates, current Indigenous postgraduates and non-completed postgraduate students about their university experiences.

“These findings have the potential to assist in reshaping universities in order to provide culturally appropriate support mechanisms to Indigenous postgraduate students,” Dr Barney said.

“By knowing and acting upon the kinds of mechanisms that can assist Indigenous postgraduate students, we hope that the disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous student participation in postgraduate study can be addressed.”

Dr Barney said the next steps were to establish a mentoring program connecting completed and commencing postgraduates with staff in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Unit and other UQ faculties, schools and centres, the Graduate School and Student Services.

The team also wants to start an Indigenous postgraduate seminar series or Indigenous postgraduate conference at UQ, with invitations to both postgraduate and undergraduate Indigenous students, particularly those in honours year.

Media: Dr Katelyn Barney (07 3365 1969, or Penny Robinson at UQ Communications (07 3365 9723,