Bundjalung language revival earns Excellence in Engagement Award

Published 27 October 2016

An initiative revitalising the Bundjalung language and culture, and a collaboration with 23 NSW North Coast high schools that aims to positively impact student engagement, performance and retention are two projects recognised this week at the 2016 Southern Cross University Excellence in Engagement Awards.

The sixth annual Excellence in Engagement Awards, held on Tuesday, acknowledge and celebrate the contribution of University staff and their collaborators who have enriched communities through active citizenship, engaged teaching and research. The Awards were presented by the Vice Chancellor Professor Adam Shoemaker.

“We celebrate the significant leadership humbly demonstrated by Aunty Irene Harrington in close collaboration with Virginia Ingham of the Gnibi College of Indigenous Australian Peoples for the substantial work undertaken to revitalise Bundjalung language and culture,” said Mr Ben Roche, director of Engagement at Southern Cross University.

Aunty Irene and Ms Ingham said they were honoured to receive the Leadership award.

“We wanted to make sure that the Bundjalung language kept going and going and going. By getting it out into schools and playgroups, to our young people, it is not forgotten,” said Aunty Irene in her acceptance speech.

Mr Roche said the University’s vision was to enrich our communities through the excellence of our scholarship and the achievements of our graduates.

“The Excellence in Engagement Awards champion the importance of Southern Cross University staff engaging with communities to create inspiring student learning experience, innovative and relevant research, and ultimately strongly and more vibrant communities.

“All the staff members and their community partners who have been shortlisted are celebrated as examples of the excellence that emerges through collaboration grounded in the needs of our communities.”

The Award recipients are:

Aunty Irene Harrington and Ms Virginia Ingham, Gnibi College of Indigenous Australian Peoples:
For the revitalisation of the Bundjalung Language and Culture through a collaborative project between the Bundjalung community and Southern Cross University. The project has touched everyone from school children to university students, their families and the Elders. This project has enhanced community capacity to learn and be proud of their culture.

Joint winners:

Ms Maggie Scorey and Ms Yvonne Pennisi, School of Health and Human Sciences:
For an inter-professional unit of study for Allied Health students that produced exceptional health project outcomes in collaboration with local community partners. This project focused on reflexive community relevant learning opportunities and enhanced the knowledge, scope of practice and employability of these students.

Ms Adele Suda, School of Health and Human Sciences:
For creating a real world environment for SCU students to plan, implement and evaluate health, social and environmental change programs to promote health and prevent illness. This project resulted in a National Disabilities Insurance Scheme (NDIS) guide for families and a proposal for an outdoor playground to increase social interaction and child developmental milestones for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Dr David Newell, Dr John Grant and Rosalie Willacy, School of Environment, Science and Engineering; Ms Emma Stone, Whian Whian Landcare:
For a community research partnership investigating native frogs as indicators of success in riparian restoration. This project delivered a protocol for restoration of riparian areas that detailed best management practice to incorporate consideration and protection of frogs and raise awareness in the community about their protection.

Dr Wendy Boyd, Associate Professor Marilyn Chaseling, Dr Robert Smith, Mr Alan Foster, Dr Christos Markopoulos, Dr Bradley Shipway, Ms Cathy Lembke and Professor Martin Hayden, School of Education; and Professor Bill Boyd, School of Environment, Science and Engineering:
For empowering school communities through the North Coast Initiative for School Improvement using a collaborative-enquiry model, that creates shared understanding and improves student outcomes. The North Coast Initiative for School Improvement engaged with 23 North Coast schools and 61 school leaders to positively impact on student engagement, performance and retention.

Photo: Southern Cross University Chancellor Mr Nick Burton Taylor AM (left), Aunty Irene Harrington, Ms Virginia Ingham, and Vice Chancellor Professor Adam Shoemaker.

Media contact: Sharlene King media officer, Southern Cross University, 02 6620 3508 or 0429 661 349.