Professor Michelle Trudgett is an Indigenous scholar from the Wiradjuri Nation in New South Wales. Michelle has held the position Director of the Centre for the Advancement of Indigenous Knowledges at the University of Technology Sydney since its inception at the beginning of 2015. Prior to this she was employed as the Head of Indigenous Studies at Macquarie University. Michelle has developed an international reputation as a leading Indigenous Australian scholar whose research provides considerable insight into the area of Indigenous participation in higher education, with a specific focus on the postgraduate sector. She was recently awarded an Australian Research Council grant (with colleague Prof Susan Page) which will reshape the way universities curently 'do business' with Indigenous Australians through focusing on Indigenous leadership in higher education.
Can supervise: YES
Trudgett, M., Griffin, L., Griffin, S. & Griffin, L. 2018, 'At the Movies: Contemporary Indigenous cultural expressions- transforming the Australian story', The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, pp. 1-8.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Cinema is an art form widely recognised as an agent to change the social condition and alter traditional norms. Movies can be used to educate and transform society's collective conscience. Indigenous Australian artists utilise the power of artistic expression as a tool to initiate change in the attitudes and perceptions of the broader Australian society. Australia's story has predominately been told from the coloniser's viewpoint. This narrative is being rewritten through Indigenous artists utilising the power of cinema to create compelling stories with Indigenous control. This medium has come into prominence for Indigenous Australians to express our culture, ontology and politics. Movies such as Samson and Delilah, Bran Nue Dae, The Sapphires and Rabbit-Proof Fence for example, have highlighted the injustices of past policies, adding new dimensions to the Australian narrative. These three films are just a few of the Indigenous Australian produced films being used in the Australian National Curriculum.
Through this medium, Australian Indigenous voices are rewriting the Australian narrative from the Indigenous perspective, deconstructing the predominant stereotypical perceptions of Indigenous culture and reframing the Australian story. Films are essential educational tools to cross the cultural space that often separates Indigenous learners from their non-Indigenous counterparts.
Harrison, N., Trudgett, M. & Page, S. 2017, 'The dissertation examination: identifying critical factors in the success of Indigenous Australian doctoral students', Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, vol. 42, pp. 115-127.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Indigenous Australians represent 2.2% of the working age population, yet account for only 1.4% of all university enrolments. In relation to higher degree research students, Indigenous Australians account for 1.1% of enrolments, but only 0.8% of all higher degree research completions. This paper reports on findings that emerged from an Australian Research Council-funded study which aimed to establish a model of best practice for the supervision of Indigenous doctoral students. The project identified the dissertation examination as one of the critical factors underpinning the success of doctoral candidates. Whilst research into the examination process for doctoral students is limited, the research that specifically explores the examination of dissertations submitted by Indigenous students is entirely inadequate. Our research identified key epistemological concerns that impact approaches to the examination process, to demonstrate how the dominance of Western methods of research impact the examination process for Indigenous doctoral students. This paper explores the experiences of 50 successful Indigenous Australian doctors with a specific focus on their examiner preference and disciplinary requirements. It highlights the limitations that some Indigenous students and their supervisors experience in finding an appropriate examiner.
Trudgett, M. & Page, S. 2017, 'Past, Present and Future: Acknowledging Indigenous Achievement and Aspiration in Higher Education', HERDSA Review of Higher Education, vol. 4, pp. 29-51.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
The number of Indigenous students enrolled in higher education is
increasing. Yet parity with the proportion of domestic students attending
university remains some way off. This review outlines the efforts that have been made to reduce the gap in Indigenous staff and student outcomes.Looking at the Australian higher education sector in 20 years' time the authors ask what is the future for senior Indigenous appointments and the aspiration of including Indigenous knowledge in the curriculum? The review identifies one pathway to Indigenous workforce outcomes is through postgraduate programs. It describes efforts underway to embed Indigenous perspectives into the broader curriculum. The review concludes with some optimism that Indigenous Australian outcomes are gradually moving from the margins to the centre of universities missions albeit at a pace that will need to improve to achieve parity by 2040.
Bodkin-Andrews, G., Whittaker, A., Harrison, N., Craven, R., Parker, P., Trudgett, M. & Page, S. 2017, 'Exposing the patterns of statistical blindness: Centring Indigenous standpoints on student identity, motivation, and future aspirations', Australian Journal of Education, vol. 61, no. 3, pp. 225-249.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
© 2017, © Australian Council for Educational Research 2017. This article engages with an Indigenous Quantitative Methodological Framework to examine links between a positive sense of cultural identity, future aspirations, and academic motivational tendencies. Utilising a sample of Aboriginal, non-Aboriginal and First Generation (Migrant) Australian students in years 7–10, results showed strong psychometric properties across the three groups for the measures utilised. Whilst few differences were identified between the First Generation and non-Aboriginal Australian students, Aboriginal students consistently had lower future aspirations and less adaptive motivational tendencies than the two other student groups. Importantly though, Aboriginal students held a stronger sense of cultural identity. Key links between motivation and cultural identity were identified, and both were associated with stronger educational and life aspirations. The implications suggest that researchers and teachers need to recognise the importance of cultural identity as a positive driver for schooling motivation and future aspirations, and that First Nations theory and research should be engaged to override the erasing effects of Western epistemological standpoints when utilising statistical methods.
Trudgett, M., Page, S. & Harrison, N. 2016, 'Brilliant Minds: A Snapshot of Successful Indigenous Australian Doctoral Students', Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, vol. 45, no. 1, pp. 70-79.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
© Copyright The Author(s) 2016. Drawing on demographic data collected from interviews with 50 Indigenous Australians with a doctoral qualification and 33 of their supervisors, this paper provides the first detailed picture of Indigenous doctoral education in Australia, with the focus on study modes, age of candidates, completion times and employment. It also analyses data produced through interviews with supervisors including age, employment levels and academic background. The study confronts a number of common perceptions in the higher education sector, to find that many Indigenous Australians are awarded their doctoral qualification in the middle stages of their career. This particular cohort is more likely to be studying in the arts and humanities, employed in higher education and enrolled on a full-time basis. This Australian Research Council (ARC) funded research provides new and important data to inform government policy, and to allow universities to implement strategies and recommendations arising from the Behrendt Report of 2012.
Fuller, R., Anderson, M., Norris, R. & Trudgett, M. 2014, 'The emu sky knowledge of the Kamilaroi and Euahlayi Peoples', Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 171-179.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This paper presents a detailed study of the knowledge of the Kamilaroi and Euahlayi peoples about the
'Emu in the Sky. This study was done with ethnographic data that was not previously reported in detail. We
surveyed the literature to find that there are widespread reports of an 'Emu in the Sky across Aboriginal Australian
language groups, but little detailed knowledge available in the literature. This paper reports and describes a
comprehensive Kamilaroi and Euahlayi knowledge of the Emu in the Sky and its cultural contex
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander < sup > 1 < /sup > women comprise the fastest growing subgroup among the prisoner population and are severely over-represented in Australian prisons. Despite the striking over-representation, research into their health and other needs has, to date, been limited. This paper describes the consultation process undertaken in Western Australia for the Social and Cultural Resilience and Emotional Wellbeing of Aboriginal Mothers in Prison project (hereafter, the Aboriginal Mothers in Prison project). The project aims to better understand the health, treatment and other needs of Aboriginal mothers in prison in Western Australia and New South Wales, and was conducted over two phases, the consultation phase and the applied research phase. This paper focuses on the results of the first phase of the research. It outlines the history of the development of ethics in this field and reviews the formal documents available to guide researchers working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, tenets of which were infused throughout the research process. The paper then discusses how key stakeholders were identified in the area and provides an overview of the central findings from the consultation phase. In addition, the paper illustrates how being true to the consultation process and actively incorporating the feedback of diverse (and sometimes competing) stakeholders ensures the project acknowledges, respects and actions (where possible) the needs and concerns of the various agencies and individuals with investment in the issue.
Fuller, R.S., Trudgett, M., Norris, R.P. & Anderson, M.G. 2014, 'Star Maps and Travelling to Ceremonies: the Euahlayi People and Their Use of the Night Sky', Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 149-160.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
The Euahlayi people are an Aboriginal Australian language group located in north-central New South
Wales and south-central Queensland. They have a rich culture of astronomy and use of the night sky in resource
management. Like several other Aboriginal peoples, they did not travel extensively at night, and so were
assumed not to use the night sky for navigation. This study has confirmed that they, like most other Aboriginal
groups, travelled extensively outside their own country for purposes of trade and ceremonies. We also found
previously unpublished evidence that they used 'star maps in the night sky for learning and remembering
waypoints along their routes of travel, but not for actual navigation.
Trudgett, M. 2014, 'Supervision provided to Indigenous Australian doctoral students: a black and white issue', Higher Education Research and Development, vol. 33, pp. 1035-1048.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
The number of Indigenous Australians completing doctoral qualifications is disparately below their non-Indigenous contemporaries. Whilst there has been a steady increase in Indigenous completions in recent years, significant work remains to redress the imbalance. Supervision has been identified as a primary influencer of the likely success of Indigenous doctoral students, yet very little research has been undertaken in this area. This paper examines the experiences of 11 Indigenous Australians who hold a doctoral qualification. It also provides the experiences of five non-Indigenous supervisors who were an integral part of the supervision team of one of the successful doctoral graduates. A best-practice framework for supervision is offered as a guide for how supervisors, universities and national bodies can contribute to building the number of doctoral qualified Indigenous Australians.
Grace, R. & Trudgett, M. 2012, 'It's not rocket science: The perspectives of Indigenous early childhood workers on supporting the engagement of Indigenous families in early childhood settings', Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, vol. 37, no. 2, pp. 10-18.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This paper presents the findings from semi-structured interviews with six Indigenous Australian early childhood workers who were asked about how Indigenous families might be better supported to engage with early childhood education and care services. The workers identified three key barriers to family participation: transport difficulties, family embarrassment or 'shame', and community division. Facilitation of family engagement was argued to require an acceptance of individual families as well as the embracing of culture and the wider Indigenous community. In addition, the interviewees stressed the importance of ongoing and appropriate training and support for Indigenous early childhood professionals. This paper contributes to the growing body of research to inform practice in early childhood settings that serve families with complex support needs, and highlights the importance of cultural knowledge and respect.
Trudgett, M. 2011, 'Western places, academic spaces and Indigenous faces: supervising Indigenous Australian postgraduate students', Teaching in Higher Education, vol. 16, no. 4, pp. 389-399.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Supervision is arguably one of the most important support mechanisms provided to higher degree research students. Research into the role of supervision is emerging, with many scholars arguing the importance of establishing a connection between the supervisor and the student. However, problems can emerge when this relationship is overlaid with cultural differences and the supervisor has little knowledge of the student's cultural positioning. This paper will draw on findings of a doctoral research inquiry to explore the supervision provided to Indigenous Australian postgraduate students. Recommendations for change will be offered in the course of the discussion.
Trudgett, M., Grace, R. & others 2011, 'Engaging with early childhood education and care services: The perspectives of Indigenous Australian mothers and their young children'.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Trudgett, M.R. & others 2010, 'Supporting the Learning Needs of Indigenous Australians in Higher Education: How can they be best achieved?'.
Trudgett, M. 2009, 'Build It and They Will Come: Building the Capacity of Indigenous Units in Universities to Provide Better Support for Indigenous Australian Postgraduate Students.', Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, vol. 38, pp. 9-18.
Parker, P., Bodkin-Andrews, G., Trudgett, M. & Walter, M. 2017, 'Gateways to Occupational Success: Educational Mobility and Attainment for Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples' in Marshall, A. & Symonds, J. (eds), Young Adult Development at the School-to-Work Transition: International Pathways and Processes, Oxford University Press.
Page, S., Trudgett, M. & Harrison, N. 2015, 'A sociocultural approach to supporting Indigenous Australian success' in Macfarlane, A., Macfarlane, S. & Webber, M. (eds), Sociocultural Realities: Exploring new horizons, Canterbury University Press, Christchurch, New Zealand, pp. 155-167.
Trudgett, M. 2013, 'Stop, collaborate and listen: a guide to seeding success for indigenous Higher Degree Research students' in Craven, R.G. & Mooney, J. (eds), Seeding Success in Indigenous Australian Higher Education, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, UK, pp. 137-155.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Whilst there has been some growth in the number of Indigenous Australians completing Higher Degree Research (HDR) over the past decade, the parity rate remains significantly behind that of other domestic Australian students. The bulk of research which investigates strategies to improve Indigenous Higher Education participation and completion tends to focus on undergraduate students, leaving a significant void of knowledge in how the sector can better cater for, and support, Indigenous postgraduate students.
This chapter proposes a set of strategies to seed the success of Indigenous HDR students. It draws on the findings of three separate studies undertaken during 2006 to 2013 in order to provide a detailed overview of the current challenges Indigenous HDR students regularly face.
It outlines various support mechanisms available to this cohort as well as those that are desired, but not necessarily available. An important component of the chapter is the inclusion of the voices of Indigenous Australians who were undertaking their postgraduate studies at the time they were interviewed, as well as a group of Indigenous Australians who had successfully completed their doctoral degrees. Through generously sharing their postgraduate experiences, participants provided important insight into this area which remains significantly under-investigated.
Page, S., Trudgett, M. & Bodkin-Andrews, G. 2016, 'Exploring an Indigenous graduate attribute project through a critical race theory lens', Research and Development in Higher Education: The Shape of Higher Education, Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia Annual International Conference, HERDSA, Fremantle, Perth, pp. 258-267.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Graduate attributes are a mechanism not only for developing employability skills, but also for fostering graduate abilities to be productive contributors to social change. There is growing recognition that university graduates can and should contribute to enhancing outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians signaling the need for dedicated Indigenous curriculum for all university students. Consider the transformative possibilities of significant numbers of graduates empowered to work effectively in partnership with Indigenous Australians. In 2014 almost 10,000 students graduated from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). Reflecting the organisational culture, graduate attributes also illustrate the values of an institution. In 2014, responding to the Behrendt Review of Higher Education Access and Outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People (2012) call for whole of university approaches, UTS approved the development of an Indigenous Graduate Attribute (IGA) Framework for all university courses. Recognising that resources would be required to support the implementation of such an ambitious project, a proposal was made to establish an Indigenous academic expertise centre to support the implementation of IGAs in all courses. In this paper the Aboriginal academic staff leading the IGA project will draw on Critical Race Theory (CRT), including the work of Ladson-Billings, to reflect on our experiences in the first year of the project. We use CRT to highlight the ways in which institutions might work with Indigenous academics to optimise the success of complex projects such as the UTS Indigenous Graduate Attribute project.
Trudgett, M., Franklin, C.T. & others 2011, 'Not in my backyard: the impact of culture shock on Indigenous Australians in higher education', Proceedings of the 1st International Australasian Conference On Enabling Access To Higher Education, 2011, 1st International Australasian Conference On Enabling Access To Higher Education, National Committee of Enabling Educators (NCEE) and University of South Australia, Adelaide.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Fuller, R.S., Norris, R.P. & Trudgett, M. 2013, 'The astronomy of the Kamilaroi people and their neighbours'.
Trudgett, M. 2008, 'An investigation into the support provided to Indigenous postgraduate students in Australia'.