Professor Michelle Trudgett
Deputy Vice Chancellor Indigenous Leadership
Professor Michelle Trudgett is an Indigenous scholar from the Wiradjuri Nation in New South Wales. Michelle currently holds the position Deputy Vice-Chancellor Indigenous Leadership at Western Sydney University. She has also held senior positions at the University of Technology Sydney and Macquarie University. Michelle is currently the Chair of the Universities Australia Deputy/Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous Committee. She also serves as a Board Member on the GO Foundation. Michelle has received a number of awards including the highly prestigious National NAIDOC Scholar of the Year Award, the Neville Bonner Award for Teaching Excellence and the University of New England Distinguished Alumni Award.
Professor Trudgett currently serves as the inaugural Chair of the New South Wales Vice-Chancellor Indigenous Committee and Deputy Chair of the inaugural Universities Australia Prov/Deputy Vice-Chancellor Indigenous Committee. She has also provided leadership to the Australian Research Council as the Chair of the Indigenous committee that advised on the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) and the Engagement and Impact (EI)Review.Professor Trudgett has been a Chief Investigator (CI) on four Australian Research Council grants, three as the lead CI, which equate to $4,189,000 in funding. She has developed an international reputation as a leading Indigenous Australian scholar whose research provides considerable insight into Indigenous participation in higher education, with a specific focus on the postgraduate sector. Professor Trudgett is currently leading two ARC projects - one will reshape the way universities currently 'do business' with Indigenous Australians through focusing on Indigenous leadership and governance in higher education, whilst the other investigates how the sector can best support and develop Indigenous early career researchers.
Professor Trudgett is a recognised strategic thinker who adopts a highly collegial approach to achieve positive outcomes for the higher education sector. She is particularly passionate about leading strategic initiatives that empower Indigenous people and communities.
ELDER IN RESIDENCE
Aunty Jean has been at Western Sydney University for over 30 years. In various roles supporting students and staff and was a student herself completing a Visual Arts Degree. Like many Indigenous students she was the first in her family to go to University. This education opened the door to becoming a Student Support Officer sharing her understanding and experiences on the pathways to gaining a Degree.
"I’ve met hundreds of students over the years and seen them grow and change from first year through to Graduation, then moving into employment as empowered Aboriginal people innovators like myself giving back to our community."
Aunty Jean's current position, Elder in Residence, was created and developed at Western Sydney University. The framework used when developing the position has been shared leading to other Elder in Residences positions. (Shah, 2016)
"My Goal has to simply keep moving forward progressing to the next level collaborating with others developing initiatives to encourage Indigenous students and staff to thrive within our universities Nationally and Internationally, sharing knowledge and forming alliances with Indigenous peoples with respect for Elders immemorial, prevailing and anticipated."
TEACHING AND LEARNING
Professor Susan Page
Director of Indigenous Learning and Teaching
Professor Susan Page is an Aboriginal Australian academic whose research focuses on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ experience of learning and academic work in higher education and student learning in Indigenous Studies. Susan is currently Director of Indigenous Learning and Teaching at Western Sydney University. She has held a number of Indigenous Higher Education leadership positions and she has lead a university-wide Indigenous graduate attribute project (UTS). Susan has collaborated on several competitive research grants, has received a national award for Excellence in Teaching (Neville Bonner Award) and is well published in Indigenous Higher Education.
Professor Gawaian Bodkin-Andrews
Director of Indigenous Research
Professor Gawaian Bodkin-Andrews is a D’harawal man raised on Bidigal (bitter water) and Nattaimattagal (sweet water) Country. As a scholar, Prof Bodkin-Andrews’ research encapsulates and promotes Aboriginal Australian standpoints and perspectives across a diversity of disciplines (most notably education and psychology). He has been a chief investigator for numerous research grants examining a diversity of topics including, mental health, mentoring, identity, Traditional Knowledges and Storytelling, Indigenous-centered statistics, education, racism, and bullying. He has over 60 refereed publications (including two edited books), and supervised to completion six PhD students (three Aboriginal Australian). He has also represented university and community organisations on a range of Indigenous initiatives, including the 2018 ARC ERA evaluation, the 2021 ARC college of experts, the Steering Commitee for the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children, the Indigenous Working Group for the ARC Engagement and Impact review, National Indigenous Researchers and Knowledge Holders Network, assisting the D'harawal Traditional Descendants and Knowledge Holders Circle with a range of community activities (e.g., Two cultures martial arts, Indigenous medicinal gardens, local government negotiations and development), and developing university responses to the revised AIATSIS code of ethics, the ANZRC Review. In addition, he is currently a member of Maiam nayri Wingara Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Data Sovereignty Group, the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, the D’harawal Traditional Descendants and Knowledge Holders Circle, and Pak Hok Pai (White Crane Kung Fu) Australia Incorporated.
Dr Rhonda Povey
Dr Rhonda Povey currently lives and works on Dharug land and she has extensive experience working and researching in the field of Indigenous education. Her particular area of interest is related to the delivery of Western education to Aboriginal students in remote areas of Australia, especially during the spread of the cattle industry onto traditional lands. Rhonda hopes her work will significantly contribute to the body of knowledge decolonising Aboriginal education in remote contexts. Rhonda is currently working as a researcher on the Walan Mayiny: Indigenous Leadership in Higher Education project.
Kelsie King is a Gundungurra woman who currently lives and works on Dharug land. In 2019, Kelsie graduated with her Bachelors of Psychology with First Class Honours from Western Sydney University. Being an active member of her community, Kelsie provides Cultural education for school students in the Blue Mountains, Welcomes to Country, traditional burns alongside the RFS, Cultural talks, and land management advice. Kelsie is a member of GAHAI (Gundungurra Aboriginal Heritage Association Incorporated) and the GTO (Gully Traditional Owners). In her previous role, Kelsie led the Cultural Inclusion Committee piloting multiple projects to improve, include and create a respectful work environment for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Crystal McDermid is a proud Aboriginal woman living and working on Darug country. Crystal started with Western Sydney University in 2008 through the Indigenous Traineeship Program, where she began working in the School of Management. Since graduating from the Traineeship Program, Crystal has worked in various senior executive offices throughout the University, including the Office of the Vice Chancellor and Office of the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor. Her current role is Executive Assistant to Professor Michelle Trudgett, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Indigenous Leadership. Crystal has experience in executive support, event management and stakeholder management.
Project Support Officer
Matilda Harry is a proud Wiradjuri woman, is the Media Officer in the Office of Deputy Vice Chancellor Indigenous Leadership at Western Sydney University. In this role, Matilda advocates for and celebrates the significant achievements and successes of Western Sydney University’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, staff, researchers, alumni, and Elders. She has produced social media strategies, video content and written five editions of The Yarning Circle. Personally, she is devoted to increasing the educational opportunities and independence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities across health, employment, policy, and reform sectors. She is a high achieving PhD candidate at Western Sydney University undertaking research to empower and make meaningful change for all Australians, particularly First Nations communities. Matilda's ongoing involvement with First Nations communities has led her to work in grassroots and peak body initiatives and institutions across local, state, and national platforms.
Jarred is a proud Wiradjuri person who was born and raised on Tharawal country. Starting at Western Sydney University as a student in 2018 as a student, Jarred volunteered at this time with the WSU Marketing and Engagement team, working closely on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Pathways to Dreaming program. They started an internship with the Future Student Engagement, Engagement & Advancement Support team and went on to work with the School of Social Sciences as Indigenous Education Officer before travelling overseas following the completion of their Communications degree. Jarred has since returned to Western as Project Officer with the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Indigenous Leadership. With their background in data analysis, student support and engagement, Jarred brings their connection with community and culture and blends this with contemporary communication skills to provide a transparent and holistic approach to strong relationship building.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICER
Korinne Bargiel is a proud saltwater Darug woman with family ties to the Garigal, Awabakal and Wiradjuri nations, a descendant of Bungaree. Western Sydney born and bred, Korinne grew up not knowing of her Aboriginal heritage until she was in her mid 30's. It was only when she joined WSU as a 2022 Ignite Business Trainee that she had the opportunity to start tracing her family heritage and find where she belonged.
Coming from a working-class background, Korinne is a qualified Pastry Chef, and loves to cook. She has an artistic nature, is good with her hands, loves music of all genres and is extremely family and mob orientated. She tries to see the good in all people and will help others whenever she is needed. Working with the Elders and others in the Darug community gives her a real sense of purpose. It has led her to learn the Darug language and become involved with local land care, helping to protect culturally significant sites in her local area.
Senior Coordinator, Indigenous Employment
Gabrielle Talbot-Mundine is a proud Bundjalung woman born, living, and working on Darug country. Gabrielle started working with Western Sydney University as a Business Administration Trainee in the Graduation Team in 2014. Since commencing with Western Sydney University, she has been committed to her career progression, securing roles in the Badanami Team, Future Student Engagement Team, and the Indigenous Employment Team. Gabrielle is an alumna and current student of Western Sydney University, placed on the Dean's Merit List for 2020 and 2021, holding a Graduate Certificate in Business and completing a Master of Business Administration.
Gabrielle has extensive knowledge of university systems and processes, developing a wide range of skills, knowledge and capabilities that allow her to deliver exceptional outcomes toward the institution's strategic direction. Her involvement in the Western Sydney University community has enabled Gabrielle to create strong and fruitful connections with the institution's key stakeholders.
Community Engagement Officer
Terri Keating is a proud Wiradjuri woman from Narromine, NSW and a Community Engagement Officer with the Office of Deputy Vice Chancellor Indigenous Leadership and is located at the Kingswood Campus.
BADANAMI / STUDENT SERVICES
Director of Badanami Centre for Indigenous Education
Fiona Towney is a proud Wiradjuri woman from Central-West NSW.
Fiona’s first employment was with the Commonwealth Bank, where she worked for 15 years. At the time of her resignation, Fiona was an Assistant Manager on the Commonwealth Bank IT Helpdesk. Fiona then gained employment with the NSW Department of Education where she worked for 25 years, moving through a variety of project-based and team management roles within the HR space.
Fiona joined WSU in September 2018. As Director of the Badanami Centre for Indigenous Education, Fiona is responsible for the provision and implementation of education and support services for Western’s Indigenous Australian students. A member of the University’s senior team, she contributes to policy and strategic organisational direction and provides advice and leadership, always working to increasing student outcomes. Fiona holds tertiary qualifications in Human Resource Management and Project Management.
Senior Student Advancement Officer
Josh Mason is a proud Wiradjuri man who has worked at Western Sydney University since 2010. He holds the position of Senior Student Advancement Officer within the Badanami Centre for Indigenous Education and looks after the Tutoring For Success Program which offers our eligible Indigenous students free tuition support throughout their degree. Josh considers himself extremely lucky to be part of the amazing work our university is doing for our Indigenous students, staff and community, and enjoys playing a role in securing success for our people.
Student Success Officer
Kristy Bell is a proud Wiradjuri women born in Dubbo and lives in the Camden area. Kristy has been working at Western for over 10 years and moved over from the engagement team into the Student support role in Badanami. Kristy takes pride in her role and supporting our mob to achieve their educational goals for their future and loves being able to build strong relationships with students and our Western community.
Student Success Officer
Adrian Atkins is a proud Gorrie man from the Anaiwan nation. He is also connected to the Thungutti and Kamilaroi mobs. His interests include family history, Star Wars (child of the seventies) and storytelling. When he is not 'Dad's Taxi', he likes to cook and spend time with the family.
Adrian's current role with WSU is as a Student Success Officer with the Badanami Centre for Indigenous Education. He is based on the Bankstown campus, which stands on Darug country. Before commencing in his role with Western, he spent 12 months working as a Reunification Caseworker with Link-Up NSW. He previously worked at the Mana Yura Student Support Team (2016-2021) and in the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry (SOPHI) (2005-2016) at the University of Sydney.
Student Success Officer
Georgina is a proud Kamilaroi woman, who has spent a lot of her early career working with vulnerable people. Georgina has had the privilege of working within the community services and disability industries and has a passion for Aboriginal people and community. Georgina strives to change the narrative for Indigenous Australians and enjoys supporting and advocating for people and their future. Georgina currently works in the Badanami Centre for Indigenous Education at Western Sydney University as a Student Success Officer.
Student Success Officer
Matthew Taylor is a proud Kamilaroi man born and raised on Kamilaroi land in Tamworth rural NSW. Matt has been living on Gadigal and Dharug land for the past 8 years whilst completing his Science degree at UNSW. He is a Student Success Officer in the Badanami team and is based at the Parramatta South campus on Dharug land.
Prior to joining Western Sydney University and the Badanami team Matt has been heavily involved with various Indigenous higher education outreach opportunities, particularly in STEM, to explore his passion for opening opportunities for the next generation of Indigenous students. Matt is passionate about supporting and advocating for Indigenous students throughout Western Sydney University.