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Cultural Competence

& the Higher Education Sector:

Dilemmas, Policies & Practice

4 to 5 April 2018 




The National Centre for Cultural Competence acknowledges and pays respect to the Traditional Owners of the land on which we meet, the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation. It is upon their ancestral lands that the University of Sydney is built. As we share our own knowledge, teaching, learning and research practices within this University may we also pay respect to the knowledge embedded forever within the Aboriginal Custodianship of Country.


Welcome from the Acting Deputy Vice-ChancelLor (Indigenous Strategy and Services), Professor Juanita

Image: Professor Juanita Sherwood, 2015 

Image: Professor Juanita Sherwood, 2015 

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the University of Sydney’s National Centre for Cultural Competence (NCCC) conference, Cultural Competence and the Higher Education Sector: Dilemmas, Policies and Practice.

The Review of Australian Higher Education (Bradley, 2008) and the Review of Higher Education Access and Outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People (Behrendt, 2012) identified the need for tertiary institutions to incorporate Indigenous Knowledges into curriculum to improve educational outcomes for Indigenous Australians and to increase the cultural competency of all students. The overarching theme of this conference, therefore, is cultural competence and its intersection with the higher education sector from multi-disciplinary, inter-disciplinary and Indigenous Knowledges perspectives.

Through keynotes, paper presentations, yarning circles and posters the conference aims to facilitate networking, share information and create a national dialogue. The conference provides an opportunity to explore different and innovative approaches and strategies that incorporate Indigenous knowledges and practices into the development and implementation of cultural competency in the higher education sector.

I hope that you will find the conference interesting and thought provoking and that it will provide you with a valuable opportunity to share ideas, research, and perspectives with others experienced in the areas of diversity, social justice, equity and inclusion.





The Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM) is a proud partner of the National Centre for Cultural Competence’s 2018 conference on Cultural Competence and the Higher Education Sector: dilemmas, policies and practice through our work to establish a Leaders in Indigenous Nursing and Midwifery Education Network (LINMEN).

Image: Shells - NCCC, 2016

Image: Shells - NCCC, 2016

The NCCC builds knowledge and capacity in cultural competence through engagement and partnerships with universities, communities, industry groups and government

Visit us at sydney.edu.au/nccc/


Keynote Speakers

Cultural Competence and the Higher Education Sector: Dilemmas, Policies and Practice will bring together specialists and individuals interested in cultural competence, diversity and inclusion and Indigenous Knowledges to discuss ideas relating to the future of higher education and the role of Universities in preparing students, faculties and staff for the challenges of building a more culturally competent world. 

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Assistant Professor
Tawara Goode

Tawara Goode is the Director of the National Center for Cultural Competence at Georgetown University. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Tawara is a distinguished thought leader in the area of cultural and linguistic competence and has built the Georgetown National Center for Cultural Competence into an internationally recognised and award-winning program. She had a primary role in developing curricula, assessment instruments, professional development series and other resources that support cultural and linguistic competence across the United States and the world; and conducts research on the essential role of cultural and linguistic competence in addressing health disparities.  


Dr Tim soutphommasane

Dr Tim Soutphommasane has been Race Discrimination Commissioner since August 2013. Prior to joining the Australian Human Rights Commission, Tim was a political philosopher and held posts at The University of Sydney and Monash University. His thinking on multiculturalism, patriotism and national identity has been influential in shaping debates in Australia and Britain. Tim is an adjunct professor at the School of Social Sciences and Psychology, Western Sydney University and chairs the Leadership Council on Cultural Diversity. Born in France and raised in southwest Sydney, Tim holds a Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Philosophy (with Distinction) from the University of Oxford, and is a first-class honours graduate of The University of Sydney.



Janine Mohamed, a Kaurna and Narrunga woman from South Australia, has deep expertise in how to work towards the improvement of healthcare and health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. As a nurse and CEO of CATSINaM, Janine is an advocate for the unique and powerful roles that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses and midwives have in the health system and their communities, as agents of change. Her leadership and work is informed by principles of health equity and justice, and she has a passionate commitment to working towards health systems that are culturally safe for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, health professionals and employees. A graduate of the University of South Australia, where she now holds an adjunct position, Janine has sound clinical experience, as well as in research, policy and project leadership. Janine has also worked in senior positions for both the AHCSA and NACCHO, contributed to the establishment of the Close the Gap campaign, and was a member of an Indigenous peoples’ delegation that participated in the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in 2011 and 2012. Janine is a strong advocate for self-determination and the community controlled health sector, which she believes offers the best model of health care for all Australia.


Professor Yolanda T Moses

Professor Moses is Professor of Anthropology and the former Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Excellence at the University of California - Riverside. Her research has looked at diversity and change in universities in the United States, India, Europe, South Africa and now Australia. Professor Moses started her research residence with the NCCC in February 2017 and is exploring and assessing the cultural competence model used at the University of Sydney, comparing it to those used in the United States.


Professor Jean Lau Chin

Jean Lau Chin, EdD, ABPP is Professor at Adelphi University in New York.  Dr. Chin is distinguished as an educator, administrator, clinician and scholar. She has held senior management positions as: Dean, Derner Institute for Advanced Psychological Studies, Adelphi University; Systemwide Dean, California School of Professional Psychology, Alliant International University; President, CEO Services; Regional Director, Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership; Executive Director, South Cove Community Health Center; and Co-Director, Thom Child Guidance Clinic.  Academically, she has trained psychologists and health care professionals in the diagnosis and treatment and has helped to develop culturally competent training curricula for working with diverse populations. She received a Fulbright Scholar Award as Distinguished Chair in Cultural Competence to the University of Sydney in Australia for 2018.


Associate Professor Jennifer Barrett

Associate Professor Jennifer Barrett publishes on museums, culture, art, and the public sphere. Her monograph, Museums and the Public Sphere, was published in 2011 (Wiley- Blackwell) and her co-authored monograph Australian Artists in the Contemporary Museum (with J. Millner, Ashgate Publishing) was published in 2014. Her current research examines the concept of universalism as it relates to museums, cultural practice and human rights. Jennifer is a Chief Investigator with Avril Alba on the Australian Research Council Linkage project, Australian Holocaust Memory, Human Rights and the Contemporary Museum, that explores the nexus between the Holocaust and human rights through the prism of the Sydney Jewish Museum. She regularly collaborates with the museum, heritage and gallery sectors and has been Chair of the Board, Museums and Galleries NSW, since 2015. Between 2000 and 2011 Jennifer was Director of Museum Studies, between 2010 and 2015 she was Pro Dean (Academic) in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney. She is currently Director of the University’s Culture Strategy.

registrations now open

Student: $250

Full Price: $500

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community and Elders Attendance

The NCCC has number of free tickets available and would like to support members and Elders of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities in attending the Conference. Please contact us at nccc@sydney.edu.au if you are interested in this option. 


Cancellations and Refunds

If you need to cancel your conference registration, you can receive a full refund up until 7 March 2018. If you cancel your registration after 7 March, we will refund 75% of your registration fee. The refund will be credited to the credit/debit card used to purchase the ticket. Contact the National Centre for Cultural Competence nccc@sydney.edu.au for more information about the refund process.

Abstract Submissions Closed 

Image: Cadigal Green - NCCC, 2017

Image: Cadigal Green - NCCC, 2017

The overarching theme of Cultural Competence and the Higher Education Sector: Dilemmas, Policies and Practice  is cultural competence and its intersection with the higher education sector from multi-disciplinary, inter-disciplinary and Indigenous Knowledges perspectives.

From these contexts, several sub-themes emerge:

·         Indigenous Knowledges

·         Culturally responsive pedagogy

·         Cultural competent graduate qualities in higher education

·         Culturally competent service learning

·         Culturally competent leadership

·         The convergence of diversity, social justice, equity and inclusion with the higher education sector

The conference seeks to bring together researchers, scholars, policy-makers, practitioners, professionals, students and citizens who have an interest and/or experience in cultural competence policies and practice.


Conference Location 


Johns Hopkins Dr, NSW 2006
(02) 9351 7752


Cultural Competence and the Higher Education Sector: Dilemmas, Policies and Practice will be held in the main auditorium of the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney on 4 and 5 April, 2018. Charles Perkins was one of Australia's most prominent Aboriginal activists. Born in 1936 to an Arrernte woman and a Kalkadoon man in Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Perkins was the first Aboriginal man to graduate from the University of Sydney and did so in 1966 with a Bachelor of Arts. The Charles Perkins Centre is an Australian medical research institute, clinic and education hub that primarily focuses on diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity, as well as other related conditions. 


The whale (humpback) or “buriburi” is a significant animal to Aboriginal people of coastal Sydney. The whale is a significant character in a local dreaming story that explains the importance of sharing and caring for each other and the reason why whales travel up and down the coastline. This story of the whale is still taught in the La Perouse Aboriginal community whose families have an ongoing cultural connection to coastal Sydney and the Illawarra. This rock engraving of a whale at Mackenzies Point is typical of engraving sites around Sydney, reflecting the abundance of marine life in the coastal environment.  Such engravings are also areas that local Aboriginal people continue to utilise for educational as well as cultural purposes (La Perouse Aboriginal Land Council, 2017).