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Indigenous leader to put First Nations education ‘on the map’

University of Southern Queensland welcomes Professor Tony Dreise to inaugural role

Making the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) a leading university for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education will be the key focus for the University’s inaugural Pro Vice-Chancellor (First Nations Education and Research) Professor Tony Dreise.

Professor Dreise has had a long policy and research career in Queensland and nationally, having worked as a Principal Indigenous Research Fellow at the Australian Council for Educational Research.

He has recently been Director of the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research and inaugural Professor of Indigenous Policy at the Australian National University.

The Pro Vice-Chancellor (First Nations Education and Research) role will provide leadership in Australian Indigenous strategy, policy, community, culture, education and engagement.

Professor Dreise welcomed the new opportunity to share Indigenous knowledge and work towards meeting the education, socio-economic and wellbeing needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“It is a great honour to be the inaugural Pro Vice-Chancellor of this portfolio and to help put USQ on the map in First Nations education,” he said.

“Without maps, people get lost. We don’t want to lose people; we want to find new places and win people.

“USQ has a truly diverse footprint, from economically marginalised remote communities to the west and booming satellite microcities to its east.

“I look forward to contributing to the social, cultural and economic capital of the region and unlocking the potential of First Nations people within this diverse footprint.”

A proud descendent of the Guumilaroi and Euahlayi First Nations people of north-west New South Wales and south-west Queensland, Professor Dreise said he was excited to help establish and develop the First Nations Education and Research portfolio.

“Universities are fundamentally about improving life, via knowledge generation and by sharing ideas and insights,” he said.

“Our job is to seek answers to complex questions. How our nation secures better lives by and with First Nations people is a big question, an important question for the whole of Australia.

“I’m confident that USQ has much to contribute to improving lives and livelihoods particularly through an intersection of education, cultural exchange, sustainability, regional development, and social inclusion, including in peri-urban environments.”

Professor Dreise’s appointment reflects the University’s commitment to support and empower its First Nations staff and students, continue to build its record in Indigenous teaching and research, and strengthen its work in social justice, equity and inclusion, as well as excellence.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Geraldine Mackenzie said Professor Dreise was an outstanding academic with excellent leadership qualities.

“Professor Dreise brings an enormous amount of experience to the University and is regarded as one of the most prominent higher education Indigenous leaders in Queensland and nationally,” Professor Mackenzie said.

“He will have a significant role in all areas of Indigenous engagement and will work alongside colleagues across all campuses in the areas of curriculum reform, ground-breaking social research, innovative teaching and learning, and improving retention and completion rates.

“I look forward to seeing him add value to the existing projects we already have underway and building relationships within the university and with communities, industries, governments, and other education providers to create real and meaningful change.”

man smiling in a suit
Professor Tony Dreise has been appointed the inaugural Pro Vice-Chancellor (First Nations Education and Research).