University Strengthens Commitment to Reconciliation

Professor Ian Anderson moves to leadership role in Canberra, Professor Marcia Langton appointed Assistant Provost and Jason Glanville appointed as Program Director of Atlantic Fellows for Social Equity

Professor Ian Anderson is pictured wearing the possum skin cloak that was gifted to the University of Melbourne by the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nations in 2012. The cloak was fashioned by local Wurundjeri artist Mandy Thomas (née Nicholson) and commissioned by the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences to celebrate the Melbourne Medical School’s 150th Anniversary

In March 2017, Professor Ian Anderson  (MBBS 1989, HonDMedSc 2012) was appointed as Deputy Secretary, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. He will coordinate a review of the Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) response to the Closing the Gap targets for Indigenous health and social disadvantage, which will frame the national policy agenda for the next decade.

Professor Anderson completed a medical degree at the University of Melbourne in 1989 and has a PhD in Sociology and Anthropology from La Trobe University. His illustrious career has seen him in a number of leadership roles in Indigenous health and education and he has written widely on issues related to Aboriginal health, identity and culture. Until his departure for Canberra, Professor Anderson was Pro Vice-Chancellor (Engagement) and University of Melbourne Foundation Chair
of Indigenous Higher Education.

Professor Anderson was born in Devonport, Tasmania, and his family are Palawa with connections to Pairrebenne, Trawlwoolway and Plairmairrener clans. Professor Anderson has spent the majority of his life in the Koori community in Victoria, where he has extensive family and community networks.

During his working life in Koori health, Professor Anderson has been an Aboriginal health worker, a health educator and a general practitioner. He worked as the Chief Executive Officer of the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service before becoming the Medical Advisor to the Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health in the Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care. He has also been involved in Aboriginal health policy development for many years. He was the chair of the National Indigenous Sexual Health Working Party that oversaw the development of the National Indigenous Sexual Health Strategy in 1997. He chaired a working group for the National Public Health Partnership, which developed its Guidelines for the development, implementation and evaluation of National Public Health Strategies in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. He was also a council member for the National Health and Medical Research Council from 2003 to 2006, and the Chair of its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Forum.

In addition, he was a member of the Australian Bureau of Statistics Advisory Group on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics (2006–2011), and the Director of Research and Innovation at the Lowitja Institute, Australia’s National Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research (incorporating the CRC for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health).

University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Glyn Davis AC, acknowledged Professor Anderson’s outstanding work at Melbourne as foundation Director of the Murrup Barak Institute, as Foundation Chair of Indigenous higher education, and Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Higher Education Policy), and many other capacities, which now provides the University with the opportunity to take several bold new steps
in strengthening Indigenous leadership.

As a result, on 30 March 2017, well-known Indigenous academic, Professor Marcia Langton, was appointed as Assistant Provost. A significant voice in public debate on many issues relating to Indigenous Australia, Professor Langton is well known as a charismatic teacher and research leader in Indigenous studies. As she steps into this leadership role at Melbourne, Professor Langton will retain her existing appointments as Foundation Chair of Australian Indigenous Studies and as University of Melbourne Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor.

Distinct from Professor Langton’s appointment as Assistant Provost, the University also announced the creation of the new position of Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous). This will be a 0.5 role, taking on many of the responsibilities previously discharged so well by Professor Anderson. The role will report to Deputy Provost (Academic and Undergraduate), Richard James.

In addition, the Atlantic Fellows for Social Equity is an exciting new national leadership program supported by US-based The Atlantic Philanthropies, founded by Mr Chuck Feeney. Mr Jason Glanville has been announced as the inaugural Program Director. The new program is also strongly backed by the Federal Government, several universities and national peak bodies, and has the explicit aim of training a new generation of leaders committed to tackling social disadvantage across Australia and the Pacific region.

Mr Glanville, a Wiradjuri man from south-western NSW, is a leader with more 20 years’ experience in community-based Indigenous organisations. He has most recently served as inaugural CEO of the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence, has been Director of Programs and Strategy at Reconciliation Australia, and remains Chair of the Australian Indigenous Governance Institute. He commenced as program director with the Atlantic Fellows for Social Equity, headquartered on the Parkville campus, in April.

These changes represent a significant overall strengthening of the University’s longstanding commitment to reconciliation. These efforts have seen not only more student enrolments, but also increased Indigenous staff recruitment at the University, which today has 92 Indigenous Australians in its employed workforce, compared with 21 in 2010. The Indigenous presence is also visible at campus level. As well as efforts to improve new signposting to Indigenous sites of significance throughout the University, from this year the word Wominjeka—‘Welcome’ in the Woi wurrung language—will be emblazoned above the main southern entrance walkway to the Parkville campus, at the John Medley Building. These decisions reflect a University commitment as it works with Indigenous Australia to bring about positive change for students and the wider nation.

Professor Anderson will retain his links to the University as an Honorary Professorial Fellow with the Centre for the Study of Higher Education. As a Melbourne alumnus, he was recognised with an Honorary Doctorate of Medicine in 2012.