University of Southern Queensland has welcomed Ben Wilson as Head of College (College of First Nations).
Professor Wilson brings a philosophy of utilising Indigenous ways of being and knowing to reshape and improve education systems.
Most recently, he was awarded the Neville Bonner Award for Indigenous Education at the 2023 Australian Awards for University Teaching for his significant contribution to higher education.
His approach calls for an industry shift on how Indigenous education is regarded.
“There has been a pervasive deficit discourse on Indigenous education for a long time now,” he said.
“Contrary to this perception, First Nations knowledge built a society that has lasted for well over 60 000 years. Surely that knowledge can contribute value to modern education systems and pedagogical approaches.
“For too long the paradigm has been about getting Indigenous people into the passenger seats of Australian education.
“The time has come to give us the keys and ask us to drive. You might find we take us all to some new and exciting places.”
Professor Wilson’s passion for educational transformation and leadership is rooted in a career that began in high school classrooms.
After teaching in schools across Brisbane and Logan, Mr Wilson pursued a PhD with the Australian National University and in 2019 took up a role as Associate Professor of Education at the University of Canberra where he helped reshape their approach to Indigenous education.
Professor Wilson is a Jagera man raised in the southern suburbs of Brisbane.
Two of University of Southern Queensland’s three campuses are located on Jagera country.
Professor Wilson said it was profoundly humbling to return to country to take up his new role leading the College of First Nations. His previous work has focused on reinvigorating a Country-centric approach to education.
“There is a real joy in coming here and being back on my home Country, particularly as a part of this important institution,” he said.
“We have a challenge in higher education to help our students, including those who are learning online, build relationships with Country.
“I look forward to helping UniSQ realise this ambition.”