Social welfare education in Australia has been accused of training white students for a white profession. Efforts to broaden curricula to reflect the contributions of Indigenous knowledge to social welfare practice have been limited. This paper presents the action taken by four non-Indigenous Australian women social welfare academic staff at James Cook University (JCU) who in 2001 undertook a project to "indigenise" the undergraduate curriculum. An Indigenous consultant to the project offered guidance. The action research project attracted a JCU Teaching and Learning grant that released the four staff members from some teaching responsibilities to enable the development of the project. This presentation outlines the outcomes of the project in relation to four curriculum areas, developed by individual staff members within the collaborative processes of the group: the teaching of introductory social policy, the field education program, the teaching of women’s studies, and the teaching style and resources. The team concluded that the project was successful in identifying areas where social welfare education practice could be improved. Efforts in this regard are ongoing, with the aim of continuing to develop a more culturally appropriate curriculum, relevant to the demographic, social and political realities of the North Queensland region in particular and Australia generally.
2nd Australian Indigenous Education Conference, Sharing Success: An Indigenous Perspective, Townsville, Australia 2-4 July 2002