Indigenous leadership and engagement gets another boost at UTS

Professor Michael McDaniel, picture supplied

Professor Michael McDaniel, picture supplied

In summary: 
  • The Director of UTS's Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning Professor Michael McDaniel has been appointed the university's inaugural Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Leadership and Engagement)
  • Vice-Chancellor Professor Attila Brungs said the new role emphasises UTS's commitment to place Indigenous education and engagement as core to the university strategy

The University of Technology Sydney is continuing to drive its leadership in Indigenous education and outreach with the appointment of a new, more senior leadership role.

Professor Michael McDaniel, who has a history of engagement within the Indigenous higher education sector stretching back almost three decades, has been appointed the inaugural Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Leadership and Engagement) at UTS.

McDaniel is currently a Professor in Indigenous Education and Director of Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning at UTS, and has previously held the position of Dean of Indigenous Education and Director of Badanami Centre for Indigenous Education at the University of Western Sydney and Head of Warawara Department of Indigenous Studies at Macquarie University.

"Michael has an enviable track record of innovation and success in Indigenous advancement via education, research and the arts," said UTS Vice-Chancellor, Professor Attila Brungs. "He is an ideal appointment to this new, and very senior, role, which emphasises UTS's commitment to place Indigenous education and engagement as core to the university strategy.

"Importantly, this role is not responsible for UTS's Indigenous strategy, that responsibility lies with all my senior executives and deans, in fact all members of UTS. Our Indigenous strategy is part of core business. What it will do, however, is put additional senior support and focus in place accelerating our already ambitious aspiration in this area."    

Professor McDaniel is an Aboriginal man and a member of the Kalari Clan of the Wiradjuri Nation of Central New South Wales with a long career in Indigenous higher education and record of service to the arts, culture and the community.

He is a member of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Higher Education Consortium and as a NATSIHEC delegate has on a number of occasions participated in the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and through NATSIHEC is a member of the World Indigenous Higher Education Consortium. Michael is also a member of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Data Archive Reference Group.

Michael has held a number of Federal and State Government appointments having been a member of the Federal Minister for Education's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Council, the National Native Title Tribunal, the NSW Mental Health Review Tribunal, the NSW Administrative Appeals Tribunal, and the NSW Guardianship Tribunal. Michael has also been a Commissioner with the NSW Land and Environment Court.

Michael has a considerable record of leadership and service in relation to arts and culture and is currently Chair of the Board of Bangarra Dance Theatre, Australia's premier Indigenous dance company and only Indigenous company with Major Performing Arts Company status. Michael also serves on the Board of the Australian Major Performing Arts Group, the Museum of Contemporary Art (Australia) and Chairs the MCA (Australia) Indigenous Advisory Group. Michael is also Chair of the Sydney Living Museums Aboriginal Advisory Committee and is a former member of the Board of the National Aboriginal Islander Skills Development Association Dance College.

In addition to being a nationally accredited mediator Michael has considerable experience in corporate and public sector consultation particularly in relation to Indigenous affairs with clients having included the Federal Court of Australia, the National Native Title Tribunal, the NSW Attorney General's Department, Qantas, Rio Tinto Australia, and Rail Access Corporation NSW.

Michael also has a strong personal commitment to the preservation of Wiradjuri culture and in particular the preservation and teaching of badhang wilay (possum skin cloak) making. In 2008, the National Gallery of Australia acquired one of Michael's cloaks. As a badhangmaldaayn (cloak maker) Michael regularly speaks about his cultural practice and teaches cloak making to other Wiradjuri people. His cloaks are in a number of private collections.