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200th Associate Fellow (Indigenous Knowledges) recognised by QUT

10 Jun 2024 | QUT Dr Kathryn Wenham, Lecturer in Public Health at University of the Sunshine Coast, becomes the 200th Associate Fellow (Indigenous Knowledges).

Dr Kathryn Wenham, who teaches students as part of University of the Sunshine Coast's School of Health, is QUT’s 200th recipient of the Associate Fellow (Indigenous Knowledges).  

Dr Wenham ensures that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wellbeing is an integral part of learning about health. She was recognised with Associate Fellowship (Indigenous Knowledges) as part of QUT's Celebration of Learning and Teaching week event where she participated in a panel on embedding Indigenous Perspectives and Knowledges in Learning and Teaching.  

During the panel session, Dr Wenham spoke about the importance of ensuring that health students were prepared to be culturally safe practitioners.  

“Teaching Indigenous Perspectives in health is crucial," she explained. “It helps our upcoming health professionals to be more culturally safe in the workplace, to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients to access healthcare, and makes the classroom a safe place for Indigenous students to learn.”  


Achieving the 200th Associate Fellow (Indigenous Knowledges) is an important milestone not just for QUT but also for the sector.  

Tain Lloyd, who holds Senior Fellowship and is also an Associate Fellow (Indigenous Knowledges), is a Wulgurukaba / Bindal man who supports the scheme as a Lead Indigenous Reviewer, Mentor and Facilitator. He said, "QUT's fellowship scheme recognises the work undertaken by higher education staff to ensure students are given high quality learning experiences which include Indigenous Perspectives and Knowledges. It also encourages educators to take a good look at their practice and thoughtfully reflect on the how and the why.” 

Support for professional development 

Kathryn took advantage of the professional development, resources and training provided by the Carumba Institute and the QUT Academy of Learning and Teaching as an external learner through QUTeX.  

She found that the professional development modules, Indigenous Perspectives and Knowledges in Learning and Teaching and Applying for AFHEA (Indigenous Knowledges), assisted her to think about her practice holistically, and gain valuable collegial peer feedback on practice. She recommends colleagues always seek out opportunities to learn and engage in professional development. 

She wanted to apply for Associate Fellow (Indigenous Knowledges), “to learn more, because embedding Indigenous Perspectives is going to be a lifelong learning experience, and this gave the opportunity to learn more and think more deeply about my practice.”  

Professional Standards Framework 2023 

The process of applying for Associate Fellow (Indigenous Knowledges) involves reflecting on individual learning and teaching practice alongside Advance HE's Professional Standards Framework 2023. The application is assessed by a panel of at least one Indigenous and one non-Indigenous person.  

Kathryn appreciated the application process where she says she could, “have somewhere that brings this learning all together, and also assess how I’m using it in my practice. I especially valued having the process of peer feedback from people I don't know, as well as feedback from Indigenous colleagues".  

Dr Kathryn Wenham, recognised by QUT as the 200th Associate Fellow (Indigenous Knowledges)
Dr Kathryn Wenham, recognised by QUT as the 200th Associate Fellow (Indigenous Knowledges)

Embedding Indigenous Perspectives 

Kathryn is always looking for opportunities to improve her practice and describes how embedding Indigenous Perspectives into her teaching has been an iterative one. She says, “I constantly read, and network and interact with my colleagues to spark new ideas. It's so important to be open and supportive of each other, and model good practice.”  

Rather than rely on asking Indigenous colleagues for advice constantly, Kathryn looks for opportunities to read books and papers written by Indigenous authors as a way of gaining knowledge and privileging voice. This has included accessing resources developed by the Lowitja Institute on health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.  

 She says, "We need to not always think of Aboriginal voices as ‘auditory’, we can also consider what we read are written by Indigenous people. I spend a lot of time when I am looking for papers to see who they are written by, to ensure I am prioritising Indigenous voices.”  

In the classroom 

This sentiment is carried forward to the classroom where Kathryn looks for ways to include student voice in teaching. She feels that supporting Indigenous students to feel safe in a health classroom is important and involves teaching all students how to have culturally safe, respectful conversations about a range of health topics.  

To set up a safe classroom, Kathryn spends time on student-generated protocols. “I talk about what we're covering and I get them to write some ground rules for class, and they are invested in that, what would make them feel safe in the classroom to discuss sensitive topics,” she says. 

Kathryn knows how worthwhile these conversations. She says, “seeing how much students do get into the discussions shows how much of a safe space has been created”. 

Find out more about the Global Fellowships Relay – #FellowshipsRelay2024

We accredit CPD programmes delivered by higher education providers around the world, in line with the Professional Standards Framework. Find out more about accreditation.


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