Project Overview

In the coming years the Panel wants higher education to become a natural pathway for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Success in higher education will lay the foundations for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander professional class that can contribute to closing the gap and to Australia’s broader wellbeing and economic prosperity.

(Behrendt, Lark, Griew & Kelly (2010), Review of Higher Education Access and Outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, pxi)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are significantly under-represented in the higher education system and in the profession of psychology. In addition a mental health crisis exists in the Indigenous population. Undergraduate and postgraduate psychology curricula have, to date, failed to produce a workforce capable of meeting the needs of Indigenous Australia.

The anguish of their grief-stricken parents, families, kinship groups and communities, and the children themselves was brusquely discounted as inconsequential and at any event of a temporary nature. Today the legacy of those policies (should) haunt the conscience of white Australia, as it has haunted the memories of generations of Aboriginal families. The residue of unresolved anger and grief that blankets the Aboriginal community has had a devastating effect on the physical, emotional and mental well-being of so many.

The removal of children report cannot be allowed to suffer the fate of previous reports... The recommendations made in this report can and must go some way toward easing the anguish that plagues the Aboriginal community. These recommendations provide a blueprint for direct and unequivocal intervention, on behalf of the state government, to repatriate families and to care for the broken spirit of thousands of our people.

Psychologists, other health and social science professionals have an absolute obligation and a duty of care to share in this reparation process.

(Rob Riley. From exclusion to negotiation: the role of psychology in Aboriginal social justice/discussion paper (Curtin Indigenous Research Centre); No. 1/1997. Gunada Press, Curtin University, Perth WA)

The Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT) has funded a collaborative project team lead by Professor Pat Dudgeon of the University of Western Australia to investigate Curricular approaches to increasing cultural competence and Indigenous participation in psychology education and training.  The project is referred to as the Australian Indigenous Psychology Education Project (AIPEP).

AIPEP draws on the perspectives of university educators and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander support staff, psychology students, employers and Indigenous psychologists in order to increase recruitment and retention of Indigenous psychology students, integrate Indigenous studies in psychology courses for all students, and facilitate training pathways for Indigenous mental health workers.



Project Team


Research Team



Professor Pat Dudgeon

Professor Pat Dudgeon, Project Leader

Pat Dudgeon is from the Bardi people of the Kimberley and is acknowledged as Australia’s first Indigenous psychologist.  Pat is a Research Fellow in the School of Indigenous Studies at the University of Western Australia and the first Indigenous Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society (APS).

Pat is known for her significant involvement in psychology and Indigenous issues, and for her leadership in Indigenous higher education.  In 2013 Pat was awarded the inaugural lifetime achievement award by the Indigenous Allied Health Association (IAHA) and the Deadly Award for Health.

Pat is a Commissioner of the National Mental Health Commission; and Co-Chair with Dr Tom Calma of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Advisory Group (ATSIMHSPAG).

Associate Professor Jacky Cranney

Associate Professor Jacky Cranney

Jacky Cranney is a UNSW and OLT Learning and Teaching Fellow, and an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).  Jacky has experience as an Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) assessor, and is particularly interested in undergraduate psychology education as well as public education in the form of psychological literacy.   

In 2008 Jacky received the APS Distinguished Contribution to Psychological Education Award and, in 2013, was made a Fellow of the APS.  Jacky is a member of the APS Division of Research, Education and Training Forum, and is also involved in a number of international psychology education organisations.


Associate Professor Dawn Darlaston-Jones

Associate Professor Dawn Darlaston-Jones

Dawn Darlaston-Jones is Co-Cordinator of the Bachelor of Behavioural Science at the University of Notre Dame.

Dawn has published and presented work that critiques the research endeavour, challenges the dominant paradigms within psychology, and calls for changes in curriculum to promote social inclusion and anti-racism strategies. Dawn is currently the Secretary of the APS College of Community Psychologists.

Sabine Hammond

Dr Sabine Hammond

Sabine Hammond is the Executive Manager, Science, Education and Membership at the APS.

Sabine is Honorary Professor and former Head of School in Psychology of Australian Catholic University, and Fellow of the APS.  As part of her work on competencies of psychologists Sabine is involved in the International Project on Competence in Psychology (IPCP).

Jillene Harris

Dr Jillene Harris

Jillene Harris is a Lecturer in the School of Psychology at Charles Sturt University (CSU), NSW where she teaches a first year foundational subject - Indigenous Australians and Psychology. 

Jillene is the Indigenous Liaison Person for the School of Psychology and has experience in integrating support frameworks between community, education and health sectors.  She was the Arts Faculty representative of the Indigenous Education Strategy Coordinating group which oversaw the implementation of this strategy across CSU.


Jeannie Herbert

Professor Jeannie Herbert AM

Jeannie Herbert is Pro Vice Chancellor (Indigenous Education), Foundation Professor of Indigenous Studies, and Head of Dubbo Campus, at Charles Sturt University.  Jeannie grew up in Broome and, during her time at Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education (BIITE), became Australia’s first Indigenous Vice-Chancellor.

Jeannie was made a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AM) in June, 2012 for her ‘service to tertiary education, particularly through improvements to educational outcomes for Indigenous people, and to the delivery of learning opportunities across regional and remote northern Australia’.

Associate Professor Judi Homewood

Associate Professor Judi Homewood

Judi Homewood is Associate Dean (Higher Degree Research) at Macquarie University’s Faculty of Human Sciences.

Judi is a biological psychologist who has extensive experience in psychology curriculum management, change and quality assurance.  Judi teaches in both psychology and other health disciplines and previously was a member of an ALTC funded project team investigating cross-cultural supervision.

Katrina Newnham

Ms Katrina Newnham, Project Manager

Katrina Newnham is based at the APS where she was previously the Senior Project Officer on the APS’s inaugural RAP.

Katrina has worked in and around the tertiary education sector for around twenty years and has over ten years’ experience in equal opportunity and diversity roles.  Katrina has a breadth of experience in policy writing and analysis, project management and program implementation. 






Indigenous Consultants

The AIPEP Project Team is supported by a team of Indigenous expert consultants.


Dr Gregory Phillips

Dr Gregory Phillips, Senior Indigenous Consultant

Gregory Phillips is an academic and consultant. He was the Project Manager on the Council of Deans of Australian Medical Schools (CDAMS) Indigenous Curriculum project (see Phillips, 2012).  Greg is a respected facilitator and leader in the field of Indigenous health and brings a rich background of experience and expertise. 

Associate Professor Susan Page

Professor Susan Page, External Evaluator

Susan Page is Professor in the Centre for the Advancement of Indigenous Knowledges at the University of Technology, Sydney. 

Susan as a wealth of experience in Indigenous education and OLT project evaluation and was previously Director of Learning and Teaching at Warawara, Department of Indigenous Studies, Macquarie University. Susan’s academic research focuses on Indigenous people's experience of learning and academic work in tertiary education.

Mr Thomas Brideson

Mr Thomas Brideson, Senior Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health Workforce Consultant

Tom Brideson is a Kamilaroi man and NSW State-wide Coordinator of the Aboriginal mental health workforce program located in Orange, NSW. Tom has worked in the area of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and social and emotional wellbeing for over twenty years, including NSW and Commonwealth Government positions. Between 2002 and 2004 Tom was the Project Director of the Djirruwang program at Charles Sturt University and currently holds a range of board and advisory positions including Community Advisory Council of the NSW Mental Health Commission, and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Advisory Group.



AIPEP National Reference Committee

AIPEP is overseen and guided by a National Reference Committee (NRC) of major stakeholders.  The NRC provides ongoing advice to the Project Team and assist will assist in the implementation and sustainability of project outcomes.

We are privileged to have representation from a range of important stakeholder groups.

Membership of the NRC currently includes the following organisations and groups:




Indigenous Governance and Ethics

…the paramount obligation of the profession is to guarantee the participation and control by Indigenous people in any area of psychological study, counselling, and preparation of reports that pertain to the Indigenous community.

(Riley (1997), From exclusion to negotiation: the role of psychology in Aboriginal social justice)

Indigenous governance and ethics have been at the forefront of project considerations, negotiations and implementation.  AIPEP is led by respected Indigenous psychologist Professor Pat Dudgeon.  The Project Team also includes Professor Jeannie Herbert, Pro Vice Chancellor (Indigenous Education) at Charles Sturt University, and is informed by Indigenous consultants:


  • Dr Greg Phillips (Senior Indigenous Consultant)
  • Professor Susan Page (External Evaluator)
  • Mr Thomas Brideson (Senior Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health Workforce Consultant)

The AIPEP National Reference Committee includes member of Indigenous stakeholder groups including:

  • Australian Indigenous Psychologists Association (AIPA)
  • National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO)
  • National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker Association (NATSIHWA)
  • Indigenous Allied Health Association (IAHA)

AIPEP has gained ethics approval from relevant universities as well as:


Art & Artist

Learning Circles

Learning Circles

This art represents life, learning and acquiring and passing down knowledge.

The centre image is a tree showing the cycles of life with many branches of people coming together, connecting to each other, mother land, sea, and sky above.  The flowers are the outcomes of people from many areas coming together in peace to talk, think and share knowledges.  The cycles of life hold us, the people, all the animals, all the plants, the living earth, the seas and the sky together and throughout time.  The cycles of life hold all living things together from the past to now in the present, and into the future.

It is through the cycles of life and understanding that a small ripple from a centre moves through, connects, and is absorbed like knowledge is acquired, to be shared for the growth of all mankind.


About the Artist

Alta Winmar is a Balladong/Koreng Noongar woman living in Perth, Western Australia. She is a Noongar artist who has exhibited works in Western Australia and art pieces in other parts of the world.  Alta is a proud Noongar Yorga (woman).

An artist for many years, Alta now works with the Sister Kate's Home Kids Aboriginal Corporation, and connects art with healing.  She has reconnected further with her Noongar culture through community programs, and is focusing on cultural healing and art as a great tool which also helps children with their cultural identity.  Alta has found that, through the arts, Aboriginal people have the opportunities to heal.


Contact AIPEP