New Indigenous education award honours journalism alumnus

New Indigenous education award honours journalism alumnus

The legacy of distinguished Wergaia/Wamba Wamba Elder, Professor Eleanor Bourke, has been recognised with the establishment of an eponymous new award for Indigenous education.

The Eleanor A. Bourke Award and Citation for Indigenous Education honours Bourke’s eminent career, outstanding leadership and tireless dedication to advancing Aboriginal education and communities over more than 40 years.

Responding to the establishment of the award, Bourke, who is an alumnus of RMIT journalism, reflected on the role of education as the key to a better life for Aboriginal people. 

“It is my belief that the improvement of education objectives and outcomes will ultimately lead to better opportunities and eliminate barriers for Aboriginal peoples,” she said. 

eleanor-bourke Bourke gained a Diploma of Arts (Journalism) from RMIT in 1976.

Open to RMIT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander educators, the award recognises the achievements of educators and their contributions to the field of Indigenous education. 

In addition to the general assessment criteria, assessors will consider the significance of Indigenous contexts, recognition from Indigenous communities and Elders, and engagement with Indigenous co-creators and community experts.

Professor Gary Thomas, Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous Education, Research and Engagement, said RMIT was honoured to name a teaching award after Bourke in acknowledgement of her incredible contributions to society.

“This award furthers RMIT’s commitment to shaping our graduates to be global, ethical citizens who are actively engaged with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ perspectives, world views and lifeways,” he said. 

“It also affirms the important role our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander educators play in bringing unique perspectives to the RMIT learning and teaching community.”

The award is aligned with the Australian Awards for University Teachers’ (AAUT) Neville Bonner Award, providing a pathway to this national level award, and will be offered for the first time as part of the RMIT University Teaching Awards in 2023.

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Story: Cherry Cai


  • Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
  • Indigenous
  • Announcements
  • Indigenous Australia

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RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.