‘As an undergraduate, I keenly felt the absence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices in my education. This is something I’ve felt throughout my career…’
Each month, the Library highlights the work of one of our remarkable researchers. This month, we have the privilege of profiling Professor Peter Anderson, from the Walpiri and Murinpatha peoples of the Northern Territory, who is the Director of Griffith’s Indigenous Research Unit. Read about how his passion for education as a fundamental human right, especially for Indigenous and marginalised communities, has inspired his research.
Can you tell us a bit about your research journey?
As an undergraduate, I keenly felt the absence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices in my education. This is something I’ve felt throughout my career and my mission has been to leverage a rights-based, decentralised approach to teaching and learning underpinned by a research base. Education is a fundamental human right and my research journey has been shaped by this belief. Because of this I’ve been a tireless advocate for improved and equal access to education for Indigenous peoples as well as other marginalised communities.
What projects are you currently working on?
Currently, my team and I are immersed in a significant project titled “Patterns of Educational Performance Among Indigenous Students in Australia, 2010-2019: Within-cohort, peer matching analysis for data-led pedagogical decision-making.” This project involves an in-depth analysis of publicly available NAPLAN data from the Productivity Commission. We are examining patterns of relative performance within the cohort of Indigenous students using ‘within cohort, peer matching’ quantitative methods.
This approach sets us apart from studies on the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. Instead, we match Indigenous students against their peers nationwide, providing a comprehensive view of their performance as a cohort. This innovative approach enables educators and policymakers to use Indigenous student achievement data from across the country to assist the design of pedagogical interventions that contribute to their success.
‘Maintain your sense of wonder and joy that drove you through the challenges of your PhD…’
What advice would you give to researchers just starting out?
To those embarking on their research journey, I offer this advice: Maintain your sense of wonder and joy that drove you through the challenges of your PhD. This enduring passion and curiosity are invaluable companions on the path of research. This will help sustain you during the most demanding times and drive your determination to make a meaningful impact.
What attracted you to Griffith University and the role of Director, Indigenous Research Unit?
I was drawn to Griffith University by its reputation for research in the social sciences. My previous experience was at a university of technology, but Griffith’s emphasis on research excellence in the social sciences resonated with my discipline and vision. The role of Director at the Indigenous Research Unit presented a unique opportunity to contribute to building the university’s research capabilities and also actively support the development of the next generation of Indigenous researchers. This aligns strongly with my commitment to fostering future leaders in the field and underscores the transformative power of education as a fundamental human right.
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