Embedding Indigenous cultural competence in a business course: A journey

Lloyd Dolan, Liz Bracken, Nicole Mitchell, Barbara Hill, Melinda Lewis, Alain Neher

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


This interactive ‘work in progress’ discussion session takes participants on a journey. This journey showcases a collaborative approach, which allows for elaborating, flourishing, embellishing towards embedding the Indigenous Cultural Competence (ICC) in the new course Bachelor of Business (with specialisation). In times of COVID, it is vital to build, keep and work in nurturing relationships. COVID has made us rethink our relationships; not everyone is affected equally and we all have different struggles which have, on the positive side, developed a greater sense of care for each other. COVID has also offered a different way to work with and learn from each other and has made us more real and human – for example, we get insights into people’s dwelling and private life with children entertaining meetings or cats jumping on keyboards to get caressed. The journey within our small inclusive team is humanistic and relationship-building. Every team member has the same say and a specific vital role which allows creating a rewarding curriculum for our students. Our team approach is ‘organic’ driven with an underlying theoretical logic, which is applying the Indigenous way of learning. That is, we are using the ‘yarning model’ to integrate Charles Sturt University’s Indigenous Cultural Competence Pedagogical Framework (ICCPF) (CSU, 2020; Ranzijn, McConnochie & Nolan, 2006). “Yarning is about building respectful relationships” (Ranzijn et al., 2009, p. 215) using a conversational process (not a Q&A approach) that involves sharing stories and developing knowledge within a respectful and honest environment; it is a safe place to be heard and to respond. Martin and Mirraboopa (2003, p. 208) identify such an approach as “Ways of Knowing, Ways of Being and Ways of Doing”. In other words, we are building the light bulb to see the light. While we all learn from each other and grow as a team, it is worth noting that we also have fun and experience that integrating the ICC in our undergraduate course is not hard when doing it together. Our journey is based on meeting fortnightly, sharing resources and experiences, getting to know each other and further developing our relationship, being patient and coming up with ideas and ways to make sure we prepare our students for working effectively with Indigenous Australian colleagues, clients and communities. So far, our ‘work in progress’ led us to map our course within the ICCPF from exposure to knowledge and generic understanding of culture to critically examine the profession. Additionally, we have developed our own conceptual framework, which is a novel and unique piece that guides us towards course approval before the Indigenous Board of Studies (IBS). As with all conceptual frameworks, it is like building a ‘house’, it then needs further yarning and embellishing to make it a ‘home’ (Lewis & Lodge, 2017). The team is looking forward to sharing their ‘house’ with the participants and discussing their emerging new ‘home’.


Conference2020 Charles Sturt EdX Learning and Teaching Conference
Abbreviated titleMaintaining wellbeing through uncertainty: building resilience
OtherWe have an exciting variety of sessions for you this year. The program for each day is available below in 2 formats:

i) Interactive Web Version – This link will open up the full program in a new browser tab, with all session details hyperlinked and all zoom meeting links available via the same interface.

ii) 3 separate printable, downloadable (.pdf) files for days 1, 2 and 3.
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