Extending the boundaries of non-Indigenous science to embrace the cultural curriculum by creating a living compendium of practice

Rebecca Cross, Rosanne Quinnell, Paul Rhodes, Glenda Wardle, Tina Bell, Alice Motion, Tom Hubble, Zsuzsanna Dancso, Dominic Murphy, Jaime Gongora


Embedding cultural competence (CC) into science curricula is key to the University of Sydney’s commitment to producing students with skills and knowledge to work in cross-cultural settings. Within the Faculty of Science, there are eight disciplinary schools who have, to some extent, endeavoured to introduce CC into their delivery and content to ensure students achieve this graduate outcome. Cultural competence inclusion was initiated by the Wingara Mura-Bunga Barrabugu program, with a focus on integration of Indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) into non-Indigenous science.

In 2018, we initiated a CC compendium to act as a bridging space between academics, to share content and explore collaborations laterally across the faculty.

This paper documents the process of interviewing academic staff and collating the compendium by gathering teaching materials and CC teaching approaches, highlighting the points of highest resonance within each discipline. Academics are using creative and innovative ways to extend their disciplinary boundaries, are embracing personal and professional growth by taking on this challenge and are carving out new pathways in science.

These boundary-pushing efforts are however, marginal, and are largely being introduced by non-Indigenous academics, which raises questions about IKS inclusion as a pathway for generating CC.

We thank the Wingara Mura-Bunga Barrabugu, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Indigenous Strategy and Services for funds for this project.


non-Indigenous science, Indigenous knowledge systems, curriculum transformation, cultural competence, critical science

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