Team Member Reflection: Allison Stewart
My role has been WCE Strategic Priority Projects Manager – the longest job title I’ve ever had. I started with three main projects and interviewing staff across the University, looking at research and talking with WCE staff. After some months I decided to focus mainly on Adult English Language Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) because it is such a big contributing factor to moving along the educational or career pathway, and if people were more able to communicate in English it would have a big impact. Of course I listened to our community staff talking strongly about the need to also establish literacy and oracy in first language first before moving on to English.
At first I worked to stimulate conversation across the University to find out what was going on and catalyse action for positive change in the University. I used a ‘strengths-based’ and ‘action oriented’ approach. In this work I was supported by LLN specialists – Wendy Kennedy and Lorraine Sushames, we formed the heart of a consultative group. Community staff helped as well, but here at the University, but Wendy and Lorraine were my main support. We arranged a workshop for CDU staff on 14 July 2016. About 25 people came and we talked about English LLN at CDU. A lot came out of this meeting and outcomes and research were circulated to the University to assist with thinking about how the University could better meet the needs of Indigenous Territorians.
At that meeting it was suggested that what was needed was assessment of the economic and social cost of low levels of LLN, a NT Indigenous adult LLN Strategy, and a network for the NT. When I met with Gary Fry – organiser of the Indigenous Leadership Conference (ILC) later I suggested that we work more closely with the Centre for School Leadership and put the idea the WCE Steering Group. Things progressed from there. We started organising an LLN Pre-Conference workshop and a Youth Summit, and James and I became part of the ILC organising Committee.