Yawuru man and ANU Indigenous academic, Professor Mick Dodson, has been appointed as a prestigious Vice Chancellor’s Professorial Fellow by Monash University’s Vice Chancellor Margaret Gardner.
The appointment, announced this week, will see Professor Dodson “provide advice, leadership and mentoring on matters relating to Indigenous affairs at Monash”. It’s an interesting appointment for someone who will continue to hold a senior Indigenous leadership position at another university, as Professor Dodson will remain in his core role as Director of the National Centre for Indigenous Studies at ANU while holding the position at Monash. However, it is widely seen as a testament to his standing across Australia as a senior and rspected academic.
Professor Dodson has held numerous senior posts over his career, including the first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, and former Chairman of the National Aboriginal Youth Law Centre Advisory Board. He is currently also the Chair of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) Council.
Monash University currently has thirteen men and one woman who are VC professorial fellows, although Professor Dodson is the only Indigenous Australian.
The Monash website states that “Vice-Chancellor’s Professorial Fellows are persons of national and international eminence, involved in development and implementation of strategic, student, research and operational activities of the University”. ANU does not have a similar fellowship program.
Professor Dodson, an alumnus of Monash, has expressed delight at this appointment but was quick to point out that he is not leaving ANU. PARSA Indigenous Officer Jessa Rogers said this was a “huge relief” claiming “Professor Dodson and Aunty Anne [Martin] are the most senior Indigenous voices on the staff at ANU and if either of them were to leave we would be in a very difficult position as a university as there are so few Indigenous voices here as it is”.
Professor Dodson is a former Australian of the Year and is the brother of Senator Patrick Dodson.