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Len-Collard

Emeritus Professor Len Collard

School of Indigenous Studies

"Imagine. Believe in yourself. Work hard. Take your culture to the international, national, and local worlds. Love what you do and love your family."

I am a Whadjuk/Ballardong Nyungar Elder from the Aboriginal people of the South West, Western Australia. I intend continuing my work in the area of Aboriginal Studies in the context of local, national and international Indigenous and First Nations peoples, for the rest of my life.

My involvement with the academic profession began in 1989 at WACAE/Edith Cowen University, Korongkurl Katitjin, a university to which I later received an honorary doctorate in Education in 2023. Since then, I have held positions leading and teaching in Aboriginal studies as Chair in the ATSI Program at Murdoch University, Associate Professor at Curtin University, Winthrop Professor Level E at UWA, and now as Adjunct Professor at University of Notre Dame Australia. In this time, I have also been the recipient of multiple Australian Research Council (ARC) grants and have published significant papers in international peer-reviewed journals.

Most important experiences while at UWA

Having the opportunity to develop the Aboriginal studies program with a teaching team of amazing, innovative, and first-class colleagues. It has also been a privilege to have led successful research innovation and successful ARC grants, along with developing up and coming young Aboriginal research scholars, all while being involved in a top 100 internationally renowned University with outstanding infrastructure.

Where did you think you would end up, when you began your career?

At the beginning of my career, I strove to become a world-class, renowned scholar and teacher in the field of Aboriginal studies, but I didn’t know what this looked like. My goals developed as I learned what opportunities were out there to reach for. I wanted to achieve the highest office at the university and have now done so by being promoted to Winthrop Professor and being awarded the title of Emeritus Professor.

What are some of your most significant achievements?

Being consistently funded by the ARC, published in international peer-reviewed journals and forming part of a prestigious top-ranked teaching team at UWA. The opportunity to teach, mentor and graduate so many students in the field of Aboriginal studies is also a significant achievement for me, along with being recognized by my peers in my promotion to Winthrop Professor and Emeritus Professor.

What has been the most interesting aspect of your career?

To see and be involved in student development and staff mentoring, through Aboriginal studies teaching, research and public stakeholder engagement. Being able to engage in international, national, and local teaching, research and collaboration has been an amazing opportunity, as well as being able to support and develop students through supervising undergraduate, masters, and PhD level students.

Where are you planning to go from here? Are there new interests you are looking to get involved in?

My aspiration is to become a Senator at UWA, as I believe I have a full-rounded practical appreciation and understanding of the challenges of the University going into the future.

I plan to continue to mentor and develop in research teaching and community engagements internationally, nationally and locally. Now and into the future, I will continue to engage in cultural capacity building to reaffirm our sovereignty on our lands through Noongar place naming.

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