UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Tertiary education
Hot innovation area: Diversity & inclusion

Approximately 20% of staff and 27% of students at UWA come from diverse cultural backgrounds, with over 80 languages represented on campus. In 2009, UWA launched an innovative culture change strategy, Courageous Conversations about Race (CCAR). The core element of CCAR is a highly interactive ‘conversation’ that has constructively engaged the campus community in a dialogue around race, encouraging staff and students to become intellectually and emotionally comfortable with difference. The initiative involved delicate analysis of systems, policies and procedures that had an unwitting Anglo-Christian bias, careful avoidance of one-dimensional stereotyping around race, and an understanding that ‘race’, as something that is within us all, was not invisible across different  facets of university life or was explored superficially through ‘outward’ manifestations (eg multicultural lunches). The Courageous Conversations initiative is now a regular feature on the annual UWA staff development calendar.