Professor Marcia Langon and Professor Rhonda Craven at the IPPE launch.
Professor Rhonda Craven, Director of IPPE, has identified the need to apply a new approach to support Aboriginal Australians.
Aboriginal Australians must be equipped with the proper tools to become self-reliant and to overcome disadvantage, Australian Catholic University (ACU) researcher Professor Rhonda Craven said.
Speaking at the launch of ACU's Institute for Positive Psychology and Education (IPPE) in Sydney on 25 November, Director Professor Craven said that a new approach was needed to close the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians.
IPPE is dedicated to the discovery of what drives individuals and communities to thrive and flourish. Its research is guided by positive psychology, which uses scientific understanding and effective intervention to aid in the achievement of a fulfilling and productive life.
"The reality is efforts to close the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians are falling short," Professor Craven said.
"It's time we put the Commonwealth's words into actions when they say there is a need to engage Aboriginal people more in solving these problems.
"What's needed is a new focus on discovering and unlocking a can-do attitude, resilience and the other key drivers that will empower Aboriginal Australians to flourish and thrive.
"We have tried deficit theory for over 200 years. It doesn’t work and never will."
Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Craven and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Wayne McKenna officially launched the new institute. Award-winning researcher Lynette Riley sang a memorable Acknowledgment of Country and leading Aboriginal scholar Professor Marcia Langton gave an address at the launch.
IPPE is the country's leading institute for Aboriginal Education research, attracting the greatest number of Australian Research Council (ARC) Indigenous Discovery Grants.
The Discovery Indigenous scheme provides funding to support research programs led by an Indigenous Australian researcher and builds research capacity of Indigenous higher degree research and early career researchers.
IPPE was established at ACU in February 2014 and is based at the University’s Strathfield Campus.
ACU is Australia's largest Catholic university, with campuses in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide and Ballarat.