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First Nations leader set to inspire new generations at Curtin

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A respected academic who champions Indigenous Australians in tertiary education has been appointed Curtin University’s new Dean of Indigenous Engagement in the Faculty of Business and Law.

A proud Noongar Yamatji man, Associate Professor Tuguy Esgin is committed to deeply embedding Aboriginal ways of knowing, being and doing into the Indigenous academic landscape and believes these traditional approaches are not just supplementary but central to creating a more inclusive and effective educational environment.

Curtin’s Faculty of Business and Law Pro Vice-Chancellor Vanessa Chang said she was delighted to welcome Associate Professor Esgin to the role.

“Tuguy joins Curtin with 20 years of experience working with educational institutions to develop and promote the success and well-being of Indigenous students, staff and communities,” Professor Chang said.

“Curtin is committed to embedding the voices and perspectives of Indigenous peoples within its educational framework and I congratulate Associate Professor Esgin on this appointment, which will help guide the inclusion of Indigenous ways of knowing and doing into all aspects of teaching and learning in the faculty.

“Beyond his outstanding leadership capabilities, Tuguy is also an inspiring example of the transformational power of higher education, overcoming significant hurdles including finding an alternative pathway into university, to achieve his academic dream.”

Associate Professor Esgin said he was honoured to undertake the new role.

“This position is not merely a job for me; it’s a calling. I view it as a platform from which to champion a more nuanced, strength-based understanding of Indigenous success and well-being in higher education,” Associate Professor Esgin said.

“I am committed to transcending the traditional norms that have limited Indigenous representation and success in higher academia. By fostering an environment that draws on Aboriginal ways of knowing, being and doing, we can achieve a more authentic, meaningful form of inclusion.

“I will seek to actively engage with both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities to build bridges of understanding and cooperation and look forward to not just steering but co-creating the faculty’s Indigenous engagement strategy in collaboration with a broad range of stakeholders.”

Associate Professor Esgin is an experienced academic professional with a strong background in Indigenous engagement and holds a PhD in Exercise Science, a Master of Business Administration, and a Master and Bachelor of Health Science (Indigenous Community Health).

His most recent positions include Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney, where he taught ‘Strategy Innovation and Entrepreneurship,’ and Senior Researcher and Insights Associate at the University of New South Wales. *

His passion extends to all facets of academic life, from improving curricular content, Indigenous research and teaching methodologies to improving financial and health literacy to ensure more holistic well-being among Indigenous students and staff.

*About Associate Professor Esgin

During his tenure at the University of Sydney, Associate Professor Esgin also coordinated the Remote and Rural Enterprise (RARE) program. RARE is a community-engaged learning initiative that connects students with remote, rural, and Indigenous enterprises in Australia and South-East Asia, enabling them to address real-world business challenges. At the University of New South Wales, he actively collaborated with organisations to pinpoint opportunities for Indigenous entrepreneurs and played a pivotal role in founding the Indigenous Engagement Alliance. Before the onset of the Covid pandemic, he also had the privilege of teaching Marketing at the University of Zhengzhou in China.

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