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Q&A with Lindsay McCabe: Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme tutor

8 August 2019
For the past two years Lindsay McCabe, Sydney University honours student, has helped new students through the Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme (ITAS). We sat down with Lindsay to understand what it's like to be an ITAS tutor.

Why did you decide to become an ITAS tutor?

I received tutoring through the ITAS program in my first two years of university, and it was an incredibly valuable experience. It was so reassuring to know that you had someone to go to with all your questions, however silly they might be. My tutors were also able to help with things like navigating special considerations and tips and tricks for keeping my studies under control.

I had one tutor in particular who sat up for most of the night with me, emailing back and forth, when I was fighting to meet a midnight deadline.

They celebrated with me when I did better than I expected. When I was asked if I’d be interested in tutoring, I was absolutely delighted.

Being able to support students who are just starting their university careers is incredibly rewarding and is something that I hope to continue being able to do.

I have tutored about five students over two years. It has been really amazing to see some of those students grow from their first year at uni, to their second or third year. 

I tutor in socio-legal subjects, some of which are now criminology units. It’s an area that I am particularly passionate about and it’s great to be able to share that with people.

How did you come to join the University?

I came to the University in 2015 to start a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in socio-legal studies. Coming to university was a big decision for me, but as a single mum I felt it was important to demonstrate a love of learning and a ‘never give up’ attitude for my child.

I’m still enrolled in that degree and am in the middle of completing my honours year. I have been really fortunate to make some wonderful connections at the University, even more so now that I also work part-time as a Portfolio Officer in the Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Administration Centre.

Why do you think it’s important to champions programs like ITAS?

The ITAS program is an essential part of the support that exists here for Indigenous students. Together with the Mana Yura student support team, through ITAS, students are able to reach their full potential.

The ITAS program is also vital in ensuring that retention and completion rates of Indigenous students continue to grow.

What would you say to someone thinking of applying to be a tutor?

I’d say go for it! At most you can expect to give up around an hour or two a week, sometimes more around exam time, which isn’t much when it is such a valuable and rewarding thing to do. I would particularly encourage all Indigenous staff members to consider applying to be an ITAS tutor.

I’ve learned that as Indigenous students, many of us experience the same issues when we join the University. It is extremely important for those of us who have ‘been there done that’ to share our struggles and successes with the younger ones.

Who is your role model and why?

My Grandpa, John Williams Mozley. He was one of the first Aboriginal police officers in NSW. He worked tirelessly on the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and is a brilliant criminologist.

His passion for creating an Indigenous Criminology piqued my interest in socio-legal studies, and he inspires me to work hard and to keep going, especially in the face of adversity.

More information about ITAS tutor guidelines (PDF, 285KB)

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