Professor Rigney has worked in Aboriginal Education for over 20 years. Recently Dean of Indigenous Education at the University of Adelaide, he is now a Visiting Scholar at the University of South Australia. His past positions include Director of Wirltu Yarlu Aboriginal Education and the Director of the Yunggorendi First Nations Centre at Flinders University.
Professor Rigney has a Doctorate PhD by Research and is a Professor of Education. In 2011 he won the National Aboriginal scholar of the Year NAIDOC. In the same year he was appointed by the Australian Government Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth, The Hon Peter Garrett to the First Peoples Education Advisory Group that advises on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander early childhood and school education.
In 2011 he was also appointed as Australian Ambassador for Aboriginal Education. In 2009 he received an honorary United Nations award from the Australian Chapter for his work on Indigenous Education. He has been a member of several high profile expert committees including the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare COAG 'Closing the Gap' Scientific Reference Group, the National Aboriginal Reference Group 25 year Indigenous Education Plan, and Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority National Languages Curriculum Reference Group.
Professor Rigney was the inaugural Co-Chair of Ethics Council for the National Congress of Australia's First Peoples. In 2009 Professor Rigney was co-author of the review of the National Indigenous Education document, Australian Directions, for the Federal Government. He has worked across the Pacific on Indigenous Education in New Zealand, Taiwan and Canada. Professor Rigney was a member on the Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Research Advisory Committee as an education and cultural transmission expert.
His professional standing in education saw him inducted into the Australian College of Educators (ACE) in 1998. He is recognised as a national and international authority in the area of Indigenist Research Methodologies. Interest in his work by National and International universities has seen him uptake several prestigious Visiting Scholar invitations, including Cambridge University, UK; Fort Hare University, South Africa; and University of British Columbia, Canada.