Indigenous Research, Teaching, and Learning
The Faculty of Arts & Science is committed to Indigenous-related research, teaching, and learning in two primary ways. First, A&S is committed to fostering a vibrant and welcoming culture of research, teaching, and learning for Indigenous faculty and students that respects Indigenous ways of knowing and that includes significant engagement with Indigenous communities and nations both in the Greater Toronto Area and beyond. Second, A&S is committed to encouraging positive change stemming from awareness of the role the University and the Faculty have played in destructive colonial practices. Across many departments, centres, and Colleges of A&S, faculty, students, and staff are working systematically to ensure that research and research ethics, curricula, space and wayfinding, and student experience are meaningfully informed by the acknowledgement and understanding that we all work on traditional Indigenous lands.
As we plan for the next five years, the Faculty must take a leading role in asking and answering the following questions: What would it take to make Arts & Science a more attractive place for Indigenous faculty, students, and staff to research, study, and work? How do our cultures and infrastructures of research and teaching need to change in order to support all faculty, students, and staff to understand how they can positively transform their disciplines by actively engaging with Indigenous research, teaching, and learning?
Since the establishment of the Indigenous Teaching and Learning Working Group in 2016, and the subsequent formation of the Dean’s Advisory Committee on Indigenous Teaching and Learning in 2018, the Faculty has taken many steps to realize these commitments. In the Dean’s Office, the A&S Indigenous Teaching and Learning Liaison was hired in a joint appointment with the Centre for Indigenous Studies in 2018. The Special Advisor to the Dean on Indigenous Issues was appointed in 2019. A staff position focused on Indigenous partnerships and community outreach will be in place by spring 2020. In addition, all seven Colleges and a number of departments have been actively working on transforming research and teaching cultures as well as student experience, by developing new courses, experiential learning and research initiatives, hiring Indigenous staff and faculty, and actively recruiting and supporting Indigenous students.
In the next five years, A&S will focus on further realizing its commitments to transform itself to better support Indigenous research, teaching, and learning across the arts and sciences in four primary areas:
- Supporting the Centre for Indigenous Studies to more fully realize its research and teaching mission through initiating a graduate program, enhancing language instruction, and becoming an EDU-A.
- Beginning the process of building dedicated space for an Indigenous “hub” or “college” in partnership with the Provost’s Office. The Centre for Indigenous Studies and First Nations House will play a leading role in determining the vision for this space.
- Instituting a strategy for cultivating opportunities and structural support for Indigenous-related research partnerships, language instruction, and experiential and land-based learning, in part through supporting more intentional partnerships and community outreach with Indigenous nations and organizations.
- Developing and implementing a multi-year strategy for the hiring of Indigenous faculty and staff, and for the active recruitment of Indigenous undergraduate and graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. This strategy must also include transformations in the A&S research and teaching culture to support and retain these members of our community (e.g., community-based courses, research protocols).