Associate Vice President, Indigenization and Decolonization
|Institution Type:||College / University|
Mount Royal University is situated in Treaty 7 that includes the Niitsitapi of Siksika, Piikani, and Kainai First Nations; the Îyârhe Nakoda of the Chiniki, Bearspaw, and Wesley Nations; and the Dene of the Tsuut’ina Nation. Southern Alberta is also home to the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3. Calgary is located where the Bow River meets the Elbow River. This site has long been called Mohkinsstsis by the Blackfoot, as well as Wîchîspa by the Nakoda, and Guts’ists’i by Tsuut’ina.
Mount Royal University is committed to addressing the legacy of broken promises and rebuilding the relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Calgary and across the country. We began a process of building a framework for strategic planning in 2013, developed strategies as staff and students, and consulted broadly. The Indigenous Strategic Plan 2016-21 was approved in August 2016.
Our goal is to decolonize and indigenize Mount Royal University, to respect and embrace Indigenous knowledge and ways of knowing, to integrate Indigenous teachings and practices, to support Indigenous learners, to strive for decolonization, and to honour Indigenous experiences and identities. Additional information on existing initiatives is included as an appendix to this posting.
Who we are
Mount Royal University has a distinct niche in the postsecondary system by offering smaller class sizes, a robust liberal education and unique undergraduate programs. Founded in 1910 and located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Mount Royal grew into a vibrant college in the 1930s and became a mid-sized university with a greater focus on Bachelor degrees in 2009. More than 100,000 Mount Royal alumni are contributing to their communities worldwide.
Students consistently rank Mount Royal University among Canada’s best universities for quality of teaching and overall educational experience. From aviation and midwifery, to broadcasting and child studies, we boast a number of unique and innovative degrees. Currently, nearly 15,000 credit students choose from 12 Bachelor degrees and 36 majors. To meet the rising demand for post-secondary education in Calgary and Alberta, our goal by 2025 is to have more than 16,000 credit students choosing from 15 degrees and 60 majors. We currently have an Indigenous Studies minor and plans for a major are underway.
At Mount Royal, we are committed to four brand pillars: provide personalized learning; be outcome focused; deliver quality teaching; and be community responsive.
Our campus and the broader community
Located near the Glenmore reservoir and the Tsuu t’ina Nation 145 in picturesque southwest Calgary, the Lincoln Park campus offers an exceptional experience for students, employees and visitors. As a good neighbour, we strive to maintain a safe and welcoming campus. We constantly seek ways to engage in reciprocal partnerships to advance good relations. Students are encouraged to be responsible and engaged citizens. Mount Royal is considered a national leader in Community Service Learning, with nearly 25 per cent of students providing more than 300,000 hours of community service last year.
About the Role
This newly created position will be the senior Indigenous leader for Mount Royal University. The successful candidate will provide transformative vision, strategy, leadership and direction to advancing our institutional commitments to indigenization and decolonization. Reporting to the Vice Provost and AVP Academic, and as a member of the senior academic administration, the position will actively contribute to institutional governance and program development with an emphasis on decolonizing and indigenizing the academy. The ideal candidate will be a ‘builder’ with a passion and capacity to enhance existing indigenization of our campus and curriculum. The role will require strong communication and coordination skills to collaboratively engage our internal and external communities in decolonization and indigenization with respect and reciprocity. The successful candidate will also help to foster an environment where Indigenous students, faculty, staff, collaborators and visitors can thrive in a safe and culturally competent campus. Preference will be given to Indigenous candidates with connections to, and lived experience and relationships with, the nations in the traditional territories where MRU is located.
Summary of Key Responsibilities
- Input and advice on indigenization, decolonization and reconciliation in MRU policy and procedures.
- Guidance for inclusion and navigation of protocols and processes for engaging with Indigenous practices and communities.
- Oversight of Office of Academic Indigenization (first year will include developing a plan for the OAI) including supervision of staff.
- Leadership of the Indigenous Strategic Planning process, reporting and monitoring.
- Collaborating with the Representation Executive Council at the Students’ Association of Mount Royal University.
- Coordination with Human Resources and Campus Equity and Meaningful Inclusion on Indigenization and EDI broadly.
- Support for the development of curriculum addressing the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
- Coordination with the Office of Research, Scholarship and Community Engagement on Indigenous research.
- Collaboration with the Development Office on fund raising for indigenization and decolonization.
- Relational learning and meaningful collaboration within Treaty 7 and beyond - including advisory councils, colleges and universities, government ministries.
- Vice Chair of GFC Committee on Indigenization - name to be determined
- Close working relationship with the Director of the Iniskim Centre.
Minimum of a Master’s Degree with a minimum of 5 years of progressive leadership experience in a college, university or equivalent; however, equivalent lived experience will also be considered.
- Lived experience of an Indigenous world view, culture, traditions and values.
- The ability to effectively articulate an Indigenous perspective on current and emerging Indigenous issues to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous audiences.
- A track record of listening, consensus-building and inclusive leadership by example.
- A record of successful involvement in strategic planning and implementation.
- Commitment to educational and employment equity and anti-racism education.
- A proven understanding of and appreciation for the culture of a university and the value of a wide variety of approaches to scholarly, creative, professional and cultural activities.
- Authentic nature with the ability to inspire trust and to contribute to a positive and nurturing climate in an organization.
- Persistence and persuasiveness combined with outstanding interpersonal and communication skills, both at the individual level and at the level of large and small groups.
- The ability to achieve the support of students and colleagues in planning and implementing institutional and academic initiatives.
- Demonstrated ability to build and manage effectively collaborative teams, institutional infrastructure and resources.
- Knowledge of university policies as they relate to advancing Indigenous education.
- Knowledge of and experience with post-secondary education initiatives, programs and transformative practices in support of Indigenous education, student success and community engagement.
- Proficient knowledge of the political, legislative and governing bodies pertaining to Indigenous initiatives at a local, provincial and national level
- A commitment to Indigenous community-engaged research, teaching and learning across diverse cultures.
- Demonstrated history of meaningful engagement with Indigenous communities, Elders, and knowledge keepers in and near the area where MRU is located.
- Experience as an administrator with a record of increasing responsibilities, including employee supervision, and positions in support of Indigenous education, student success and community engagement.
- Comprehensive knowledge of United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Calls to Action by the Truth & Reconciliation Commission.
- Demonstrated ability to obtain funding for programs and initiatives that directly impact Indigenous student academic success, faculty professional development, and research.
- Demonstrated ability to engage university leadership, government partners, faculty, students, and media on indigenization, university education, decolonization, and anti-racism.
What We Offer
Talented and committed employees are the driving force behind student success. We strive to be an employer of choice among Canadian post-secondary institutions.
At Mount Royal University, we recognize that people are a combination of many intersecting identities; we work to cultivate an environment that welcomes the whole person, and harnesses the strength that is available in our diversity, creating a rich and inclusive workplace. Investing in the learning and development of our employees benefits the individual and the University.
A variety of services, resources and programs encourage a healthy, productive workplace. Mount Royal University offers a competitive total compensation package including health and dental benefits, pension, health and personal spending accounts, paid vacation, paid winter holiday closure, personal days and a free membership in our fully equipped recreation centre.
Our campus offers the convenience of a full medical clinic, dentist and pharmacy, as well as a variety of wellness services such as physiotherapists and massage therapists. Campus Recreation offers many activities, including personal training, fitness classes, climbing, aquatics, sports, tournaments and certifications for students, employees and the public.
Closing Date: Consideration of candidates will begin immediately, with a deadline for applications on 15th January, 2021.
To Apply: Please visit our Career Opportunities Page.
A cover letter that explains why you are interested in the position, a statement (maximum 500 words) of your experience with Indigenous nations, and resume should be submitted in one .pdf formatted document. Please title your .pdf document as follows: [Last Name], [Job Title], [Requisition Number].pdf (ex. Smith, Coordinator, 999999.pdf).
Leaders at MRU:
Have integrity and are inclusive
- promote and contribute to a more open and diverse campus community
- foster and advocate for a culturally diverse environment
- demonstrate accountability with respect to both fiscal and human resources
- speak truthfully and honestly
- value all opinions
- listen to others
- keep commitments and be ethical
- have courage to speak up and challenge status quo
- encourage team members to think independently give people latitude to make decisions on their own
- express confidence in the ability of others to be successful
- encourage groups to resolve problems on their own and bring them together
- delegate to others in order to provide them with opportunities for growth
- offer guidance, motivation, coaching, feedback, and support to ensure success
- share own knowledge and best practices with others for the purpose of assisting in their ongoing development
- inspire others to take on responsibilities and challenges
- remove obstacles to allow people to do their jobs
- encourage people with divergent ideas/perspectives to express themselves
- advocate for their team
- support their employees’ training and promotion
- share expertise and teach others
- create learning opportunities
- champion a supportive learning environment that facilitates growth and development
- support development of a new product, service, method or approach
- inspire and energize
Engage and support others
- ensure goals and performance are aligned and actively contribute to the vision and the strategic plan
- support the achievement of role-related objectives
- identify opportunities to assist, help, and serve others
- help team members identify and build key relationships and networks inside and outside the organization
- ensure team members’ strengths are used whenever possible to serve and contribute to the community
- lead and support individuals or teams to enhance performance and grow professionally
- provide feedback to encourage ongoing development
- provide in-depth coaching, mentoring, or training
- are focused on providing the highest level of service
- are courageous about knowing when to seek expertise
Take risks and are innovative
- demonstrate adaptability and flexibility
- value initiative and questioning of the status quo
- alternative thinking to develop new ideas or add value in services and processes
- approach challenges and opportunities creatively
- research and share new information and approaches to meet changing needs of the organization
- willingness to lead, take charge, offer opinions and direction
- engage others, support, and implement change to enhance programs and services
Indigenization and Decolonization Initiatives at Mount Royal University
Mount Royal University has a long and active history of campus indigenization. The following information is provided to give applicants a sense of the range of initiatives already underway at the institution. We are seeking an individual to build on this foundation to make MRU a leader in indigenization and decolonization.
Supports for Indigenous Learners
The Iniskim Centre was founded in 2006 to offer programs and services to increase the engagement and success of Indigenous students while also raising awareness of Indigenous peoples and cultures. The naming of the centre and official opening was held on March 21, 2007 with a pipe ceremony. The focus on a holistic approach to Indigenous academic success has contributed to engagement of all students. Iniskim Centre programming includes student success seminars, counselling, tutoring, and bridging of services such as librarians and academic advisors. The Indigenous University Bridging Program provides students with the ability to apply to degree programs or to other post-secondary programs. The Medicine Trail Program provides individual students or groups, faculties and departments with cultural resources and supports and engages several hundred students and staff in workshops and blanket exercises annually. The BMO Peer Mentorship Program offers support to first year students through experienced students who are trained in mentorship with a strong cultural component. The Indigenous Housing Program builds community and offers bursaries for the 8 families residing on campus year round and the 26 students living in residence.
The centre serves as a place of community for Indigenous students. Loneliness, isolation, being a first generation university student are primary barriers to succeeding. Increasing a sense of belonging and knowledge of university processes and supports has contributed, along with professors who personalize learning, to Indigenous student success. This data can be found in the annual reporting of the Indigenous Strategic Plan.
Indigenous Strategic Plan 2016-2021
The plan developed from a Framework that was created in 2013 and the input of a President’s Advisory Committee (2014). Staff and students were asked to volunteer for the five working groups to create strategies for the goals of Indigenization, Research, Community Partnerships, Student Supports, and Curriculum. Elders, who were part of the advisory, held a pipe ceremony with the volunteers and when the five working works completed drafts, these were reviewed by the Advisory Committee and put forward to staff and students for comments and suggestions. The edited plan then went to the President's Executive Council for Approval in 2016.
The plan has been monitored and implemented by a committee with annual reporting to the community. Important milestones such as the opening of the Office of Academic Indigenization, the increase in enrolment, and the expansion of the Indigenous Family Housing Program are included as narratives and as empirical data. As 2021 nears, planning is needed as the efforts to indigenize are current, relevant, and an institutional priority. Strategies to engage the community deeply, launch language and culture courses, and decolonize the academy need to keep abreast of the enthusiasm and maturation of MRU efforts.
Office of Academic Indigenization
The Office of Academic Indigenization (OAI) opened in 2017 as part of Mount Royal University's Indigenous Strategic Plan. The mandate is to contribute to the implementation of the academic goals listed in the Indigenous Strategic Plan, especially Goal 5: Respectful and Inclusive Curricula and Pedagogies. Guided by community advisory groups, Elders, students and faculty the OAI provides leadership for curriculum development, professional development for faculty and staff, and academic support for current and prospective students. The goal is to help decolonize post-secondary education by creating space for Indigenous voices, perspectives, and knowledge within Mount Royal.
The OAI acknowledges the partnerships with, and generous collaboration from, Indigenous community members across Treaty 7 to respectfully propel these developments forward. We work regularly with citizens of the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot) confederacy (the Siksika, Piikani, and Kainai First Nations) the Tsuut’ina Nation, the Îyârhe Nakoda (which includes the Bearspaw, Chiniki, and Wesley First Nations), and Métis communities to help foster inclusive experiences for Indigenous students, faculty, and staff at Mount Royal. This in turn nurtures all relationships campus-wide.
There is much work to be done across all areas of the University to honour the knowledge and pedagogies of Indigenous peoples; we hope to contribute to that learning for faculty, staff, and students alike.
Initiatives to Indigenize the Curriculum
The Office of Academic Indigenization convened a cross-campus committee called the Academic Indigenization Advisory Committee (AIAC). One of the concrete actions of the AIAC was to bring a motion to General Faculties Council (GFC) to pursue a 3-credit equivalent Indigenous content coursework graduation requirement for all MRU students. In April 2020, GFC approved the motion and directed further work be completed to guide implementation. The intention is to have every student graduate with Indigenous content. In addition, we will continue to deliver the Indigenous Studies minor and will work towards a major in Indigenous Studies.
Indigenous Student Recruitment and Retention
Indigenous student recruitment has been actively supported through the activities of the Indigenous Recruitment Officer, the Indigenous University Bridging Program, the Indigenous Housing Program and designated seats by the admissions policy. Applications to all programs from self-declared Indigenous students are continuing to increase with Fall 2019 22% above the ten year average. The retention rate among Indigenous students equals the retention rate for non-Indigenous students and the five and six-year graduation rates are comparable.
The percentage of students who self-identified as Indigenous reached 6.1% in 2019/20, compared with 6.0% in 2018/19, advancing the goal to achieve 7.0% by 2025.
MRU annually engages 20-25 Elders from various Nations for ceremonial purposes, classes, faculty and student learning, collaboration in curriculum and research. The Medicine Trail coordinator is a primary resource for sustaining relationships and contributes to the knowledge and capabilities of faculty, students and staff in approaching specific elders. The Faculty of Health, Community, and Education works with Roy Bear Chief as the Espoom tah to develop Ani to pisi (spider web) and the 2024 Strategic Plan. Doreen Spence works with Nursing and the Community of Practice for Indigenous Health.
Doreen Spence and Clarence Wolfleg have been awarded honorary degrees from Mount Royal University for their work nationally and within MRU. These awards occurred as changes were made to convocation ceremonies that included an Elder opening the ceremonies, a MRU song, and medicine bags gifted to the Indigenous graduates. These changes complement the Indigenous Graduation Ceremonies and the Graduation Pow-Wow that have been long standing ways to honour Indigenous student success. The spring Graduation Ceremonies involve graduates of the Indigenous University Bridging Program, Baccalaureates and Diploma graduates, and their families. Graduates are gifted and baccalaureates are transferred a feather or a sash. Attendance at this moving event has been increasing since 2007. The Pow Wow is held in November after Fall Convocation and the graduates are celebrated within the community. Initially sponsored by SAMRU, now by the Iniskim Centre, the 26th annual Pow-Wow is attended by over 400 people.
Students and faculty participate in community-based learning through a Treaty 7 Field School and a Field School with the Îyârhe Nakoda. Other examples of activities to enhance and celebrate indigenization at MRU include:
- An Indigenous advisory group to the Office of Academic Indigenization
- Way-Finding signs in Blackfoot in the Library (DeciphAR app)
- Transfer agreement with Old Sun College
- Online Treaty 7 course under development with community collaboration
- Honour Song gifted to the University
- Co-teaching with community members in the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Health, Community and Education
- Service learning projects in Indigenous communities
To apply please visit our Career Opportunities Page.
For further inquiries, please contact Michael S. Quinn, Vice-Provost and Associate Vice President (Academic) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Primary Category:||Native American History / Studies
|Secondary Categories:||Indigenous Studies