Council commits to Indigenous learning

At its Jan. 21 meeting, Univer­sity Council passed a motion supporting the inclusion of Indigenous knowledges and experiences in all degree programs.

The motion, put forward by Marcel D'Eon, professor in Community Health and Epide­miology, and Monica Iron, student member of Council, supports the university's commitment to building recon­ciliation and is in line with the calls to action from the recent Truth and Reconciliation Commission's report.

"What this does is solidify the movement and the momentum," said D'Eon. "I think University Council wanted to make a statement in support of the goal of having meaningful Indigenous learning in all degree programs."

D'Eon said that this motion demonstrates solidarity with the University of Saskatchewan Students' Union motion passed in November and that he felt University Council "wanted to have their voice added to the growing chorus behind this issue."

As University Council is responsible for all academic matters, D'Eon continued, "it really needed a definitive statement to authorize Council committees to move forward with this initiative."

D'Eon, a member of the Teaching and Learning and Academic Resource Committee (TLARC) of Council, said the motion "is a necessary step, but not sufficient and there is a considerable amount of work to be done."

Patti McDougall, vice-pro­vost, teaching and learning, said that she has been having many discussions on Indige­nous content and learning expe­riences grounded in Indigenous worldviews and fully supports implementing this priority.

"TLARC has developed a plan to move forward on this initiative," said McDougall. "There are important steps that need to be taken. The first step is to develop learning outcomes tied to Indigenous content that we will embed within the Learning Charter, which is a foundational document at the U of S and guides degree expec­tations."

McDougall said that the university is doing a good job in a number of areas in this regard and needs to take inventory of academic programs to determine best practices moving forward so that success in one college will help build success in other colleges.

"This will help us determine how best to support the implementation of Indige­nous content in our curriculum within different colleges," she said. "But this won't include making every student at the U of S take the same Indigenous studies course. This won't be a single course model; that would not be a suitable fit for our university. We need to look at a number of options, including courses, modules, or other ways of achieving learning outcomes, to determine the best fit for disciplines, degrees and programs."




 

The motion is as follows: University Council emphatically endorses the inclusion of Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit, Métis) knowledges and experiences for the purpose of achieving meaningful and relevant learning outcomes, in all degree programs at the University of Saskatchewan.
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