Board approves AVP (Indigenous Initiatives)

Western Board of Governors approved a plan to create the position of Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President (Indigenous Initiatives), in action at its regular meeting Thursday.

The new senior role will be the university’s champion driving the implementation of Western’s Indigenous Strategic Plan – responsible for helping move Western from an Indigenous student services model to an institution-wide approach that encompasses governance, policy and practice, teaching and learning and curriculum, research and physical space planning.

The report to Board stated: “(The approach) provides an administrative structure that elevates Indigenous voices to the executive level and maximizes potential for advocacy, consultation and persuasion. With this change, it is important to understand how Indigenous peoples and ways of knowing (e.g. languages, theories, epistemologies, and methodologies) are systemically marginalized in academic disciplines and organizational hierarchies. This Office will help redress structural inequities and proactively create space for Indigenous peoples and ways of knowing to grow and thrive in our university.”

About half of Ontario’s universities and 70 per cent of U15 schools have such an Indigenous senior position in place, the report stated.

A nine-member team composed of faculty, students, administration and Indigenous community representatives will be on the selection committee.