Decolonization is one of the key aspirations of the University of Saskatchewan’s current strategic framework. One year into the University Plan 2025, the U of S president and the provost reported on the university’s initiatives towards Indigenization under the plan.
This is the first update since the University Plan was released in October 2018. The institutional plan is intended to guide the university through 2025 towards the goal of being “the university the world needs.” Highlighted in the plan is the priority of Indigenizing programming and “transformative decolonization leading to reconciliation.”
At the December 2019 University Council meeting, President Peter Stoicheff and Provost Anthony Vanelli delivered the report regarding progress of the University Plan to the council, just over one year since the plan’s launch.
In accordance with the plan’s emphasis on Indigenization, Stoicheff provided examples of how the university has improved programs to include Indigenous content.
Stoicheff highlighted the College of Arts and Science’s focus on recruitment of Indigenous faculty, which has been in the works for at least four years and now has the goal of attracting 30 Indigenous faculty members within 10 years.
Starting in November 2018, the College of Kinesiology and Huskie Athletics partnered with the Saskatoon Tribal Council to develop an Indigenous Youth Leadership program for 50 young athletes.
The College of Medicine has created an Indigenous-led research plan in conjunction with Indigenous communities that will guide $43 million in research investment through 2024. The College of Education has developed a master’s program in land-based Indigenous education.
At the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, a program called “honouring Indigenous nations” has been created to conduct research to “support stronger governance and economic outcomes for Indigenous communities.”
The Office of the Vice-
Provost Indigenous Engagement has been changing the university’s promotion and tenure standards to “recognize Indigenous knowledge, ways of knowing and community involvement.”
The annual report will be the first of many and a website is to be dedicated to demonstrating progress made on the plan. A more in-depth Indigenous strategic plan is expected to be released within the year to compliment the University Plan.
Other aspirations of the
U of S under the plan include fostering “productive collaboration,” having a “meaningful impact,” educating “distinguished learners” and achieving “global recognition.”
In the question period of the president and provost’s report, a council member voiced the opinion that the plan should give more importance to climate action. In response, Stoicheff said that sustainability is a guiding principle of the plan reflected on the “weave,” the graphic representation of the strategic framework that shows the guiding principles behind the plan.
The next update on the University Plan is tentatively scheduled for February or March. Annual reports about the plan will be published in June and will include information about how the U of S is meeting its goals and benchmarks.
Photo: Riley Deacon