The BCcampus Indigenization guides, a collection of resources assembled through a collaboration between BCcampus and the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, are currently under used resources. A recent report compiled by BCcampus staff explores the current awareness and usage across B.C. and offers suggestions to increase awareness for these valuable guides.
Post by BCcampus’ editorial team
In September of 2018, we teamed up with a steering committee of Indigenous education leaders from universities, colleges, and institutes across the province, as well as the First Nations Education Steering Committee, the Indigenous Adult and Higher Learning Association, and Métis Nation B.C. Together, we created a series of open educational resources (OER), authored by Indigenous and ally writers and designed to augment the existing training offered through post-secondary institutions in B.C.
The materials have been shared far and wide, but the uptake in B.C. hasn’t been quite what we’d hoped. To better understand why local institutions aren’t accessing these highly informed resources, we conducted a survey to answer the following questions:
- Which institutions are using the Indigenization guides?
- When are they being used at institutions in B.C.?
- How are they being used at institutions in B.C.?
- If they’re not being used, what are the reasons or barriers faced?
“The report highlighted a substantial need for increased awareness for the Indigenization guides,” explained Declan Robinson Spence, project assistant at BCcampus and the report author. “The folx who were already involved in Indigenous education or Indigenous services were already on board and using the resources, so we were surprised to see the materials weren’t being used by other departments.”
“The response to the guides wasn’t what we were expecting,” shared Denise Goudy, director of Collaborative Projects at BCcampus. “Very few people are engaging with the materials or their teaching and learning or Indigenous centres. Whether it’s a lack of time or a lack of resources, we want to help them use the materials and engage in Indigenization in their communities and institutions.”
BCcampus researchers reached out to members of the teaching and learning centres and Indigenous services coordinators at all of the public post-secondary institutions across the province. Participants were asked to complete a questionnaire, by email or phone, regarding the use and uptake of the guides within their institutions. They were also encouraged to contact us for additional information if needed.
We’re grateful to all of the representatives from the various institutions who contributed to our learnings. Here is a sampling of what they had to share about how their respective institutions are using and promoting the guides:
Okanagan College acknowledges that Indigenization is a lifelong process, but through a one-day forum with their campus community, they were able to obtain actionable feedback to improve their development of Indigenization training and resources. As well, the Faculty of Arts is strongly encouraging its faculty and staff to use the guides in lectures and within their standards and practices so that they may better engage with students.
Royal Roads University
As one of the co-authoring institutions, Royal Roads University is working on adapting the Foundations Guide to a non-credit course, which is to be piloted by faculty and staff before being rolled out to students. A lack of time and capacity has been the main barrier for large-scale adoption of the guides at RRU, despite substantial interest.
The guides have become topics of routine discussion at department and planning meetings. The Selkirk College team is initially focused on engaging with the guides through group work. Lack of capacity has been recognized as a barrier to adoption, but the respondents have put forward some suggestions that may help.
Simon Fraser University
As part of a teacher education program, Simon Fraser University has adopted the Indigenization guides, which will also be part of a cross-cultural awareness course being developed at SFU. A high level of awareness of the guides is represented by those involved in Indigenous education, but the rest of the institution is not aware of the guides.
University of the Fraser Valley
The Foundations Guide is required reading for all new staff at the University of the Fraser Valley, and about one-third of the existing staff are aware of the guides. UFV is also developing Indigenizing curricula, heavily influenced by the current guides, with a focus on Indigenization, reconciliation, and decolonization.
University of Victoria
The guides are being used in pockets of faculty at the University of Victoria, in onboarding training and daily practices for some departments and in training sessions for staff and faculty. The guides are discussed in the weekly meetings of the Learning and Teaching Support and Innovation centre.
Taking the learnings from the research report, we are planning to continue the conversation to identify opportunities to increase awareness of and access to the Indigenization guides. This may include:
- Exploring video models of practical applications of the guides
- Creating a community of practice around Indigenization
- Increasing promotion of the guides through multiple channels
We’ve also recently welcomed Gabrielle Lamontagne to the BCcampus team as our new coordinator of collaborative projects and Indigenization.
You can help us by reviewing the Indigenization guides, sharing your thoughts with the educators in your institutions, and voicing your ideas and insight so that we can bring this valuable resource to as many people in B.C. as possible.
“This research gave us a good glimpse into what is happening at institutions across the province with regard to these guides. While there are barriers yet to overcome, we are eager to see these guides become a staple in advancing Indigenization at post-secondary institutions across the province.”—Denise Goudy, director, Collaborative Projects, BCcampus