Curriculum – what we teach, how we teach it, and the community around students’ educational experiences – is core to advancing a Queen’s community that values Indigenization, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Accessibility, and Anti-Racism (I-EDIAA).
The self-study process is an opportunity to reflect on how I-EDIAA priorities have recently informed and shaped actions in your Department, academic programs, and program curricula. It is not about creating the appearance of perfection. Inclusion work is active, deliberate, and ongoing. There is no perfect starting point and there is no defined end point. Building I-EDIAA conversations into your self-study process will enable the program to identify future needs and ambitions for advancing these priorities into the future.
“You have the power to make change” (Tulshyan, 2022). You have the power to be inclusive on purpose to equity-deserving students, faculty, and staff at Queen’s. Regardless of your position within the organization, you have a privilege that can be used to influence and create opportunities and cultures of equity as well as belonging for all (Tulshyan, 2022). The CPR self-study is an excellent place to reflect on and plan for this work.
Unpacking the Acronym
This text makes use of the acronym, I-EDIAA. The acronym represents Indigenization, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Accessibility, and Anti-Racism. It is similar to the acronym, EDII (standing for Equity, Diversity, Indigenization, and Inclusion). I-EDIAA is the selected acronym for this resource given it’s prioritization of Indigenization, as well as it’s broader incorporation of terms such as accessibility and anti-racism.
Behind these acronyms is a set of complex and distinct (yet interrelated) concepts. For introductory definitions and short descriptors, we recommend the Queen’s University Human Rights and Equity Office Key Terms Resource. These definitions reflect just one perspective when there are many different understandings and defining qualities to each. As you use this resource to initially understand terms, you are encouraged to go beyond this single resource to other recommended texts and resources for continued learning.
I-EDIAA in the Self-Study Template
Recent developments to the self-study template for Cyclical Program Reviews (CPRs) have incorporated and advanced the reporting requirements on these priorities. Section 3.3 and it’s sub-sections 1-4, guide report writers on various prompts:
3.3 Equity, Diversity, Inclusivity, and Indigenization
The University Diversity and Equity Assessment and Planning (DEAP) Tool should be used to complete this section
3.3.1. Describe recent and ongoing initiatives undertaken to address equity, diversity and inclusion in the program objectives, learning outcomes, and curriculum
3.3.2. Indicate how the program will continue to address these areas in the next 5-8 years
3.3.3. Describe how the program is addressing university goals for Indigenization and Reconciliation outlined in the Yakwanastahentéha Aankenjigemi Extending the Rafters: Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force Final Report, specifically sections 21-25
3.3.4. Comment on recent, ongoing and future-planned actions to engage in anti-racism and anti-oppression initiatives within the program
Strategies for Engaging I-EDIAA through Curriculum Review
The following section was written based on the perspectives verbally shared by Yunyi Chen (CTL), Vanessa Yzaguirre (HREO), Lindsay Brant (CTL), and Yasmine Djerbal (CTL) during a 2021 panel session on addressing I-EDIAA in the self-study.
What advice do you have for program leaders as they prepare Section 3.3 of the Cyclical Program Review self-study template?
Many academic leaders attempt to begin their considerations of I-EDIAA within the curriculum by turning to the content being taught. Questions such as: What’s on the reading list? Are we using diverse examples in classes? Who’s voices are being heard and who’s are not?
Our primary advice is to look beyond the content first to other aspects of I-EDIAA within the curriculum and across the student experience, such as:
- Questioning how we (members of the academic discipline) know what we know, who’s perspectives have shaped the theories, concepts, or practices of our discipline – and how is our academic program shaped by that cannon? How do we enable students to critically engage with the discipline?
- Working with program learning outcomes, assessment design, and teaching approaches to consider how decolonial and Indigenous approaches are being engaged or could be engaged.
- Taking stock with a wholistic lens – One that recognizes students, staff, and faculty as whole people with a diverse range of needs and ways of knowing (emotional, spiritual, mental, physical) who come together to teach and learn in complex ways, emphasizing balance, connection and relationality.
- What cannons, theoretical perspectives, and/or historical legacies shape the discipline and this academic program? How does this inform what we teach and how we teach it?
- In what ways are we attentive to or taking action that goes beyond considering the content?
- What type of experiences do we want our students to have?
- Recognizing the diversity amongst us, how can this diversity be valued as a source of learning within the program?
How can self-study leaders engage with the Extending the Rafters report?
Section 3.3.3. focuses on the program’s efforts to engage in decolonizing and Indigenizing work, especially as outlined in the Yakwanastahentéha Aankenjigemi Extending the Rafters: Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force Final Report. Section 3.3.3. draws attention to sections 21-25 specifically, and for convenience those are copied here below:
Extending the Rafters, Sections 21-25 (pages 15 – 17)
- Familiarize yourself with complete Extending the Rafters Report, the broader TRC Calls to Action, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Take this familiarity one step further and help others within your department and academic program become equally familiar with these materials as a starting point for conversation.
- Take stock of how you and members of the academic program have been engaging with decolonizing and Indigenizing efforts in some or all of the following ways: professional development/personal learning, within courses and teaching activities, as departmental/institutional opportunities for professional development and learning, as a program (e.g. programmatic curricular renewal with elements of I-EDIAA as a priority).
- Consult and collaborate with your Departmental or Faculty EDII Committee. These groups are actively committed to I-EDIAA work at the institution. In your CPR self-study, demonstrate ways in which various groups have been formed and are supported to taking action.
- Reach out for support and connect with Indigenous leaders at the university. For example, connecting with OII resources.
- Document efforts specifically intended to support how international students (domestic students alike) learn about colonial and Indigenous histories in Canada.
Decolonizing and Indigenizing Resources
Office of Indigenous Initiatives Web Resources: introductions to Elders-in-Residence, access to training workshops and materials
Queen’s Human Resources Workshops: see Diversity, Intercultural, and International workshop opportunities under the HR Learning and Workshop opportunities.
Training Resources for Indigenous Community Research Partnerships
Human Rights and Equity Office: education modules and workshops
What might engagement in anti-racism and anti-oppression initiatives look like for an academic program?
Section 3.3.4. draws attention to anti-racist and anti-oppressive initiatives. Let’s start by considering what these two terms can mean:
Anti-Racism: An active process of identifying and counteracting racism by changing systems, organizational structures, policies, practices, and attitudes so that power is redistributed.
Anti-Oppression: An active process of recognizing, disempowering, marginalizing, or silencing oppressions that exist due to power and privilege, and mitigating the affects of oppression to eventually equalize the power imbalance in our communities.
As previously emphasized, a key consideration here is: How is engagement in anti-racist and anti-oppression activities happening (or could happen) not only at the content level but across the curriculum (such as through reflecting on program learning outcomes, student supports across their progression of learning, through course work including assessments and learning activities)?
Capture What’s Happening in Classrooms
Mind what is happening in classrooms by connecting with instructors, adjuncts, teaching fellows, and faculty to capture how they are engaging with this work. Sometimes there can be a disconnection between program leaders and ‘small actions’ happening in the classrooms, as it is these ‘small actions’ that often get missed, aren’t shared, or talked about. Highlighting this work in your self-study!
Pay Attention to Power Dynamics
One view in which the self-study could take is to critique the power dynamics that shape the culture of the academic program, department, and unit. You can work toward this by attentive to how power operates within your unit and Faculty – especially as you engage in the self-study process.
- What is being done to protect equity-deserving Faculty and students from systemic barriers?
- What mentorship opportunities are available or are being created to specifically support equity-deserving members of the academic program (faculty, staff, and students)?
- What is the cultural climate of our department and how does that influence the curriculum?
How can program leaders capture what’s currently happening as well as plan for the future?
Recognize this area of work as an ongoing process. Reflect on the current state of the program and own where you’re at on I-EDIAA work within the self-study. Through the self-study process your group might begin to articulate short, medium, and long-range goals. Work in a plan for checking in often on those goals and progress made – How can goals be measured? How can success be demonstrated?
This work is challenging. It is often uncomfortable. It can feel like ‘it never ends’. When we recognize how it feels to do the work, we can better lean into those feelings and stick with it, rather than shying away out of discomfort.
Human Rights & Equity Office: https://www.queensu.ca/hreo/
Inclusion and Anti-Racism in Teaching & Learning: Yasmine Djerbal, Educational Developer (Inclusion & Anti-Racism), Centre for Teaching & Learning
Indigenization and Indigenous Pedagogies: Lindsay Brant, Educational Developer (Indigenous Pedagogies and Ways of Knowing), Centre for Teaching & Learning
Globally-Engaged Curriculum: Yunyi Chen, Educational Developer (Program and Curriculum Globalization), Centre for Teaching & Learning
Tulshynan, R. (2022). Inclusion on Purpose: An Intersectional Approach to Creating a Culture of Belonging at Work. MIT Press.