Initiatives in the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences
Much More To Do
The University of Guelph seeks to create an inclusive and equitable environment for students, staff and faculty. In 2019, an Indigenous Initiatives Strategic Task Force was formed and tasked with developing a strategy aimed at guiding reconciliation and decolonization efforts at the University of Guelph. In March 2021, the task force released their report which focused on the five key areas of governance, campus environment, Indigenous student support, research and scholarship, and pedagogy and curriculum.
As acting dean of the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences, I was eager to read the report and consider what we as a College can do to further our efforts towards decolonization and reconciliation.
In 2018, the College established an Indigenization committee to review curriculum across College programs and identify gaps in existing curricula. In 2020, the committee began work on a student-led initiative for Indigenizing the college. The College has also looked to increase support for Indigenous students through new awards and research funding and is proud to be contributing to the newly established Nokom's House – an Indigenous land-based lab promoting truth, reconciliation and decolonization.
But though we have taken these important first steps, this report spotlights the fact that there is much more to do. We need to remove barriers to education for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples. We need to include the knowledge systems and experiences of Indigenous Peoples as we learn together. We need to help Indigenous learners feel welcome, respected and valued. And, we need to remember the important relationships that Indigenous Peoples have with the land on which our campus is located.
This report presents specific steps that the University community can take towards these needed transformations. As a University, as a College and as acting dean, we are committed to confronting systemic problems and doing what is in our power to work towards reconciliation. I encourage all to read this report and work together to apply both the letter and the spirit of its findings.
— Dr. Byron Sheldrick
Acting Dean, College of Social and Applied Human Sciences, 2020-2022