Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Decolonization in Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Studies
The School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (SGPS) recognizes Indigenous rights to sovereignty and is committed to having these rights reflected in our mandate, and in policies and procedures that govern graduate education and postdoctoral studies at Western.
The School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies is deeply committed to working with the Office of Indigenous Initiatives, the Office of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, Accessible Education, the Centre for Teaching and Learning, the Society of Graduate Students, graduate programs and the Postdoctoral Association to embed principles of Indigenization and decolonization, equity, diversity, inclusion, accessibility, and antiracism into all components of graduate education and postdoctoral training, from recruitment and admission through to completion. For example, with respect to graduate education, this includes, but is not limited to, the course content, learning environment and the examination process.
We are revising the SGPS regulations and key aspects of Western’s graduate program review processes to support transformative changes in graduate education curriculum and practices, graduate program development and innovation, and graduate program review and ongoing improvement. By drawing on lived experiences, we will intentionally and proactively work in partnership with all units to cultivate an inclusive culture of belonging and safety and accountability that supports all individuals personally and academically studying across Western and our wider community.
These transformative changes will create space for, and embrace, the unique nuances related to academic and research activities undertaken by Indigenous students and students of other equity-deserving groups. Examples of such work includes research and academic activities that embrace and value Indigenous epistemologies, Indigenous and decolonial research methodologies, critical race theory, feminist and intersectional approaches, TWAIL (Third World Approaches to International Law), LGBTQ2S+ theories, critical and feminist disability studies and other forms and methods for anti-oppression research.
The School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies’ Academic Policy and Regulations Committee’s Terms of Reference is to review and revise policies and procedures on behalf of the Graduate Education Council. In the Fall 2020 the Committee struck an Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Decolonization (EDI-D) Working Group. The EDI-D Working Group is reviewing SGPS regulations and procedures with an Indigenization, equity, diversity, inclusion and decolonization and anti-oppression lens to ensure that they reflect and support principles of EDI-D, antiracism, and Indigenous rights to sovereignty. The committee will then compile a list of recommendations and concrete policy changes for SGPS, to be presented to the Committee of Academic Policy and Regulations and the Graduate Education Council.
We invite all members of the Western community to reach out to any of the Working Group members with feedback and advice. New members are welcome.
Thank you to Nicole Kaniki, Special Advisor to the President on Anti-Racism, and Candace Brunette-Debassige, Special Advisor to the Provost, Indigenous Initiatives, for their participation, involvement and advice.
We have benefited from and we appreciate the advice provided in the April 19th, 2021 memo “Guidance for Western’s Administrators on EDI and Indigenous Initiatives” by Nicole Kaniki Special Advisor to the President on Anti-Racism, Bertha Garcia Special Advisor to the President on Anti-Racism, Candace Brunette-Debassige Special Advisor to the Provost, Indigenous Initiatives and Christy R. Bressette Vice-Provost/Associate Vice-President, Indigenous Initiatives.
Current Focus and Timeline
- Fall 2021 - Consult on the review of SGPS's admission practices and processes
- Fall 2021 - Creation of action-plan to implement recommendations from a review to prioritize Indigenization, decolonization, anti-racism, accessibility, and anti-oppression across Own Your Future programming and structures
- June 2, 2021 - Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Decolonization statement released after approval by EDI-D Working Group, the Office of Indigenous Initiatives, and the Committee of Academic Policy and Regulations and the Graduate Education Council
- June 2, 2021 - PhD thesis examination board composition change (addition of an Indigenous Knowledge Examiner)
- June 18, 2021 - Accessibility Language added to admissions application and admissions process documentation
- October 25, 2021 - Release of Indigenization and EDI-D Review of Own Your Future(.pdf), outlining the recommendations from a review to prioritize Indigenization, decolonization, anti-racism, accessibility, and anti-oppression across Own Your Future programming and structures
- Beth Tuinstra
- Connie Kyle
- Denise Kamyuka
- Elizabeth Mohler
- Jamie Baxter
- Janelle Unger
- Julie Jonkhans
- Kamran Siddiqui
- Karine Dufresne
- Laurel Shire
- Matt Dumouchel
- Mary Morris
- Mohammad Sharifi
- Nafisa Gillani
- Robert Glushko
- Sohini Chatterjee
- Syna Thakur
- Teri Hern
- Candace Brunette
- Denise Connelly
- Frankie Young
- Nicole Kaniki
- Tracey Desjardine
Western University is located on the traditional lands of the Anishinaabek (Ah-nish-in-a-bek), Haudenosaunee (Ho-den-no-show-nee), Lūnaapéewak (Len-ahpay- wuk) and Attawandaron (Add-a-won-da-run) peoples, on lands connected with the London Township and Sombra Treaties of 1796 and the Dish with One Spoon Covenant Wampum. This land continues to be home to diverse Indigenous peoples (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) whom we recognize as contemporary stewards of the land and vital contributors of our society.