With the release of its new Strategic Plan, Achieving Excellence on the World Stage, in 2014, Western University proudly renewed its longstanding commitment to “improving the accessibility and success in higher education for Indigenous peoples.”
As part of this strategic priority, Western committed to strengthen its approach to planning and engaging Indigenous peoples at every level of study, work, and research, contributing to the best experiences for Indigenous students, staff, and faculty members.
Launched in November 2014, the Indigenous Strategic Initiatives Committee (ISIC) is leading the development of the university’s first ever, multi-year Indigenous Strategic Plan and is seeking feedback from the Western community.
For more information or to provide feedback, please visit the Indigenous Strategic Plan website.
The deadline to get involved is November 30.
“Sometimes, when we look at Indigenous initiatives, we think it’s just for Indigenous students, and it is about increasing their representation, about helping people get through, and transition,” says Candace Brunette, Director, Indigenous Services. “But it is also about increasing our Indigenous faculty and staff, indigenizing our curriculum and it is about creating research that is responsive to Indigenous communities.”
In the last 10 years, Western has seen a steady increase in its Indigenous student population, nearly doubling its total since 2005. In 2014-15, the university reported 402 Indigenous students studying at Western of which 335 were at the undergraduate level. The Indigenous student population comprises approximately 1.17 per cent of the total student population, yet Aboriginal Peoples account for closer to four per cent of Canada’s total population.
“We have seen very positive outcomes in terms of retention and graduate rates for Indigenous students, thanks to the high quality of our programs and services,” says Janice Deakin, Provost and Vice-President (Academic). “The Indigenous Strategic Plan is another important step forward to ensuring we continue to develop the kinds of academic programming, outreach and services in place to fulfill our commitments for this particular constituency while at the same time contributing to the cultural diversity of our campus community.”
A draft plan will be shared with the university community for final input in March 2016; the final plan is expected to be released in November 2016.
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