UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The Indigenization of student affairs and services in Canadian higher education Lorenz, Logan


Many Canadian higher education institutions are actively Indigenizing their college and university campuses, including the delivery of services and programming are for all students, Indigenous and non-Indigenous. Significant milestones such as the findings and calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada have renewed focus on the Indigenization in higher education. This focus may require Student Affairs and Services (SAS) professionals to change how they think about and execute their work with students for student services professionals. Through 12 semi-structured interviews with student services employees, this research study aimed to understand how they made sense of Indigenization. Indigenization requires an intentional commitment to change on both a personal and institutional level. It also involves localization and connection with Indigenous peoples and communities. Participants identified ways they had made sense of Indigenization, including affirming Indigenous knowledge and forming meaning about Indigenization. Secondly, participants provided examples of Indigenization activities within individual university departments, through connections outside the university, and university-wide initiatives. Finally, the study summarized ways participants were learning (unlearning and re-learning) about Indigeneity in Canada. Examples of learning sources included: directly from the department of Indigenous student services, independent learning outside of the university, campus-based activities and events, and learning from Indigenous peoples. The concepts of sensemaking and sense-giving, as well as unlearning, were used to examine the data. The study found that Indigenization at this university campus is an on-going process, and those interviewed were still making sense of Indigenization. This study captures a specific moment at a post-secondary education institution in British Columbia for Indigenous students and Student Affairs and Services professionals.

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