Friday, February 22, 2019

Building capacity for Indigenous research

OCAD University's new Strategic Research Plan (SRP) received Senate approval last November, after a two year process of consultation and co-design. The themes and priorities of the new SRP build on the history of research excellence at OCADU while opening avenues to expand for the future.

During the development of our new SRP I benefited from conversations with many faculty on issues pertaining to Indigenous research and OCAD University’s commitment to decolonization. This was a key topic discussed by the Research Committee. In discussions with Professors Ryan Rice and Jason Baerg they advanced the idea that the new SRP affords a unique opportunity for the University to demonstrate our commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Calls to Action.

The SRP has articulated our commitment to “Nothing about us without us,” as outlined in our Academic Plan 2017-2022. This principle stipulates that research involving Indigenous peoples must be led by Indigenous peoples. It is supported by the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS 2 2014) which outlines our responsibilities in Chapter 9: Research Involving the First Nations, Inuit and M├ętis Peoples of Canada.

Within this context the University can ensure that Indigenous faculty are supported to advance their own research agendas as we continue to build capacity for Indigenous research to grow. Suggestions for how we can enact our commitment include:
  • Validating and valuing different paths to academic preparation and accumulated knowledges, not always vested in specific degrees;
  • Developing capacity for Indigenous researchers to meet the dedicated funding opportunities offered by funders;
  • Ensuring that Indigenous faculty and communities lead research involving Indigenous peoples and communities;
  • Providing the space and support for Indigenous research at the University;
  • Asking applicants to internal research funding and to our Research Ethics Board to indicate if their research will help OCAD U address the TRC Calls to Action, as one way to build capacity and awareness.
There will be other suggestions for how we can achieve the goals outlined in the SRP that we can take into account. Taking steps such as these our SRP Implementation will help to ensure that the TRC Calls to Action do not fade from research and practice. Enacting suggestions like these as part of the SRP Implementation will send a clear signal about our commitment to decolonization, help us educate the broader research community with whom we interact—faculty, students, communities and partners alike—on the importance of the TRC Calls to Action, and help us track progress over time against these goals. 

I look forward to supporting the University community as we embark on this exciting next step in our research journey.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Who reads labour market reports?

A huge congratulations to the Diversity Institute's Wendy Cukier and all at Ryerson University for yesterday's announcement of the launch of the Future Skills Centre. This is a significant step forward in Canada's capacity to ensure that all can find meaningful careers and make contributions to society.

Gladys Okine, Executive Director, First Work: Ontario’s Youth Employment Network and member of the Future Skills Council spoke at the event. She made one of the more salient points when she said that students and job seekers do not read labour market reports; what is needed is easily translatable information and support to help Canadians understand what skills and competencies they need to find meaningful employment. 

This is an important point. Demystifying how we can best prepare young people to enter the labour market, and help those who want or need to pivot within careers, is a key step in building a resilient social, cultural and economic society. I look forward to supporting Ryerson and their partners in this important project.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

This is Research at OCAD University

Check out our new poster campaign: This is Research at OCAD University - and see the breadth and depth of research OCADU faculty are undertaking. From the visual to the virtual, and the prototypical to the physical, each poster shows how our faculty are engaging with new forms of knowledge, materials and ideas at the forefront of research and creative practice. And, importantly, they demonstrate to our publics, our students and our partners, the value of ideation, exploration, knowledge and artistic creation.