Documentation:CTLT programs/Indigenous Initiatives/Indigenous Initiatives

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Photo by Zack Lee

Indigenous Initiatives programming at CTLT operate as a partnership between the First Nations House of Learning and the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. The primary focus of these programs is to support the development of a higher standard of professionalism when conducting discussions on Indigenous and other contentious social issues in curricular settings. This is an identified initiative under the UBC Place and Promise strategic plan, together with the classroom climate and curriculum initiatives associated with the Aboriginal Strategic Plan.

Indigenous Programs provides expertise and support for Faculty-based initiatives focused on improving classroom climate and environments conducive to student success, and strengthening local capacity to conduct effective approaches to cross-cultural dialogues.

Indigenous Programs initiates, advances, and maintains curriculum, academic resources and technologically advanced tools developed specifically to address the gaps and insufficiencies in knowledge around Indigenous topics. These resources are critical as members of the UBC community engage with Indigenous curriculum and move through the landscape of challenging classroom conversations about race, identity and socially contentious topics.


Some of the programs and services included under the Aboriginal Programs are:

  • Faculty Teaching Assistant Program Consultations
    The Coordinator of Indigenous Initiatives works closely with TA coordinators to design and implement discipline-specific programming that establishes and maintains venues, for dedicated, in-depth discussions of classroom conversations around Indigenous content. Through one on one meetings, group consultations, and departmental presentations, the Indigenous Initiatives team at CTLT connects those doing work in the field of Indigenous research and studies, and highlights connections to enhance discussions and strategies to make the classroom a more productive environment.
  • Professional Development Opportunities
    Indigenous Programs establishes and maintains mechanisms through which faculty, teaching assistants and staff can better understand student concerns, and develop more effective and professional techniques for conducting discussions of difficult issues, specifically around Indigenous content. Professional development opportunities are available to all faculty, staff and teaching assistants at the university. The development of academic and professional programming in the area of classroom climate is relatively new and unexplored. Indigenous Programs has responded by creating an innovative series of professional development workshops, curriculum and academic resources that focus the classes and discussions on Indigenous and non-Indigenous histories and relationships, especially how these conversations play out in the classroom. To learn more about this series, please go to CTLT Events for the series on Classroom Climate.
  • Curriculum Development
    Indigenous Programs liaises with, supports and serves as a resource to UBC faculties, departments, schools, and institutes in developing Indigenous focused curriculum, pedagogical approaches to improving classroom climate, and program development in this area.
  • Faculty Advisory on Indigenous Classroom Climate Issues
    The Faculty Advisory Group on Indigenous Classroom Climate Issues meets once a month to identify and discuss key issues involved in working with Indigenous material in the classroom. This working group is comprised of Indigenous faculty and instructors in the Faculty of Arts and Law who work with Indigenous material. Everyone involved are particularly knowledgeable of the issues and challenges both students and instructors face.


Indigenous Programs works to promote and support research projects that demonstrate an accurate and developed understanding of Indigenous histories, cultures, and perspectives.

  • What I Learned in Class Today: Aboriginal Issues in the Class
    Classrooms, especially classrooms at major institutions like UBC, are becoming increasingly diverse and require attention in order to have effective cross-cultural discussions. This project works to improve the conversations around politically and culturally sensitive issues in a classroom by asking: how does cultural communication happen in a classroom, and how can it be improved?
    This project examines the classroom experiences of students, instructors, and administrators at UBC in order to make these problems visible, to better understand how difficulties arise, and to find ways for more professional and productive classroom discussions. The project clearly identified the complexities and challenges of classroom conversations involving contentious cross-cultural discussions, and in specific discourse around Indigenous curriculum.
  • Indigenous Foundations
    Students enter university with differing levels of knowledge about Aboriginal issues. This makes it difficult to have meaningful discussions on Indigenous topics beyond an introductory level. Indigenous Foundations is a website project developed by the First Nations Studies Program. It provides an accessible starting point for instructors, researchers, and students in any discipline who want to learn more about Indigenous cultures, politics, and histories. The information presented is concise and easily digestible, while still conveying the depth and complexities of the topics. Indigenous Foundations incorporates learning tools such as video interviews and other multimedia outlets to create an engaging resource.

Community of Practice

Photo by Zack Lee

Indigenous Initiatives at the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology (CTLT) initiates, advances, and supports the development of curriculum, academic resources, and technologically advanced tools designed specifically to address the gaps and insufficiencies in knowledge around Indigenous topics. In addition to these services, Indigenous Initiatives at CTLT creates opportunities for those working in the field of Indigenous education, research, and scholarship to get together and share ideas about how to advance teaching and learning in this area.

We hope this Community of Practice will be an opportunity for:

  • Resource sharing
  • Discussion of case studies
  • Bridging research areas
  • Sharing ideas and directions for further work before and after events on campus

Join us to meet other UBC faculty, staff, and graduate students engaged in this topic. At meetings we will discuss the challenges and opportunities we face in our work, and plan future dates and topics for Community of Practice meetings. Check out the Classroom Climate series, and register for the community to receive updates on community meetings. For more information, see our Indigenous Initiatives page.