Laurier establishes Indigenous Curriculum Specialist

The new position at WLU is one of few across the province, to connect culture and academic studies

CBC News Posted: Aug 24, 2017

Wilfrid Laurier University established an Indigenous Curriculum Specialist position this year, to help support the indigenization of the campus. (GatorEG/Wikipedia)

Wilfrid Laurier University has hired an Indigenous Curriculum Specialist, to help staff and faculty progress with the continued work of reconciliation in the post-secondary environment.

Erin Hodson, is one of only a handful of other ICS across Canada, and as a result the role is very much in development.

“It’s sort of being created as we go,” she said.


Connecting across culture

As an indigenous student, Hodson experienced her own disconnect between what felt like two worlds; her own and her academic life.

“Its been a struggle to find a place for my culture within my studies,” she said.

Her goal is to find that connectivity, and help others make those connections themselves, increasing the integration of ‘Indigenous ways of knowing and Indigenous curriculum’ into the schools’ courses and programs.

It’s something that Hodson said needs to be built across the post-secondary community.

“If you’re going to do it, it needs to be throughout,” she said.

Erin Hodson is the new ICS at Laurier, and said as a student herself she felt a disconnect between her studies and her culture. (Joseph Pavia/CBC)

A new process

Despite only starting in her position August 1, Hodson says she has been receiving requests for consultations since the very beginning, often multiple per day.

She then takes the requests, along with information about the course and syllabus, and does her research.

The most important part is when Hodson meets face to face with instructors, something she says is important for the process itself.

“We talk about ways that they can incorporate indigenous content,” she said. “It’s a really powerful step forward.”

The other half of the job is connecting to the outer community, both at Laurier and in the region, to enforce relationships with Indigenous communities.

It’s a careful balance, said Hodson.

‘This can’t be a one off.’– Erin Hodson, Indigenous Curriculum Specialist, Wilfrid Laurier University

“Making sure that we are incorporating teaching strategies, and showing that we are building relationships with the community, to show them the kind of culture they want to be delivered.”

But as the year progresses, and her consultations continue, Hodsons said she hopes that it continues to grow and expand, making lasting changes.

“This can’t be a one off.”

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