Section Four: Next Steps
Suggested next steps
Turning ideals into action is never easy. The 50 suggested recommendations outlined in Appendix A are drawn from the various solutions and opportunities cited in Section Three. They represent and reflect our community’s aspirations in response to the TRC and its Calls to Action, given the university’s commitment to taking steps to remove barriers.
It is recommended that the president identify an annual budget and establish a Working Group that will be led by the provost and the vice-president, equity and community inclusion. It is proposed that the Working Group lead a second consultation with other bodies on campus, including faculties, departments, unions and governing bodies (i.e. Senate and the Board of Governors) based on the following suggested next steps:
- Take an inventory and review the current courses that contain Indigenous content. This will help guide the conversation on how to build the strategies concerning Indigenous content in the curriculum, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The inventory should be conducted by applying the infusion model that the Aboriginal Education Council currently uses with curriculum development.
- Take an inventory of the current Indigenous courses offered by the university, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. This will provide an opportunity to examine who is teaching these courses and to have the conversation on how to attract Indigenous instructors to teach these courses and to develop a longer-term strategy to hire Indigenous faculty.
- Take an inventory of the current Indigenous research that is being led by Indigenous and non-Indigenous faculty, with the aim of using multi-year funding to increase research output on Indigenous topics, especially those related to advancing reconciliation and to issues of special significance to Indigenous Peoples in an urban context, through various forms of collaboration and professional development.
- Take an inventory of the Truth and Reconciliation initiatives that currently exist at Ryerson with the goal to provide guidance and multi-year funding to address gaps and identify next priorities.
- Continue with plans to offer an Indigenous language course by hosting Talking Circles with the Ryerson Aboriginal community, the Ryerson community at large and Ryerson’s institutional partners to explore our current MOUs with other post-secondary education institutions offering Indigenous languages to determine if students can enroll in courses for transferable credits and determine which Indigenous language is best to begin with here at Ryerson.
- Increase resources for the outreach, recruitment and retention of Indigenous students. This should include raising money for scholarships geared to Indigenous students and the establishment of concrete enrolment targets by setting aside a certain number of spaces for Indigenous students in programs across the university.
- Increase resources for access programs for Indigenous students to participate in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs; create an Indigenous adult education access program; and establish a partnership with the Toronto District School Board to create outreach and retention programming in the middle schools.
- Increase opportunities for Indigenous self-identification to include second-, third- and fourth-year and graduate students; and ensure that this information is designed, reviewed and kept by Ryerson Aboriginal Student Services in collaboration with the Office of the Vice-President, Equity and Community Inclusion.
- Increase resources for the infusion of Indigenous content into courses and programs. This should include an emphasis on areas such as science and engineering where there is the opportunity for Ryerson to initiate significant curricular innovations.
- Increase resources to hire an experienced Indigenous curriculum developer to help faculty develop Indigenous courses, certificates and degrees. This should include professional development of scholars who can champion Indigenous content within their departments.
- Develop the annual Aboriginal Student Showcase to become a premier event for the university.
- Establish dedicated space for Indigenous activities (smudging, ceremonies, feasts).
- Improve outreach and supports for Indigenous scholars to complete their PhDs and establish opportunities to become faculty members at Ryerson.
- Increase the complement of Indigenous faculty and staff members by devising a recruitment and professional development strategy.
- Promote partnership development by creating annual events such as forums and symposiums on topics such as water, housing and State of the Land which engages the Indigenous community, participants in pertinent Ryerson Zones and external stakeholders such as social enterprises and NGOs. Such forums should bring Indigenous community leaders, entrepreneurs, scholars and students together to discuss research and projects. This will allow them to assist one another in capacity building in environmental protection, green energy, traditional food sources and models of sustainability.