UBC has launched a new Office of Indigenous Strategic Initiatives (OISI) to coordinate the implementation of UBC’s 2020 Indigenous Strategic Plan (ISP) on both UBC campuses.
The office, which officially opened in February 2021, is led by the Senior Advisor to the President on Indigenous Affairs, Dr. Sheryl Lightfoot. Operational and ISP strategic initiative support is provided by Associate Director Vicki George, Indigenous Strategic Planning Manager Alex Ash, and Administrative Coordinator Jessie Penner.
The OISI team will support faculties, departments, operational units and student groups across UBC’s Vancouver and Okanagan campuses as they implement the eight Goals and 43 Actions called for in the ISP. The Office also provides advice to university leadership on how best to improve the experiences of Indigenous students, faculty, and staff across the university.
“UBC’s Indigenous Strategic Plan is innovative in that it takes an Indigenous-led, Indigenous human rights-based approach to transforming the overall culture of the university,” explains Dr. Lightfoot, adding, “For the Plan to succeed, we’ll need participation and accountability at all levels. That’s why we’ve created a guiding network that includes everyone from students, staff and faculty to leadership and takes advice from a number of Indigenous-led advisory committees.”
The OISI office, positioned within this larger network, provides support related to ISP implementation. However, the responsibility for implementation rests with the entire UBC community. “OISI is here to coordinate ISP implementation, but it is not a decision-making body and should not be relied upon to shoulder the work that faculties and units must take up themselves,” says Dr. Lightfoot.
As a first step to supporting implementation of the ISP, OISI has developed an ISP Implementation Toolkit for departments and faculties. The ISP Toolkit is now available on the UBC Indigenous Portal, but will be moved to a new website dedicated to the ISP that is currently being built. A series of workshops will be held in the summer and fall to introduce the Toolkit, and support UBC units, departments and faculties in understanding and implementing the ISP action items that apply to them.
OISI invites UBC leadership, staff, faculty and students to join the ISP mailing list to receive news about the site launch as well as updates and information about the Plan’s Guiding Network, funding, tools, and workshops for implementation.
For more information, contact the Office of Indigenous Strategic Initiatives: firstname.lastname@example.org.