May 4, 2021
For Immediate Release
Waterloo – Wilfrid Laurier University is taking a significant step toward Indigenization and reconciliation and equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) by hiring no less than six new Indigenous faculty members and six Black faculty members.
Under the “Inclusive Excellence” cohort hiring initiative, the university will recruit no less than 12 tenured and tenure-track faculty appointments for emerging and established Black and Indigenous scholars within any of the university’s faculties.
“Inclusive Excellence embodies our vision to fully embrace discovery, scholarly exploration, and application of new ideas, while engaging and challenging the world in all its complexity,” said Deborah MacLatchy, president and vice-chancellor. “This program is just one way that Laurier continues to intentionally build a thriving community that embraces diversity and inclusion.”
Faculty scholarship will be aligned with the six themes in Laurier’s Strategic Research Plan: environments and sustainability; psychological and social determinants of health and well-being; governance and policy; Indigeneity, decolonization, equity, diversity and inclusion; business, technology and innovation; and society, culture and community.
The initiative aligns with the inclusive community and Indigeneity themes in the Laurier Strategy and is part of the university’s broader efforts to advance strategic academic and research goals and enhance academic excellence and student experience.
“Enhancing Indigenization, equity, diversity and inclusion can only be achieved through thoughtful, deliberate action,” said Anthony Vannelli, provost and vice-president: academic at Laurier. “Our students and the entire university community benefit when we value and incorporate diversity and Indigenous ways of knowing into our academic programs and university culture.”
The Inclusive Excellence initiative is one of a series of policy changes and initiatives to address systemic racism outlined in Laurier’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and Indigeneity Action Plan. The hiring initiative was developed in collaboration with the Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty Association (WLUFA).
“The collaborative effort and approach that made this initiative possible is something to be celebrated,” said Barrington Walker, associate vice-president: equity, diversity and inclusion who is leading the university’s EDI strategy. ”I’m proud of the work that we’re doing, and the plans we continue to drive forward, as we remain committed to ensuring an inclusive experience for Laurier students, faculty, and staff alike. I look forward to meeting the candidates and working with them towards our common goals as an institution.”
The initiative will further Laurier’s Indigenization strategy, which will be developed by the university’s incoming associate vice-president: Indigenous initiatives, Darren Thomas, who begins his role in July. In addition to hiring new Indigenous faculty, Indigenous forms of teaching, research and scholarship will also be included in Laurier’s tenure and promotion criteria, including research and preservation of knowledge consistent with Indigenous traditional practices.
“We are excited to lift up Indigenous teaching and research at the university,” said Melissa Ireland, director and interim senior advisor of Indigenous initiatives at Laurier. “Our new AVP: Indigenous initiatives will work to identify needs, lead strategic planning, and make enhancements in decolonization and Indigenization across the institution.”
Over the summer months, academic units at the university will submit expressions of interest outlining how the addition of one or more of these positions will advance their scholarship and teaching priorities along with an onboarding, support and retention plan for Black and/or Indigenous colleagues. Laurier’s Indigenous Faculty Advisory Council and Black Faculty and Staff Caucus will advise on posting, recruitment and retention.
Once finalized, faculty positions will be posted in September on the university’s website for emerging and established Black and Indigenous scholar applicants – including those currently enrolled in doctoral studies. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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