Indigenous courses as a requirement for graduation may be in the future for Canadian Universities, or at least for one Alberta University.
Mount Royal University (MRU), located in Calgary, plans to implement a three credit Indigenous course or courses as a requirement for graduation for all students by the year 2020.
The possible courses come after the release of 94 calls-to-action brought forth by Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015.
Action 62 specifically calls for funding to be provided “to post-secondary institutions to educate teachers on how to integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods into classrooms.”
MRU has taken the call a step further by creating their own Indigenous strategic plan – listing five goals the post-secondary institution hopes to achieve
Goal 1: Indigenizing Mount Royal University
Cultivate respectful and welcoming environments that prevail over the legacy of colonization.
Goal 2: Culturally respectful Indigenous research
Foster respect for indigenous ways of knowing and knowledge-production and increase capacity for Indigenous scholarship.
Goal 3: Bridge-building with Indigenous education stakeholders
Build strong relationships by forging mutually supportive and productive partnerships with all stakeholders in Indigenous education.
Goal 4: Support for Indigenous learners
Work with our communities to enhance the academic, personal and cultural experience of Indigenous learners.
Goal 5: Respectful and inclusive curricula and pedagogies
Promote culturally responsible and respectful curricula that integrates Indigenous pedagogies and ways of knowing.
A deeper look into goal five’s recommendations, calls for indigenous themed coursework or credits as a graduation requirement.
MRUs associate vice-president of teaching and learning, Jim Zimmer said, “In terms of the curriculum, [what] we are wanting to do is over a period of time is infuse more indigenous content into our courses and our programs.”
MRU also aims to cultivate particular learning outcomes related to indigenous peoples.
According to Zimmer,, “…it is going to take a little bit of time to move forward on those recommendations but there is good level of interest and support across the university for moving in that direction.”
The MRU Indigenous Strategic plan was only approved in 2016, and the school is still in the early stages of how it will all look.
Mount Royal University won’t see any official changes regarding indigenous courses for another year or two, with full implementation expected by 2020.
Produced by Nicole Auger
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