2009 Aboriginal Strategic Plan

On December 17, 2008, after consultations, public posting, and revisions, the UBC Aboriginal Strategic Plan Development Working Group forwarded the final text of the Plan to President Toope. It was approved in January 2009.

The Plan document was designed to provide a comprehensive framework. It did not include references to programs and initiatives already underway at UBC at the time, nor did it assign priorities or specific implementation strategies for individual items.

Subsequent to the acceptance and posting of the final text of the Plan, a set of first priorities for implementation was identified and an Aboriginal Strategic Plan Implementation Committee established. For more information, please see the 2009 Implementation Priorities and subsequent Implementation Reports that can be accessed from the left menu on this page.

2009 ABORIGINAL STRATEGIC PLAN (.pdf download)



17 December 2008

prepared by



Guiding Principles

The Imperative for This Plan

Key Areas of Strategic Engagement

1. Pre-university, Recruitment and Access Initiatives
2. Student Support and Retention
3. Curriculum and Public Programming
4. Faculty and Staff Recruitment and Support
5. Research
6. Study and Work Climate
7. Community Relations
8. Internal and External Communications
9. Development Initiatives
10. Administration, Evaluation and Resources

At a June 2007 meeting, President Stephen Toope and the First Nations House of Learning President’s Advisory Board called for development of the UBC Aboriginal Strategic Plan that would reflect UBC’s commitment to Aboriginal education, respect for Aboriginal knowledge and cultures, and resolve to build upon the strengths of the university to more fully address the needs of Aboriginal and Indigenous communities in British Columbia, Canada, and the world.

For more information on the process that has led to the development of this document, please see Appendix A or visit our website at https://aboriginal.ubc.ca.

Strategic planning is an ongoing process, but one that must begin here with the development of an initial framework, so that further effort in UBC’s ongoing Aboriginal initiatives can be better supported and work begun in critical areas without delay. Within this relatively short timeline, the Aboriginal Strategic Plan Development Working Group has sought the advice of many people, including UBC students, faculty, staff, and alumni, Aboriginal organizations and leaders, and others. Their advice has provided the foundation for this draft (for a list of off-campus consultations, please see Appendix A). We recognize, however, that the process of developing and maintaining an effective strategy and meaningful consultation has only begun. We consider this plan a living document that should undergo continual review and modification, and serve as both a focal point and a record of the many discussions and consultations necessary for meaningful action. This document outlines a comprehensive approach and must be followed by specific action plans that identify immediate priorities, sequences for development, resources, and time frames for centralized action and for initiatives undertaken by individual faculties and units.

UBC, through this first Aboriginal Strategic Plan and subsequent adaptations and amendments to it, seeks to articulate the UBC mission statement into meaningful practice. The UBC Mission Statement states that

The University of British Columbia will provide its students, faculty, and staff with the best possible resources and conditions for learning and research, and create a working environment dedicated to excellence, equity, and mutual respect. It will cooperate with government, business, industry, and the professions, as well as with other educational institutions and the general community, to discover, disseminate, and apply new knowledge, prepare its students for fulfilling careers, and improve the quality of life through leading-edge research. The graduates of UBC will have developed strong analytical, problem-solving and critical thinking abilities; they will have excellent research and communication skills; they will be knowledgeable, flexible, and innovative. As responsible members of society, the graduates of UBC will value diversity, work with and for their communities, and be agents for positive change. They will acknowledge their obligations as global citizens, and strive to secure a sustainable and equitable future for all.

The Plan is intended to guide UBC’s engagement with Aboriginal peoples and communities, its inclusions and representations of Aboriginal histories, cultures, and understandings, and the education on Aboriginal issues it provides to all.

[return to top]


The University of British Columbia acknowledges the location of its two main campuses on the traditional territories of the Musqueam and Okanagan peoples and seeks to develop respectful and reciprocal relationships with all Aboriginal people in British Columbia and Canada, and other Indigenous people throughout North America and the world.

In this document, we use the term “Aboriginal” in the spirit of its use in section 35 [2] of the Canadian Constitution, to refer inclusively to members of First Nations, status and non-status, treaty and non-treaty Indians, Métis, and Inuit peoples in Canada, recognizing in doing so that many people prefer the terms that are specific and traditional to their communities. Since the term “Aboriginal” is not used in many other countries, we use the term “Indigenous” to refer to similar peoples in international contexts.

UBC acknowledges its essential responsibility to develop educational opportunities for Aboriginal people and to provide curricula and research that accurately represent and include Aboriginal cultures, histories, and systems of knowledge, and are relevant to Aboriginal communities and their concerns.

UBC also acknowledges its responsibility to integrate these understandings in the education that it offers to all students and to address the broader issues of ignorance and misunderstanding of Aboriginal cultures and histories that have resulted from the educational failures of the past.

Many paths to knowledge and understanding are available to Aboriginal learners, both inside communities and in public education. UBC recognizes that it represents only one choice among many, and acknowledges the role of other universities and colleges, Aboriginal institutions, and communities in providing a comprehensive set of educational opportunities for Aboriginal learners. UBC is committed to determining, in consultation with Aboriginal communities and organizations, how it may best contribute to Aboriginal education, alone or in partnerships with other educational institutions, organizations, and communities.

As a research intensive university with graduate and professional programs, extensive research capabilities, and undergraduate programs formed by a research-intensive environment, UBC recognizes its special responsibility to ensure that its full range of educational offerings is accessible to Aboriginal students and communities who can benefit from them.

UBC acknowledges with gratitude contributions of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal faculty, staff, students, alumni, communities, organizations, and individuals that have enabled the university to develop and implement existing programs and initiatives with an Aboriginal focus. They have effected important changes to curricula and research and the ways in which they operate, and have established relationships and models of engagement that form the basis upon which the university can move forward.

UBC recognizes that, in a time of rapid change and in the process of its own development of Aboriginal initiatives, Aboriginal strategic planning can never be a fully completed process, and that continual engagement with Aboriginal communities and others to identify, prioritize, and evaluate progress, areas of action and engagement will be necessary.

As a large and complex multi-campus institution, UBC recognizes that its strategic planning for Aboriginal initiatives will require that campuses and units develop implementation strategies and approaches specific to their circumstances. In particular, UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan should exercise their academic autonomy, draw upon their unique relationships with local Aboriginal communities, and address their distinct learning environments in implementing the plan in ongoing consultation with their internal and external constituencies.

Finally, UBC recognizes that for the Aboriginal Strategic Plan to succeed, the engagement of UBC leadership, academic and non-academic units, faculty, staff, and students will be required, and responsibility and accountability for meeting the Plan’s goals and objective must be clearly defined and distributed. Adequate resources need to be identified and committed to enable implementation of the plan.

[return to top]


The UBC TREK 2000 document set an enrolment target of 1000 Aboriginal students by the year 2000. Although there has been significant progress in the development of Aboriginal programs, only half that number Aboriginal students are currently enrolled. While Aboriginal students account for approximately 10% of BC school enrolments, only about 1% of UBC students are Aboriginal, and in the years 2005-2007, only about half of one percent of those completing degrees in the Faculty of Graduate Studies were Aboriginal. The low participation rates of Aboriginal students at UBC reflects in part reflects the cumulative effect of similar differentials throughout the educational system. Aboriginal students in Canada are less likely to graduate from high school than others, and even less likely to finish with university pre-requisites, especially in math and science. As detailed in this document, there is, however, much that UBC can do to address this situation. For more information on Aboriginal participation in education, please see Appendix B. For UBC enrolments and programs, please see Appendices C and D.

[return to top]


In order for the University to effectively contribute to Aboriginal education and research and create learning environments for all students that reflect the values and principles outlined above, the University must strategically engage in the following ten key areas:

1. Pre-university, Recruitment, and Access Initiatives

2. Student Support and Retention

3. Curriculum and Public Programming

4. Recruitment and Support of Faculty and Staff

5. Research

6. Study and Work Climate

7. Community Relations

8. Internal and External Communications

9. Development Initiatives

10. Administration, Evaluation, and Resources

[return to top]


Aboriginal students complete high school at a significantly lower rate than the general population, and an even smaller number graduate with university prerequisites. Universities establishing and maintaining contact with Aboriginal learners from an early age can make a significant difference in their participation in post-secondary education.

1.1 Summer programs that bring younger Aboriginal students to UBC have frequently been cited as having a major positive impact on people’s lives. Existing summer programs should be formally evaluated, further developed, and supported on an ongoing basis, as appropriate. When possible, such programs should involve multi-year participation and continued subsequent contact. Given the very low rate of Aboriginal participation in pre-university curriculum in math and science, initiatives in these areas are especially necessary. UBC participation in community-based programs should be explored. A coordinating body to collate and share practices and develop integrated approaches to programming, fundraising, and communications should be established.

1.2 Year round programs involving UBC faculty, staff, and students in mentoring or targeted teaching initiatives with younger Aboriginal students should be developed and maintained. Some programs may be developed through partnership in community-based initiatives (homework clubs, etc.). UBC student participation through service learning should be fully explored. Participation of younger students and other community members in UBC research initiatives operating in or near their communities should be encouraged.

1.3 Partnership with secondary schools should be established, initially with a focus on a limited number of schools in districts near to UBC campuses. For UBC Vancouver, specific attention should be accorded to urban schools with high Aboriginal enrolment. Such partnerships should include regular visits to advise students on university pre-requisites and curricular choices and assist students in their final years with applications and financial aid materials. They should also include department or program-based educational enrichment partnerships and collaborative research initiatives in innovative teaching strategies. The possibilities for initiatives in math and science in particular should be explored.

1.4 UBC should develop a plan ensuring coordinated and regular attendance of UBC personnel at community functions, such as career fairs, in both urban and rural communities.

Even students well positioned to take full advantage of UBC programs may be unfamiliar with UBC and the range of educational options that it offers and may not have support structures to draw on in navigating the processes of application or acclimatization to a university environment.

1.5 A comprehensive and well-funded recruitment strategy for undergraduate admissions should be established to identify and attract Aboriginal students who can benefit from UBC’s programs and environment and assist, as necessary, in the application process. Recruiting should concentrate first on students from British Columbia and Canada, but also create a welcoming environment for Indigenous students from other parts of the world. For UBC Vancouver, that strategy should include significant attention to urban communities. Partnerships with other post-secondary educational institutions should be developed to assure that Aboriginal students have access to and information on the most meaningful choices among institutions. Transfer relationships for students moving between partner institutions should be well articulated. This recruitment strategy should draw on the strengths of available programs and accurately represent them.

While UBC and other institutions have seen an increase in the number of Aboriginal students coming to university directly from high school, it is still the case that many very capable people return to education at a later point in life and lack essential prerequisites.

1.6 A path towards admission for returning students or those demonstrating exceptional abilities but missing the full complement of admissions requirements should be established. Development and strengthening of existing pre-university qualifying programs, independently and in partnership with other institutions and community organizations, leading to direct admission to one or more institutions on completion should be explored.

Aboriginal students often face financial hardship and other circumstances that may limit their access to higher education, even if they are eligible for band funding and have family and community support. These pressures may cause them to forgo opportunities at UBC in favour of programs that may not fully meet their needs but constitute a lower cost alternative or provide greater proximity to family or community support. It is critical that UBC work to remove these barriers to their enrolment.

1.7 A program of university and faculty-specific undergraduate entrance scholarships and bursaries for Aboriginal students should be developed and funded through university, government, and private sources. UBC should demonstrate leadership in the development of these opportunities.

UBC is among a small number of institutions that offer a full complement of programs at the graduate and professional levels. Since many of these programs are not widely available at other institutions, it is particularly important that UBC engages Aboriginal students at the graduate level through the development of graduate curricula and support structures, and through an active program of Aboriginal graduate student recruitment.

1.8 A highly competitive and well publicized recruiting program for Aboriginal graduate students in and across faculties and schools should be developed that includes competitive funding packages, housing, and other guaranteed forms of support. Recruitment efforts should focus on potential applicants in BC and Canada, but should also extend throughout North America and other parts of the world.

1.9 A position in the Faculty of Graduate Studies to coordinate admissions and support for Aboriginal graduate students should be created.

1.10 Graduate programs must always strive to attract the most qualified and capable students. Given the circumstances that often structure the undergraduate experience and work lives of Aboriginal students, the consideration by the Faculty Senates of both campuses of a more broadly based admissions program that includes other criteria in addition to GPA and may more accurately identify the most promising Aboriginal candidates should be initiated.


It is not enough for UBC to attract Aboriginal students to the university: we must also ensure that the university is a productive and supportive environment for their work. The university should ensure that adequate support services are available to address the specific needs and expectations of Aboriginal students.

2.1 Students with funding flowing from external sources frequently face hardship and uncertainty due to processing delays. A functional system for addressing delays in third-party billing, workshops for funding agencies to facilitate their understanding of UBC processes and timelines, and single-point-of-contact processing assistance for students should be developed.

2.2 Housing presents a special obstacle to Aboriginal students, especially those relocating to high cost housing markets in Vancouver and Kelowna. Aboriginal students who have children or older relatives who assist with child care are often further challenged in their relocation efforts. A program of housing assistance, including both individual and family options should be developed. The desirability of cluster housing for Aboriginal students should be investigated, and liaison with other Aboriginal housing agencies should be pursued.

2.3 A task group should be established to review the childcare needs of Aboriginal students.

2.4 Central Aboriginal student services offices should operate at both UBC V and UBC O to coordinate expedition and referral for financial processing, financial aid and financial planning, housing, and counseling.

2.5 University counseling should include a stable designated team of professional counselors with relevant cultural expertise able to provide sustained and comprehensive support. A review of the services provided to Aboriginal students and their effectiveness and the investigation of alternative delivery models should be undertaken.

2.6 Provision of academic support, such as tutoring should be continued and extended and periodically evaluated for its adequacy in addressing the needs of Aboriginal students. At UBC Vancouver, the effectiveness of support services at both the faculty and central levels should be explored and evaluated. The need for additional Aboriginal tutoring and peer-tutoring service at an identifiable central location that includes a computer lab (e.g., the Longhouse at the Point Grey campus) should be addressed.

2.7 An active program of cultural activities organized for and by Aboriginal students and engaging Aboriginal community members should be supported and maintained. Opportunities for the engagement of Aboriginal elders in various roles should be identified and explored.

2.8 Transition and orientation services for incoming students should be expanded. An orientation program for incoming undergraduate Aboriginal students that extends throughout the first year and includes peer and alumni mentoring should be developed to build community and social support. Opportunities for cohort learning should also be explored.

2.9 Orientation, peer support, and mentoring programs in and across faculties for incoming Aboriginal graduate students should be supported on an ongoing basis.

2.10 Additional mentoring programs in and cross faculties, including those pairing undergraduate Aboriginal students with faculty, graduate, advanced undergraduate students, and alumni/ae mentors should be established and supported on an ongoing basis.

2.11 The university should create a program to expand undergraduate Aboriginal students’ research experience. This program should include incentives for researchers to invite Aboriginal students’ participation and stipends for Aboriginal students to work on research teams with a faculty mentors.

2.12 Career services for Aboriginal students both centrally and across faculties should be strengthened. Partnerships with private sector employers and alumni/ae should be sought for career mentorship.

2.13 A program providing professional development for UBC faculty wishing to work more effectively with Aboriginal students should be established.


Historically, Aboriginal people have been excluded from higher education by policy and circumstances, but they have also encountered curricula that either ignore Aboriginal issues and perspectives, or regard Aboriginal people as objects of study rather than participants in the creation of knowledge. As a research institution in which the intellectual frameworks for recognized fields of knowledge are constantly being redefined, UBC has a very significant responsibility to establish and develop programs that engage Aboriginal people in the production and definition of knowledge and develop approaches to Aboriginal issues and concerns at the highest intellectual and research levels. In addition, UBC has an obligation to assure that an accurate and developed understanding of Aboriginal histories, cultures, and perspectives is integrated into its existing curricula, and that emerging work in relevant fields is broadly communicated to the greater public.

3.1 The development of curricula specifically addressing Aboriginal issues and concerns must remain a priority area across Faculties, assuring that those areas receive the depth of research and intellectual development accorded to other disciplines. Aboriginal communities and experts should be engaged to assist in those developments.

3.2 Although some departments already lead in the development of comprehensive and sophisticated understandings of Aboriginal issues and perspectives, that responsibility cannot be limited to those units. Efforts must be well supported to ensure that those understandings are well represented across the curriculum and that instructional practices reflect the reality of a multicultural student body that includes Aboriginal students. An ongoing venue that allows for exchange of information and ideas for the development of Aboriginal curricula across departments, disciplines, and faculties should be established.

3.3 Access to accurate and complete information is critical to curriculum development and research. Library collections on Aboriginal subject areas, including special collections such as those located in the Xwi7xwa branch library, and access to relevant electronic resources must be maintained. Research librarians expert in Aboriginal areas should be supported.

3.4 Public programming presenting curricular and research developments should be developed and well supported. Exploration of innovative ways of ensuring its ongoing availability (e.g., webcasting, video archiving, and internet publication) should be continued.

3.5 Development of capacity in areas of high interest to Aboriginal students and communities should be encouraged, and faculty provided with opportunities for professional development of their capacity to work with Aboriginal students in addressing those needs.

3.6 As part of its international strategy, UBC should consider creating opportunities for Aboriginal/Indigenous student exchanges and to include on the list of its international partners universities with strong Indigenous programs.


In order to develop curricula, research, and public programming for Aboriginal learners and communities about Aboriginal issues and concerns at the highest academic level, as well as to diversify its faculty, UBC must attract leading Aboriginal scholars and administrators and other experts to its ranks. Since the pool of Aboriginal faculty working at the research level is not large and hiring is a critical and complicated process, sophisticated strategies for recruitment must be developed. Indigenous and other faculty from traditionally disadvantaged groups across North America routinely face legitimate demands for student mentoring, community involvement, and university service that are substantially greater than those facing their peers. For Aboriginal scholars and others in related fields to be successful, and for the university to be successful in attracting and retaining them and developing its programs, those circumstances should be adequately and equitably addressed. Finally, highly professional and culturally competent staff should also be recruited for Aboriginal programs and the inclusion of Aboriginal employees more generally ensured as part of the university’s commitment to employment equity.

4.1 A flexible and sophisticated program of recruiting and responding to faculty hiring opportunities within and across Faculties must be developed.

4.2 A support network, including dedicated staff in human resources and other administrative areas, should be identified to assist incoming Aboriginal faculty with their relocation to UBC.

4.3 Mentoring and peer support programs for Aboriginal faculty, in and across departments and Faculties, should be established to provide advice on how to best benefit from and contribute to the university environment.

4.4 A committee should be formed to assess the relationship between promotion and tenure procedures and the actual demands placed on Aboriginal faculty (e.g., mentoring of Aboriginal students, significant administrative work necessary for the development of Aboriginal programs, the development of relationships with communities necessary for research or the progress of university programs). Recommendations from the committee should be forwarded to the relevant policy making and administrative bodies responsible for promotion and tenure process.

4.5 In collaboration with other units (e.g., Equity) developing diversity initiatives, a program to assist in the recruitment, support, and professional development of qualified Aboriginal staff for Aboriginal programs and for units across the university should be established.


University based research can be of substantial benefit to Aboriginal people and communities, but many Aboriginal communities remain circumspect about research initiatives based upon their experience of exploitive research practices common in the past and still pursued at points in the present. Models of more mutually beneficial collaborative research with communities, however, have been in operation at UBC and elsewhere for many years. UBC should continue to find ways to support research that respects and benefits Aboriginal communities. It should ensure that UBC researchers are not involved in the continuation of exploitative research practices.

5.1 An Aboriginal/community-based research group or institute welcoming the contributions of both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal researchers should be established for the sharing of experiences, practices, and strategies, etc., to provide the basis for collaboration on funding and initiatives, and to contribute to a broader professional and public discussion of the Aboriginal community-based research as it is developed at UBC and elsewhere. This group should maintain liaison with other relevant research units and administrative bodies (e.g., research ethics boards).

5.2 A task group should be established that includes UBC legal staff, researchers, and community groups and organizations to investigate the critical questions of intellectual property rights in community-based research.

5.3 Where appropriate, university and community research protocols, such as those being developed under existing memoranda of affiliation with the Musqueam Indian Band and the Okanagan Nation Alliance, should be developed. They should be readily available to UBC researchers.

5.4 The stabilization, documentation, and recovery of Aboriginal languages are often cited as among the most important priorities for communities. UBC should continue to develop its contributions in this area in both research and instruction, wherever possible.


Student experiences of isolation, racism, and alienating discussions in classrooms are well-documented and have been identified as concerns in many consultations with community members and organizations. Similar circumstances can poison the atmosphere for faculty and staff as well. Few faculty members, administrators, and staff have received training in cross-cultural communications and many are ill prepared to address difficult Aboriginal issues in classrooms or workplace environments, in spite of the reality that those discussions inevitably occur or underlie daily interactions in our increasingly diverse classrooms and workplaces.

6.1 In collaboration with the UBC Equity Office and other units and with the support of the President and administration, a policy clearly articulating UBC’s valuing of cultural diversity and a code of conduct that provides a framework for addressing issues of discrimination should be developed.

6.2 UBC should initiate a program for developing professional and productive approaches to cross-cultural issues in classrooms and workplaces. At the academic level in particular, an initiative should be developed addressing the concerns of Aboriginal students in classrooms. It might begin with pilot programs in departments or faculties and extend over time, across the university.


Relationships with Aboriginal communities and organizations are critical to every aspect of UBC’s progress on Aboriginal initiatives. Those relationships begin with UBC’s relationships with the Musqueam and Okanagan communities upon whose traditional territories our main campuses stand and with whom we have Memoranda of Affiliation. They extend to Aboriginal communities and organizations in British Columbia and beyond. While particular initiatives may require an especially high level of engagement for specific purposes, it is critical that the process of building relationships be recognized as one that requires long term commitment and frequent interactions. It is also unrealistic to presume that individuals, communities, and organizations will remain engaged if they do not see that their participation has resulted in meaningful action.

7.1 UBC must continue to develop and support its relationships with the Musqueam Indian Band and the Okanagan Nation Alliance, based on the existing Memorandum of Affiliation. For UBC Vancouver, it is particularly important to stabilize funding for current UBC-Musqueam programs (Musqueam 101, Bridge Through Sport, the Language Program, Archaeological Field School, etc.) and to continue their development, as well as to develop new programs.

7.2 UBC should continue to develop close working relationships with communities and organizations, to expand its institutional awareness of their developmental goals and needs, and to seek their advice on programs and program development, research priorities, and other matters. UBC should continue to work to develop closer working relations with educational partners, such as the First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC), the FNESC Post-Secondary Sub-Committee, and the Education Partners Group.

7.3 Central office functions on both campuses should be identified and maintained to assist UBC faculty and staff and Aboriginal community members in establishing contacts, following up on interests, respecting protocols, and coordinating their efforts in research, teaching, and student support.

7.4 UBC Vancouver should work to develop an effective Aboriginal urban strategy, and especially to develop initiatives in collaboration with urban schools with significant Aboriginal populations, urban organizations that work with youth, and colleges and other institutions in urban areas.

7.5 UBC Aboriginal alumni constitute a very special and important community group. UBC should develop a comprehensive Aboriginal alumni relations strategy that includes the ability to survey Alumni for information that may assist in further strategic planning and implementation. The possibilities for forming an Aboriginal alumni association should be investigated.


UBC needs to ensure that its commitment to Aboriginal education is clearly and effectively communicated on and off UBC campuses.

8.1 UBC must develop a comprehensive, coordinated communications strategy to inform internal and external communities about Aboriginal admissions, financial aid, educational programs and initiatives, and contacts. Responsibility for development and implementation of this strategy needs to be clearly assigned.

8.2 A clear statement of UBC’s commitment to Aboriginal initiatives and of opportunities and specific programs available on both campuses should be developed, periodically updated and publicly shared.

8.3 A clear and well organized Aboriginal portal on the UBC websites of both campuses should be developed and maintained.

8.4 Effective print publications from the university (Aboriginal view book, etc.) and from individual faculties and units, as appropriate, directed towards Aboriginal people and communities should be developed, maintained, and made available to anyone traveling to Aboriginal locations or to professional or other meetings with relevant audiences. UBC publications in general should be reviewed to assure that they are inclusive of Aboriginal people and the diversity of UBC campuses without tokenizing minority representation.

8.5 Support should be provided, as necessary, for faculty and staff attendance at prime academic recruiting venues (such as the American Indians in Science and Engineering Society meetings, or equivalent disciplinary-specific meetings), and provision made for staffing of information tables at those events.

8.6 Appropriate materials, including multimedia products, on UBC curricula, support services and university life should be developed for high school and incoming students.


Off-campus funding sources are critical to many university programs and can play vital role in Aboriginal initiatives. Information on Aboriginal initiatives needs to be consistently provided to potential donors and strategies for more specific fundraising initiatives developed and coordinated at both university and faculty levels so that fundraising efforts may proceed in an organized and effective manner.

9.1 A centralized task group for fundraising, including dedicated development staff and representatives from various initiatives should be established to ensure coherent and effective fundraising efforts.

9.2 Partnerships with the private sector that might support development and funding of programs, internships, and scholarships should be explored.

9.3 Strategic engagement with federal, provincial and First Nations governments to advocate for the establishment of Aboriginal scholarships, bursaries, and program support, with particular attention to the establishment of Aboriginal graduate fellowships, should occur on an ongoing basis.

9.4 Alumni, and especially Aboriginal alumni, should be made aware of initiatives and opportunities to contribute their support to programs and undertakings that focus on Aboriginal priorities.


Strategic planning must be an ongoing process and should be based on the most complete and accurate information possible. Responsibility for initiatives must be clearly established and the challenges of Aboriginal initiatives that span institutional units and boundaries adequately addressed. Appropriate resources must be identified and committed to support action on priority initiatives at any given time. Finally, a system for monitoring progress on an ongoing basis must be developed.

10.1 A coordinating unit for gathering and maintaining information on current and past UBC programs, student and faculty representation, best practices, and other relevant research should be established and adequately resourced to allow the university to collect, analyze and effectively use this data towards improvement of Aboriginal learning opportunities and student experience.

10.2 A clear and cooperative system within the UBC administration on both campuses should be established for setting up and tracking responsibility for initiatives, and for identifying and assuring adequate funding for Aboriginal priorities and its appropriate distribution.

10.3 A process should be identified to review and adjust policies, as necessary, to enable the university to be more fully responsive to funding opportunities for Aboriginal initiatives available from federal and provincial governments and other sources.

10.4 A standing committee or other body should be established to coordinate the implementation of this plan and to institute a regular system of review, including yearly reports. That system of review should include consultation and review with Aboriginal communities and/or representatives. Such reviews should include not only an update and reflection on initiatives in progress, but also provide a clear identification of priorities for the approaching cycle of activity and funding. An urgent and ongoing responsibility of this committee will be the engagement of units and other stakeholders in the identification of priorities for timely action.

10.5 Although some aspects of planning, coordinating, and reviewing efforts in support of this plan may be undertaken as centralized functions, primary responsibility for identifying priorities and developing and implementing many of its aspects lies with individual units. Unit funding should be linked to progress in defining, developing and implementing initiatives in support of this plan. These initiatives should be integrated into unit academic and/or operational plans, assessments, and reviews. Specific goals and timeframes should be clearly identified.

10.6 This document and others to follow should be shared with the senates of both campuses and the UBC Board of Governors.

[return to top]


Submitted by

Linc Kesler
Associate Professor & Director
First Nations Studies Program

Anna M. Kindler
Vice Provost & Associate Vice President Academic Affairs

Co-chairs, Aboriginal Strategic Plan Development Working Group