Did you Know? Q&A – meet a different faculty/staff member each month (to familiarize internal audiences with our various programs). This month: interview with Nadia McLaren, Educational Developer (Indigenous Learning).

Nadia McLaren

1. What is your main area of expertise?

Just when I think I have an idea of starting to know what I’m good at, my life takes me another turn only to be humbled again by the things I see, the people I meet and the work that I feel compelled to do. So, to answer this… I have come to learn that maybe I’m good at finding how these life experiences, or rather my personal accumulated knowledges and understandings with regards to both my Anishnaabe and mixed European identities, can be of service to the places and people I share space with.

2. Why is your department important to OCAD U?

Our department is important to OCAD U because we are here to ‘fill in the blanks’ if you          will. From my own personal observations, the FCDC ‘s role at the University is to support and facilitate faculty and the university community’s access to current and meaningful developments in pedagogical practices. As individuals and programs continue to develop their own areas expertise and knowledges, we celebrate the many successes and trailblazing that happens here already, while fostering communal goals and visions important the whole community and identity of OCAD U. Teaching and Learning is an ever-unfolding journey and as our worlds open up to new worlds, it’s important to be self-reflective and as well as be ‘open’ to allow for growth to happen. Our programs such as, Indigenous Speaker’s Series and Elders’ Circles (only to name a couple with regards to Indigenous Learning) make space and offer opportunity for this growth and awareness to happen in truly meaningful ways throughout the university community.

3. What is the biggest misconception about your department?

I’m too new in my position here as Educational Developer (Indigenous Learning) to take a guess at this.

4. What are some of the important issues you are currently facing?

We recently developed two documents which were highly collaborative and encourage community relationship building, both in the process of drafting and moving forward with implementing the work. The Wholistic Approach to Curriculum and accompanying Indigenous Learning Outcomes were developed to address principles and priorities identified in the OCAD University Academic Plan: Transforming Student Experience, 2017-2022, specifically the principle of decolonization, seeking to ensure “the multiplicity of histories and perspectives of racialized and Indigenous students, faculty and staff are recognized and affirmed in their experiences at the institution” (Principle 1), and goals under the first Priority for Indigenous Learning.

The important issues we’re facing at OCAD University, as a community, have everything to do with the realization that we have a great responsibility to fulfill with regards to Turtle Island’s Indigenous Peoples and Lands. This will require each of us to look at what it means to be in relationship with and acknowledging which relationships we prioritize. Relationships not only with each other but with place, land, stories,    education(s), peoples… The list goes on, and should even bring us to look at what our relationships with the definitions of words we have come to know based on our own lived-experiences. Definitions to words such as success, family, education... I guess it comes down to acknowledging our own stories, including the whole story of this institution.

Truth and Reconciliation commissioner, Justice Murray Sinclair famously reminded us that it was education that got us into this “mess” and it will be education that will get us out.

5. What are you reading these days?

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer.

Date: 
Tuesday, September 3, 2019 - 11:24am
Display Location: 
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DYK
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Did you Know? Q&A
Tuesday September 3rd, 2019

Did you Know? Q&A – meet a different faculty/staff member each month (to familiarize internal audiences with our various programs). This month: interview with Nadia McLaren, Educational Developer (Indigenous Learning).

Nadia McLaren

1. What is your main area of expertise?

Just when I think I have an idea of starting to know what I’m good at, my life takes me another turn only to be humbled again by the things I see, the people I meet and the work that I feel compelled to do. So, to answer this… I have come to learn that maybe I’m good at finding how these life experiences, or rather my personal accumulated knowledges and understandings with regards to both my Anishnaabe and mixed European identities, can be of service to the places and people I share space with.

2. Why is your department important to OCAD U?

Our department is important to OCAD U because we are here to ‘fill in the blanks’ if you          will. From my own personal observations, the FCDC ‘s role at the University is to support and facilitate faculty and the university community’s access to current and meaningful developments in pedagogical practices. As individuals and programs continue to develop their own areas expertise and knowledges, we celebrate the many successes and trailblazing that happens here already, while fostering communal goals and visions important the whole community and identity of OCAD U. Teaching and Learning is an ever-unfolding journey and as our worlds open up to new worlds, it’s important to be self-reflective and as well as be ‘open’ to allow for growth to happen. Our programs such as, Indigenous Speaker’s Series and Elders’ Circles (only to name a couple with regards to Indigenous Learning) make space and offer opportunity for this growth and awareness to happen in truly meaningful ways throughout the university community.

3. What is the biggest misconception about your department?

I’m too new in my position here as Educational Developer (Indigenous Learning) to take a guess at this.

4. What are some of the important issues you are currently facing?

We recently developed two documents which were highly collaborative and encourage community relationship building, both in the process of drafting and moving forward with implementing the work. The Wholistic Approach to Curriculum and accompanying Indigenous Learning Outcomes were developed to address principles and priorities identified in the OCAD University Academic Plan: Transforming Student Experience, 2017-2022, specifically the principle of decolonization, seeking to ensure “the multiplicity of histories and perspectives of racialized and Indigenous students, faculty and staff are recognized and affirmed in their experiences at the institution” (Principle 1), and goals under the first Priority for Indigenous Learning.

The important issues we’re facing at OCAD University, as a community, have everything to do with the realization that we have a great responsibility to fulfill with regards to Turtle Island’s Indigenous Peoples and Lands. This will require each of us to look at what it means to be in relationship with and acknowledging which relationships we prioritize. Relationships not only with each other but with place, land, stories,    education(s), peoples… The list goes on, and should even bring us to look at what our relationships with the definitions of words we have come to know based on our own lived-experiences. Definitions to words such as success, family, education... I guess it comes down to acknowledging our own stories, including the whole story of this institution.

Truth and Reconciliation commissioner, Justice Murray Sinclair famously reminded us that it was education that got us into this “mess” and it will be education that will get us out.

5. What are you reading these days?

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer.

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