Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 46.21
Liaison Chris Gardner
Submission Date Aug. 23, 2022

STARS v2.2

Douglas College
IN-47: Innovation A

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 0.50
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Douglas College Indigenization Strategy and Efforts

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

While Colleges and Universities across Canada are increasingly seeking ways of better supporting reconciliation efforts with Indigenous peoples, Douglas College has been taking several leadership steps to 'walk the talk' through the implementation of several innovative and leading actions related to reconciliation over the past several years.

We wish to submit these efforts for consideration for an Innovation and Leadership credit as they directly relate to several areas of achievement outlined in STARS, including sustainability planning (specifically, the Indigenization Strategy), public engagement (specifically, public engagement), and student support (specifically, support for under-represented groups).

While we are proud of our work in this area to date, we recognize that there is still a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done support reconciliation at Douglas and abroad.

Programs, policies, and initiatives that demonstrate Douglas College's reconciliation and Indigenization efforts include:

1) Indigenization Strategy
Douglas College is committed to the engagement process with the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training to develop a comprehensive post-secondary strategy that responds to the Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) Calls to Action and to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in relation to post-secondary education and training.

Over the Winter 2019 semester, President Dr. Kathy Denton created and chaired a Steering Committee to oversee the development of Douglas College’s first over-arching, long-term Indigenization Strategy. The Steering Committee consulted broadly, engaging approximately 150 employees and Board members and 50 students, as well as members of local Indigenous communities. The resulting high-level Strategy, presented to the College Board in June 2019, outlines three broad objectives and eight subsidiary ones.

Three broad objectives include:
1. Express Douglas College’s commitment to Indigenization and reconciliation in ways that are tangible and visible to our communities, our students, our employees and our visitors to campus.
2. Deepen relationships with local First Nations communities in ways that serve the communities’ interests and needs, and the needs and interests of Indigenous students at Douglas College.
3. Address professional development needs of all employee groups in support of Douglas College’s meaningful efforts towards Indigenization and reconciliation.

2) Attracting Indigenous Students
The College tracks the number of Indigenous student spaces as part of the annual institutional accountability reports. This practice began in 2011/2012.

The College is very supportive of Indigenous students and attracts a larger proportion of Indigenous students than is represented in the community. The proportion of Indigenous student enrolments in credit programs at Douglas College is roughly double (3.4%) the amount that would be predicted based on the composition of the Douglas College region (1.9%).

Douglas College offers a supportive environment for Indigenous students and collaborates with Indigenous communities, school districts, and other organizations to assist Indigenous students with the transition to college.

3) Indigenous Mural & Welcome Figure
Douglas College has numerous Indigenous public art features on campus including the Indigenous Mural & Welcome Figure.

Indigenous Mural
The mural at the New Westminster Campus, titled “Raven Figures,” was created in October 2020 to commemorate Douglas’s 50th anniversary. Located on the south wall of the concourse, the mural was designed and painted by Coast Salish artist Carrielynn Victor, who also designed Douglas College’s coat of arms.

Artist Statement
“A raven figure in Coast Salish design style holds a book and stands in contemplation. Many ideas, concepts and realities of a learning environment appear in the blue that bursts from the raven. These concepts are a combination of the mind of the raven and the new knowledge acquired through their book (education).

The rainbow of colours used reflects the colours found in the iridescence of a raven’s feather. Bright and bold colours mix to form triangles that tessellate from the feet of the figure in an upward motion, further enhancing the idea that knowledge is bursting from the figure, who is rooted in the earth while looking out into the world.

The overall style of the piece is a combination of positive and negative interfacing, and low polygon or geometric shapes. Triangles have a deep significance in Coast Salish design and culture, and have been incorporated throughout the piece.” -Carrielynn Victor

Welcome Figure
The Welcome Figure at the Coquitlam Campus, titled “Salmon Woman Welcomes Salmon Home,” was designed and carved by Coast Salish carver Gerry Sheena. The figure was commissioned in 2020 to commemorate Douglas’s 50th anniversary.

The carving took place from October to December 2020, and the figure was raised in October 2021 on the southeast lawn next to the Sol Garden. The carving welcomes visitors as they access the campus from the corner of Pinetree Way and Town Centre Boulevard.

Artist Statement
A woman holds a salmon and raises her hand in a gesture of welcome to students and employees, as well as to the salmon as they swim up the nearby Coquitlam River. The salmon represents the Kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem) Nation, on whose traditional territory the Coquitlam Campus is located. Red cedar was chosen for the figure because of its significance in Coast Salish culture: It’s known as the “tree of life” because of its many uses for the Coast Salish peoples, serving as material for everything from canoes and housing to baskets and clothing.

“The woman symbolizes the education needed for one’s journey. She also symbolizes the Welcoming, of the students and the Salmon. She nurtures the young and prepares them for their long journey. As does the College. She is a symbol of strength and of hope for all living things.” – Gerry Sheena, artist

4) Indigenous Student Services
Douglas College Indigenous Students Services vision is to be responsive to your needs as an Indigenous student so that they can achieve their potential for success as a self-directed, independent learner. They are also available to provide support in a manner that is consistent with the cultures and values of our peoples, as well as to enhance and complement Douglas College values.

Indigenous Service Centre Services include:
- Culturally-appropriate support services, activities and events in the college and community
- 1:1 support with the Indigenous Student Advisor
- Assistance for future students while serving as advocates for current students
- Student assistants are peer mentors who are available for additional support
- Transition into the workforce
- Elder visits, where students can seek spiritual/cultural guidance
- Information about funding options for Status and non-status Indigenous students as well as bursaries, scholarships, awards, and student loans
- Assistance finding accommodations and day care
- Access to a range of academic workshops and one-on-one writing and research skills
- Opportunities to participate in and witness traditional cultural presentations

Indigenous Service Centre also provide services for all students, including:
- A quiet place for studying, reading, writing or taking a break
- A place to meet, connect and make friends
- Computer, Internet and telephone access
- Information on Indigenous history and culture

In addition, Indigenous Services Centre has an Aboriginal Gathering Space. Opened in April 2011, the Aboriginal Gathering Place is a venue for traditional ceremonies and hosts potlucks and meetings. When not holding events, the Gathering Place is a quiet space to study, meditate and meet fellow students.

The main room features traditional art, including a four-metre Coast Salish welcoming figure that faces the Fraser River, by Susan Point, and four directional poles by George Hemeon.

The space is available to everyone at Douglas College and to the larger community to use respectfully.

5)Indigenous End of Life Doula Course
In partnership with First Nations Health Authority, Douglas College offers an Indigenous End of Life Doula course to train students and guide Indigenous peoples during their end of life journey.

Course Description:
For some First Nations and Indigenous people, wanting to remain in or return to their community to die is very important, and an integral part of their plan for their final journey to the Spirit World. To make this possible, support and care are needed.

In many First Nations communities, there are often people who provide this kind of care naturally, however, remaining in community to die is not always an option.

A unique four-day course is aimed at First Nations and Indigenous individuals who have been or will be called upon to voluntarily provide care, support and advocacy for someone who is facing the end of their life.
Students in this program develop an understanding of how the continuity of care and advocacy they provide work to complement and enhance the end of life care provided by the medical community and hospice palliative care
workers and volunteers.

Comfort, dignity and respect are hallmarks of good quality end-of-life care, and need to meet emotional, mental, spiritual and physical needs of the individual. For people facing the end of their life, continuity of care and advocacy of their health care treatment decisions can be a challenge that an Indigenous End of Life Guide can help to honour and support.

Participants in this course will learn about palliative support, the importance of end of life care and the role of an Indigenous End of Life Guide. There is a focus on teaching advanced communication skills including active listening and conflict resolution; initiating and conducting difficult conversations about end of life, and facilitating family
meetings. The complexity of grief is discussed including a variety of coping mechanisms, useful resources and the importance of effective self-care. Advance Care Planning conversations are highlighted, including a range of medical and non-medical interventions available to ensure comfort as well as tools for guiding planning and making wishes known to others. Participants will learn facilitation skills that will equip them to engage in community education initiatives.

This course provides opportunities to discuss issues, ask questions, and find a community of practice that can support an Indigenous End of Life Guide in attending to individuals and families during their end of life journey. Carefully interwoven are cultural practices and protocols unique to each Nation. A knowledge keeper will cofacilitate with the instructor.

6)Indigenous Recruiter Advisor
This is a new role at the College which will focus on developing relationships with various Indigenous communities in BC, as well as supporting prospective Indigenous students and parents who are interested in Douglas College programs. The role is housed within the Future Students’ Office, but will work collaboratively with Indigenous Student Services (ISS), the Student Support Navigator, and other key service areas.

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :

The website URL where information about the innovation is available :
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.