“As Indigenous researchers with strong connections to their communities, II faculty understand the needs and priorities of Indigenous peoples, and can develop research projects to deliver direct benefits to their communities. As the connection point between the Traditional Knowledge Keepers and prospective knowledge users, IIs are perfectly placed to engage in research and knowledge mobilization while respecting and protecting the roots and cultural importance of that very knowledge.”
Resource Report Topic: Research
The Indigenous Institutes Consortium and its members have always prioritized course development that responds to the needs of community members so that they can gain the skills and credentials required to secure employment. An alternative form of skills development, microcredentials are becoming increasingly important in Ontario’s shifting employment landscape because they are vital to the economic recovery of the Province and country. They demonstrate that individuals have acquired specific skillsets that are required in the workplace and that there are individuals who require quick upskilling to be competitive in the evolving workforce. Recently both Indigenous Institutes and the Ontario government have realized the need to invest in microcredentials to improve the employability of residents, and particularly Indigenous learners. With increased funding through eCampusOntario for virtual learning and microcredentials, Six Nations Polytechnic conducted research on how this new type of learning could be developed and applied at Indigenous Institutes.
In this report, Six Nations Polytechnic provides an overview of the current microcredential landscape in Ontario, explores how it needs to evolve so that Indigenous Institutes can actively take part and assesses how virtual learning impacts the delivery and educational experience of this new certification. Following its analysis of the landscape, the report sets out nine recommendations to help Indigenous Institutes and their funders support and administer microcredentialling programs.
Nine Recommendations for Developing Microcredentials at Ontario’s Indigenous Institutes
- Leverage drivers & benefits of e-learning.
- Address the interaction of barriers to technological access, asset availability, and digital literacy.
- Revisit (and revise) teaching staff engagement, training, and support strategies .
- Augment organizational resources for e-learning.
- Invest – strongly – in educational design.
- Develop robust e-learning assessment strategies.
- Explore entrepreneurial approaches.
- Lay the regulatory foundations.
- Advocate for true inclusivity in e-learning frameworks and policy making.
Following this research, Six Nations Polytechnic and several other Indigenous Institutes went on to successfully earn funding from eCampusOntario to further develop microcredential, virtual learning and hyflex learning opportunities.
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The Partnership Guidelines identify how potential partners can work with Indigenous Institutes. The guidelines focus on honesty, integrity, and mutual benefits, all of which are key to a successful partnership. We know and understand that partnerships have the ability to build and enhance resources and capacity for learners and further lead to the advancement of Indigenous self-determination.
Our Guidelines identify:
- the core principles and characteristics that guide good partnerships;
- policy recommendations;
- templates to help develop beneficial partnerships; and
- a discussion guide to facilitate partnership negotiations.
Our Partnership Principles
We heard strong consensus from Indigenous Institutes on the principles and characteristics that guide good partnerships. Those principals and characteristics can be broadly summarized as:
|Self-determination of Indigenous Peoples over post-secondary education|
|Equality with our partners on needs and interests|
|Mutual benefit for all parties|
|Transparency in how we work together|
|Capital allocations that respect and maximize the use of our resources|
|Respect for the uniqueness of Indigenous cultures and the needs of Indigenous learners|
|Proactive management to foster a healthy relationship and manage issues together|
Primary Partnership Drivers for Indigenous Institutes
Existing partnerships with Indigenous Institutes are largely driven by four elements: accreditation, funding, self-determination, and graduate success. Partnerships are intended to result in benefits for Indigenous Institutes and their partners. The chart below provides a snapshot of the types of benefits that partners can generally expect when working with us.
|Driver for Partnership||Primary Relationship Partners||Partnership Benefits|
|Accreditation||Colleges and Universities||IIs are able to offer accredited courses, certificates and degrees to Indigenous learners.
Colleges and Universities receive financial benefits as a result of the partnership.
Colleges and Universities receive diversity, equity and inclusion benefits as a result of the partnership.
|Funding||Public Governments||IIs are able to access funding for core services and other needs.
Governments can fulfill their obligation to ensure accessible high-quality education to Indigenous learners.
|Indigenous Self-Determination over Education||Indigenous Communities||IIs can credibly and authentically represent themselves as Indigenous-led institutions and contribute to the self-determination of Indigenous peoples and nations.
Indigenous communities have a trusted partner that can educate youth and train workers, and that has professional means to advance self-determination over education as envisioned by those communities.
|Learner & |
|Private Sector, Public|
Sector, and Indigenous community employers
|IIs can tailor programs to be relevant to learners and the job market, and increase the likelihood of success for
its learners and graduates.
Private, public, and Indigenous community employers can fill labour needs with trained Indigenous talent.
In our Partnership Guidelines, we further explore the dynamics of partnerships, characteristics of negative partnerships, as well as identify six policy recommendations that our Members recognize as must-haves in developing more sustained, meaningful and impactful relationships with external partners.
After some 25 years of ongoing advocacy, the Indigenous Institutes received recognition through the 2017 Indigenous Institutes Act. This Act provides the legal structure for Indigenous Institutes to offer their own accredited post-secondary education. The IIC Secretariat works with its seven Member Institutes to advocate and collaborate on issues impacting post-secondary matters. The Indigenous education sector continues to build its viable and sustainable Third Pillar through its ongoing growth and capacity. The Member Institutes work collectively and collaboratively through the IIC.
Our new Strategic Plan identifies the IIC’s key goals, objectives, and outcomes over the next three years. The IIC’S shared vision, mission, and values are based on the Seven Grandfather teachings. The teachings keep us grounded in First Nations knowledge and align our work with the needs of our communities.
The Seven Grandfather Teachings provide a solid foundation for our core values:
We have identified four goals in our effort to enhance the capacity of Indigenous Institutes, including:
You will gain insight into the Indigenous post-secondary education sector and its focus, through our strategic plan. Our shared values make it clear what the path forward is for the next three years – making Indigenous Institutes the first choice for Indigenous learners.
The success story of Indigenous Institutes (IIs) shows through in this report, despite limited resources available to the IIs and students. The data is evidence that students are succeeding and are obtaining meaningful employment after graduation. This report also serves to identify gaps and proposes solutions to offer further growth and capacity development opportunities at Ontario’s post-secondary Indigenous Institutes.