4. Research and Academic Complement - In Progress

40. Research Expectations (immediate term)

The Task Force calls upon our University to review and adapt as necessary research expectations for faculty and students who undertake community-engaged research, given that this type of research commands more time to conduct and disseminate than traditional forms of scholarship. To this end, McGill is encouraged to recognize explicitly alternate, unorthodox modes of knowledge translation and sharing that depart from standard, text-based output.

The Task Force further calls for revisiting the notion of “peers” in academic research contexts. Indigenous scholarship maybe best evaluated by individuals in community who hold knowledge and who understand whether and how the research concerned is likely to affect or benefit Indigenous communities, peoples, territories and knowledges.

Progress

  • The Senior Research Equity Advisor from the Office of the Provost is supporting Equity Diversity Inclusion components of the Canada Research Chair awards process.

42. Community Partnerships (medium and long term)

The Task Force calls upon our University to develop partnerships with Indigenous communities where McGill faculty and students may undertake research, with a view to formalizing OCAP principles. Such partnerships may take the form of memoranda of understanding or agreement between Indigenous communities and McGill University. Partnerships should be premised on allowing Indigenous communities to advise the McGill research community about the most pressing questions within their communities that require investigation. Consideration should also be given to the creation of a bank of research questions or topics formulated by communities, which McGill students can be invited to pursue through independent or graduate research projects. This type of initiative reflects the partnership model toward which McGill should be striving, allowing research inquiry to originate within and ultimately serve to benefit Indigenous communities.

Progress

  • Mellon Fund has begun seed funding for community engagement initiatives through the Indigenous Studies & Community Engagement Initiative.

Next Steps

  • The Indigenous Studies & Community Engagement Initiative will plan to have a call for proposals.

43. Research Protocols and Requirements (medium term)

The Task Force calls upon our University to establish explicit requirements for McGill researchers (including faculty, postdoctoral fellows, students at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and research associates and assistants) who take up work that engages with Indigenous peoples, communities, histories or knowledges, including:

  • the creation of a course on Indigenous methodologies, histories and experiences developed and led in collaboration with Indigenous community members, which must be taken by any McGill researcher whose work engages with Indigenous peoples, communities, histories or knowledges;
  • developing a mandatory research protocol premised on OCAP principles for studies that involve data collection and use deriving from research with Indigenous communities and peoples;
  • revising McGill’s research ethics criteria and review processes to ensure all research affecting Indigenous peoples aligns with UNDRIP, the TCPS, the AFNQL protocol, and OCAP principles, while also in compliance with Indigenous community ethics boards;
  • ensuring that all members of McGill’s research ethics board have the training necessary to review research proposals affecting Indigenous peoples; and
  • requiring any McGill-based researcher who seeks to conduct research within an Indigenous community to demonstrate compliance with any applicable community-based research ethics requirements before the research can be approved by a McGill’s research ethics board.

Progress

  • A major goal of the Indigenous Studies & Community Engagement Initiative's planned May 2020 Mellon retreat was to consult on the need for an Indigenous Research Protocol, perhaps linking it to an Indigenous Community Engagement Protocol.

Next Steps

  • The Mellon Committee is planning to continue this consultation virtually. Summer research assistants will be working to benchmark with other universities in Canada, and working together with the Office of the Provost team, the hope is to have a draft in the fall for circulation.

44. Cluster Hire & Target-Setting (immediate term)

The Task Force calls upon our University to set a target of at least 35 Indigenous tenure-track or tenured professors for appointment by 2032 (approximately 2% representation within 15 years). Strategies for meeting this target must be established both centrally and within Faculties:

  • Centrally: Initiate a cluster hire led by the Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) that seeks, over the next three years, to hire 10 new faculty members in the tenure stream who have lived experience and expertise in Indigenous knowledges, epistemologies, methodologies, histories, traditions, languages, or systems of laws and governance. These positions should not be concentrated in one unit or Faculty; the goal must be to deepen Indigenous expertise across the campus. The Task Force further urges the allocation, within this cluster hire, of three Canada Research Chairs (CRCs) in the areas of Indigenous Sustainability Sciences, Indigenous Health Sciences and Indigenous Humanities.
  • Within Faculties: Require the articulation of local targets for Indigenous hires in the next five, ten and fifteen years, with Faculties regularly reviewing their progress and reporting to the Provost annually on this issue in the context of yearly reporting on equity in academic recruitment.

While taking up this call to recruit Indigenous tenure stream faculty in the most robust way possible, the University is also urged to explore the potential to recruit Indigenous academic staff to posts outside the tenure stream, such as Professors of Practice or ranked Contract Academic Staff.

Progress

  • Indigenous hires: in Fall 2018, the Office of the Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) announced six special provostial licenses dedicated to hiring Indigenous tenure-track professors, distributed across four faculties including Arts, Medicine, and Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
  • The Office of the Provost has taken the lead in supporting Indigenous recruitment: standard search processes have been tailored for Indigenous academic hiring.
  • The Office of the Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) has appointed an ad hoc special advisor for Indigenous academic recruitment and retention (Hudson Meadwell) for 2019-2020 and 2020-2021.
  • Each of the search committees for the special provostial licenses included a provostial representative appointed by the Associate Provost. A research assistant has been provided by the Associate Provost to support these searches.
  • While hard targets have not been met, the Faculty of Law continues to actively recruit Indigenous candidates.

Next Steps

  • Three of the new Indigenous tenure-track professors are scheduled to start in September 2020, while three are still pending and are now subject to the general tenure track hiring freeze that went into effect May 1, 2020.
  • The most pressing resource need is in the ranked academic complement. We need a plan that distributes positions widely but that recognizes areas of growing excellence. But that plan needs to be explicit, and "live" - renewed on a regular, ongoing basis.
  • Office of the Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) will continue providing both general and tailored training sessions for units, faculties and search committees that are making Indigenous academic hires. The more educated the cultural environment, the more comfortable new hires will feel. This will improve recruitment and retention. 

46. Equitable Retention (medium term)

The Task Force calls upon our University to support the retention of Indigenous faculty through:

  • adapted and more flexible academic expectations, given the extensive service work done by Indigenous faculty that is not adequately recognized or supported (e.g., mentoring, supporting and recruiting students and junior faculty and consultation on various Indigenous committees and undertakings). This may occur, for example, through adjusted teaching loads and/or expectations regarding what counts as research and research dissemination;
  • rethinking the traditional tripartite academic role of teaching, research and service to better reflect Indigenous approaches to scholarship;
  • valuing community-or land-based activities (e.g., outreach activities, youth mentorship, recruitment) as part of a professor’s teaching, research and/or service record;
  • creating opportunities for collaboration among faculty, academic administrators and McGill’s Association of University Teachers (MAUT) to reach an understanding of the flexibility needed to ensure the successful trajectories of Indigenous faculty members;
  • ensuring that community service is not subjugated in importance to research; and
  • developing a mentorship program open to all tenure-track professors.

Progress

  • The Office of the Vice-Provost is working on the co-development of programming with the Employment Equity Advisor.

47. Recognition of Work in Community (medium term)

The Task Force calls upon our University to recognize explicitly that many Indigenous academics will hold a life-long commitment to their communities. These colleagues will thrive, and the University will thrive, if they are not made to choose between their duties to their communities and the requirements of an academic career. Academic appointments, and standards for assessing academic performance (e.g., for merit, renewal, tenure and promotion), must be flexible enough to cultivate the success of Indigenous scholars pursuing community-based research. Understanding how the University might recognize and reward community-based work as teaching, research and service calls for sustained and open dialogue with Indigenous colleagues.

Progress

  • The Office of the Vice-Provost and Equity are working on nominations to submit for Equity & Community Building Award.
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