Dean, Indigenous Initiatives
About Vancouver Community College
Located within the unceded traditional territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓ əm (Musqueam Indian Band), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish Nation), sə̓ lílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh Nation), Vancouver Community College (VCC) offers academic, cultural, and social environments that inspire relevant and accessible training. With campuses in downtown Vancouver, and East Vancouver, VCC’s facilities offer real-world space— including gourmet restaurants, an auto shop, and salon and spa—where students can develop their skills and achieve success in the classroom, industry, and community. Among the core tenets of VCC’s educational philosophy are life-long learning, professional upgrading, and continued studies along with developing soft skills like critical thinking, teamwork, and interpersonal communication to ensure students have a seamless transition to work. VCC also offers the most comprehensive on-the-job training in the Lower Mainland and its commitment to diversity, accessibility, quality, and relevance makes the College a unique and exciting environment to study.
Innovation is reflected in all College priorities including planning, administration, programming, proprietary and hands-on training with industry partners, and relationship building. Programs are offered through the School of Arts and Sciences; the School of Health Sciences; the School of Hospitality, Food Studies and Applied Business; the School of Trades, Technology and Design; the School of Instructor Education, and the Centre for Continuing Studies. Student services are offered through Library and Teaching and Learning Services; International Education; Indigenous Education; the Partnership Development Office; and, the Student Success Team.
With over 14,000 students, including a growing number of Aboriginal and International learners, 1,200 employees, and an annual budget of $150 million, VCC is a key player in the post-secondary landscape in BC. The College’s connections to industry ensure that students have direct access to employers while their model of access and partnerships across the post-secondary sector assist students in reaching their goals at any stage of their educational journey.
To learn more, please visit VCC’s website.
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Strategic Innovation Plan Highlights
VCC’s Strategic Innovation Plan (SIP) outlines its commitment to becoming one of B.C.’s most innovative and forward-looking centres of learning within the next 10 years. The SIP presents new ways of thinking and doing, challenging traditional business models, and addressing evolving educational needs to ensure that VCC creates optimal, accessible environments for learning success now and in the future.
- Academic Innovation: Deliver sustainable programming accessible and responsive to the diverse and changing learner, community, and employer needs
- Campuses of the Future: Design spaces and infrastructures optimized for all learner and employee success and wellbeing
- Empowered People and Inclusive Culture: Cultivate innovative and accessible people services committed to inclusion, wellness, and development for all employees
- Engaged Communities: Foster meaningful relationships and strategic partnerships that expand opportunities, community impact, and industry recognition
- Operational Excellence: Advance system integration, risk management, and fiscal responsibility through capacity building and digital transformation
These advancements will enable VCC to deliver bold new initiatives, build infrastructure, and explore new technologies for the benefit our students, employees, and the wider community. True to their word and critical to delivering on these priorities, two of the five goals that are advanced under each priority are:
- Indigenization by decolonization & reconciliation; and,
- Justice, equity, diversity & inclusion.
The Organization (continued)
Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation
VCC’s journey towards decolonization, indigenization, and reconciliation is rooted in a thoughtful understanding of history, an acknowledgement of past and persisting racism, and a commitment to improve educational and career outcomes for Indigenous people in B.C.
Driven by its vision for providing a safe space where Indigenous learners are empowered with the resources necessary to achieve their educational goals and dreams, VCC strives to be the institution of choice for Indigenous learners. The Indigenous Education and Community Engagement team strives to intentionally and strategically design culturally reflective, wraparound supports and programming that are grounded in meaningful relationships with local Indigenous Nations, urban Indigenous groups, and community organizations. This team is guided by the values of Respect, Shared Responsibility, Community, Inclusion and Equity.
Current projects that support Indigenous student success include:
- Priority enrolment
- Indigenous-focused program delivery
- Indigenous advisors, student cousins, and Elders on campus
- Gathering spaces
- Indigenous student supports and resources
About the Role: Dean, Indigenous Initiatives
Reporting directly to the Vice President (VP), Students & Community Development, the Dean, Indigenous Initiatives will work toward advancing Indigenization initiatives across the college, and build and strengthen partnerships with Indigenous communities, organizations and stakeholders. Operating under the principles of the United Nations Declaration for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action and the Colleges and Institutes Canada Indigenous Education Protocol, the Dean provides pan institutional leadership and integrated administration of Indigenous initiatives.
The Dean will be the lead voice at VCC on all Indigenous matters and will facilitate access and promote success of Indigenous learners and development of staff and faculty. The Dean acts as the first point of contact for the Ministries of Advanced Education and Indigenous Relations & Reconciliation, First Nations leadership and senior management at the public school district level on all matters related to Indigenous education.
- Establish overall direction and vision for indigenization, reconciliation and decolonization at VCC
- Guide institutional policy, practices and strategies as they relate to Indigenous education and student services and in alignment with the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions Calls to Action
- Identify opportunities and support the development, planning and execution of initiatives to ensure and promote indigenization of VCC
- Develop and implement plans to increase Indigenous student enrollment and academic success
- Lead the development of a pan institutional indigenization strategy and implement partnerships in alignment with the Indigenization Plan
- Provide leadership, advice, and support to employees and faculty regarding local, provincial, and national Indigenous protocols and practices
- Conduct annual assessments and reports on Indigenous initiatives
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Key Responsibilities (continued):
Administration and Support Services
- Jointly with the VP, Students & Community Development, inform and direct student services staff and faculty on Indigenous support services
- Identify gaps in current course offerings and develop new programs, policies, procedures and cultural practices and events that aim to increase enrollment, retention, and success of Indigenous learners at the College
- Guide the Marketing department and Academic Deans to develop and implement recruitment plans targeting Indigenous students across College programs
- Facilitate, coordinate, and deliver various activities, events, and workshops to foster awareness of Indigenous communities, histories, cultural practices, and traditional knowledges
- Work collaboratively with students, faculty and staff to ensure that VCC programs and services are socially and culturally appropriate
Budget and Expenses
- Develop, oversee and report on department budgets, ensuring best use of resources and undertake reporting
- Identify opportunities and secure funding for Indigenous initiatives and projects
- Co-develop and advance the priorities, recommendations, and initiatives of the VCC Indigenization Plan
Human Resource Management
- Provide leadership and direction to assigned staff
- Recruit, promote, evaluate, train, develop and manage performance of staff within the scope defined by VCC policy and Collective Agreements
- Identify and support training and capacity building of VCC faculty and staff
- Travel and perform other related duties as required.
Candidate Attributes and Qualifications
Education and Experience
- A Master’s Degree from a recognized education institution in a relevant field, preferred, and a combination of experience, skills and knowledge of Indigenous knowledge system(s), de-colonization, inter-generational trauma and the importance of positive self-concept in education or, equivalent combination of education, training and experience.
- Validated Indigenous heritage, relationships, cultural knowledge and community connections.
- Personal, lived experience of Indigenous cultures, histories and knowledges complemented by connections and familiarity with the xʷməθkʷəy̓ əm (Musqueam Indian Band), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish Nation), sə̓ lílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh Nation), as well as Indigenous communities and organizations across British Columbia.
- Experience working meaningfully to address UNDRIP and the TRC Calls to Action within a professional setting.
- A demonstrated ability to work collaboratively, and communicate effectively with executive and senior management teams, faculty, staff, students, Indigenous communities, Boards, committees, governments, and the broader community.
- Seven (7) years’ directly related experience in a post-secondary or similar environment with a successful track record of strategic and operational planning and innovative and collaborative leadership in a complex, multi-union environment.
- Seven (7) years’ experience in a leadership role in an Indigenous organization, association, or other related workplace.
Skills and Abilities
- Demonstrated track record in developing culturally responsive curriculum in a post-secondary setting or similar setting, preferred.
- Strong knowledge of current and emerging priorities in Indigenous education and program delivery, and student services and supports.
- Collaborative approach to development and implementation of Indigenous initiatives.
- Excellent interpersonal, communication and presentation skills (verbal and written).
- Proven relationship building skills utilizing respect, reciprocity, creativity, collaboration, and innovation to engage others with authenticity and trust. Demonstrated strategic planning and consensus building skills.
- Demonstrated ability to exercise discretion, sensitivity and diplomacy when working with complex issues and diverse stakeholders.
- Exceptional skills in time management, organization and prioritization.
- Exceptional dispute resolution, negation and conflict management skills.
- Demonstrated financial and human resources management skills.
The City of Vancouver sits on the traditional, ancestral and unceded lands of xʷməθkʷəy̓ əm (Musqueam Indian Band), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish Nation), sə̓ lílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh Nation). The three Nations have a unique spiritual, cultural, and economic connection to this land that goes back thousands of years. Canada and Vancouver’s historical relationship with the three local First Nations goes only a few hundred years back (partially described in First Peoples: A Guide for Newcomers)—the troubling legacies of colonial history form the backdrop of life in Vancouver.
Current day Vancouver is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities in Canada with 52 percent of the population speaking a first language other than English. The scenic views, mild climate, economic opportunities, and friendly communities, draw people from around the world, and though it grapples with many challenges, Vancouver is consistently rated as one of the top cities in the world to live.
Recognized as one of BC’s top employers (2022), VCC offers a competitive compensation package including an attractive base salary and excellent benefits. Further details will be discussed in a personal interview.
VCC is committed to maintaining a work force that represents the diverse community we serve, and we encourage all qualified applicants to apply. Preference will be given to applicants who are Indigenous and, given recent incidents of Indigenous identity fraud, VCC’s selection process will include a variety of methods confirming candidate identity. In consultation with Indigenous people who provide advice and support to VCC, a thorough and respectful candidate screening process has been developed for this important role.
Qualified applicants will be invited to participate in a holistic evaluation process that includes validation of hereditary relationships, cultural knowledge and community references. Candidates are invited to share a combination of a status card, community references (from candidates’ home community wherever possible) and/or other references that validate a clear and authentic connection to their Indigenous heritage and to their home community and Nation, wherever possible.
To apply, please submit:
- A curriculum vitae or resume
- At least 2 supporting documents that validate citizenship or membership in an Indigenous Nation (as mentioned above) and,
- A letter of interest which includes responses to the following:
- Please describe your personal connection to Indigenous education and engagement work and how you have successfully led programs and services through traditional knowledge and cultural teachings.
- Please describe your experience building and maintaining effective relationships with Indigenous Nations and communities, including the xʷməθkʷəy̓ əm (Musqueam Indian Band), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish Nation), sə̓ lílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh Nation), if possible; Scholars and opinion leaders; Academic and educational administrators.
A first review of applications will occur during the week of February 13, 2023.
Applications, nominations and inquiries should be directed to:
Laurie Sterritt • Partner Melissa Conn • Search Associate
Leaders International Leaders International
Telephone: 778-838-4569 Telephone: 204-510-2707
Leaders International specializes in the recruitment of Board of Directors, leadership succession and executive level0 positions. Our global network, Penrhyn International, is a world leader in the executive recruitment industry, with more0 than 47 offices in over 25 countries on 5 continents.