Canadian Art and Design University Giving Hiring Priority to 'Racialized and Indigenous Persons'

OCAD University, Toronto
OCAD University, Toronto / Wikimedia Commons
December 12, 2017

A top Canadian art and design university has promised to give hiring priority to "racialized and Indigenous persons" in the search for multiple tenure and tenure-track positions, including five opportunities exclusively open to people of indigenous backgrounds.

Ontario's OCAD University issued an invitation to the "Indigenous Peoples of North America or Peoples of Turtle Island"—the name post-colonialists give to North America—to apply for positions affiliated with any of the disciplines offered in the undergraduate and graduate studies programs.

Applicants must have a "demonstrated understanding of the ways in which equity, Indigenous knowledge, and sustainability are fundamental to the quality of student experience, to innovative scholarship, and to art and design production," according to the listing.

The university adds that it "will work in tandem with our Aboriginal Education Council, our Indigenous Student Association and with all faculty and staff across the university to support the process to decolonize the institution."

These openings are in addition to four tenure-track assistant or associate professorships and two administrative roles that OCAD writes will be prioritized for people of color, "in order to alleviate the under-representation" of these groups.

These discriminating hiring practices are part of a "special program under the Ontario Human Rights Code," notes OCAD, whose guidelines demand that "everyone is entitled to be free from discrimination" based on factors like race, color, ethnicity, or place of origin.

The hiring blitz is in line with OCAD's new five-year plan for "Transforming Student Experience" by 2022, where the university promised to "improve the representation of equity-seeking communities in staff, faculty and leadership positions, with a particular focus on racialized and Indigenous Peoples, members of the LGBTQ communities and persons with disabilities."

In its blueprint for the future, OCAD also introduced six "guiding principles" to shape its campus, namely decolonization, diversity and equity, sustainability, valuing faculty, "interdisciplinarity," and health and wellness.

OCAD is searching for a steward of this effort, an associate dean of academic affairs who "champions the processes of decolonizing, embedding Indigenous learning," and "diversification and equity of the curriculum," according to the job description.

People of color will get top consideration by human resources for this position, as well.

Current job openings for non-tenured instructors, teachers assistants, and administrative staff do not bear the affirmative action qualifier.

An OCAD spokesperson did not respond to questions about its hiring practices.