Retreat Series

Curriculum CoP: Decolonizing Your ED Practice Retreat Series

Rather than the typical ED retreat where we focus on our constituents — the faculty we support, the students we serve — these mini-retreats are about us. Our aim is concise, but not simple: to give attendees the time, space, and freedom to re-centre educational development toward (or for) social justice. Equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) scholars and experts challenge us to think about how our choices perpetuate colonialism and white supremacy (see: bell hooks; Sara Ahmed; Eve Tuck & K. Wayne Yang; Tema Okun, and many others). Educational developers are not exempt from this essential introspection, and the results can be uncomfortable.

Fitting in EDI work around educational development work can feel daunting, particularly when almost none of us have recovered from the chaos of last spring. But EDI experts like Malinda Smith, Vice Provost-Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the University of Calgary, challenge us to analyze how we think about time. In deferring EDI work until “later,” Smith says we’re actually showing that someone else’s human rights don’t matter as much as our priorities (2021). Additionally, we should not jump straight into the “problem-solving” or “doing” that educational developers know best, but rather create spaces for pause. Smith explains that the only way to unsettle is to come to understand how universities have played, and continue to play, a role in creating and sustaining colonial structures. Before we can contribute to (let alone lead) the decolonization of campus curriculum, or support our faculty with their EDI work, we must first analyze our roles in creating and perpetuating ongoing systems of oppression, which is what these retreats are intended to create space to do.

Retreat 1: Anti-Racist Approaches to Decolonizing your Educational Development Practice

July 20, 2021, 12–2 pm

What is the educational developer’s role in creating an anti-racist classroom? Where does anti-racism intersect with both decolonization and online pedagogy? This highly participatory workshop will provide participants with an opportunity to reflect on strategies that allow educational development to benefit from a diversity of experiences and knowledge. Significant attention will be paid to locating ourselves and our work in relation to our intersecting identities and in relation to eurocentrism and colonialism so that, by the end of the workshop, participants will be able to articulate their own next steps for building an educational development practice that values multiple ways of knowing.

Preparation for Retreat 1

In advance of the session, participants will prepare an introductory slide which illustrates their relationship to settle colonialism, and reflect on how community and family have contributed to their understandings of educational development practice (~1 hour of prep). Click here to access a Google Drive folder which includes a document with complete instructions.

Retreat 2: Indigenous Approaches to Decolonizing Curriculum and Pedagogy

August 17, 2021, 12–2 pm

“Indigenization of curriculum requires much more than adding Indigenous content. In an education system that has, since its inception and into the present day, valued Western ways of thinking almost exclusively, Indigenization of curriculum requires us to bring Indigenous ways of thinking, being, and learning into course design. This section provides a discussion of Indigenous epistemologies and pedagogies and how these can be interwoven in curriculum design and development.” (Pulling Together: A Guide for Curriculum Developers).

Using discussion prompts from Pulling Together and drawing on their experiences and reflections from Retreat 1, participants will discuss their key take-aways, muddy points and opportunities to continue the hard work of indigenizing and decolonizing our work as Educational Developers.

Preparation for Retreat 2

In advance of this session, participants will review the material from Section 2 of Pulling Together (~6 hours of prep).