Science professors receive grants for projects with Indigenous focus

Indigenous worldviews acknowledge the existence of spirits and the interconnectedness of all things

Four Faculty of Science professors have received grants from the Office of the Vice-Provost Academic’s Indigeneity in Teaching & Learning Fund (ITLF). The fund offers resources to assist faculty with bringing Indigenous perspectives and knowledges into their teaching.

Four Faculty of Science professors received grants from the ITLF to advance three projects that incorporate Indigenous knowledges and perspectives into teaching and learning. Professors Tamara KellyPaula Wilson, Amenda Chow and Pamela Sargent are recipients of the grants.

The following projects were funded in the Faculty of Science:

Tamara Kelly

Discussions on Indigenizing the Science Curriculum

Led by Biology Professor Tamara Kelly, this project will create a one-day conference that will explore ways to Indigenize the science curriculum. It will form part of the Faculty of Science’s response to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and The Indigenous Framework for York University: A Guide to Action. The conference will raise awareness of what Indigenizing the curriculum might mean in the context of science programs and courses, and to consider concrete examples. An additional desired outcome of the conference is that faculty members, staff and students will be inspired to reflect on how to better ensure that courses and departments are welcoming and supportive to Indigenous community members, and that programs include Indigenous scholarship and perspectives.

Paula Wilson
Paula Wilson

Improving Student Supports for Indigenous Science Students

Led by Biology Professor Paula Wilson, this project will focus on learning more about the Indigenous student experience within the Faculty of Science with the long-term goal of improving academic and social supports for Indigenous science and engineering students. Bethune College offers academic support services and leadership opportunities for science and engineering students, with a special focus on first-year transition and first-year experience. It is unclear if Indigenous students use the services, if they feel welcome and included in the community, or how they can be better supported. The findings from this project will be used to improve programming in two thematic areas: to explore and/or establish new ways of supporting Indigenous undergraduate students through Bethune programming, share findings with faculty and graduate students, and to contribute to a more inclusive campus environment that values the plurality of Indigenous knowledge and scholarship.

From left, Amenda Chow, Pamela Sargent
From left, Amenda Chow, Pamela Sargent

Exploring the interplay between Indigenous art and mathematics

Led by Professors Pamela Sargent and Amenda Chow in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics, this project will be a series of workshops featuring local Indigenous artists who use mathematics in their artistic works. The workshops will be conducted in collaboration with University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Mathematics and topics will include bead work that requires mathematical concepts such as counting, logic and patterns, or illustration that uses symmetry, geometry and tessellations. Mathematics is also present in Indigenous storytelling, language and music. The workshops will be experiential and engaging with hands-on, fun educational activities. They will provide all participants with concrete connections between the discipline of mathematics and Indigenous knowledge and culture and offer examples of how Indigenous knowledge can be incorporated into the mathematics curriculum. The workshops will be open to all members of the York University, University of Waterloo and Indigenous communities.