Thompson Rivers University

TRU a leading voice in intercultural education research

  Posted on: March 16, 2017

Dr. Kyra Garson, Interculturalization Coordinator, Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.

Since a team of TRU researchers first launched the inaugural Learning at Intercultural Intersections Research Conference in 2015, the focus has expanded to reflect the results of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The conference, held March 7-9, was supported by the Office of Aboriginal Education, and presentations included Indigenous Elders, faculty, students and staff. Learning at Intercultural Intersections brought local, national, and international scholars and practitioners to campus to share current research and practice around indigenization, internationalization and intercultural learning.

The sustained research efforts of Dr. Kyra Garson and many TRU colleagues, has made the university a leader in international dialogue on the interculturalization of the academy.

“We want to, on a basic level, improve the quality of interaction on university campuses, and what this means is that people come together to share their perspectives, and a value of respect comes into play,” said Dr. Chad Hamill, Vice President of Native American Initiatives at Northern Arizona University. Hamill was one of several scholars who remained on campus after the conference to assist in the development of a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnership Development Grant proposal.

“We can’t afford any longer to look at interculturalization and Indigenization in isolation. Now is the time to partner in research to investigate all these questions in collaboration,” said Dr. Kumari Beck, associate professor in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University.

While indigenizing is being discussed in great detail on university campuses nationwide, it is still a relatively new concept, and in many ways TRU is leading the conversation.

“How do we become less concerned about molding students to the shape of our system, and instead, have the cultures of our students shape the system they’re in?,” asked Garson.