Hotıì ts’eeda paper makes recommendations on NWT polytechnic university governance, areas of teaching and research specializations

Yellowknife (November 6, 2020) – Hotıì ts’eeda has responded to recent discussion papers by the GNWT Department of Education, Culture, and Employment on the NWT polytechnic university, providing specific input on the institution’s governance, areas of teaching, and research specializations.
Hotıì ts’eeda’s response – titled Tsik’e daa de Enitle dee Ko: Land of the Northwest University – was co-authored by the Chairperson and Scientific Director of Hotıì ts’eeda and provides constructive suggestions and considerations building on the considerable work and effort that went into the GNWT papers.
The paper reflects the direction given to Hotıì ts’eeda by its partners through collaborative initiatives over the past five years, emphasizing the need for the polytechnic university to incorporate Indigenous and western knowledge and strengths into all aspects of philosophy, design, and functioning of the institution, and to do so in a way that implements the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
“The polytechnic university will serve primarily Indigenous students from the NWT, who will thrive in an institution that is culturally safe and builds on Indigenous strengths, implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It can be a leader nationally in innovative, Indigenous-strengths based education that meets national standards,” says Dr. John B. Zoe, Chairperson of Hotıì ts’eeda.
“Hotıì ts’eeda commends the consultation and planning work of the Department of Education, Culture, and Employment on the polytechnic university. The new institution will be an engine for the NWT’s knowledge economy, creating economic opportunities and strengthening the wellbeing of NWT residents. This paper recommends building on strengths unique to the NWT, implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and including elements that respond to specific needs of NWT communities,” says Dr. Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox, PhD, Scientific Director of Hotıì ts’eeda.
Some of the paper’s key recommendations are to:
•    appoint an Indigenous chancellor who brings expertise in Indigenous culture, knowledge, and ways of life;
•    complement the chancellor position with a president who holds a PhD and is an established leader in their field of study, has a recognized track record of research in the North, and an ability to lead an educational institution;
•    adopt a governance approach that rests on collaboration and partnership with Indigenous governments, communities, and representatives from key economic sectors such as mining and business, as well as non-government organizations; and
•    pursue six areas of teaching and research specialization organized into distinct schools within the polytechnic, ranging from a school of human and social development to a school of post-secondary readiness and continuing education.  

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Roxane Poulin
Hotıì ts'eeda


Hotıì ts'eeda is hosted by the Tłı̨chǫ Government. It is a SPOR (Strategy for Patient Oriented Research) Support Unit funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and supported by a partnership of NWT governments and organizations. Hotıì ts'eeda is a research support centre for community members, organizations, and researchers involved in NWT health and health research. It connects researchers with communities and Indigenous organizations, to support recognition of NWT health research priorities, and develop a health system that is culturally competent and inclusive of Indigenous methodologies and ways of knowing.

For more information on the GNWT’s discussion papers:

Polytechnic University Areas of Teaching and Research Specialization, GNWT Department of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE), September 2020

Aurora College and Polytechnic University Governance, GNWT Department of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE), August 2020

HT Response to GNWT AC discussion papers, November, 2020