Plans are underway to launch the world’s first master’s degree in business administration in Indigenous Reconciliation at the University of Victoria’s Peter B. Gustavson School of Business.
The new program was revealed as part of an $8.4-million funding announcement made by the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction July 8.
It’s being developed in collaboration with the B.C. Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres and will draw funding from Indspire, an Indigenous charity that invests in the education of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.
“The MBA in Indigenous reconciliation is a powerful example of the critically important programming that is achievable when we follow the Hul’qumi’num teaching Ts’its’uwatul’ tseep (to help each other or working together),” UVic’s first vice-president Indigenous, Qwul’sih’yah’maht Robina Thomas said in a press release.
Offering a program of its kind is part of UVic’s ongoing commitment and actions on truth, respect and reconciliation, and developing new pathways for Indigenous students to higher education.
Those interested in the program will be selected by the association and the province. Cohorts will also be intentionally designed to include both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students – drawing qualified candidates from across several sectors including government, social-service and non-profit.
“Reconciliation is a lens for everyone to look through,” said Brent Mainprize, teaching professor at the school of business. “This program brings together Indigenous and non-Indigenous professionals to learn from each other about their cultures and build a shared understanding of and commitment to reconciliation that can be designed in the classroom and immediately put into action in students’ organizations and communities.”
The first enrolment of students is set to begin in spring next year.