Decolonizing Educational Leadership

Rebecca Cox

Grant program: Disrupting Colonialism through Teaching

Grant recipientRebecca Cox, Faculty of Education

Project team: Kristy Dellebuur O'Connor, research assistant

Timeframe: November 2020 to April 2022

Funding: $6000

Final report: View Rebecca Cox's final report (PDF)

Description: This proposed research project aims to conduct engaged research and relationship-building work in preparation of a new course to be offered as part of the Urban Studies curriculum, Indigenous City. The course, once researched and prepared, will be offered for a pilot offering in Fall 2020 as a four credit seminar for both upper level undergraduate and graduate urban studies students.For this project, I plan to incorporate Indigenous perspectives in relation to two key learning goals of the course: assessing the affordances of various theories and models of leadership, and analyzing leadership practices as described in case studies, current events, and popular culture.

Reading texts by Indigenous scholars that speak to Indigenous models of leadership will enable us, as a class, to delineate the distinct aspects of Indigenous leadership frameworks, to identify leadership practices that reflect Indigenous values and goals, and to compare them to colonial models of leadership. Analyzing various examples of leadership practices-as represented in current events and popular culture—will help students identify ways that colonial models and conceptions of leadership clash with, undermine, and subordinate the values inherent in Indigenous models.

Questions addressed:

  • What currently existing resources related to Indigenous perspectives on leadership could be incorporated into this course?
  • How does the incorporation of Indigenous perspectives and examples shape students’ views of leadership by the end of the course?
  • What forms of student resistance arise in response to this intentional attempt to decolonize the course?

Knowledge sharing: I will share the results of the resource search directly with my colleagues in Educational Leadership. They are also interested in reading and discussing my report as a group. I plan to consult with the two current teaching fellows about ways that I might share findings with interested faculty members across the faculty.

Keywords: Educational Leadership, Decolonization, Post-secondary teaching and learning