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Indigenous Student Advisor

Regular Full-Time


Guelph, Ontario

Deadline: 2022-01-24

Posted: 2022-01-11

The department of Student Experience is committed to supporting all students at the University of Guelph. Student Experience houses many specialized supports for students identifying as First Nations, Métis, Inuit, Black, racialized, people of colour, members of the LGBTQ2IA+ community, and members of various cultural, international, religious, and spiritual communities. We encourage applications from members of these communities in order to accurately represent our student population and to contribute to the diversity of thought, approach, and practice in supporting students within the department.

In keeping with our Institutional commitment to reconciliation and decolonization and the support for First Nations, Métis and Inuit (Indigenous) learners, the Indigenous Student Advisor plays a critical role in providing transition and persistence support to Indigenous students through one-on-one advising and counselling and group interventions. Reporting to the Manager, Indigenous Student Centre and working closely with the Coordinator Indigenous Programs, the Advisor acts as the primary contact for Indigenous learners from orientation through to graduation and the transition to the workforce or graduate school. The Advisor serves as a trusted advocate, coach and counsellor particularly in those instances when Indigenous learners are experiencing personal and transition difficulties. Through campus collaboration and by conducting research into promising practices at other colleges and universities, the Advisor provides leadership for advancing academic, developmental and cultural programs and services for First Nations, Inuit and Métis learners.

Duties include providing advocacy, advisement and counselling support to First Nations, Inuit and Métis students experiencing difficulties such as personal, transition, academic and financial issues, and mental health challenges, including direct intervention as well as referrals and facilitating uptake of other campus and community services; explaining and clarifying institutional policies; and describing overarching expectations of students. The Advisor is expected to document office visits, contacts, interventions and programming activities; formulate intervention plans; and analyze statistical data. Through participating in orientation, transition events and development workshops, and maintaining productive relationships with academic and student service areas, the Advisor fosters adaptive and meaningful support networks for Indigenous students both on and off campus. Representing the Indigenous Student Centre and Student Experience, the Advisor acts as a resource and active participant on institutional committees and speaks in public forums on the support needs of Indigenous students and available resources. Through scholarly literature and through engagement with campus and community partners, this work also involves researching the needs of Indigenous learners and developing innovative new initiatives in response to emerging needs.

Requirements of this position include:

• A Master’s degree in Social Science, Indigenous Studies, Social Work or Higher Education and previous experience in the Indigenous education field is required. An equivalent combination of education and experience may be considered;

• Significant experience in devising advising strategies that promote successful transitions and persistence of First Nations, Inuit and Métis students and expertise in providing advisement to students regarding all forms of discrimination, microaggressions, racism, family relationships, mental health challenges and identity development is critical.

• Demonstrated use of transformative theoretical approaches to advising (e.g. prescriptive advising, developmental advising, intrusive advising, strength-based advising, and appreciative advising), experience assisting Indigenous students with navigating support systems where multiple service providers are involved and expertise in acting as a leader when multi-disciplinary teams of professionals are called together for case consultations are required;

• Formal training in counselling skills is critical including experience in the assessment of the various manifestations of culture shock and resulting mental health challenges experienced by Indigenous students. Superior interviewing skills (e.g. motivational interviewing), familiarity with narrative and cognitive-behavioural interventions, brief and solution-focused strategies, and family/ecological systems, the ability to engage students who have had challenges with accessing supports and the ability to formulate intervention plans;

• Demonstrated expertise in student development theory, transition and persistence as they pertain to First Nations, Métis and Inuit students and experience advocating on behalf of individuals who have experienced discrimination or racism;

• Excellent research, assessment, evaluation and presenting skills including skill in advising those in positions of authority regarding matters that impact the Indigenous student experience. Highly developed skills in organization, time management, and problem solving;

• Experience with interpreting and explaining a broad range of policies and protocols is critical. Demonstrated knowledge of funding policies (e.g. Band funding) and sources is required and an understanding of the University of Guelph’s policies, academic programs and student support services is preferred;

• Highly developed communication skills (in all forms) in a university setting including experience working with highly confidential personal information, ability to de-escalate emotionally volatile situations and consummate political savvy and diplomacy are critical;

• Superior skills of collaboration including demonstrated ability to bring together groups of people, facilitate committee meetings, and represent the department and institution in public forums;

• Ability to supervise diverse teams of student staff and Peer Helpers of varying knowledge and experience; and

• Proficiency in various digital platforms including Office 365, social media and web conferencing tools.