Job Posting

Executive Director, Indigenous Initiatives

The Organization – Emily Carr University of Art + Design
Emily Carr University of Art + Design (ECUAD) gratefully acknowledges the traditional, ancestral, and unceded lands of xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam Indian Band), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish Nation), sə̓lílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh Nation) on whose territories they are situated.

ECUAD is a school of students, faculty, thinkers, and makers unlike any other – at once laser-focused and infinite by practice and nature. Established in 1925, it is the only specialized, accredited, public, post-secondary university in British Columbia solely devoted to education and research in the creative sector and its associated knowledge economy. The institution merges research, critical theory, and studio practice in an interdisciplinary environment, strengthening its work by the integration of its community’s personal and professional practices. ECUAD’s strategy, facilities, partnerships, and resources are intentionally student-centred to foster dialogue, expression, and open connections in support of the next generation of creative and cultural leaders. Alumni and faculty are internationally recognized as award-winning artists, designers, and thought leaders who have an enormous impact on both the cultural sector and the economy. Inspired by the core belief that creativity will always be our greatest natural resource, individually and collectively, ECUAD’s programs offer undergraduate, and graduate degrees, and applied research in the fields of visual arts, media arts, and design, as well as professional certificates, pre-university, and lifelong learning in these areas.

To learn more, please visit Emily Carr University of Art + Design’s website:

Indigenous Programs and Services 
With an estimated enrolment of 90+ Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit, Métis) students, ECUAD is committed to providing the necessary supports to ensure their academic success. The University provides admission and transfer advising services and educational support services resulting in excellent retention and graduation rates for Indigenous students.

The Indigenous Initiatives Program Office provides culturally appropriate support that encompasses both traditional and contemporary artistic and cultural expressions of Indigenous peoples and is a valuable resource for students to access traditional materials/supplies. The Indigenous Initiatives Program team also assists with the promotion and coordination of events and workshops related to Indigenous art and culture and is responsible for providing information regarding Indigenous funding, scholarships, and awards.

At the heart of the institution is the Aboriginal Gathering Place (AGP)—it is a centre that reflects the cultural characteristics of our Aboriginal students, community, and traditions. This space is dedicated to student projects, workshops, ceremonies, and celebrations of the University’s Aboriginal community. The AGP is a source of warmth and pride for the whole organization.

To learn more about ECUAD’s Indigenous Programs, visit:

The Opportunity - Executive Director, Indigenous Initiatives
As a member of the University’s Executive team, the Executive Director, Indigenous Initiatives acts as an advisor to the President + Vice-Chancellor while also providing leadership and vision in co-creating ECUAD’s strategic plan both generally as a member of the executive group, and specifically in relation to its commitments to Indigeneity, decolonization, and reconciliation.

Reporting to the President + Vice-Chancellor, the Executive Director is a lead voice and resource across the institution, collaborating with faculty, staff, and students to support the development and implementation of culturally responsive programs, curriculum, and other initiatives. The Executive Director leads a small team of professional staff in the Aboriginal Gathering Place, and with that team, facilitates access for and promotes the success of Indigenous learners.

The Executive Director develops and maintains meaningful and engaged partnerships with Indigenous communities and organizations that benefit and enrich both the creative and learning environment at ECUAD, and those communities and organizations. We have a vibrant connection to the host nations and are currently gathering their perspectives as we develop new programs and apply an Indigenous worldview to our all our programs and operations. Our goal is to create a teaching and learning environment where all Indigenous people can thrive, attracting leaders, faculty and staff and graduating members of the local nations.

Key Responsibilities:
• Work closely with the President as a member of the Senior Executive team, to shape and develop the University’s strategic direction, while providing leadership and vision for Indigenization, decolonization, and reconciliation.
• Identify opportunities that further Indigenization at ECUAD and support the development, planning, promotion, and execution of related initiatives across the organization.
• Serves as the administrative lead for the Aboriginal Gathering Place (AGP). Provide mentorship, oversight, and human resource management for a team of staff who deliver programming that supports the success of Indigenous learners, while contributing to the broader development and enrichment of knowledge, cultural awareness skills, and experience of all members of the ECUAD community.
• Lead and supervise AGP staff including recruitment, retention, performance management, and employee development responsibilities.
• Work with AGP staff to facilitate, coordinate, and deliver activities, events, and workshops that foster awareness and understanding of current and emerging issues within Indigenous communities, Indigenous history, cultural practices, and traditional knowledge.
• Develop, monitor, and report on the AGP and Indigenous Initiatives’ operating budget including all grant funding; apply Indigenous practices for sustainable resource management while ensuring the effective use and stewardship of available resources.
• Provide advice and support to senior administration, staff, and faculty regarding local, provincial, and national Indigenous issues, cultural protocols, and practices.
• Build engaged relationships with other post-secondary Indigenous leaders, Government, funding agencies, foundations, organizations, and communities and identify opportunities for collaboration and actively seek funding for research initiatives and other projects.
• Participate in committees, governmental networks, and academic/non-academic communities of practice in an effort to advance Truth and Reconciliation and the Indigenization of post-secondary education.
• Identify gaps and opportunities in current program and service offerings, and assist in developing new programs, policies, procedures, and services that consider the enrolment, retention, and success of Indigenous students, and Indigenous faculty and staff at ECUAD. Serve as a resource to Student Services and the Deans on related matters.
• Seek opportunities to collaborate with faculty and staff in the development of culturally responsive programs and curriculum and to ensure that existing services, activities, policies, and procedures are socially and culturally appropriate for Indigenous students and employees.
• Ensure information gathering and data collection within the University to assess the effectiveness of activities and action plans regarding Indigenous student services and education and develop reports that inform the continuous improvement of Indigenous-focused programs and services.
• Build engaged, respectful, and impactful relationships with Indigenous Leaders, Elders, Traditional Knowledge Keepers, communities, and organizations to raise awareness of ECUAD’s commitment to culturally responsive Indigenous education and commitment to the success of Indigenous learners.
• Provide leadership and foster best practices in Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI); create opportunities to advance the University’s JEDI practice objectives.
• Perform other related duties as required.

The Candidate
Competencies and Personal Characteristics:

Culturally grounded and inclusive – Leads with kindness and with values that are grounded in Indigenous cultural teachings and ways of being; with humility and respect, seeks and includes diverse perspectives in decision making.
Leadership – Achieves desired organizational results by encouraging and supporting the contribution of others; a proactive and positive team player who leads by example; sets and communicates clear goals.
Influential and Collaborative – Has an honest, open, and consistent approach to working with others, possesses strong relationship and interpersonal skills, and has the ability to build relationships and develop/ maintain partnerships.
Communication – Clearly presents written and verbal information; writes with clarity and purpose; communicates effectively in both positive and negative circumstances; listens well.
Integrity and Honesty – Demonstrates a resolute commitment and respect for the spirit and intent behind the core values of the organization, setting an example of professionalism and ethical propriety.
Accountable – Holds self and others accountable for responsibilities; focuses on results and measuring attainment of outcomes in a business focus.
Creativity and Learning – Develops new insights into situations; questions conventional approaches; encourages innovation; possesses a passion for learning, development, and growth.
Effective Working Relationships – Treats staff, colleagues, and visitors with respect; resolves conflicts respectfully, diplomatically, and in a timely manner; negotiates effectively, and provides effective feedback to colleagues/employees.
Strategic – Develops and implements a plan in support of organizational strategic direction. Demonstrates an understanding of the link between one’s job responsibilities and overall organizational goals and needs and performs one’s job with broader goals in mind.
People Development – Fosters long-term learning and development of others through coaching, managing performance, and mentoring; has a genuine desire to develop others and help them succeed; formally and informally recognizes staff and colleagues.

Qualifications, Skills, and Abilities
• Relationship-building skills that demonstrate respect, reciprocity, creativity, collaboration, and innovation in engaging others with authenticity and trust.
• Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, with demonstrated advanced skill level in public speaking and group facilitation.
• Demonstrated skill in the application of Indigenous education pedagogies and learning principles including experiential learning.
• Strong organizational and project management skills with a demonstrated ability to lead an initiative from concept to implementation.
• Direct experience or participation as an artist or performer in creative or cultural practice, is an asset.
• Ability to lead a team and relate to individuals whose creativity, innovative thinking, and ‘maker’ mindset are important elements within their teaching and learning process.
• Advanced competencies in the practice of cultural safety and humility; ability to lead Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) initiatives.
• Success in leading and participating in research initiatives and partnerships.
• Recent history of developing and leading successful grant applications.

Education and Experience
• A master’s degree in a related field of study, such as Indigenous Studies, Indigenous Art and Design, Indigenous Governance, or an equivalent combination of education, training, and experience.
• Lived experience and familiarity with the history, stories, ceremonies, cultural norms, and knowledge systems of First Nations, Inuit, or Métis Peoples required.
• Minimum of 10 years experience in a leadership role with a focus on education, art, design, or Indigenous cultural practices within an Indigenous community or Indigenous organization or in a post-secondary environment.
• Experience leading, developing, and implementing impactful Indigenous-focused initiatives and programs, including collaborative research projects.
• Experience leading and supervising others.
• Extensive knowledge of Indigenous Peoples, cultures, and protocols locally, provincially, nationally, and internationally.
• Knowledge of current and emerging issues in Indigenous education and relevant legislation.
• Established working relationships with Elders and Traditional Knowledge Keepers, and with Indigenous communities and organizations in Canada. Working relationships with Elders and Indigenous communities in British Columbia is an asset.

Emily Carr University of Art + Design’s Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
Emily Carr University of Art + Design especially invites those who have demonstrated a commitment to upholding the values of equity, diversity, and inclusion and will assist us to expand our capacity for diversity in the broadest sense. In addition, to correct the conditions of disadvantage in employment in Canada, we encourage applications from Indigenous persons who may also be members of other groups that have been historically disadvantaged and marginalized. These include women, persons with diverse gender expressions and identities, persons of all sexual orientations, and persons with disabilities. All qualified people meeting the position’s requirements for Indigenous experience are encouraged to apply. While we thank all candidates for their interest, only those short-listed will be contacted.

The City: Vancouver
The City of Vancouver sits on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded lands of xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam Indian Band), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish Nation), sə̓lílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh Nation). The three Nations have a unique spiritual, cultural, and economic connection to this land that goes back thousands of years. Canada and Vancouver’s historical relationship with the three local First Nations goes only a few hundred years back (partially described in—the troubling legacies of colonial history form the backdrop of life in Vancouver.

Current day Vancouver is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities in Canada with 52 percent of the population speaking a first language other than English. The scenic views, mild climate, economic opportunities, and friendly communities, draw people from around the world, and though it grapples with many challenges, Vancouver is consistently rated as one of the top cities in the world to live.

A competitive compensation package will be provided including an attractive base salary and excellent benefits. Further details will be discussed in a personal interview.

To Apply
Please submit a résumé and cover letter that provides evidence of Indigenous knowledge, relevant lived experience, established community connections, cultural involvement / activities, and Indigenous heritage. Your cover letter should include a description of how these elements have prepared you for this critical leadership role at ECUAD. Please also include a Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Statement, that outlines your thoughts and experiences fostering/leading JEDI in the workplace and/or community.

To Apply, please submit:
1. Cover Letter
2. Résumé / Curriculum Vitae
3. Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Statement

Please note: In the latter stages of the selection process, the following additional steps will occur for individuals who are invited to an interview with the selection committee:

• Self-Declaration of Indigenous Heritage
• Information and/or correspondence that supports their self-declaration.
• Items supporting the self-declaration may include:
 Letters of support from your Indigenous Community
 Reference letters from Indigenous members of your community
 Documentation supporting your confirmed citizenship as a member of a recognized First Nations, Inuit, and/or Métis group (formal membership/citizenship documents will only be requested of short-listed candidates and those documents will be collected and protected by the Human Resources department at ECUAD)

For more details or to further explore this important strategic leadership opportunity, please contact:

Laurie Sterritt • Partner
Leaders International
Telephone: 778-838-4569

Robin Noftall • Consultant
Leaders International
Telephone: 778-754-0499

Hourly Wage, Salary or Salary Range: 
To be negotiated
Application Deadline: 
Monday, June 12, 2023
Type of Work: 
Full Time
British Columbia
Education Level: 
University (Graduate)
Prefered Method(s) of Application: 
By E-Mail
Apply Online

Employer Details

Emily Carr University of Art + Design

#880 - 609 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC V7Y 1G5