Métis scholar and UNBC graduate Rheanna Robinson, originally from Smithers, is the new senior advisor to the president on aboriginal relations at the University of Northern British Columbia.
UNBC President Dr. Daniel Weeks named her to the role last week, one of the initiatives announced during his speech at the community celebration concluding the university’s 25th anniversary.
“The conversation around aboriginal issues has shifted dramatically in this country over the past several weeks, and UNBC strives to facilitate and engage in those discussions,” said Weeks in a press release. “By naming a dedicated senior advisor, I am signaling the importance I place on aboriginal discussions happening at UNBC and in the communities we serve.”
Robinson will also broadly consider aboriginal perspectives in areas such as academic programming, student services, research, governance, and relationships.
“I am excited about the opportunity to work with President Weeks as the Senior Advisor to the President on Aboriginal Relations at UNBC,” says Robinson, who will begin in her new role immediately. “I have a long history with UNBC and deeply value the long-standing institutional priorities related to Indigenous knowledges and community engagement. I look forward to advancing key areas of strategic importance forward in this new role.”
Robinson, originally from Smithers, began her post-secondary experience in 1995 at UNBC on the traditional territory of the Lheidli T’enneh. She completed a BA in First Nations Studies and History in 2001, a master’s degree in First Nations Studies in 2007, and is a PhD Candidate with the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Education.
Robinson has worked in the UNBC Office of Research and as a sessional instructor for the Department of First Nations Studies. She will join the Department of First Nations Studies as an assistant professor in January 2016. Robinson has also served as an alumni representative on the UNBC Senate since 2007.
She will support a number of initiatives as the new senior advisor:
• Help advance aboriginal programs, services, and roles at UNBC.
• Assist with reporting and planning associated with Aboriginal Services Plan (ASP) activities. UNBC receives funding from the Ministry of Advanced Education under the ASP to support initiatives such as experiential learning course offerings, and a First Nations Centre counsellor.
• Help develop standardized aboriginal protocols and policies at UNBC.
• Facilitate institutional initiatives regarding aboriginal student transition to UNBC.
• Work with the Senate Committee on First Nations and Aboriginal People to increase its profile and reinforce its integral institutional role.
• Develop an aboriginal governance and community relations strategic plan.