Oct. 4, 2017

Shawna Cunningham appointed director, Indigenous Strategy

A message from Provost and Vice-President (Academic) Dru Marshall
Shawna Cunningham will work to engage the broader university community in the Indigenous Strategy.

Shawna Cunningham will work to engage the broader university community in the Indigenous Strategy.

Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

I am pleased to announce that Shawna Cunningham has been appointed director, Indigenous Strategy, effective Oct. 1, 2017, for a three-year limited term academic appointment.

In March, 2016 the University of Calgary’s Indigenous Strategy Task Force — a steering committee and working group — was established to produce a strategy for the institution that will help to create a culturally competent and engaging teaching and learning and research environment for the whole campus community.

Cunningham has been the director of The Native Centre since 2000 and recently was the co-chair of the working group for the Indigenous Strategy Task Force since last spring. Under her guidance, The Native Centre has been a hub for programming and student supports, including advising and retention, as well as programs such as the Aboriginal Student Access Program, the N.A.P.I. Ambassador Youth Leadership, Indigenous Relations Leadership Program, and the LYNX: Aboriginal Student Career and Employment Program. She has been a conduit for community engagement with Indigenous communities, as well as a leader for cultural event programming, Indigenous-based policy development and fund development.

“I am proud to be a part of a journey with the University of Calgary, as we walk together toward authentic reconciliation,” says Cunningham. “The Indigenous Strategy is an opportunity to reset and work together to transform the university for generations to come — I am honoured to have the opportunity to work to implement the recommendations that will be shared with the community in the coming months.”

The director will engage the broader university community in the Indigenous Strategy, building community connections and providing leadership and mentorship support to the campus.

Prior to joining UCalgary, Cunningham was a program administrator for the Aboriginal Education Program at Mount Royal University, and a community liaison officer and recruiter for Native Student Services at the University of Alberta. Cunningham was awarded the Chief David Crowchild Award in 2016, in recognition of bridging cultural understanding through community partnerships in program development. Cunningham holds an MA from the University of Alberta, and a BA from the University of Lethbridge, and is enrolled in the EdD program in the Werklund School of Education.

Further information about the approval and launch of the strategy will be shared in the coming weeks.

Please join me in congratulating Shawna in her new role!

Dru Marshall
Provost and Vice-President (Academic)