Inspired by collaborating on a shared vision of reconciliation, three authors explore ethical relationality and the practical ways in which their heterarchical ensemble mentorship serves to decolonise and advance a shared vision of reconciliation for university teaching and learning. As Indigenous and non-Indigenous educators, we are buoyed by those developing decolonising and Indigenising strategies in formerly colonised regions. Seen as a promising interruption to a neoliberal approach to education, the authors embrace the possibilities of imagining and creating an ethical space in universities where relationality is prioritised in service of social justice. While the complex nature of reconciliation within a Canadian context begets tension and highlights what are often conflicting value systems within academe, we maintain that innovations in teaching and learning are possible in what is now a globally disrupted terrain as students, faculty, administrators, and university leadership contend with the unknown, encounter collectivist Indigenous traditions, and tentatively explore decolonisation as an ethical avenue towards inclusive and empowering education. In imagining what is possible, we build upon Indigenous knowledge traditions and the work of leadership studies scholars to propose 'ensemble mentorship' between students and faculty as a collaborative and decolonising teaching and learning practice.

Practitioner Notes

  1. Educators recommend ethical relationality viewed through an Indigenous lens as an alternative to the traditional hierarchical mentorship model typically adopted in universities through the proposal of an ensemble mentorship model.
  2. Decolonisation is a prompt for ensemble mentorship that invites diverse membership into difficult conversations employing dynamism, collectivism, heterarchical, and de-centeredness as principles in a collaborative approach to mentoring.
  3. Diverse voices, in our case Indigenous and non-Indigenous educators, can be intertwined through a process of métissage where space is made for reflective and telling insights.
  4. Educators who share a passion for social justice, in our case a shared vision of Indigenous and non-Indigenous reconciliation, are propelled to find a more humanistic form of higher education through creative synergies.
  5. We uphold and value the influence of Indigenous knowledge traditions as a humanising force within higher education.

Twitter Handle

@ypoitraspratt, @stmuIndigenous