Jacqueline Ottmann (MEd’02, PhD’05) who is Anishinaabe (Saulteaux) and a member of Saskatchewan’s Fishing Lake First Nation, will serve as the University of Saskatchewan’s first vice-provost, Indigenous Engagement beginning October 1. Ottmann is currently the Director of Indigenous Education Initiatives and an associate professor in the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary (U of C) while also serving as co-chair of U of C Indigenous Strategy.
Ottmann said she is looking forward to returning to her home province and to the university where she earned her master’s in education (2002) and her PhD (2005) in the Department of Educational Administration in the U of S College of Education.
“I am very excited to be coming back to the University of Saskatchewan and to Saskatoon in general, to contribute to the Indigenous strategy at the U of S. It’s a great privilege,” said Ottmann, who is also a member of a number of national post-secondary organizations including a representative-at-large (Aboriginal) on the executive committee of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT).
“Because I am an alumna, I have kept in touch with what was happening at the University of Saskatchewan in terms of their Indigenization and decolonization initiatives and processes and I have been encouraged by the leadership that they have taken in this over the years.”
Ottmann will lead the university’s ongoing commitment to respond to the National Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action for post-secondary institutions.
“We are extremely excited to bring back Dr. Ottmann to take a senior leadership role in focusing on Indigenous scholarship and student success on campus while also helping us engage and connect with the community,” said U of S President Peter Stoicheff.
“We are encouraged to be attracting and graduating more Aboriginal students than ever before, and that certainly is a good measure of success. However, there is much more work to be done and we look forward to Jacqueline’s leadership as we strive to be the best place we can possibly be for Indigenous students and communities in the province and across the country.”
There were 2,831 Indigenous students pursuing degrees at the U of S in the 2016-17 academic year, making up 12 per cent of the total student population of 24,227.
The university has actively been working on building Indigenous content and experiences grounded in Indigenous world views into degree programs, an initiative that will be a priority area for Ottmann to support moving forward.
“Definitely I think Indigenous knowledges and Indigenous content does have a primary place within university curricula and this kind of inclusion will only strengthen the overall fabric of the university,” she said.