Acadia excited to hire more Indigenous faculty, Black faculty through cluster hiring

Acadia University will add three Mi'kmaw or Indigenous scholars and three African Nova Scotian or African Canadian scholars to its ranks through a newly established cluster hiring initiative. A result of a Memorandum of Agreement between the University and the Faculty Association, the hiring plan is part of Acadia’s strategic priority to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion.

“Acadia’s cluster hiring initiative is a way to expedite closing gaps in diversity of our faculty,” says Dr. Dale Keefe, Acadia’s Provost and Vice-President Academic. “The University is committed to recruiting and ensuring the success of new scholars from equity-deserving groups.”

The new cluster hiring came about in recognition of the systemic underrepresentation of Indigenous and Black faculty at Acadia. Positions are available in any academic area within Acadia's three faculties and at any academic rank. Recruitment for these positions is open and will continue until all positions have been filled.


In light of high-profile cases where candidates have falsely asserted Indigenous identity, Acadia has introduced a protocol to ensure that candidates are part of the community to which they claim to belong.

“We start with self-identification, and we also have members of our hiring committee vet the applications,” says Dr. Claudine Bonner in conversation with CBC Radio’s Portia Clark. Bonner is Acadia’s first Vice-Provost of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. She is the senior leader responsible for providing vision, excellence, and leadership to support the University’s equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives.

“In the case of the Mi’kmaw hires, we have Mi’kmaw community members on our hiring committee,” Bonner adds. “We also have what is called an Indigenous Association and Board Council, and both groups are given the authority to help us determine the identity of our applicants.”


“We are also working to diversify our international student population and grow it from about 13 percent now to about 20 percent,” Keefe says. “That would be about 800 international students from around the world to create a diverse community and bring in all those different experiences and cultures. It’s really exciting.”

He explains that there is a desire to change the visible look of Acadia.

“We’ll know we're successful when students no longer tell us that they don't see a faculty member who looks like them, or that they don't know anybody from their country or who shares their experience working at Acadia,” says Keefe.

Most importantly, he adds, “We’ll know we're on the right path when students feel like this is a community they're included in as opposed to just being welcomed into.”

Bonner agrees that visibility is vital.

“I think it’s important that students are able to see themselves represented in the people who teach them, the people who work around them, and to recognize that there are opportunities for them in terms of what they do when they leave the University,” Bonner says.

“People are very excited on campus,” she explains. “We’re looking forward to seeing new colleagues on campus in July. It’s an exciting period for the University.”


Review the cluster hiring initiative details.

Listen to Dr. Claudine Bonner in conversation with CBC Radio’s Portia Clark.

Watch a Change Makers Series video about Dr. Claudine Bonner.


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