Confronting Privilege in Internationalization of Higher Education during COVID-19:  What have we learned?
Sunday May 30, 2021 | 10:45am-12:00pm MST
Co-hosted by CSSHE & CIESC/SCECI

This session is directed towards a critical, multidisciplinary examination of current, normative internationalization policies in higher education during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the interactions of these policies with mobilities of privilege. Internationalization has grown to be a high priority for higher education institutions in Canada, reflected in their strategic plans and policy documents. Yet, the pandemic has changed mobility across the globe, implicating internationalization engagments in HE. More than ever, Gorki’s reminder (2008) to international or intercultural educators is key, that “good intentions are not enough,” challenging us to question our practice if it does not first and foremost address issues of social reconstruction for equity and justice. In other words, he asks if without such questioning, we render “ourselves complicit to existing inequity and injustice”(p. 516). Institutions of higher education across the globe are at important cross-roads as they pivot, shift and remain steady during the COVID-19 pandemic. While on the one hand they are increasingly committed to international and intercultural education, and indigenizing their campuses, on the other they increasingly face pressures under neoliberal discourses to simplify, quantify and manage the increasing diversity on their campuses in a way that ensures institutional survival. These discourses have manifested in different ways during the pandemic – as mobility has shifted and online education dominated education this past year. Now there is more need than ever before to “slow down” and analyze the historical and socio-political power hierarchies that define and characterize international and intercultural relations, current discourses encourage expediency and managerialism that work towards ‘band-aid’ and ‘quick fix’ approaches, during the rush to keep education relevant during the pandemic.

Panel participants will address the theoretical and practical implications for challenging policies that have failed to incorporate critical pedagogical perspectives and will consider curricular concerns for the intersections of race, gender, class and ability in how internationalization is practiced in universities. They will critically analyse the discourses of internationalization and colonialism reflected in the practices of higher education institutions. As researchers operating from a position of care, inclusion, hope, and advocacy for an internationalism that dismantles socially-identified categories of difference and promotes equity and social justice, they will assist us in ‘interrogating’ internationalization at all levels of higher education institutions: governance (policy, administrative practices), curriculum and pedagogy, social relations (among students, staff, faculty, administrators and the wider community). 

The session is designed around an interactive session, focused on a question and discussion format between panelists and a discussant. The two questions guiding the session are: 1) What are the key moments in the year of the pandemic that open opportunities for institutional learning for practices that aim at equality and justice? 2) What’s at risk as institutions, faculty, students and community move forward in internationalization in the year ahead?


  • Crain Soudier, Chief Executive Officer, Human Sciences Research Council (South Africa)
  • Christina W. Yao, Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator, Higher Education & Student Affairs, Department of Educational Leadership and Policies, University of South Carolina (USA)
  • Thashika Pillay, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education, Queen’s University (Canada)

Discussant: Roopa Desai Trilokekar, Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, York University.

Enabling Indigenous Scholarship in Canadian Higher Education
Monday May 31, 2021 | 10:45-12:00pm MST
Open event sponsored by the University of Manitoba Faculty of Education

Higher education has traditionally been seen as slow to adapt or even resistant to change. The dominant model of the higher education institution that can be found all over Canada has clear roots in the Anglo-European models that date back hundreds of years. As universities spread, so too did colonial ideas of how education should be organized and shared. The wealth of knowledge from Indigenous cultures and traditions that already existed on and about this land was excluded from the establishment of the Canadian higher education system. 

In today’s system, higher education institutions, operating as colonial institutions, still stand, stretching from Whitehorse to St John’s. And yet, while they might look the same from the outside, Indigenous wisdom and knowledge is beginning to transform higher education from within. 

This CSSHE flagship session will bring together Indigenous senior administrators and researchers, providing space for these leaders to share their stories and experiences and for participants to learn from them. The session aims to move beyond a deficit discourse that tends to package Indigenization and decolonization as buzzwords or merely jobs to be done towards focusing on the strengths of Indigenous research, knowledge, and worldviews, and how these strengths can rejuvenate Canadian higher education. The session will also provide a space to reflect on the paradoxes and difficulties of doing this within the existing structure of higher education, a key tension in the resurgence of Indigenous knowledges.

After a welcome by the moderator and introductions to each speaker, the speakers will be invited to share (whether through storytelling, a presentation with slides, through Q&A, or other format according to their preference) for 10-15 minutes each. This will be followed by audience interaction, facilitated by the moderator. This session is open to everyone, whether registered for Congress or not.

Moderator: Deborah Saucier, President and Vice-Chancellor of Vancouver Island University 
Frank Deer, Canada Research Chair & Associate Professor at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba 
Florence Glanfield, Vice-Provost (Indigenous Programming & Research), University of Alberta (she/her)
Tosh Southwick, Independent Consultant and former Associate Vice-President of Indigenous Engagement and Reconciliation, Yukon University (she/her)

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