Appendix A: Indigenized Integral Professional Competency Framework

The Indigenized integral professional competency framework (the framework) provides the foundation for the self-assessment in Section 3 of this guide. The self-assessment is a new tool developed for this professional learning series, so it does not have a history of testing and revision. However, you can adapt and modify the assessment to suit your institution’s priorities on Indigenization, decolonization, and reconciliation. The framework follows the format of the Indigenized integral model (intention, community, behaviour, and systems fit) while the competencies amalgamate and sort other competency models for post-secondary service professionals.

The framework provides staff in post-secondary institutions with the tools to assess their levels of competency working with Indigenous students and communities. It’s an opportunity to systematically measure a level of baseline professional competency and skill for monitoring, as well as to regularly track competency levels for professional development.

This framework is informed by and reflects the following models and scholarship:

Holism guides our perspective on students and student development and differs from traditional views of student development theory and the role of the institution. The CACUSS Competency Model has “student-centred and holistic” as a value (defined as one that “recognizes and values all aspects of a student’s life including physical, intellectual, financial, spiritual, emotional, personal and social” [CACUSS, 2017, p. 7]).

The framework measures three areas of professional competencies for working with Indigenous Peoples and community partners: general skills and knowledge, interactive competencies, and self-mastery. These three levels provide front-line staff, advisors, and student services staff with the ability to self-reflect on their current knowledge and create a learning plan to deepen their understanding and change their practice to be more holistic and balanced for all students who seek services and support at post-secondary institutions.

General skills and knowledge: encompasses a foundational knowledge and understanding of Indigenous Peoples and territory on which your institution resides. This foundational competency will also include knowledge of Indigenous history and impact of colonization, the connection to land, and responsible relationships along with an understanding of the rich diversity of Indigenous Peoples, ways of knowing and being, and languages across BC and Canada. General skills will include the ability to identify on- and off-campus resources for Indigenous students as well as the relationship of the institute with local Indigenous communities. 

Interactive competencies: measures your capacity to assess the ability to provide services to Indigenous students and to understand the systemic barriers faced by Indigenous students. Individuals will be able to identify ways to mitigate systemic challenges within the scope of their role and authority. Engage in trauma-informed practices and build relationships with Indigenous colleagues, Elders, students, and Indigenous community members.

Self-mastery: is your deep level of self-awareness and practice. Individuals will be proficient in providing guidance to other units in ways of respecting Indigenous protocols and ways of being within the academy. Additionally, you will demonstrate ongoing commitment and responsibility to decolonize and Indigenize policies and practices across the institution.

The framework explores individual intentions and behaviours within a community and institutional system. Each aspect of the framework (intention, behaviour, community, and systems fit) helps individuals assess their own professional understandings and competencies to decolonize, Indigenize, and reconcile services to Indigenous Peoples. Each aspect does not run sequentially, so when you do the self-assessment and realize there are gaps in your perceptions and knowledge, you can focus on an aspect of the framework and then move to another aspect.

Bear (Intention)
Proficiency level Self-assessment criteria
General knowledge and skills I am able to:

  • Identify the territory(ies) my institutional campus(es) is built upon.
  • List the services and resources available to Indigenous student on my campus and community.
Interactive competencies
  • Reflect on my understanding of systemic barriers to Indigenous students and identify ways to mitigate these challenges within the scope of my role and authority.
  • Explain how colonization and systemic barriers an ongoing influence on the policies and practices that shape my role and reflect on how I can within scope of authority contribute to improvement.
Raven (Behaviour)
Proficiency level Self-assessment criteria
General knowledge and skills I am able to:

  • Recognize the importance of fostering intercultural engagement among Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, faculty, and staff.
  • Share information within the institution, and beyond, to inform current and prospective Indigenous students of the array of services, programs and supports available to them.
  • Demonstrate awareness of, and responsiveness to, verbal and non-verbal communication across cultures.
Interactive competencies I am able to:

  • Engage in self-reflection and recognize the strengths and limitations of my own worldview on my communication with others.
  • Examine my personal beliefs about experiences of trauma and reflect on the impact these have on interactions with Indigenous students, colleagues, organizations and systems.
  • Generate ideas for resources, spaces, and approaches that promote dialogue between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, staff, and faculty within the institution.
Self-mastery I am able to:

  • Collaborate with Indigenous colleagues and students in support of decolonization work to identify and overcome systemic barriers for Indigenous students.
  • Prioritize welcoming and respectful learning environments on campus through the implementation of programs, services, support mechanisms, and spaces dedicated to Indigenous students.
  • Actively promote the importance of Indigenization of curricula (including co-curricula and extra-curricular) through responsive programming, orientations, and instruction.
Wolf (Community)
Proficiency level Self-assessment criteria
General knowledge and skills I am able to:

  • Identify on-campus Indigenous student resources.
  • Explain the importance of Elder and community involvement on campus. Describe the relationship of the institute and local Indigenous community.
  • Recognize and value Indigenous student voice.
 Interactive competencies I am able to:

  • Identify off-campus Indigenous service providers and knowledge of how to refer students to off-campus services.
  • Describe the relationship of the institution and community Indigenous advisory committees.
  • Evaluate my own role and my department’s role in creating reciprocal relationship with Indigenous student services and Indigenous students.
Self-mastery I am able to:

  • Apply priorities voiced by Indigenous students and Indigenous community to unit operations and practice.
  • Demonstrate an open communication process where feedback is reciprocal and provides institutional engagement and reflection.
Salmon (Systems Fit)
Proficiency level Self-assessment criteria
General knowledge and skills I am able to:

  • Develop cultural agility and intercultural competency when working with Indigenous Peoples.
  • Understand the diversity of Indigenous Peoples in British Columbia and Canada.
Interactive competencies I am able to:

  • Develop human resources strategies that increase the number of Indigenous staff and faculty, applying to, hired at, and retained at the institution.
  • Develop and sustain formal relationships with Indigenous communities to transform the physical place and infrastructure of the campus to reflect Indigenous people and honour the relationship with Indigenous people and their communities.
  • I know how to advocate for Indigenous students and programs from an informed position.
  • I am able to develop fiscal plans and policies that ensure Indigenous programs, students, and concerns are adequately supported; and can demonstrate cultural acumen to lead institutional change as a non-Indigenous person.

  1. Indigenized integral model:
  2. ACPA/NASPA Professional Competencies:
  3. CACUSS Student Affairs and Services Competency Model:
  4. Truth and Reconciliation Commission's (2015) Calls to Action:


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Pulling Together: A Guide for Front-Line Staff, Student Services, and Advisors Copyright © 2018 by Ian Cull; Robert L. A. Hancock; Stephanie McKeown; Michelle Pidgeon; and Adrienne Vedan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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