The University of Alberta’s Faculty of Native Studies welcomed Brendan Hokowhitu into his new position as dean this September.
A PhD graduate of Indigenous Sport who moved to Edmonton from New Zealand, Hokowhitu became engaged in Native Studies after starting in physical education. His interest developed further into researching indigenous masculinity in sport, as well as into indigenous media and prevalence in New Zealand films and television.
After arriving two weeks ago, Hokowhitu has been immersed in the job since he arrived, and says he is focusing on meeting other faculty members and deans across campus.
“What I do see is a really fantastic staff … they’ve been really generous and warm to me,” he said.
“I can see they’re hard-working. Everything’s flying; I can see there’s lots of academic leadership here already.”
Hokowhitu hopes to recruit more students into the faculty for the future, and also wants to engage the U of A student community in more native studies programs and events. He is also working on familiarizing himself with the background of the faculty.
“I think my biggest challenge will be getting to know the political context, the community context,” Hokowhitu said.
“It’s something I’m also really looking forward to — getting in there and meeting community members.”
The new dean also hopes his presence in the faculty will help contribute to the internationalization of the academics surrounding Native Studies.
“The discipline is growing broader and looking to kind of widen our ideas. I think that would be something that I would want to get across to students,” he said.
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