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Pearson College UWC Welcomes New Director, Indigenous Initiatives & Engagement
Traditional territory of the Sc’ianew First Nation/Metchosin – Victoria resident Rebecca Beauchamp brings her Māori Indigenous knowledge and experience to her new role as Pearson College UWC’s first Director, Indigenous Initiatives and Engagement.
“I have had the honour and privilege to work alongside Indigenous communities here on Vancouver Island and in Aotearoa,” said Beauchamp who most recently was Manager and Team Lead for the XaXe STELITKEL Early Years Center at the Victoria Native Friendship Centre and previously lived and worked in New Zealand.
“Today, I live, work and raise my children on Lekwungen territory and I tread respectfully as a visitor upon these lands.” Beauchamp identifies as Māori, the Indigenous people of Aotearoa/New Zealand, on her father’s side and English/Scottish ancestry from her mother who is second-generation, Victoria-born.
Since 1974, Pearson College UWC has annually welcomed up to 200 students from across Canada and from 160 countries around the world. The College, located along Pedder Bay in Metchosin, was the first in Canada to offer a pre-university International Baccalaureate Diploma Program and this fall, will introduce a new IB-based Climate Action Leadership Diploma program with both educational streams emphasizing a place-based approach to teaching and learning.
“We are privileged to live and learn on a magnificent campus overlooking the bay and integrated into the surrounding rainforest,” said Head of College Craig Davis. “We recognize and understand these are gifts that have been stewarded by our friends within the Sc’ianew First Nation community and by the many Coast Salish peoples who visited this area since time immemorial.”
As Director, Indigenous Initiatives, and Engagement, Beauchamp will guide implementation of the College’s Indigenous Vision and Reconciliation Action Plan with responsibility to lead and strengthen Indigenous education support and the College’s engagement with Indigenous communities and organizations. She will also help develop, support and implement Indigenous educational programming, such as language, culture, and land-based initiatives, including working with faculty to incorporate Indigenous ways of knowing, doing and seeing into their curricula.
“I believe our responsibility as educators is to support the teaching to and the learning of children and young people as well as to nurture and care for their wellbeing in a holistic way,” added Beauchamp. “At Pearson, I want to develop and support culturally responsive and culturally safe educational and community-driven programming which in turn helps support Indigenous students learning and living at the College.Davis added that Beauchamp’s role was identified in the College’s Indigenous Vision and Reconciliation Action Plan and complements steps including new SENĆOŦEN language names and artwork for student residence houses and the recent announcement that the College would contribute 14 hectares of Pearson-owned lands as part of a proposed Indigenous Protected Area, to preserve ecologically and culturally important lands.
Beauchamp officially assumed her new role on 1 April.