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Nov. 13, 2017

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The purpose of my latest paper, "Public servant schools in Canada: A concept for reconciliation," is to help Canadian scholars in adult education, Indigenous studies, and public policy engage with one of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action. Action 57 calls on all governments in Canada to educate our public employees about the history of Indigenous people and the legacy of Canada’s residential schools. I knew the Canadian academic education literature was pretty silent about how governments educate our public employees, so I’m starting the conversation by documenting a public servant school in the federal government and its treatment of the topics in call to action 57.

This paper fits within my interests of really trying to improve the academic record, in terms of its content, how it is produced, and how it is accessed. For example, since freedom of expression is vital for academic inquiry, I recently coordinated an international petition asking the Swedish Parliament to translate into English a 720-page edited volume it commissioned to commemorate the recent 250th anniversary of the world’s freedom of the press and access to information law. The volume is now in advanced stages of translation and I’m told will be published under the title, "Press Freedom 250 Years: Freedom of the Press and Public Access to Official Documents in Sweden and Finland – a living heritage from 1766."

I also gave oral testimony to the House of Commons committee on Access to Information, Privacy, and Ethics on reforming access to information legislation. The Canadian academic community needs the ability to access unpublished information held by governments to advance the social sciences. I am also researching manual testing involved in the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. This is important for making web-based academic material accessible to people with disabilities.

A surprising moment in my project was becoming aware of the opportunities for contributing to call to action 57. It is important topic to discuss and there are lots of ways Canadian researchers and students can contribute to the academic literature.

I hope my paper will help Canadian scholars in adult education, Indigenous studies, and public policy find new angles on questions around calls to action 57, like “How are the curricula in public servant schools developed?” and “Are there better curricula for building meaningful relationships between settler and Indigenous communities?”

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