Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name





Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.


Egbo, Benedicta (Faculty of Education)




This case study was designed to investigate the under-representation of Aboriginal scholars in the Ontario professoriate, examining: 1) the current lack of Aboriginal scholars in the Ontario professoriate, and 2) the retention of these scholars within the system. To advocate social justice for this community, these issues were examined through an Aboriginal epistemic lens to develop principles with which to inform recruitment and retention policy and practice in the academy. Specifically, this study focused on the following areas: 1) the context of the participants' educational experience as Aboriginal students; 2) participants' perspectives about why Aboriginal scholars stay, or conversely why they leave, the Ontario professoriate; and 3) social justice and equity - implications for recruitment and retention policies in the academy. A transformative policy process is proposed which resulted from the grounded theory flowing from the data collected, and the extant literature. As an organizational tool for transforming the process of policy development and implementation in the academy, the policy process proposed utilizes a circle archetype relevant to many Aboriginal worldviews. The policy circle process is comprised of four integrative stages: the 'Beginning' stage; the 'Consultation with Expert Knowledge' stage; the 'Taking Action' stage; and, the 'Reflection' stage. Based on the findings of the study, equity principles which inculcate the tenets of respect, honour, truth and wisdom are proposed as guidelines for Aboriginal recruitment and retention policies in the academy. The rationale for proposing this change as a means of promoting social justice and equity, as well as to address the under-representation of Aboriginal scholars in the academy, is based on the perceived necessity of universities to assume their leadership role as socially responsible 'agents of change.' Finally, the study suggests that there is a continued need to develop and implement strategic educational policy reform in Canada to: support the success of Aboriginal students, to promote and facilitate the participation of Aboriginal educators and Elders in developing curricula and pedagogy which respect and honour Aboriginal epistemologies, and to spur provincial and federal governments' provision of support in terms of investment of time and funding for the development of Aboriginal postsecondary programs.