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Diana Lewis, lecturer and program coordinator

A day in the life

Diana Lewis, lecturer and program coordinator

Diana Lewis profile

Our students hear their lives reflected in the lectures.

 

 

Diana Lewis wants students in Dalhousie’s Indigenous Studies minor program to learn from experts with a blend of academic, professional and lived experience. As the architect of the program, it’s this combination that she herself personifies.

Diana joined Dal as lecturer and program coordinator for the Indigenous Studies minor program in the summer of 2015. In this role, she’s developed two courses for the program’s first year of operation, with two more on tap for the 2016-2017 academic year.

A PhD candidate with more than a decade of experience working for Mi’kmaw organizations in Nova Scotia, Diana felt she could make an important contribution to the new minor program.

“I’ve worked all of my career around indigenous issues,” she explains. “I understand the treaty relationships and the current issues our communities are facing, so I felt like I was a good candidate to be able to speak to those kinds of concepts that we’re trying to teach.”

The minor program’s first two courses explore past, present and future perspectives on indigenous issues. Historical Issues in Indigenous Studies looks back at hundreds of years of history, while Contemporary Issues in Indigenous Studies examines current events.

Diana is excited by the enthusiasm and dedication shown by her students. “When I look around the room and see so many non-native students who are interested in our issues, it makes me feel so good that people are reaching out and showing interest and commitment,” she says.

“And I look around the room and see our indigenous students nodding, like they’re hearing their lives reflected in the lectures.”

Diana has made a point of inviting guest speakers to her classroom to share their knowledge and experience. She’s also organized external trips, such as a hunt through the archives of indigenous artifacts at Halifax’s Museum of Natural History.

Her efforts inside and outside the classroom are evidence of her passion for giving students a learning experience that adds value to their bachelor’s degrees, instills a deeper understanding of indigenous issues and culture and inspires future discovery.

“I have hopes for the non-indigenous students that they go away with the commitment to learn more,” Diana says. “For the indigenous students, I hope they go away with a confidence that the academy is reflecting their lives.

“And I have a vision for all students – particularly the indigenous students – that because they can see themselves reflected in the academy, they’ll go on to graduate degrees.