Guiding Network

ISP Implementation

ISP Guiding Network

The ISP Guiding Network is an innovative, networked, Indigenous human-rights based model for ISP implementation support that has:

  • An interconnected network of Indigenous-led advisory and implementation committees, both horizontally and vertically throughout UBC
  • A collective leadership model
  • Indigenous people at decision-making tables for the first time 

The university-wide ISP Guiding Network builds upon the internal and external Indigenous leadership committees that already existed across both campuses and connects them into a full and robust network – horizontally and vertically – with the addition of two new committees, the Indigenous Strategic Plan Executive Advisory Committee (ISPEAC) and the Indigenous Strategic Plan Coordinating Committee (ISPCC). Both new committees, which began their work in spring 2021, mirror similar committees within the wider UBC Strategic Plan implementation process, but with an ISP-specific lens, meaning Indigenous-led and majority Indigenous membership.   

Creation of the ISP Guiding Network began in spring 2020, when the ISP development team began building additional infrastructure to help guide, support and advise on ISP implementation across both campuses. Just as we had no pre-existing roadmap to follow in developing the 2020 ISP and had to innovate, there was also no pre-existing, Indigenous human rights-based model for governance of the ISP during the implementation period. As part of our ISP development process, we engaged in a comparative study of implementation models for Indigenous strategic frameworks at other universities across Canada, the US, New Zealand and Australia. We conducted an environmental scan, and we spoke confidentially with stakeholders. Internal consultations were also held between spring 2020 and spring 2021.  

What we found was that, across the board, pre-existing leadership models had drawbacks that outweigh their advantages. The greatest concern with pre-existing models is that responsibility and accountability are usually placed separately within the university’s organization, and away from the sites of budgets and decision making. Our collective conclusion was that is what was needed now, for ISP implementation at UBC, is a certain measure of structural change, grounded in Indigenous human rights, particularly the principle of Indigenous involvement in decisions that impact them, grounded in the fundamental right of Indigenous self-determination. With help from a volunteer working group of primarily Indigenous faculty and staff drawn from the pre-existing committees, we developed, by spring 2021, an Indigenous human rights-based approach to ISP implementation: the ISP Guiding Network. 

The Indigenous-led network governance structure is the first of its kind in a major research university in North America. This structure is focused on a community-based, collective leadership, bottom-up approach to implementation, amplifying Indigenous voices, and with accountability spread across all levels of the university – and most importantly, at the points of decision making, budgets and authority. This model also helps reduce the burden of labour on Indigenous individuals. 

Those implementing the plan are vice presidents, deans, departments and units across the university as well as the various governing bodies (i.e. Senates and the Board of Governors.) Implementing the ISP thus becomes a collective responsibility and not the actual or implied responsibility of only one or two Indigenous individuals or offices.

Each portfolio, faculty and unit will align with the ISP in their own context, and each portfolio, faculty and unit should be evaluated on their own plan’s success.

The ISP Guiding Network is embedded both horizontally and vertically across both campuses to provide support, advice and guidance to all university stakeholders, with multiple points of access.

For advice about how to access the ISP Guiding Network for advice, guidance or support with ISP implementation, please contact OISI at

See the updated Guiding Network graphic including the Indigenous Education Council and President’s Advisory Committee on Indigenous Affairs, the members of which are listed here.

Accountability at all levels

UBC ISP Implementation Roles

Implementation of the ISP will be facilitated collaboratively by a guiding network, with accountability at all levels, as shown in the following diagram:

Board of Governors

Indigenous Engagement Committee

  • Oversight
  • Academic and policy directions
  • Funding allocations


Accountability at all levels

  • Decision-making
  • Accountability

Indigenous Strategic Plan Coordinating Committee

  • Establishes priority goals and actions for implementation
  • Makes decisions on funding and sunsetting of projects and programs as required
  • Supports and advises the BoG + Committees
  • Members' work supports key portfolios in goal setting and implementation

Accountability at all levels

Indigenous Strategic Plan Executive Advisory Committee

  • Members serve on a cross-campus basis: both UBC Okanagan and UBC Vancouver
  • Advises ISPCC on ISP priorities
  • Reviews implementation and progress reports
  • Provides recommendations on funding priorities and projects
  • Monitoring
  • Advising
  • Reviewing
  • Recommending

Indigenous Strategic Plan Implementation Committee (ISPIC)

  • Members and committee work are specific to UBC Vancouver
  • Supports planning at unit level
  • Monitors progress
  • Coordinates data collection
  • Advises on progress
  • Provides updates to ISPEAC

Indigenous Advisory Committee

  • Specific to UBC Okanagan
  • Provides advice, recommendations and guidance
  • Monitors progress, data collection and metrics
  • Provides updates to ISPEAC

Accountability at all levels

  • Decision-making
  • Implementing
  • Collecting data

Faculties / Departments / Units

This Plan will be reviewed every three years by university leadership in consultation with the broader UBC community and Indigenous partners.