Jobs at Western

Assistant Professor of Comparative Indigenous Studies

Apply now Work type: TT Faculty
Location: Bellingham, WA
Categories: Academic Affairs

Position Title Assistant Professor of Comparative Indigenous Studies
About the University

WWU sits on the traditional homelands of the Lummi and Nooksack peoples and occupies part of the larger Coast and Straits Salish territories that expand from Puget Sound to Desolation Sound, along with the Straits of Georgia and Juan de Fuca, and adjoining saltwater and river watershed systems in the transboundary Salish Sea. We view the addition of these two faculty positions as part of a larger commitment to support the organizing endeavors of local tribes, to promote Indigenous self-determination and knowledge, and to advancing tribal sovereignty for the protection and enhancement of native homelands and future generations.

With over 16,000 students in seven colleges and the graduate school, Western Washington University is nationally recognized for its educational programs, students and faculty. The campus is located in Bellingham, Washington, a coastal community of 88,000 overlooking Bellingham Bay, the San Juan Islands, and the North Cascades mountain range; the city lies 90 miles north of Seattle and 60 miles south of Vancouver, British Columbia. Western is the highest-ranking public, master's-granting university in the Pacific Northwest, according to the 2019 U.S. News & World Report rankings.

WWU seeks to engage place in all of its complexity and takes steps to acknowledge and honor the richness and multiple meanings of place, from local to state, national, and global. The university supports teaching, learning, research, scholarship, creative activity, and programming that engages with place in a respective way, weaving the ecological, social, and economic dimensions of sustainability into and through its practices. WWU aims to increase the engagement with communities and environments in multiple regions in the world, both inside and beyond the classroom.

Furthermore, WWU is committed to justice and equity, to inclusive achievement and academic excellence, and to providing a safe, just, and equitable University for all students and employees. The university supports the strengthening of curricula and other programming that engages issues of access, equity, power, and privilege in and across disciplines.

About the Center

Established in 1971, the Center is one of the most well established Canadian Studies programs in the United States. The Center serves as a US Department of Education National Resource Center on Canada, in consortium with the Canadian Studies Center at the University of Washington and, since 1988, has been awarded Title VI support in recognition of its leading role as a center of excellence on Canada.

Together with our partner programs in Canada House (Salish Sea Institute, Border Policy Research Institute), the Center supports critical and interdisciplinary inquiry into the historical construction and modern constitution of Canada and its relationship with the United States, First Nations, American Indian, and Alaska Native tribal nations, placing particular emphasis on the interaction of diverse peoples and claims to belonging. In addition, the Center also partners with the first executive director of American Indian/Alaska Native and First Nations Relations & Tribal Liaison to the President.

The Center offers two academic programs of study: Bachelor of Arts in Canadian-American Studies and Minor in Canadian-American Studies, specializing in teaching about the Salish Sea transboundary region, Canadian-American relations, and Francophone Canada. The curriculum for these degrees is highly interdisciplinary, drawing on courses and faculty from many of its campus Colleges.

About the Position

We value candidates who proactively advance an understanding and knowledge of Indigenous studies. The successful candidate will have a multi-disciplinary, comparative, and critical approach to scholarship and undergraduate and potentially graduate education. Such work can focus on, but is not limited to, watersheds, land and governance claims, communities, language revitalization, trans-border organizing, climate change, and eco-cultural restoration. We value scholarly and pedagogical approaches, creative projects, and professional activities that examine Indigenous political refusal of borders and the impact of dispossessive frameworks of settler governance.

The position begins September 16, 2020. The successful candidate will be hired at the rank of Assistant Professor. The chosen person will have an ongoing and formal joint appointment with WWU’s Center for Canadian-American Studies and Salish Sea Institute as well as in the academic department of their area of specialization. WWU departments are housed in the following colleges and applicants from any discipline related to these colleges are invited to apply: College of Business and Economics, College of Fine and Performing Arts, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Science and Engineering, Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies, Huxley College of the Environment, and Woodring College of Education.

This position requires a strong commitment to teaching; the conventional teaching load for a new faculty member is six courses per year and the credit load varies by academic unit/department. At the Assistant Professor rank, teaching responsibilities will include core courses in Canadian-American Studies and/or Salish Sea Studies as well as courses in the successful candidates’ area of specialization/designated department at both the lower- and upper-division level. Candidates must already have an established agenda of interdisciplinary research in Comparative Indigenous Studies. This position comes with minimal academic unit/department service expectations. In addition, the successful candidate(s) at this rank will have reasonable research and community engagement expectations in balance with their teaching/credit load and as part of the scholar’s tenure and promotion commitments.

For the successful candidate, the terms of expectations regarding teaching, advising, research, community engagement, and service will be agreed upon during contract signing in discussion with both the Center for Canadian-Studies and the designated academic department/unit(s).

With the addition of this position, the Center aims to assist in the creation of a supportive environment for interdisciplinary collaboration and community building that connects faculty, staff, and Western’s Tribal Liaison and local Indigenous communities. We aim to set up responsibilities for this position in ways that are sustainable and mutually supportive for the successful candidates and their university department and affiliated programs.

Required Qualifications
  • At time of application, PhD or ABD in any discipline, with a focus on Indigenous Studies. PhD must be completed by 06-15-21.
  • Demonstrated commitment to excellence in teaching Indigenous Studies at all levels of the undergraduate curriculum.
  • Demonstrated commitment to excellence in scholarship and a dynamic research agenda in Indigenous Studies.
  • Demonstrated commitment to teaching/research in transboundary regions, Canada, and/or US-Canada comparative studies.
  • Demonstrated commitment to work effectively with diverse students and colleagues, including a commitment to cultivating learning environments that are equitable and inclusive of students with diverse social identities and backgrounds.
Preferred Qualifications
  • Experience working with Indigenous communities such as Alaskan Natives, American Indians, First Nations, Métis, or other Tribal Nations.
  • Relevant teaching/research expertise in fields of study relating to the Salish Sea.
  • Demonstrated experience in advancing an understanding of the ways in which Indigenous knowledges, decolonization, equity and sustainability are fundamental to the quality of student experience, curriculum, teaching, scholarship, and creative/professional activities.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop an externally-funded research program.


 Commensurate with experience and qualifications

Bargaining Unit

 United Faculty of Western Washington

Application Instructions

Please log in and submit your application via Western PageUp. 

Required Supplemental Materials

A cover letter, curriculum vitae, and writing sample are required and should address your experience related to the position responsibilities and the required and preferred qualifications. Your cover letter should address your commitment toward the required qualifications and supplement your cv. A complete application also includes: 1) a separate statement (1-2 pages) specifically addressing demonstrated ability and commitment to cultivating working and learning environments that are equitable and inclusive of individuals with diverse social identities and backgrounds; and 2) the names and contact information of three professional references.

   Application review begins December 1, 2019; position is open until filled

Western Washington University (WWU) is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer committed to assembling a diverse, broadly trained faculty and staff. Women, minorities, people with disabilities and veterans are strongly encouraged to apply. In compliance with applicable laws and in furtherance of its commitment to fostering an environment that welcomes and embraces diversity, WWU does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy and parenting status), disability, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status or genetic information in its programs or activities, including employment, admissions, and educational programs. See WWU’s Policy on Ensuring Equal Opportunity and Prohibiting Discrimination and Retaliation. Inquiries may be directed to the Vice Provost for Equal Opportunity and Employment Diversity, Title IX and ADA Coordinator, Equal Opportunity Office, Western Washington University, Old Main 345 (MS 9021), 516 High Street, Bellingham, WA 98225; 360.650.3307 (voice) or 711 (Washington Relay);

Annual Security and Fire Safety Report: This report is provided pursuant to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act ("The Clery Act"). It includes statistics for the previous three calendar years concerning reported crimes that occurred on Western's campus; in certain off-campus buildings or property owned or controlled by Western; and on public property within, or immediately adjacent to and accessible from, the campus. The report also includes institutional policies concerning campus security, such as policies concerning alcohol and drug use, crime prevention, the reporting of crimes, sexual assault, and other matters. You can obtain a copy of this report in printed or alternate formats by contacting the Office of the Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services at The report can be found at: Annual Security and Fire Safety Report.

WWU is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities upon request. To request this document in an alternate format or to request an accommodation, please contact Human Resources Disability Services, 360.650.3774 or 711 (Washington Relay).

All new employees must comply with the immunization policy and show employment eligibility verification as required by the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service before beginning work at WWU. A thorough background check will be conducted on all new hires.

Job no: 497292
Advertised: Pacific Daylight Time
Applications close:

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