Reciprocal Mentorship as Trans-Systemic Knowledge: A Story of an Indigenous Student and a Non-Indigenous Academic Supervisor Navigating Graduate Research in a Canadian University


  • Kathy Bishop Royal Roads University
  • Christine Webster University of Victoria



reciprocal mentorship, Indigenous-non-Indigenous relationships, higher education, trans-systemic knowledge



 Reciprocal mentorship is how Indigenous students and non-Indigenous supervisors can supportively navigate their way through graduate research in higher education. Reciprocal mentorship as trans-systemic knowledge values both Indigenous and Eurocentric worldviews, whereby the student has the expertise from Indigenous community and the academic supervisor has the expertise in the academic world. Through sharing stories of their research journey within a Canadian University, Webster and Bishop offer key insights around engaging in reciprocal mentorship, navigating the two-worlds, finding a common language, and having shared values. As a result, Indigenous and non-Indigenous students and supervisors may see themselves within the stories and seek reciprocal mentorship to be successful in the academic research and educational journey and make an impact in their university and beyond. 

Author Biographies

Kathy Bishop, Royal Roads University

Kathy Bishop is a woman of Scottish and European descent, academic supervisor, associate professor and MA Leadership program head at Royal Roads University. She received her PhD in Interdisciplinary studies. She is a passionate scholar-practitioner who has published on topics such as creativity, collaborative leadership, ethics, and action-oriented research.

Christine Webster, University of Victoria

Christine Webster is Nuu-chah-nulth from the Ahousaht Nation. She is a recent graduate of the Master of Arts in Leadership program from Royal Roads University and is currently a doctoral student in leadership studies at the University of Victoria. Webster’s current interest is in exploring Indigenous-non-Indigenous relationships in higher education.


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How to Cite

Bishop, K., & Webster, C. (2021). Reciprocal Mentorship as Trans-Systemic Knowledge: A Story of an Indigenous Student and a Non-Indigenous Academic Supervisor Navigating Graduate Research in a Canadian University. Engaged Scholar Journal: Community-Engaged Research, Teaching, and Learning, 7(1), 106–121.

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