Elizabeth Shaffer

Limited cross appointment with the Residential School History and Dialogue Centre

Dr. Shaffer is crossed-appointed with UBC’s Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre (IRSHDC), where she acts as the Centre’s Executive Director in a seconded role. The Centre is a research unit that engages in collaborative projects, delivers programming and events, and serves to educate and raise awareness about the lasting impacts of residential schools in Canada. In her role as Executive Director, she brings a wealth of academic experience in providing overall strategic leadership in the visioning, planning, development and implementation of systems, programs and services to meet the Centre’s goals.

Dr. Shaffer joined the Centre in April 2018, where she served as the Director of Digital, Strategic and Indigenous Partnerships. Through her work, the Centre has established relationships with partners such as the Indian Residential School Survivors Society, developed collaborative digital technologies for exploring the records and collections at the Centre, and developed Memorandums of Understanding with local, provincial and national libraries, archives and museums.

Dr. Shaffer holds a Master of Archival Studies degree and a Ph.D. from the iSchool. Before joining the IRSHDC, she was Director of Collections at the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre, overseeing initiatives focusing on the digitization, preservation, and pedagogical use of Holocaust survivor testimonies and the development of digital systems in support of anti-racism education and exhibition curation on issues of genocide.


Dr. Shaffer’s current work and research focus on critical inquiry into how information policy, practices and systems emerge and evolve in contemporary digital spaces, with particular attention to social justice issues, impacts of colonialism, and collections that document traumatic human events.

Current Courses