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Release Date: March 7, 2012
University of Regina President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Vianne Timmons and Lakehead University President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Brian Stevenson are co-leading a group of Canadian universities on a trip to Mexico City to discuss Indigenous higher education. Representatives from the two countries will spend March 11-12 establishing partnerships and gaining a better understanding of the complexities surrounding the issue.
“It’s important to meet with educators and administrators from other jurisdictions so we can learn how to enhance post-secondary education for Indigenous people here at home and throughout the world,” said Dr. Timmons. “We need to share the challenges our students face in a variety of areas, examine potential solutions, and most importantly, develop and implement concrete strategies that will create a positive educational environment for all university students.”As well as the University of Regina and Lakehead University, First Nations University of Canada, Nipissing University, University of Manitoba, University of Lethbridge, Vancouver Island University, and Nicola Valley Institute of Technology will take part in the trip.
Lakehead University President Stevenson says accessibility is one of his top priorities.
“Changing the face of education for Indigenous people is a long but important journey,” he said. “At Lakehead, we have been successful in removing barriers to education, including economic, geographic and cultural. Our proven and successful model is based on active recruitment and strong transition support. We hope to share our successes and challenges on this trip.”
One of the highlights of the mission will be a round table hosted by the Mexican Minister of Education.
Enhancing the university experience for Aboriginal students is an important component of the University of Regina’s strategic plan. Timmons points to a recent initiative implemented at the University of Regina designed to address the challenges Aboriginal students face while pursuing a post-secondary education. “We now have an Aboriginal Advisory Circle at the University of Regina, comprised of Aboriginal faculty and staff. The members meet on a regular basis, and provide recommendations directly to me.”
Statistics indicate a year-over-year increase of 48 per cent in the number of first-year self-declared Aboriginal students registered at the University of Regina. As a result, students of Aboriginal descent now represent close to 10 per cent of the University’s total undergraduate enrolment of approximately 11,000 students.
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