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R.J. Simpson: Aurora College Transformation Highlighting Phase One Accomplishments and Planning for Phase Two
May 27, 2022
Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to speak about our progress in establishing a polytechnic university in the Northwest Territories. The magnitude of this project was never something to be taken lightly, and we remain committed to completing work in the right order and at the right time.
The transformation follows a three-phased approach that ensures Aurora College can build a strong foundation so that it transforms into a sustainable polytechnic university that delivers high quality education to Northerners. We are already seeing gains as we establish the building blocks for transformation and strengthen the college’s programs. These gains are evident when I speak with faculty, staff and students in their communities, and they include:
A new approach to corporate planning and annual reporting;
The launch of an entirely new Aurora College website including a student information system;
A new approach to strategic planning, academic planning and strategic enrollment management;
The new Centre for Teaching and Learning dedicated to the ongoing professional development of Aurora College instructors, enhancement of Aurora College curriculum and course delivery;
The establishment of two new Research Chair positions and a new Research Services Team, being launched this year;
The completion of the social work and education program reviews; and
The coming into force of the new Aurora College Act.
Moving into Phase Two, the relationship between the GNWT and Aurora College is now evolving and will be marked by a new mandate for Aurora College. An early step toward a new way of working, this mandate will guide the College in its goal to operate at arm’s length from the GNWT while taking steps to ensure academic and research excellence across the territory.
Another major milestone in Phase Two of Aurora College’s transformation is the completion of a Polytechnic University Facilities Master Plan.
Mr. Speaker, the Facilities Master Plan will provide Aurora College and the future polytechnic university with a roadmap for the ongoing enhancement and expansion of facilities across the NWT. The development of the Facilities Master Plan has been a process involving input and participation from Indigenous governments, partners and stakeholders.
Since transformation began, we have heard from across the NWT that the polytechnic university is in a unique position to integrate Indigenous ways of being, knowing and doing into its physical form and operation, programming and governance structure. I look forward to seeing this theme of Indigenization manifested through the new governance system, particularly the Indigenous Knowledge Holders Council as they develop a framework that will guide the culture and administration of the polytechnic university.
Mr. Speaker, as we continue to move forward with Phase Two of the transformation. I am confident that we are designing a polytechnic university that will meet the needs of Northern residents and will become a showcase of education for students in the North, in Canada and around the world.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
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