Helping Aboriginal students succeed
Queen’s is receiving more than $1 million in additional funding this year from the provincial government to attract and support aboriginal students.
The announcement was made January 22 at Queen’s Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre by Kingston and the Islands MPP John Gerresten.
Almost $700,000 is supporting aboriginal teaching and student services, including Queen’s Aboriginal Teacher Education Program and the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre.
“This contribution will help integrate aboriginal students, culture and values in the fabric of Queen’s and creates opportunities for more students to study in needed areas at the undergraduate and graduate levels,” said Mark Green, co-chair of Queen’s Aboriginal Council and a Civil Engineering professor. “An access initiative in Mining and two new masters programs in Education and Policy Studies, for example, are key to building leadership and capacity within aboriginal communities now and for the future.”
There’s also $41,000 in new bursaries for aboriginal students and $342,000 for Queen’s University Experience program, which supports, encourages, and excites First Generation high school students, including those in aboriginal communities, about the possibilities of pursuing post-secondary education.
"Our goal is to get students on campus, to experience what university is like, so they can picture themselves as university students,” says University Registrar Jo-Anne Brady. “The opportunity to learn more about university and participate in a variety of academic workshops breaks down myths about how difficult or financially inaccessible higher education actually is for bright young students and they recognize that university is a realizable goal for their future."
Gloria Thomas, a Phd student in the Faculty of Education and member of the Onondaga Nation in the Hodinohsoni Confederacy, says the investment reflects an important growth in aboriginal programming. “This is exciting because it is happening in a university atmosphere, increasing awareness of our people and culture…It is a way of bringing our community with us when we come to campus.”
The funding is part of the government’s $26.4 million investment in Aboriginal postsecondary education in 2009-10.