February 12, 2021 – North Bay, Thunder Bay and Orillia, Ont.
The presidents from Lakehead University, Confederation College, and Canadore College signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) via Zoom on Friday, February 12 to encourage and facilitate educational opportunities for Indigenous transfer students.
The five-year MOU comes after these post-secondary institutions collaborated on several recent projects funded by the Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT) exploring the enhancement of wrap-around supports for Indigenous transfer students. These are team-based supports that ensure the post-secondary institutions understand each student's strengths and provide a network of holistic support.
“It’s great to see colleges and universities finding ways to work together to support students in the north,” said the Honourable Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities. “With support from ONCAT, the ability for Indigenous students to transfer easily and gain a post-secondary credential will strengthen the well-being and economy of Indigenous communities.”
“ONCAT is thrilled to collaborate with our partners at Lakehead University, Canadore College, and Confederation College to improve access to programs and degrees — and reduce cultural barriers to success — for Indigenous transfer students,” said Yvette Munro, Executive Director of ONCAT. “This unique partnership will find new and better ways to support Indigenous students and enrich our learning as a transfer system.”
Specifically, projects led by Lakehead University’s Office of Indigenous Initiatives, Confederation College’s Negahneewin Research Centre (formerly Centre for Policy and Research in Indigenous Learning), and Canadore College’s First Peoples’ Centre have listened to learners, support staff, influencers, and community members.
“We are always pleased to partner with fellow post-secondary institutions that share our vision of excellence in education and support of student success,” said Kathleen Lynch, President of Confederation College. “Through our formalized relationship with Canadore College and Lakehead University on this project, we look forward to reducing barriers and increasing supports for Indigenous transfer students.”
The MOU outlines how the schools intend to collaborate in planning for, developing, and establishing a seamless transfer agreement to strengthen retention of Indigenous transfer students at each school.
“Canadore has a proud history of commitment to Indigenous students by offering programs and services based on cultural values and practices,” said Canadore College President and CEO George Burton. “This partnership carries on that tradition and creates exciting new educational opportunities for Indigenous learners.”
The schools intend to explore the cultivation of inter- and intra-institutional academic and cultural support for Indigenous transfer students.
“Lakehead University’s commitment to social responsibility recognizes the importance of our role as a regional university in making a difference to all the communities we serve," said Lakehead University President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Moira McPherson. "This MOU further demonstrates our continuing and collective commitment to encouraging and facilitating education opportunities for Indigenous learners."
The first point of contact for student-transfer-focused collaboration will be the Coordinator of Indigenous Outreach and Recruitment, Indigenous Initiatives at Lakehead University, the Registrar and Director, Strategic Enrolment Services at Canadore College, and the Registrar at Confederation College.
The schools will establish an internal and external working group. The external working group will consist of the Vice-Provost, Indigenous Initiatives, the Coordinator of Indigenous Student Services Centre, and the Coordinator of Indigenous Outreach and Recruitment at Lakehead University, who will meet with designate(s) from Canadore College and designate(s) from Confederation College to make progress on the principles of the MOU.
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Media are invited to reach out to the contact(s) listed below to request more information or an interview from each institution:
Brandon Walker, Media, Communications and Marketing Associate
Ashleigh Quarrell, Manager, Communications and Public Relations
Cindy Males, Public Relations and Communications Specialist
Ana Skinner, Manager, Funding Programs
Lakehead University is a fully comprehensive university with approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and over 2,000 faculty and staff at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead has 10 faculties, including Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Graduate Studies, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Law, Natural Resources Management, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Science & Environmental Studies, and Social Sciences & Humanities. Lakehead University’s achievements have been recognized nationally and internationally, including being ranked, once again, among Canada’s Top 10 primarily undergraduate universities in Maclean’s 2021 University Rankings; as well as included in the top half of Times Higher Education's 2020 World Universities Rankings for the second consecutive year, and 98th among 766 universities from around the world in THE's 2020 Impact Rankings (which assesses institutions against the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals). Visit www.lakeheadu.ca.
Confederation College has been serving the citizens of northwestern Ontario since 1967 meeting the educational needs of students in a catchment area of some 550,000 square kilometres. Along with its main campus in Thunder Bay, Confederation College has eight regional sites located in Dryden, Fort Frances, Greenstone, Kenora, Marathon, Sioux Lookout, Red Lake and Wawa. Confederation College delivers exceptional education and training to an average of 7,000 combined full- and part-time students per year and currently has over 850 full- and part-time employees. Confederation’s regional economic impact and contribution is currently valued at $643.4 million annually. Visit www.confederationcollege.ca.
Canadore College trains people through applied learning, leadership and innovation. It provides access to over 80 full-time quality programs and has outstanding faculty and provides success services to students from nearly 400 Canadian communities and 15 international countries. The College, its students, and alumni add in excess of $244 million to the Nipissing Parry Sound service area economy. Approximately 1,000 students graduate from Canadore each year, and they join 46,000 alumni working across the globe. Canadore receives less than 50 per cent of its traditional funding from the provincial Ministry of Colleges and Universities and relies on its own innovation and entrepreneurial endeavours and generous donors for the balance.
Established in 2011, the Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT) was created to enhance academic pathways and reduce barriers for students looking to transfer among Ontario’s public colleges, universities, and Indigenous Institutes. Working with our network of Ontario’s 45 colleges and universities, Indigenous Institutes, students, government, guidance counsellors, as well as other stakeholders provincially and nationally, ONCAT is building a culture and understanding of transfer so that students can pursue a more seamless and affordable post-secondary education. ONCAT is funded by the Government of Ontario. For more information, please visit www.oncat.ca.