Image Credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic
Image Credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic

Saskatchewan Polytechnic Indigenous Student Success Strategy launch

Saskatchewan Polytechnic launches new Indigenous Student Success Strategy during National Indigenous History Month

June 19, 2018 - Situated on Treaty 4 and Treaty 6 territories, and Homeland of the Métis people, Saskatchewan Polytechnic is committed to enhancing the student experience and removing barriers to success through the renewal of relationships — miyo wahkohtowin — with our Indigenous communities. For Sask Polytech, this means we must integrate Indigenous ways of being, knowing, teaching and learning in everything we do.

At a special event on Tuesday, June 19, Sask Polytech launched its newly updated Indigenous Student Success Strategy with the support of employees, students and community leaders.

Indigenous students are an important and growing segment of Sask Polytech’s student population. Guided by the principles of reconciliation, Sask Polytech aims to create long-term positive change. Increasing Indigenous student enrolment and the Indigenous cohort graduation rate are cornerstones of the Indigenous Student Success Strategy.

“After months of extensive research and consultation Sask Polytech is proud to officially launch our new Indigenous Student Success Strategy,” says Dr. Larry Rosia, president and CEO of Sask Polytech. “It is designed to maximize success for this growing segment of our student population. This strategy is a roadmap that reflects the needs of our Indigenous students. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this new strategy; your input is invaluable.”

Building, renewing and formalizing relationships are an important steps to enhancing services and programming for our Indigenous students. Through memoranda of understandings Sask Polytech is building relationships with Indigenous organizations including the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, Saskatoon Tribal Council and Piapot First Nation.

“Now is the time for Indigenous people to take their rightful place in Saskatchewan — in business, education, technology, leadership, research, industry, health care and community service. Now is the time,” says Knowledge Keeper Myrna Yuzicapi. “Saskatchewan Polytechnic plays an essential role in education and, in the spirit of reconciliation, can help make that happen by providing educational experience to reconcile contemporary knowledge with lessons from the past.”

The new Indigenous Student Success Strategy builds on successes and lessons learned from the 2009 Aboriginal Student Achievement Plan. In the nine years since Sask Polytech’s first plan was established we’ve seen many notable successes including a total Indigenous student enrolment increase of more than 29 per cent between 2009-10 and 2016-17 academic years. Sask Polytech Indigenous graduates find employment within six months of graduation, 85 per cent of Indigenous graduates are employed.

“We are proud of our accomplishments to date and are excited for the future. At Saskatchewan Polytechnic, students are our main focus. We are committed to ensuring that everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed,” says Jason Seright, director of Indigenous Strategy. “The Indigenous Student Success Strategy allows students to see themselves and their culture reflected throughout the entire institution.”

Indigenous students make up 19 per cent of Sask Polytech’s student population and this proportion is growing steadily each year. Sask Polytech supports Indigenous students through offering tutoring and counselling, assistance with scholarships and funding, summer transition programming, and access to Indigenous students’ centres to meet other students and Elders.

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Saskatchewan Polytechnic serves 28,000 distinct students through applied learning opportunities at campuses in Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, Regina and Saskatoon, and through extensive distance education opportunities. Programs serve every economic and public service sector. As a polytechnic, the organization provides the depth of learning appropriate to employer and student need, including certificate, diploma and degree programs, and apprenticeship training. Saskatchewan Polytechnic engages in applied research, drawing on faculty expertise to support innovation by employers, and providing students the opportunity to develop critical thinking skills.