Dr. Geoffrey Payne joined University of North British Columbia (UNBC) as president just 19 days before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. “What a way to start life as a president.”
With that opening remark, Payne joined Dr. Mike Porritt of The Scion Group Advisory Services for a discussion of how to successfully recruit and accommodate students from Canada’s Indigenous communities, a priority for many Western Canadian university officials. The discussion was held at SHURE-Vancouver on April 20. University of British Columbia hosted the event.
British Columbia is home to Canada’s most robust and active Indigenous community. As of 2022, there were approximately 200,000 Indigenous people in the province, with more than 30 unique First Nation languages and 60 dialects. In addition, as of 2022, there were approximately 8,700 Indigenous learners at provincial university and colleges. Universities in British Columbia have a high number of Indigenous students. Targeting and accommodating Indigenous learners has been a consistent challenge.
“Pretty much every school north of Sudbury in Ontario has more significant Indigenous populations,” according to Dr. Mike Porritt of The Scion Group Advisory Services. “It’s important to listen and hear about the specific cultural needs that that particular place is dealing with and where those students are coming from.”
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