Aboriginal student numbers up 50 percent since 2009

News Release Release Date: October 15, 2014 9:25 a.m.

University of Regina registration statistics released this month show an increase of nearly 50 percent in self-declared Aboriginal students over a five-year period. This brings total Aboriginal enrolment to more than 11 percent of the total student body, a record high for the University.

“A key priority of our government has been to improve educational opportunities and educational outcomes for Aboriginal people,” said Advanced Education Minister Kevin Doherty. “The record number of Aboriginal students at the University of Regina is a clear sign that there is growing momentum in this area, and demonstrates the leadership of our post-secondary partners in helping foster better educational outcomes for Aboriginal peoples.”

In recent years, the University has expanded its Aboriginal Student Centre to provide a culturally appropriate studying and gathering place for students, and has implemented orientation and mentoring programs designed specifically to meet the needs of Aboriginal students. It has also established an Aboriginal Advisory Circle to regularly advise the President on measures that must be taken to ensure that the campus remains dedicated to and focused on meeting the needs of Aboriginal students, faculty and staff.

“The University of Regina has focused on implementing important initiatives to support the success of our Aboriginal students, faculty and staff on campus, and to ensure that First Nations and Métis cultures are reflected in our academic programming and services,” said University of Regina President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Vianne Timmons. “In addition, our University has built a strong partnership with First Nations University of Canada that is unique this country, as we work together to fulfill a shared vision of post-secondary education that preserves, protects and advances the knowledge of First Nations history, language and culture.”

President Timmons has also appointed Dr. Shauneen Pete as Executive Lead on Indigenization to ensure First Nations and Métis culture are reflected in everything from the University’s curriculum to campus design to convocation and many other aspects of campus life.

“The fact that Aboriginal student enrolment has increased by almost 50 percent in such a short time means we are succeeding in making the University of Regina a diverse, welcoming and inclusive institution – one that is playing an increasingly important role in educating and providing career opportunities for Saskatchewan’s Aboriginal youth,” said Timmons.

The one-year increase in Aboriginal student numbers since the Fall 2013 semester is just under 6 percent, rising to 1,574 undergraduate and graduate Aboriginal graduate students in total.  President Timmons credits this year’s increases in part to some high-profile events the University of Regina has hosted recently, such as the North American Indigenous Games, the Dr. Lloyd Barber Summit on Aboriginal Post-Secondary Education, and a First Nations, Métis and Inuit Research Showcase, all of which were hosted in partnership with the First Nations University of Canada.

“These events are occasions to showcase our campus to potential students as well as members of our local, provincial and international communities,” said Timmons. “When they see our campus and learn about the supports, services and academic programs that are in place, they realize the University of Regina has so much to offer.”