SFU Kamloops offers aboriginal leadership program

June 29, 2006, volume 36, no. 5
By Diane Luckow

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Single mom Lana Harker, who works as a receptionist at SFU Kamloops, has a lot on her plate with a full-time job, two children and her recent enrollment in SFU's new aboriginal leadership and administration (ALA) program, which leads to a bachelor of general studies degree.

Yet she's not fazed by the workload. “I really like the fact that it's geared towards the working person,” she says. “With two courses each semester, it's do-able.”

SFU's integrated studies program specializes in bringing post-secondary degree opportunities to mid-career adults. The ALA program, launched in April, is now delivering a university education to the aboriginal community in the Kamloops area.

“Many aboriginal people advancing to mid-career levels have expressed a need to develop educational and professional skills for future decision-making and management needs in their organizations,” says Ruth Price, director of the integrated studies program. The ALA courses address a broad spectrum of issues, including aboriginal cultural, historical and legal matters, financial and business administration, human resource development, as well as broader political, economic development, planning and legal issues.

There are 13 people in the program, 12 of them women. Their jobs are diverse, ranging from receptionist to band counsellor, to band education director. The students, who all receive some university credit for their work experience, complete their undergraduate degree during nine semesters of part-time study over three years.

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