Invitation to Participate in a Research Project: Why do Aboriginal Students Stay or Leave University?


Invitation to Participate in a Research Project: Why do Aboriginal Students Stay or Leave University?

By: Michelle Pidgeon
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 Invitation to Participate in a Research Project: 

Why do Aboriginal Students Stay or Leave University?

October 16, 2012

Greetings,  you  are  being invited by  Dr.  Michelle  Pidgeon,  Faculty  of  Education,  Simon Fraser  University,  to  participate  in  a  research  project  entitled Why  Do Aboriginal 

Students Stay or Leave University?, which encompasses the following: 

Study Background and Procedures:

The main goal of the research project is to identify the key factors that help and hinder

students completing their programs at Simon Fraser University. This project aims to 

understand student experiences at SFU through one‐on‐one interviews and talking circles 

with current and former Aboriginal SFU students, Aboriginal support staff, SFU faculty, and 

representatives from the local Aboriginal community.

This project has undergone ethical review process with Simon Fraser University and 

Thompson Rivers University. In addition, this project is deemed valuable to the Indigenous 

community at SFU and therefore supported by the Office of Associate Vice‐President 

Students and the Indigenous Student Centre.

As part of this project, you are being invited, as a current Aboriginal student or former 

student of SFU to participate in an interview that will last approximately one hour and will 

held at a time and location that is convenient for you.

In the interview, you will be asked by the lead researcher or an Aboriginal research 

assistant, about your experience as a student at SFU and factors related to retention, and 

notes will be made during the interview. Your identity and confidentiality will be respected 

in any final reports, presentations, and/or publications emerging from this research 


The questions you will be asked during your interview will include, and there may be other 

questions that emerge from the conversation:

a) How can the social environment at the university be enhanced at SFU?

b) How can relationships with students and faculty be enhanced at SFU?

c) What non‐academic issues (e.g., financial, home issues) are related to retention and 

attrition at SFU?

d) What are the key factors related to the retention and attrition of Aboriginal students 

at SFU?

e) What Aboriginal content could be added to make courses more culturally relevant?

f) What Aboriginal content do you find respectful, relevant and responsible in any 

courses that you have take?

g) Would academic tutoring with courses help you?

h) What teaching practices could be added that would have a positive impact on your 


i) Are there any teaching practices that have had an impact on your learning, generally 

and specifically about indigenous knowledge? 

j) How can we create a place for reciprocity in the professor/student learning 

relationship, specifically from an indigenous perspective that some students bring 

to the classroom discussion and research papers, that have the potential to enhance 

the learning of all students.

k) What recommendations would you make to support Indigenous student retention 

(i.e., success) at SFU?

You will have the choice to audiotaped or videotaped for this project. The audiotape/video 

tape will be transcribed and copy of this transcription will be sent to you. 

The purpose of the videotaping is the research team hopes that one of the outcomes of this 

project is to share stories during presentations and also develop resources and materials to 

support Indigenous student recruitment, retention, and success at Simon Fraser University.

Benefits of Participation:

Participants will be contributing to a broader understanding of the diversity of Indigenous 

student experiences at Simon Fraser University that aims to support Indigenous student 

success at SFU. 

As a participant of this project, you can contact the lead researcher, Dr. Pidgeon to receive a 

copy of the final research report. 

Risks to Participants: 

There are minimal risks to you as a participant in this study. However, the researchers of 

this project understand that in sharing your experiences you may have emotional 

responses and they want to acknowledge that in sharing your stories they have an inherent 

responsibility to ensure care and provide information on relevant support services to you.  

Participants will be offered information to access support services at the SFU Indigenous 

Student Centre (Maggie Benston Centre1500 (level 8); 778.782.6929 ) and SFU Counseling 

Services (Maggie Benston Centre 0101) 778.782.4615).  As well, all participants will be 

offered an information sheet of lower mainland Indigenous community resources.


For participating in this study, you will be given a culturally relevant and small gift of 



Your identity and all records will be kept confidential any identifying information obtained 

will be kept confidential. 

You may refuse to participate or withdraw participation in this project at any time without 

consequence.  Your involvement or non‐involvement in this project is in no way related to 

or will impact your status at Simon Fraser University. Refusal to participate or withdrawal 

from this study will have no adverse effects on your grades or evaluation in the classroom, 

course, or academic program. 

The data will be kept on a memory key or printed hard copy and all data will be stored in a 

locked filing cabinet in Dr. Pidgeon’s office and any electronic files will be backed up on a 

password protected on a computer hard drive.

Contact for more information: 

You may ask any questions you might have about the project with lead researcher Dr.

Michelle Pidgeon, 778.782.8609 or 

Contact for concerns about the study:

You may ask any questions or register any complaint you might have about the project with 

either the chief researcher named Dr. Michelle Pidgeon, 778.782.8609 or or with Dr. Hal Weinberg, Director, Office of Research Ethics via 

e‐mail or phone 778‐782‐6593. 

If you have any questions about this project, please contact either Michelle Pidgeon, at 

778.782.8609 or e‐mail

Many thanks for your assistance.


Warm regards,

Michelle Pidgeon



Posted on November 28, 2012