Understanding The Needs of Indigenous Students

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)

Grant recipients: Sheri Fabian and Tamara O’Doherty, School of Criminology

Project team: Angela Peters, Matthew Provost, and Benjamin Smyth, research assistants

Timeframe: January 2017 to August 2018

Funding: $6,000

Description: We wish to better understand the needs and experiences of Indigenous students at SFU with a particular focus on learning what they experience in various classroom environments when Indigenous issues are presented.

We propose a participatory action research project in which we work with SFU Indigenous students to conduct our study. Indigenous students will be involved in all aspects of the study including the planning and creation of research instruments and will participate in data collection, transcription, data analysis and report preparation. We have designed the project in accordance with collaborative action research principles; we propose a series of focus groups with Indigenous students to transform the students from research subjects to active and equal co-creators of knowledge. This process will increase our accountability to the student collaborators as we will develop the research parameters together, we will bring data back to the students throughout the project, and ensure the student collaborators guide the final report and recommendations.

Questions addressed:

  • What tools will be effective in gathering data regarding the experiences of Indigenous students at SFU when Indigenous issues are presented in classes?
  • What measures and questions will capture Indigenous students’ experiences in our classrooms?
  • How do Indigenous students define Indigenous issues? What are the experiences of Indigenous students at SFU when Indigenous issues are presented in classes?
  • Based on the study results, what recommendations can we offer to other faculty?

Knowledge sharing: We will produce a final report and distribute the report to our Faculty. We will present our preliminary findings at the 2017 Annual Symposium on Teaching and Learning. The recommendations developed will be disseminated to the larger SFU community. In addition, we will submit proposals to academic conferences and seek to publish at least one article on our findings. 

Palka, C. (2017, March). Sheri Fabian receives SFU's highest honour for teaching. [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.sfu.ca/criminology/newsandevents/criminology-news/sheri-fabian-receives-sfus-highest-teaching-award.html