Indigenous Student Experiences at Simon Fraser University: A Student-led Collaborative Study

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)

Grant recipient: Karrmen Crey, School of Communication

Project team: Daniel Ahadi, School of Communication, Sheri Fabian and Tamara O’Doherty, School of Criminology, Research Assistants TBD

Timeframe: January 2019 to March 2020

Funding: $12,000 (Two phase funding)

Description: This project involves Indigenous students from across SFU rather than only those in a specific course. In our initial pre-research project, we worked with a small group of students at the SFU Indigenous Student Centre (ISC) to build capacity to work in a student-driven and participatory model centered on developing understandings of Indigenous student experiences or troubling classroom incidents. In this follow-up project, we will determine how best to gather accounts from Indigenous students about their classroom and university experiences, and how to share these accounts to better address Indigenous student needs in SFU classes. We are developing a two-phase project: Phase One (January-April 2019) will be dedicated to collaboratively designing the method for documenting student accounts of their classroom experiences; Phase Two (September-December 2019) will collect these accounts and determine the best way to re-present the findings.

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 classrooms?
  • What are the impacts of Indigenous student classroom experiences on their well-being and ability to succeed in the classroom and at SFU?
  • What are the Indigenous student research collaborators learning from the research process?

Knowledge sharing: We will produce an interim report at the conclusions of phase one and a final report at the conclusion of phase two. The reports will describe the processes and strategies that we employed in developing and sustaining our collaboration, as well as the methodological choices made along the way, and the ultimate findings. We will create opportunities for the students to co-present outcomes within SFU, across departments, and across administrative, faculty, staff and student groups.

This project has the potential of having significant impact on a broader level. We expect the student final products to be made publicly available, and we will work to provide opportunities for the students to present their final product(s) at academic conferences (Congress 2019) and in peer-reviewed journals and other dissemination opportunities.