New report released about how Indigenous students access an education at SFU

February 01, 2021

How are Indigenous students accessing and moving through an education at Simon Fraser University?

This is the question at the heart of a new report recently completed by a working group of SFU faculty and research assistants called Looking Forward ... Indigenous Pathways To and Through Simon Fraser University.

The report takes up a central plank of the work of the SFU-Aboriginal Reconciliation Council (SFU-ARC) Walk This Path With Us report, specifically Call to Action 15, and builds a road map for implementation.

The report is a comprehensive review and set of recommendations for pathways for Indigenous students to and through Simon Fraser University. More specifically the report asks:

  1. What are Canadian higher education institutions doing to address issues of access and inclusion for Indigenous students? How does SFU compare with respect to the programs and services it offers to support the admission, access, and retention of Indigenous students?
  2. What are the identified educational visions and needs of local Indigenous communities and organizations?
  3. How can SFU work with local Indigenous people to support their educational visions and needs?

The final report is a culmination of two years of work by dedicated members of the working group and a stellar group of research assistants who have been instrumental to this project’s success.

“The university will be engaged in responding to this report and its findings for many years to come,” says Catherine Dauvergne, vice-president, academic and provost. “This is important work and part of what we mean when we say we strive to be a more inclusive institution committed to reconciliation. Next steps include working collaboratively with Indigenous communities on implementing the report’s 20 recommendations.”

Co-authored by Michelle Pidgeon, Joe Tobin, Trina Setah, Andrea Leveille, Donna Dunn, Mindy Ghag, Karen Johnson, and Tania Bubela, the purpose of the study was to develop a better understanding of Indigenous student needs and opportunities as they embark on their journey to and through SFU.

The report provides a thorough literature review, a national landscape on Indigenous access, transition and retention across Canadian universities, and perhaps most importantly, the voices of more than 200 knowledge holders who shared their thoughts with through interviews or sharing circles.