The president of the University of Saskatchewan says Indigenization goals they've set for the Saskatoon campus are also part of their plans for the new central campus in downtown Prince Albert. The facility is set to open in late 2020 and the institution’s senior official said efforts to boost Indigenous enrolment would be helped by the centralization of their educational offerings in the city.
“We need to reach the Prince Albert potential students and student audience better than we have been to date,” Peter Stoicheff told paNOW. “That’s not because we didn’t want to earlier but because we didn’t have the best facilities.”
The new campus in the old Forestry building will feature modern spaces including lecture rooms, labs, offices and gathering areas, and the university expects to offer expanded and additional programs in the years ahead.
Stoicheff was speaking the day after the university said it had made the Indigenization of their campus and operations in Saskatoon a top priority. That included the increase in visibility of Indigenous culture on campus, and aiming for an Indigenous student population at the 15 or 16 per cent level, in line with the latest census figures.
Stoicheff suggested their goals would be to increase that percentage further at the P.A. campus given the location and importance to the North, and he highlighted a number of reasons why a single central campus in the downtown would help in that regard.
“Centralization of the various programs currently across Prince Albert will offer not only a better library for all courses but allow for counselling and elders and an area where we can perform ceremony,” he said. “We haven’t been able to offer those services at each of those separate locations.”
Stoicheff added the new central campus would also engender a better sense of learning and expand students’ educational and career horizons as they mingle with those studying disparate disciplines.
“Having students who are taking one program, such as Women and Gender Studies for example, interacting with students taking the third and fourth years of a dentistry program, [they can see] the possibilities for other things they can take at university and in a professional capacity.”
Stoicheff noted it was “wonderful” to have lots of Indigenous students enrolled in social sciences such as education and law, but as the P.A. campus grew he figured the programs in science, technology, engineering and math could also become attractive.
“What we’ve lacked and haven’t been able to do in P.A. is have the full laboratories to do every year of a science degree there.”
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