May 26, 2016 – Laurentian University has announced new requirements that will transform the structure and the content of its Bachelor of Arts programs. Effective September 2017, requirements for a Bachelor of Arts will include six credits of courses with Indigenous content to promote understanding of the histories, cultures and realities of Indigenous peoples in Canada.
“Laurentian University is at the heart of Indigenous education in northern Ontario and embraces its role in the reconciliation process,” said Dr. Sheila Coté-Meek, Associate Vice President, Academic and Indigenous Programs. “The University is a culturally responsive, welcoming institution for Indigenous students but also one where doors are opened to Indigenous thought and culture for students and faculty from all backgrounds.”
Laurentian has been working to strengthen Indigenous education leadership by updating academic programs to reflect Indigenous history and realities, and foster meaningful inter-cultural engagement between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. “We now offer over 100 courses with more than 50% indigenous content and additional courses are in development,” said Dr. Coté-Meek.
The University’s Faculty of Arts is one of the strongest in Canada with respect to its critical mass of tenured or tenure-track Indigenous faculty members. Laurentian has also recently broke ground on an Indigenous Sharing and Learning Centre that is a physical embodiment of its commitment to Indigenous education. The Centre will provide the space for scholars, students and community members to engage in research endeavours in social sciences and humanities, and in innovative capacity building to support Indigenous communities. Consistent with the Calls for Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, it will become a platform “to advance understanding of reconciliation.”
“We are proud of the tremendous work done within the Faculty of Arts to bring indigenous content into its programs and courses,” said Robert Kerr, Vice-President Academic and Provost. “The new requirement approved by Senate means that more students who graduate from Laurentian will have a good understanding of Indigenous history and culture.”