New U of S program aims to graduate more Indigenous engineers
- NC Raine | March 19, 2019
A new initiative at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) will help encourage more Indigenous students to take up and succeed in Engineering.
The Engineering Access Program has been created to address the under-representation of Indigenous people in the college of Engineering, and engineering as a profession. The program is part of the College of Engineering's Indigenous Peoples Initiates Community (IPIC), which assists Indigenous students through all phases of their academic careers at the university.
“I am confident that this access program will help our college grow in very meaningful ways,” said Suzanne Kresta, the Dean of the College of Engineering at Monday’s announcement. “We want Indigenous young people to know that engineering is a great career option for them.”
The program will assist both prospective and current Indigenous students in three ways. A pathway to engineering program will be offered through Northlands College or the U of S to students who do not have the required pre-requisites to apply to the college. A summer bridging program will help new students adjust to university life on campus. And, a student success program will make social, academic, and financial supports available to Indigenous students in the college.
“These pillars provide the framework we need to build the strong, diverse, productive, and healthy college that not only serves the university, but also serves our local communities, province, and in the fact, the world,” said Kresta.
The Engineering Access Program has been modelled the Aboriginal Access programs at the University of Manitoba, and Queens University, and tailored for the needs of the students at the U of S.
“Once Indigenous students come into engineering through initiatives like this, it is important to support them throughout the program. This sets the stage, draws a foundation for ensuring success,” said Jacqueline Ottmann, Vice-Provost of Indigenous Engagement at the U of S. “We benefit as a society when our students graduate from these programs.”
The program is part of the College of Engineering’s strategic plan, which mirrors the U of S Indigenization plan to increase the number of Indigenous students at the university. Indigenous student enrolment rose 11.3% last year, with 2,672 Indigenous students signed up classes in the fall.
“It does take a community to nation build. And in nation building, we are uplifting our Indigenous youth,” said Ottmann.