QUÉBEC CITY, QC – Cambrian College is in the spotlight after winning a prestigious award from Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan). Rick Ouellet, Director of Cambrian’s Wabnode Centre for Aboriginal Services accepted the CICan Silver award for Indigenous Education Excellence on behalf of the College on May 31 at CICan’s national awards gala in Québec City.
“We are proud that Cambrian is being recognized nationally for our investment in innovative programs and services that support Indigenous students,” said Cambrian President Bill Best. “Our success in supporting Indigenous learning reflects the commitment of our staff, faculty, volunteers, alumni, and partners. Together, we weave Indigenous culture, teachings and traditions into the very fabric of our College, and we develop programs and partnerships that invest in the future of aboriginal learners for the betterment of our region and our country.”
In 2014-15, Cambrian launched an innovative Aboriginal self-identification campaign that has had a positive effect on student success. Once students self-identify, the Wabnode Centre reaches out to them and encourages them to participate in cultural and spiritual activities; to seek support from staff, peers and elders; and to feel pride in their culture. In 2015-16, Cambrian had 750 registered students who were band-sponsored and/or identified themselves as Indigenous learners.
“Our self-identification campaign allows us to get a much better picture of how many Indigenous learners we have at Cambrian, and it has truly enhanced cultural pride and awareness across campus,” said Ouellet. “We always knew that we had a diverse population at Cambrian, but today we can say that Indigenous learners make up at least 18 percent of our student body. Now, we are better able to stay in touch with each of them and ensure that we offer the right amount of services, supports and activities.”
In addition to its recent self-identification campaign, Cambrian demonstrates a sustained commitment to supporting Indigenous learners and communities. This will continue as the College implements its 2014-2019 Strategic Plan. Moving forward, Cambrian will continue to:
- strengthen its relationship with Atikameksheng Anishnawbek First Nation, its Indigenous host
- remove barriers and increase access to postsecondary education for Indigenous people
- create an inclusive community and foster a shared understanding of Indigenous culture
As one of the first postsecondary institutes in Canada chosen to receive this relatively new award, Cambrian is proud to be recognized as a leader among its peers in Indigenous Education Excellence. The CICan Indigenous Education Excellence awards program recognizes colleges or institutes that demonstrate a commitment to improving and better serving Indigenous education through a variety of approaches and practices.
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