Daily CSR
Daily CSR

Daily CSR
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Indigenous students success strategy


“It’s not just for Indigenous students, it’s for the campus and the community at large.”

In a major funding announcement Saskatchewan Polytechnic announced as part of its Indigenous Student Success Strategy it will further bolster funding for developing a place of belonging where all students can feel welcomed, inspired, and empowered.

“The philosophy that guides the work we do is all about fostering a welcoming community and sense of belonging,” says Deanna Speidel, Sask Polytech’s Director of Indigenous Strategy. “If Indigenous students see peers who have come before them experiencing success, they are more likely to believe they can achieve it themselves.”

Sask Polytech is located on Treaty 4 and Treaty 6 Territories and features four campuses between Regina, Saskatoon, Moose Jaw and Prince Albert, where students have the option of pursuing more than 180 different programs.

“Our advisors make outreach to Grade 12 students in remote and rural communities to encourage students to start thinking about what they can do post-graduation,” says Speidel. “We want them to know that these career paths exist and that they are real options for them.”

Sask Polytech’s Indigenous student success strategy works to increase recruitment, retention and success of Indigenous students across all programs. One of its key pillars is the role model calendar, which incidentally will touch its its 10-year milestone in 2023. Every year, 12 Indigenous students are photographed and interviewed as designated role models, earning them a spot on the calendars.

“Some of our role models are first-generation, post-secondary learners, so they may not even see themselves in that capacity initially,” says Speidel. “We look to represent different programs while promoting gender diversity and representation from Metis and First Nations.”

Each year, 10,000 copies of this calendar are printed and sent to remote and rural communities throughout Saskatchewan.

“It says, ‘We as an organization are very proud of you and wish you all the best in the future,’ ” said Speidel.

Alliance Pipeline has now entered into a 50/50 partnership between owners - Enbridge and Pembina Pipeline – and is celebrating with Sask Polytech $200,000 in Fueling Futures funding as part of its commitment to building safe, vibrant and sustainable communities.

The donation was provided in late 2019, prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic which prevented an opportunity to gather and celebrate the institute’s Indigenous Student Success Strategy.

The funds are now being used for various indigenous strategy initiatives including the role model calendar,

“Without the support of the broader community investing in Indigenous student success, we couldn’t do what we do to break down those barriers as quickly and effectively as we are,” said Speidel.

With National Indigenous Peoples Day just around the corner, students both on and off campus will continue to celebrate Indigenous achievements and see themselves doing bigger, greater things.

“That’s what Indigenous student success means,” said Speidel.