Improving Access to University Education in the Canadian Arctic

Nunavut Arctic CollegeAccueil

Increased participation in post-secondary education is of primary concern for Inuit. The goal of this project is to provide evidence-based research on Inuit participation in University education throughout Inuit Nunangat and to promote a national discussion amongst provider of university program in Inuit Nunangat, Northern institutions and Inuit organizations in order to develop a more coordinated effort in program delivery, curriculum development. More specifically this research has three objectives:

1) Make an inventory and evaluation of past and present university initiatives in Inuit Nunangat or for Inuit in term of curriculum, delivery methods and success,

2) Evaluate the Inuit Peoples needs and experiences with post-secondary programs or courses in order to better understand educational paths and university successes from the point of view of the Inuit

3) Develop different scenarios to improve access to university education for Inuit and Northerners in Inuit Nunangat.

This research provides evidence-based data on the Inuit students’ university experience: Inuit participation in university programs; definition of university and educative success from a point of view of Inuit that will help university program providers deliver programs better adapted to the needs of Inuit students; monitoring of Inuit student success according to this definition; inventory and evaluation of the university program delivered in Inuit Nunangat and for Inuit students; and development of scenarios to improve access to University program for Inuit students.

This project is funded by ArcticNet and is realised in close partnership with the Nunavut Arctic CollegeNunavut Sivuniksavut and the Kativik School Board. You can consult the project on the ArcticNet webpage

Project Leader:
- Thierry Rodon (Laval University)

- Frances Abele (Carleton University)
- Frédéric Laugrand (Université Laval)
- Fiona Walton (University of Prince Edward Island)

- Morley Hanson (Nunavut Sivuniksavut)

Students and research assistant:
- Kelly Black, Doctoral student (Carleton University)
- Sheena Kennedy, Doctoral student (Université Laval)
- Lucille Villasenor-Caron, Masters student (Carleton University)
- Darlene O'Leary, Post-Doctoral Fellow (University of Prince Edward Island)
- Maxime Mariage, Research assistant (Université Laval)

Inuit Researcher:
- Naullaq Arnaquq  (Nunavut Government)
- James Kuptana (Inuit Circumpolar Council - Canada)
- Maatalii Okalik-Syed (University of Guelph)
- Pam Gross (Carleton University)
- Teevi Mackay (Carleton University)

1. Monitoring educational and professional success amongst Inuit of Nunavut who have registered in a post-secondary program

The main goal of this research is to collect data on success among Nunavut Inuit who are attending or have attended post-secondary programs, in addition to developing a monitoring system that will enable FANS and Kakivak to collect and process such data in subsequent years. Specifically, three goals were pursued:
1) Collect data on post-secondary educational success among Inuit students within and outside Nunavut (as measured by graduation rate, academic program, and number of years in a postsecondary program);
2) Collect data on professional success among Inuit with postgraduate education, depending on whether they have graduated or not (as measured by job satisfaction and relation between educational background to employment);
3) Collect data on the financial assistance programs and compare their effectiveness in terms of post-secondary success and graduation (as measured by level of financial assistance and appropriateness to student needs).

The project is funded by ArcticNet and the Nunavut General Monitoring Plan (NGMP).

2. Tukitaarvik - Inuit Student Centre

Tukitaarvik is an interactive website providing information and networking for Inuit students interested in post-secondary education. The project is comanaged by the Inuit Knowledge Centre and the Youth Department at Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), and ArcticNet. Currently, there are 206 Tukitaarvik members registered.

3. History of post-secondary programs in Nunavik

This project consists of writing a history of non-traditional education in Nunavik from 1939 until now. Research is aimed at finding information on the curriculum that was taught in federal day-schools from 1949, in provincial schools from 1963 and in schools managed by the Kativik School Board since 1978. A literature review gave little results, so the offices of Éducation, Loisirs et Sport Québec, and its different regional departments were contacted, as well as archivists at the Departmental Library of the Corporate Information Management Directorate of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.

Rodon, T. 2014.Final Report: Monitoring Educational and Professional Success Amongst Inuit of Nunavut who Have Registered in a Postsecondary Program.

Northern Workshop on Inuit Post-Secondary Education. Workshop held as part of the project "Improving access to university education in the Canadian Arctic: learning from past experiences and listening to Inuit student experiences". Kativik School Board Office, Kuujjuaq, Novembre 23rd, 2011. Prepared by Francis Lévesque. Quebec City: Northern Sustainable Development Chair. 2012.

Pan-Canadian Workshop on Inuit Post-Secondary Education. Workshop held as part of the project "Improving access to university education in the Canadian Arctic: learning from past experiences and listening to Inuit student experiences". Carleton University, Ottawa, March 1st, 2011. Prepared by Marise Lachapelle with Melissa Ruston. Quebec City: Northern Sustainable Development Chair. 2011.

  • Thierry Rodon co-presided two sessions on Inuit post-secondary education during the Arctic Change meetings, organized by ArcticNet, in Ottawa, in december 2014. The first session, Education in Inuit Nunangat in a Time of Change, allowed for researchers to present their work, and the second session, Inuit Nunangat University: Issues and Prospects, gathered experts  for a roundtable on Inuit Nunangat University.
  • Francis Lévesque and T. Rodon organized a session on Inuit post-secondary education, Postsecondary Education and Profesional Success for Inuit in Nunavut, during the 19th Inuit Studies Conference, at Laval University, on october 31th, 2014. 
  • Maatali Okalik, Francis Lévesque and Thierry Rodon presented the results from the project Monitoring educational and professional success amongst Inuit of Nunavut who have registered in a post-secondary program at the Nunavut Research Institut in Iqaluit, Nunavut, february 4th 2014.
  • On November 14, Tukitaarvik is launched at NS in Ottawa. Tukitaarvik is a website created  to inform, connect and inspire Inuit postsecondary students. Tukitaarvik was created by an ArcticNet research team led by Northern sustainable development Chair Dr. Thierry Rodon, in partnership with ITK, Inuit Qaujisarvingat and Nunavut Sivuniksavut. 
  • Data collection completed in Nunavut for the project on post-secondary education.