Indigenous Student Recruitment: Are We Setting Indigenous Students Up To Fail?

June 5, 2019, 1:30 PM EST

Savanah Knockwood

Indigenous Student Programs Coordinator

University of British Columbia

Savanah Knockwood is the Indigenous Student Programs Coordinator at the Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health at the University of British Columbia. In her role she leads the student pillar, where she focuses on Indigenous student recruitment and retention initiatives for health science programs at UBC.

 

The goal of her work is to increase Indigenous student participation in health science programs, to promote successful student recruitment and retention initiatives, and to increase the number of Indigenous health care professionals working in all sectors.

 

Previously she worked with the UBC Faculty of Arts Aboriginal Student Affairs team where she promoted and supported Aboriginal student success, the Women’s Issues Branch with the Government of New Brunswick where she authored a fact sheet about violence against Aboriginal women, and as a research assistant with the Native Studies Department at St. Thomas University.

 

She received her Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies and International Relations from the University of British Columbia, and is a member is a member of the Mi’kmaq First Nation.

Webinar Summary:

Since the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's (TRC) Calls to Action in June of 2015, there has been increased interest in recruiting Indigenous students to post-secondary institutions. Indigenous people have lower educational attainment and participation rates than their non-Indigenous counterparts; this gap is especially acute at the degree level. 

However, successful recruitment of Indigenous students requires a specialized, targeted, and multi-tiered approach that employs techniques and strategies that can be considered unconventional when compared to working with a general prospective student audience. It also requires a shift in how the institution as a whole orients itself with respect to Indigenous communities and ways of knowing. The institutions and programs we are recruiting Indigenous students to must be prepared to adapt to the unique experiences and perspectives that Indigenous students bring to our campuses to ensure their success. 

In her work as the Indigenous Student Programs Coordinator with the Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health, Savanah Knockwood’s portfolio encompasses Indigenous student recruitment and retention initiatives for health science programs at the University of British Columbia. She created a theory of “holistic recruitment”, which outlines key areas of focus that need to be targeted to successfully recruit and retain, Indigenous students that can be applied to any program.

 

In this webinar attendees will learn about the historical context of Indigenous peoples and their relationship with Canada as it informs the theory of “holistic recruitment”, examples of successful recruitment and retention programs and initiatives as evidenced at the University of British Columbia, and how to best utilize the strengths of our institutions and communities to build relationships, partnerships, programs, and strategies that will promote excellence for our newly recruited Indigenous students.

Comments From Previous Presentation Attendees 

 

(Gathered anonymously from SEMM Forum 2018 app feedback)

"Inspirational and thoughtful. Gave me some good ideas in how to approach my world with indigenous students. Thank you for your presentation!"

"Speaker is passionate and knowledgeable about topic. She did a  good job laying a foundation."

"Good conversation around considerations for indigenous students and recruitment."

"Thank you for an inspiring presentation. Your passion is contagious."

"Speaker passionate and knowledgeable about topic. Did good job laying a foundation."

"Great content. Gave great suggestions to improve indigenous relationships."

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