SFU-Langara partnership gives Langara’s Indigenous students more choice

The transfer program provides increased communication, resources and options

Student sitting by Langara's "Welcome Figure" which symbolizes the college's close ties with Musqueam culture and the passing of knowledge to future generations. Photo by Jessica A. Froud
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By Jessica A. Froud and Christopher MacMillan (with files from Kristen Holliday)

Indigenous students at Langara will find it easier transferring to SFU due to a new partnership between the schools, according to college officials.

The goal of the SFU-Langara Indigenous Transfer Pathway is to smooth the way for Indigenous students to transfer to the university to complete their degrees.

According to data from a 2011 StatCan survey, for adults over 25 who identify as Indigenous, 9 per cent have a university degree, in comparison to 26.5 per cent of non-Indigenous people.

Increasing educational opportunities for Indigenous students

Rick Ouellet, Langara’s director of Indigenous education and services, said he hopes that through this partnership, education opportunities will be increased for Indigenous people, especially the large proportion living in the school’s catchment area of East Vancouver.

 Ouellet said he’s been interested in reaching an agreement with SFU since he witnessed the success of a similar program set up between UBC and Langara.

“We train people really well and SFU recognizes that,” he said. “So it’s just another option for us to get Indigenous students into university.”

SFU-Langara partnership effective September 2020

The partnership agreement, signed by Langara and SFU on Feb. 6, will take effect in September, according to a press release sent by Langara College.

Langara will help students through the transfer process by communicating information on available SFU courses, admission requirements and entrance awards. Langara will also forward student names to SFU to flag in their admission process.

Langara’s Indigenous students get increased choice of universities

Ouellet has been working with Marcia Guno, director of SFU’s Indigenous Student Centre, to create the transfer pathway. He said SFU and UBC each have unique standalone programs and adding the SFU transfer pathway gives Indigenous students a choice of institution.

“We want to be known as the pathways college,” Ouellet said. “(We) in the Indigenous Gathering Space want to have pathways for our students. It’s really important.”

Mercutio Bosnjak, a Langara business management student, said he works with teens in the Musqueam community, and likes how Langara participates in events like Musqueam days.

“I knew that Langara does a lot to recruit Indigenous students to Langara,” Bosnjak said. “It’s neat to hear they are continuing to provide services by creating the transfer program.”

Holly Desjarlais, an Ojibwe student studying arts at Langara College, is hoping to attend SFU to finish her degree through the transfer program.

“When you come to college you’re always wondering, what is the next step? This program provides an opportunity,” Desjarlais said.

 

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