Nov 6, 2019
On October 23, 2019, senior leadership of Gabriel Dumont Institute (GDI) and the University of Regina held an affiliation agreement signing ceremony at the University of Regina campus. The Institute was represented by Executive Director Geordy McCaffrey and Chair of the GDI Board of Governors Earl Cook. Dr. Cook is also the Métis Nation–Saskatchewan Minister of Education. The University of Regina was represented by Provost and Vice-President (Academic) Dr. Thomas Chase and Dr. Nilgün Önder, the Associate Vice-President (Academic). Saskatchewan Advanced Education Minister Hon. Tina Beaudry-Mellor also attended the event.
The University of Regina and GDI signed a new affiliation agreement that allows for post-secondary education programs delivered by GDI to be recognized as university caliber, and accredited by the Senate of the University of Regina.
Further, the new agreement enables a joint development of other programs and educational initiatives to address the post-secondary education needs of students of Métis ancestry in Saskatchewan.
The two also signed a renewed agreement for the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program (SUNTEP).
“The affiliation agreements are a critical step in continuing our mandate of expanding educational opportunities for Métis students,” Dr. Cook said.
Advanced Education Minister Beaudry-Mellor commended the efforts that have been made by GDI in recent years to expand educational opportunities for Métis students across the province, noting that “GDI is a leader in delivering programs to Métis students.”
Dr. Thomas Chase asserted that “The University of Regina is committed to serving our Indigenous communities,” adding that “This new affiliation agreement with the GDI will make a broader spectrum of quality, post-secondary programming available to Métis students, with university classes often being offered right in the communities where they live.”
Professor Chase noted that the partnership with GDI is “based on mutual respect, institutional autonomy, and a shared belief in the importance of increasing educational opportunities for Métis and other Indigenous people.”
Noting that “It has been a pleasure working with Geordy McCaffrey and Mike Relland on the new affiliation agreement,” Dr. Nilgün Önder said that “The University of Regina is proud to keep working with GDI for future programming.”
Hon. Beaudry-Mellor said that the Government of Saskatchewan is “committed to increasing the participation and success of Indigenous students.” She commended the University of Regina for its Indigenization work stating that “the Ministry of Advanced Education values its partnership with GDI and the University of Regina.”
The Institute has graduated 274 Indigenous teachers from its SUNTEP Regina program that is offered at the University of Regina Campus since 1980. Another 70 have completed the Community-based Master of Education program in Prince Albert. Other existing academic program agreements between GDI and the University include the Justice Studies Diploma and Certificate program in Prince Albert; Liberal Arts Certificate program in in La Ronge and Pinehouse; and the Northern Saskatchewan Indigenous Teacher Education Program (NSITEP) on the Lac La Ronge Indian Band reserve. These programs are delivered by Gabriel Dumont Institute.
By James Oloo