Looking forward ... : a national perspective on aboriginal student services in Canadian universities

Pidgeon, Michelle (2001) Looking forward ... : a national perspective on aboriginal student services in Canadian universities. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

Aboriginal student services provision in Canadian Universities first began in the early 1970's in the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. However, most of the 39 centers now across Canada have only been open since the 1990's under recruitment and retention directives for specific programs. -- This study set out to gather a national perspective on Aboriginal student service centers in Canadian universities by gaining the opinions of student service professionals who provide the services and Aboriginal university students who have used these same services. -- This particular study incorporated both the quantitative and qualitative aspects of Archibald, Selkirk Bowman, Pepper, Urion, Mirenhouse & Shortt (1995) study. The study was conducted in phases: Phase I, involved the pretesting of two separate surveys: one for student service professionals working with Aboriginal support services in Canadian universities and the second survey was for Aboriginal university students who utilize these services. Phase II, entailed identifying those Canadian universities who provide Aboriginal Student Services, and the distribution of the surveys to those who agreed to participate in this study. The survey results were statistically analysed and recommendations were developed from the findings. Phase III, involved comparing the responses of the questions that were similar in both of the survey instruments to gather a sense of how the perspectives of the student service professional and the Aboriginal university students were similar or dissimilar on the topic of Aboriginal student services. -- To foster and honor Aboriginal values of community and respect, this study was designed for the Internet; however, hard copies of the instrument were made available to those who requested it. Out of the 39 centers contacted, 30 agreed to participate in the study. Two separate survey instruments were developed. The return rate for the Aboriginal student service professional survey was 83% (N=25). The return rate for the Aboriginal university student survey was lower, 14% (N=21). A content analysis was also conducted of the participating center's web pages to further add to the perspective. -- There was a discrepancy found between what was reported in the student service professionals' surveys and the Aboriginal student service centers' web pages. However, there were no significant differences found between regions on service delivery. Of those students who participated in this study, over 90% were content with their current level of services. However, significant differences were found between the student service professionals and the Aboriginal university students' perspectives. -- It was found that there is a need for better communication systems between centers and their clientele. Differing consumer-producer viewpoints on service provision can have detrimental effects, both to the providers and users of Aboriginal student services. For example, inconsistent communication can lead to a misunderstanding of the Aboriginal student centers purpose and goal. This can have implications on several levels, such as recruitment-retention, administration-financial, 'town and gown' issues, and more importantly, to the Aboriginal student community. -- Less than 30% of the participating centers use student service theory in the development of their programs. Eighty-six percent of this group made reference to using a 'holistic indigenous-based' approach to their service delivery. Therefore, the major recommendation of the study is the development of a national model for the provision of Aboriginal student services in Canadian universities.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/9258
Item ID: 9258
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 169-188.
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 2001
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Student affairs services--Canada; Indian students--Canada

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