University of Saskatchewan > College of Education > Dr. Marie Battiste

Retention of Aboriginal Students: A Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis of Contributing Factors

Dr.Fyre Jean Graveline, Primary Investigator with Brenda Westacoot, Shawn Wilson and Marie Battiste, Retention of Aboriginal Students: A Qualitative Analysis of Contributing Factors. Brandon University and University of Saskatchewan. SSHRC Standard Research Grant. 2002-2005.

Summary of Proposed Research

The work of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP 1996) has illustrated the importance Aboriginal peoples place on education and the serious gaps still remaining in educational institutions to ensure they have access, resources, support,and the needed curriculum to achieve their economic and social goals through education. The study highlights Aboriginal peoples’ desire to retain their identity and continue to build upon the rich resources of their communities, through their language, cultures, and elders’ knowledge and teachings. The fact that Aboriginal people bring their own Aboriginal worldviews with them when seeking post-secondary education has not been fully understood or utilized in post-secondary institutions.
While post-secondary institutions have done considerable work in making bridges to enable students to make transitions to university life, little has been done to develop adequate programming that goes beyond student access to forging new curriculum, programming, and supports to merge traditional Aboriginal knowledge with universities. Furthermore, retention of Aboriginal peoples within Western institutions continues to be an on-going challenge at the undergraduate level, while at the graduate level, the issue is to encourage and inspire the most appropriate type of leadership growth needed for First Nations schools and communities.

This research then focuses on two types of educational programming, undergraduate and graduate education, with the aim of studying the retention issues of undergraduate Aboriginal students at Brandon University and the needs of graduate students seeking to address Aboriginal education in their own growth at the University of Saskatchewan. Detailed data will be collected through qualitative and quantitative methods to determine what programs students have considered, how they arrived at their choices, their admittance processes, as well as the kinds of programs, support, and needs they had/have while at the university. At the graduate level, students who have graduated provide information for what resources, support, and courses inspired them to complete their studies or conversely prevented them from completing or presented obstacles for them and what recommendations for change of programming they have for the new improved INEP program. The narrative data will be analyzed, a report created, and information disseminated through several avenues.

The research project is led by the First Nations and Aboriginal Counselling (FNAC) Degree Program, Brandon University, Brandon, Manitoba; in partnership with the Indian & Northern Education Program (INEP), Department of Educational Foundations, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Dr. Marie Battiste, Professor
Educational Foundations
College of Education
University of Saskatchewan
28 Campus Dr.
Saskatoon, SK S7N 0X1