UPEI and Mi'kmaq Confederacy Partner on New Degree Program

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The University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) has partnered with the Mi'kmaq Confederacy of Prince Edward Island (MCPEI) to create a new Bachelor's Degree in Socio-Economic Development (BSED). It will follow the principles and research conclusions of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, which found that good governance was a key factor in producing sustainable economic results and determining the success of indigenous communities in the US and Canada.

The Faculties of Arts, Business, and Education will work together to develop a unique combination of business, social, and political studies addressing the key elements of education, personal growth, and opportunity of future Aboriginal leaders. It will provide a comprehensive foundation for these future leaders by combining existing and proven academic courses and newly-designed programming integrated with cooperative learning opportunities.

Access to post-secondary education is of significant interest to the Association of Atlantic Universities (AAU). The AAU has set up a Working Group whose mandate is to improve university access, retention, and graduation of Aboriginal students contributing to the health and well-being of Aboriginal communities through research and capacity-building. Dr. Vianne Timmons, Vice-President of Academic Development at UPEI and Co-chair of the AAU Working Group says, "UPEI is committed to improving access and support for Aboriginal students in the province." She adds that the partnership between UPEI and MCPEI is a model that could be replicated throughout Atlantic Canada.

Jeff Brant, Director of Socio-Economic Development with the MCPEI says there is an "increasing need to build the capacity of emerging Aboriginal leaders." He points out that as First Nations continue to exert greater autonomy over their own affairs, it is necessary that emerging Aboriginal business, social, and political leaders are equipped to build sustainable Aboriginal communities by using principles of good governance, business, and social development.

Funding for the development of this project is provided by the Indian Studies Support Program of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada . This program supports the development of post-secondary training that leads to the certification of Aboriginal people. It has been used to create Bachelor's programs in Social Work and Education as well as Conservation Officer certification.

For more information on the UPEI Bachelor's Degree in Socio-Economic Development, contact Dr. Vianne Timmons at (902) 566-6485 or Jeff Brant at (902) 367-3661.


Anne McCallum
Media Relations and Communications