St. Stephen’s University acknowledges it resides on the traditional and unceded territory of the Peskotomuhkati people, covered by the Treaties of Peace and Friendship, and is grateful for their welcome and friendship.
St. Stephen’s University (SSU) will launch a distinctive certificate program focusing on the reconciliation process and in support of students and community leaders seeking to create and foster reconciling relationships with Indigenous peoples.
Key to the development of this program has been faculty consultation and engagement with Indigenous friends and colleagues. As Dr. Walter Thiessen, faculty lead of this program, noted: “I’ve heard enthusiastic support for the value and need for this type of educational initiative.”
A focus on Indigenous issues, and the reconciliation process in particular, have been priorities at SSU for several years. Professor Emerita Dr. Lois Mitchell introduced the 2015 course “First Nations Voices and Themes” that drew from the experience and wisdom of a network of members of Indigenous communities. Later that year, when the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s “Calls to Action” were released, SSU committed itself to expanding on its efforts.
Reflective of that resolution, additional projects have included:
- embarking on a 2016 student learning tour to northern Ontario;
- garnering grant funding from Stronger Together to establish an “Education for Reconciliation” collection in the University library;
- hosting “Sacred Encounter: A Symposium toward Reconciliation” in 2017; and
- creating scholarships for indigenous students.
Judith Moses, Vice-chair of the University’s board, was instrumental in initiating this program, stating: “Reconciliation doesn’t just happen. It needs bridges – people with new skills, insights, and attitudes. This includes a deep commitment to help to transform the relationship with the People of the Land and Waters.” As St. Stephen’s University President Joseph McGinn observed: “The launch of this new and distinctive program marks a major, and exciting, step forward in our community’s commitment to understanding the idea and the ideal of reconciliation with Indigenous communities, nations, and peoples. I am extremely proud of the collaboration that has made this program possible.”
This September, SSU students will be able to integrate the new 18-credit-hour certificate into their undergraduate or graduate degree programs. Students from other universities, as well as community and corporate leaders with an interest in Indigenous reconciliation issues and practices, will have an opportunity to pursue this certificate program on a stand-alone basis.
Information regarding this program and its faculty will be announced at a later date.
For more information, contact:
Dr. Walter Thiessen at [email protected]