TD Bank Financial Group has given $50,000 to the University of Manitoba to help fund a study that will explore ways of improving achievement among Aboriginal students in high school and university. The study will examine factors that prevent Aboriginal students from either entering or completing university. It will also consider ways to improve and develop university based programs.
“The University of Manitoba has made it a priority to increase the educational success of Aboriginal learners," says Dr. David Barnard, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Manitoba. "We believe we can make Winnipeg the national centre of excellence in Aboriginal education by working in collaboration with dedicated partners like TD Bank Financial Group and I would like to express my thanks for their support."
“The University of Manitoba is one of Canada’s oldest universities with an impressive track record of continually looking at ways to enhance the student experience,” says Elaine Swan, district vice- president, TD Commercial Banking. “The results from this study will begin the next chapter of making education more accessible to the Aboriginal community.”
Beginning in the fall of 2009, this study will measure the effectiveness of current outreach and in-house programs and identify ways to partner with other post-secondary institutions, community groups, governments, social agencies and other funders to strengthen the University’s approach to Aboriginal education.
The study will also investigate successful models for engaging Aboriginal students in high school completion and post-secondary education. The final report will make recommendations for the role of the University of Manitoba with a strategic approach to improve outcomes for Aboriginal students in the secondary and post-secondary education systems.
The University of Manitoba has worked to remove cultural, social and economic barriers by providing more than 1,600 Métis, First Nations and Inuit students and staff with a welcoming environment that embraces and promotes awareness of Aboriginal cultures and perspectives. Graduates are role models in their communities and motivate others to succeed.
The University has student support programs in many faculties including Engineering, Business, Social Work, Law and Graduate Studies, as well and community-based education partnerships through the Aboriginal Focus Programs.
Aboriginal House, which opened in 2008, is a 15,000 square foot facility that is a gathering place for Aboriginal students, alumni, faculty and staff, as well as the campus and community at large. Tenants of the building include the Access program, the Office of University Accessibility, the Aboriginal Student Association, the Department of Native studies, and the Aboriginal Student Centre, which provides programs and services such as the graduation powwow and elders-in residence.