Native students at the University of Saskatchewan : a study on retention
Baptiste, Doreen June
This study was designed to identify the needs of Native students at the University of Saskatchewan. The researcher claimed that the university does not adequately address Native student needs. The importance of this issue is heightened in today's society as Native students are entering universities in increasing numbers because they realize the necessity of university educated people. Native self-government and economic self-sufficiency are two goals which are attainable as more Native people successfully complete university studies.Native students, however, continue to experience high attrition and low success rates at university. It is suggested that these trends continue because the university is founded and operates on philosophies and values which contradict those of Native cultures. Moreover, the university pays little attention to the cultural characteristics of Native people which results in an environment and learning styles that pose academic and non-academic difficulties for these students. This research was conducted in the 1991-92 academic year and utilized three forms of data collection. The central theme was to determine what factors cause difficulties for Native students pursuing an education at the University of Saskatchewan. To provide a response for this question, four secondary areas were explored: demographic elements, academic and career experiences prior to university entrance, experiences at university, and initiatives that could be undertaken to improve the situation for Native university students. Seven interviews (involving eight individuals) who work with Native students were conducted. Forty students also completed questionnaires. Results from these two sources were analysed and it was determined that students and interviewees held similar opinions on some issues: academic preparation, funding, adjustment, the need for more Native services and Native employees. There were other issues (housing, health problems, university indifference) where interviewees were unaware of the magnitude of difficulties faced by Native students. There were other issues (child care, single parenthood) where interviewees perceived the difficulties to be greater than the perceptions of the students. Both student respondents and interviewees discussed the need for the university to undertake the implementation of a number of initiatives to improve the situation for Native students. The results from previous research were incorporated throughout the study. These results formed the basis for the construction of the research instruments. They were also a significant component of data analysis.An analysis of the results led to the formulation of a number of recommendations which could prove beneficial for Native students if implemented. It is suggested that teachers and guidance counsellors could implement strategies which would enable students to heighten their academic qualifications and increase their awareness of programs and services prior to university entrance. Colleges, faculty, staff, and administrators at the university could also undertake measures to lessen the difficulties which Native students encounter at university and increase their representation in colleges where their enrolments have been traditionally minimal or non-existent. Finally, Bands and Tribal Councils (who are beginning to administer their own post-secondary programs), and the federal government can also play a significant role.
DegreeMaster of Education (M.Ed.)
SupervisorRegnier, Robert; Flynn, Mark
Copyright DateApril 1994