In 2005, McGill undertook an institutional reflection on the programs and services offered to Aboriginal students. A Work Group on Aboriginal Affairs was initially formed by the Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning), Morton Mendelson, and is now chaired by the Dean of Students. The mandate of the Work Group is:
The Work Group on Aboriginal Affairs has been established to review McGill's current offerings with regards to actively offering programs for, conducting research on, and providing services to, First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities as well as the way they are delivered. It is worth exploring whether McGill's offerings and services might be improved, and even potentially expanded, by adopting a University-wide approach, bringing together those who have been steering the disparate endeavors.
Increased access for First Nations, Inuit and Métis students to McGill University's mainstream programs has emerged as a priority. An innovative program designed to encourage First Nations, Inuit and Métis youth to pursue studies at McGill is now in full swing and partnership with First Nations communities has been essential for realization of this initiative. Objectives include:
- Increased University access for First Nations, Inuit and Métis students
- Enhanced academic, financial and psycho-social support for First Nations, Inuit and Métis students
- Recognition of non-traditional learning toward meeting University admissions criteria
- Creation of a seamless transition from the home community to the University community
- Contribution of the University toward educational and socioeconomic potential of First Nations, Inuit and Métis graduates
- Acknowledge, introduce and enhance student language, culture and heritage through courses, workshops and activities in partnership with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities.
McGill strives for increased access for First Nations, Inuit and Métis students to the University's mainstream programs and key compenents of this initiative have been implemented. These include:
- The development of an admissions' process that weighs recommendations from the community to complement the academic record
- The tailoring of a pre-registration summer session to assure academic preparedness for freshman studies.
To uphold the objectives outlined above, the University continues to:
- Identify potentially eligible secondary school students, prior to secondary 5
- Orient prospective students to the University environment via an invitational Sports Camp or Wolf Camp visit during secondary school studies
- Provide psycho-social support through Student Services and First Peoples' House dedicated supports
- Provide one-on-one academic advising.
With the support of funding from the Ministère de l'Enseignement superieur et de la science (MELS) during recent years plus internal pilot-study grants from McGill University, the Aboriginal Affairs Work Group (AAWG) at McGill made important progress in supporting Increased Access for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Students (Aboriginal Affairs Achievements (2007-2013)). Following presentations of the AAWG's achievements within the University and with the Aboriginal community Focus Group, the Aboriginal Affairs Work Group then reflected on the overall direction, evolution, scope and nature of Aboriginal Affairs at McGill for the next five years.
McGill University's commitment to First Nations, Inuit and Métis student representation in the undergraduate and graduate cohort will be apparent through our actions, student enrolment, academic programs, student support, student success and community engagement. How?
- Outreach and Engagement with the Aboriginal Community
- Access, Recruitment and Admissions
- Student Support and Recognition
- Academic and Research Programs
- Human Resources/Staffing
The AAWG will report annually on plans, progress and outcomes in each of the areas of activity, referring to the measurable objectives outlined above.