Monday, July 26, 2010

Students: Union of Ontario Indians wants your letters

The Union of Ontario Indians (UOI) -- find them on Facebook by searching "Anishinabek Nation" -- is conducting a contest for Anishinabek students interested in winning an autographed framed photo of hockey stars Sidney Crosby or Alexander Ovechkin. Here are the details:

The Union of Ontario Indians and the Anishinabek Educational Institute are looking for Anishinabek students who are interested in submitting a letter to the Minister of Indian Affairs Canada indicating: the importance of your post-secondary education; the successes you have achieved; and, the impact that 'lack of funding' has or will have on your future educational endeavours.

Who can submit a letter: Any Anishinabek student attending or will be attending a post-secondary institute (college or university) in September 2010.

The two winning letters will be hand delivered to Minister Strahl. The UOI education director will draw to determine which winner will receive the autographed framed photo of Sidney Crosby, and the autographed framed photo of Alexander Ovechkin. The remaining letters that are submitted will be packaged and forwarded to the minister on your behalf.

More details at the UOI website.

We have LOTS of 'nish students at FNTI so feel free to forward this if you know one!

Monday, July 05, 2010

10 Ways to Improve Your Chances of Winning Scholarships

As a member of the Strategic Alliance of Broadcasters for Aboriginal Reflection (SABAR), a collection of broadcasters and educators working to increase the contribution and representation of Aboriginal people in the broadcast industry, FNTI participated last week in the adjudication of its annual scholarship. A $5000 award, it is open to any First Nation, Inuit, or Metis Canadian resident working toward a career in journalism or radio/television arts.

It makes the discovery of this blog post a great coincidence. Pay close attention to point #9 on this list: "Put your best effort into your scholarship applications."
Minimal effort brings minimal results. This is your chance to make an impression. Scholarship applications that reflect your effort and pride in your work by carefully following instructions and including well-written essays and strong recommendations, if required, will always rise to the top.
Last week we saw some really great submissions and a few not-so-great submissions. Remember your audience: if it's a need-based scholarship, prove the need; if it's a merit-based scholarship, provide work from your portfolio. Oh, and be passionate!

For more information about scholarships and bursaries available to FNTI learners, click here.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

FNTI a "promising practice" in Abo-PSE

Yesterday was National Aboriginal Day and, as such, it was the perfect time for two announcements in Aboriginal post-secondary education.

First, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) released the report, "Answering the Call: The 2010 inventory of Canadian university programs and services for Aboriginal students," the results of a survey conducted by the AUCC of its member organizations regarding Aboriginal access to mainstream post-secondary education. The 30-page document is available for download at the link.

As well, the Assembly of First Nations released a discussion paper called "Taking Action for First Nations Post-Secondary Education: Access, Opportunity, and Outcomes," where it identifies FNTI as one of eight "promising practices" in Aboriginal post-secondary education. The report reads:
The First Nations Technical Institute (FNTI) opened in 1985 as a result of partnerships among the Tyendinaga Mohawk Council, the FNTI Board, the Department of Indian Affairs and the Ontario Ministry of Education and Training. FNTI's approaches to Aboriginal post-secondary over the years includes alternative delivery methods such as intensive course offerings, use of video-conferencing technology and community delivering of programming. They believe that, "by taking the education to the people, we have removed one barrier to access. By changing the delivery schedule we have removed another. Our final step is to create active, participatory learning environments which respond to the cultural and socio-economic needs of our learners.
This 30-page discussion paper, developed by a panel of ten First Nations educators and administrators from across Canada, is available for download at the AFN website.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Queen's celebrates FNTI's first MPA grads

Check out this article from the Queen's University News Centre about our first ever graduates from the Master of Public Administration program. Our partner institute for this program, Queen's notes it is Canada's only program for graduate studies in indigenous public administration and policy.

Congratulations to (l-r) Tracey, Debby, Russell, and Francis!

(Yes, that's our very own Manager of Advancement and Institutional Development Debby Brant!)

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

More PLA in the news

Jennifer Ashawasagai, a 2007 graduate of FNTI's journalism program, is the creator and host of Bamoseda (pronounced "BOMB-say-dah"), her own radio newsmagazine show which is available to listeners of stations that belong to the Rogers radio network all across Canada.

Last week she spoke with PLA Manager Paul Zakos during our 21st annual PLA conference and that interview is included in this week's edition of Bamoseda.

It's available online at this link. (Just below the Bamoseda logo, click on the right arrow to access the program.) The FNTI portion of the show begins around the time mark 28:40 and ends at approximately 34:50.

PLA in the news

Reporter Jason Miller from the local daily newspaper Belleville Intelligencer visited our PLA conference last week and his story was published on Saturday.

Jason Miller, The Intelligencer

A local college has conjured a revolutionary way to educate mature students that has been catching on with post-secondary institutions around the world.

The Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory-based First Nations Technical Institute just concluded its prior learning assessment conference, which attracted educators from Chile, South Africa and Nunavut, who have adopted the program.

Paul Zakos, the manager of the PLA program at FNTI, said the education model is geared towards helping professionals without post-secondary education accreditation build portfolios that represent their body of work.

"It forces institutions to change the way they deliver services," he said. "The demographics are changing."

Zakos said the four-day conference at the Ramada also highlighted efforts to recognize Indigenous knowledge in Canada and around the world.

He said the PLA program identifies and validates knowledge acquired from non-academic work and life experience, which might have been gained from volunteerism, travel, and hobbies.

"The PLA process is designed to make it more efficient and lessen the time," he said. "You still have to prove have that skill and knowledge."

During the conference, speakers staged workshops that underscored the commonalities among Indigenous people around the world in acknowledging unique worldviews and learning styles that enhance Indigenous peoples full participation in their societies.

This is the 21st conference that has been staged by FNTI, marking its 25 years as an Aboriginally controlled post-secondary institution. The college offers 13 programs and has an enrolment of about 300 students.

Zakos said the school uses a different education model, where educators visit the students in their communities several times a year.

Some of the students have jobs and families to care for, he said, so they are unable to fit into the traditional school system.

He said a vast majority of those students already have workplace experience and the PLA program is a medium through which they can construct a portfolio and receive some form of accreditation for their years of work.

"People learn a lot of things outside of school that are relevant to what you would be taught in school," he said. "We've worked on that model for 21 years."

Founding FNTI "almost a spontaneous eruption of community cooperation"

Our first ever president and CAO, Bruce Millar, recounts the creation and early history of FNTI to those in attendance for the opening ceremony at the 21st annual PLA conference.