The University of New Brunswick is looking to raise $110 million as part of a “historic campaign” in support of student aid and the learning institution’s academic mission, The Daily Gleaner has learned.
Simultaneous announcements are planned for Friday morning at the university’s campuses in Fredericton and Saint John. UNB is expected to reveal just how much of that funding will be earmarked for scholarships.
Shayna Perry, a student from Salisbury, the first in her family to go to university, has benefited from UNB scholarships.
Without that support, Perry said, she wouldn’t be able to afford a post-secondary education or handle the ever burdensome amounts associated with student loans.
“I would had to have taken out more student loans, possibly a bank loan,” Perry said. “The scholarship really does help me in that I won’t be paying back as much money.”
Perry is a bachelor of arts student in her second year with honours in psychology and sociology. She lives in residence and is a dean’s list student. She said the education she’s receiving will allow her to be a counsellor or child psychologist.
Perry said the university’s announcement will be great for people such as herself.
“More students like myself need this opportunity to be able to go to university and, I think, it will help them, if they are in my case, where the can’t necessarily afford it,” Perry said.
“It’s very relieving ... My undergrad [degree] is four years and then it’s probably going to be another two to four after that, depending on how far I go.”
UNB president Eddy Campbell said it’s an exciting time for the university.
“It’s a historic undertaking for us – an announcement in the nine-figure range,” Campbell said in an email. “It’s incredibly significant for the future of our university.”
He said a lot of people have been working hard for a long time on this, and he’s looking forward to sharing all of the details later this morning.
“It’s going to be a great day,” Campbell said.
Perry said she is grateful to those involved in the scholarship drive.
“Keep making it available to people like myself, who need these opportunities. I know I appreciate it, a lot!”
Perry said she has received $6,496 in scholarship money from the university this year.
“It [the money] means that I worked hard for my grades and it motivates me to keep on getting high grades,” Perry said. “It helps me with my financial needs.”
Founded in 1785, UNB offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in more than 60 disciplines and continuing education in a variety of fields.
© 2016 Fredericton Daily Gleaner
EMMA DAVIE, Fredericton Daily Gleaner
New research project outlines show indigenous communities can keep language, Culture alive.
November 20th, 2016
A new research project at the University of New Brunswick suggests using a whole community approach, taking ownership of digital language resources and accessing the knowledge of elders are just some of the ways that digital technologies can support Indigenous resurgence
Researchers at the Mi’kmaq-Wolastoqey Centre recently completed a six-month project to examine how communities can use the digital world to support the learning of Indigenous cultures and languages.
“I’ve always had major, major concerns when it comes to language loss, both the Mi’kmaq as well as my own language, the Wolastoqey language,” said David Perley, director of the Mi’kmaq-Wolastoqey Centre at UNB and lead investigator of the project.
“These two languages have been identified by linguists as endangered languages, which means within the communities, the only fluent speakers you have in those communities are elders. The younger generation are not speakers of the language. They may know a few words, but they cannot converse because of their lack of language skills.”
The grant of almost $25,000 came from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). As part of the project, Perley will travel to Ottawa this week to present the findings to SSHRC and meet with policy-makers.
“We’re hoping that this report will support communities in their own plans to develop resources for indigenous language resurgence, which is a huge issue,” said co-investigator Susan O’Donnell, an adjunct professor in the department of sociology at UNB.
She, Perley and two graduate students looked at literature from across Canada, Australia, New ealand, Hawaii and other places that have been developing programs around indigenous languages to see what is working.
From there, they identified five key messages that could help communities in Canada use digital technology to keep indigenous culture alive.
“Each of the key messages comes with recommendations. So the first key message is to use a whole community approach,” O’Donnell said.
“Sometimes when we think of using technology for indigenous language and culture, you think this is all about the classroom. But the first message we wanted to get across is that it’s more than just in the schools.”
This is something Perley has noticed in his own community, Tobique First Nation. The schools have language programs, but it doesn’t extend further than that.
“The problem with this is when they leave the school, language is not reinforced within the family, so you don’t hear language anywhere else ... There has to be a holistic approach,” he said.
People need to be hearing the language in businesses, in government and throughout all aspects of community life, he said.
“The second key message is that a community or nation should own or control its own digital language resources. We’re recommending, for example, that it’s not just about a central database somewhere and there are people working on that ... It has to be up to the community to have their own digital language resources,” O’Donnell said, adding that infrastructure, tech support teams and archives should all be housed locally.
The third key message is that indigenous people should control the technology as well as the language resources, and the fourth message suggests the knowledge of the elders should guide the development of digital language resources.
“The elders are our wisdom carriers, knowledge keepers and language carriers. I cannot imagine any cultural and language program without involving elders. They have to be part of the process,” Perley said.
The fifth and final message in the report says policies for digital language resources should be guided by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls for Action.
Perley said an example of this at work would be if a First Nation school had a language program, but it also had a language app available.
“They can learn the language wherever they are, wherever they go. All they have to do is use their mobile to open up one of these language applications, and then they will have a chance to reinforce what they’ve learned in school and in some cases, from the elders in the community,” he said.
“They can use Facebook to reach out to the community. They can use ouTube, all of those various digital tools.”
Perley said he plans to present the findings to the Department of Indigenous Affairs, the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and bring the research back to the local communities.
“One of the reasons it’s important to revive a language and culture is identity. It’s also important in terms of being exposed to traditional teachings,” he said. “our language reflects world views, and if they know the language, they know the world view of our ancestors, and it’s important for them to be exposed to that.”
O’Donnell said even for people outside of Canada’s indigenous communities, keeping those world views alive matters.
“As a non-indigenous person, the world right now, we need all the diversity that we can get,” she said.
“I believe indigenous world views on the environment, for example, or on how the land and resources are used for sustainable development and the idea of looking ahead, I think those are really valuable lesson we all could benefit from. And all of these indigenous world views are rooted in language and culture.”
© 2016 Fredericton Daily Gleaner
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Lack of literacy requires national plan, says senator
By Kevin Yarr, CBC News
( Senator Elizabeth Hubley )
The federal government needs to do more to help Canadians
who do not have the literacy skills they need to fully participate in society, says P.E.I. Senator Elizabeth Hubley.
Hubley said nearly half of Canadians lack sufficient literacy skills, and she wants the government to develop a national literacy strategy.
She said that can have a lot of negative impacts on people's lives.
Hoping for government action
"From their health, if they're not able to read labels, if they're not able to understand doctors' directions, or pharmacists' directions," said Hubley.
"From the news in the newspaper, they're probably not able to keep up with social issues that might be going on."
Hubley spoke in the Senate this week about literacy rates on P.E.I. in particular, and launched a Senate inquiry.
She hopes that speaking on the issue in the Senate could lead to government action to increase funding for literacy programs.© 2016 CBC News