By Shannon Boklaschuk
Students who are interested in learning more about topics related to Indigenous governance and politics now have a new educational option to consider at the University of Saskatchewan.
Through the Department of Political Studies, the College of Arts and Science is offering a Certificate in Indigenous Governance and Politics.
The purpose of the certificate program is to cultivate an understanding of and appreciation for the unique socio-political position of Indigenous people in Canada as this relates to historical and contemporary issues in governance and politics. Attention is paid to various levels of government that affect Indigenous groups, as well as ongoing relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians.
“We anticipate that the availability of the certificate will foster student interest in Indigenous-content courses across a range of disciplines. We are particularly pleased that the availability of the certificate online makes it accessible to northern students,” said Loleen Berdahl, a professor and head of the Department of Political Studies.
“Students across a number of programs are interested in expanding their knowledge about Indigenous governance and politics. The certificate is structured to encourage students to take additional courses in order to deepen their knowledge, and to provide students with a tangible outcome that documents their study in this area. We see the certificate as being aligned with the College of Arts and Science’s learning goal for students to cultivate an understanding of, and deep appreciation for, the unique socio-cultural position of Indigenous people in Canada.”
The Certificate in Indigenous Governance and Politics became available in May 2018. It can be completed as a stand-alone certificate or as a complement to a degree program.
Students pursuing the new certificate complete two required courses—INDG 107.3 and POLS 222.3—and then three elective courses. The certificate electives include classes from Indigenous studies, geography and planning, history, political studies and sociology. Depending on the electives selected, the certificate is available entirely online, allowing students throughout Saskatchewan and beyond to access the program.
“Political studies has taught Indigenous governance and politics curriculum for over a decade,” said Berdahl, noting two Aboriginal Public Administration (APA) degrees were established in 2004-2005.
“These degree programs included four core classes that generated continued interest, not only from our APA students but also from students in other programs. This interest prompted us to consider how we might cluster and combine existing classes within the College of Arts and Science that are complementary to our existing political studies Indigenous governance classes.”
Berdahl said “a number of students have stated an interest in the certificate, which has been wonderful to see.”
“Many students are interested in expanding their knowledge about Indigenous governance and politics issues, and are excited about the ability to document their studies in this area,” she said.