Category: NTEP

Mother and daughter from Nunavut: Students together at the U of R

Pauline Copland has come a long way since her years of working as a clerk interpreter at a health centre in her small community of Arviat, Nunavut. A love for learning and a latent desire to become a teacher induced her to quit her job to pursue a Bachelor of Education degree at Nunavut Teacher Education Program (NTEP), which was offered in partnership with the Faculty of Education, University of Regina (U of R) for over a decade.

“My teachers inspired me to become a teacher. I had been a long time employee at our local health centre, but my love for children and education was always with me; so, after I had all my children, I decided to go back to school to pursue a teaching degree,” says Copland.

In 2013, Copland applied, was accepted, and began her B.Ed. program. Going back to school was challenging at first with adjustments to academics, while also parenting her five children, the youngest of which was only 15 months old when she started the program. Copland says, “I often had mom-guilt feelings because I closed the door on my kids so many times and found a quiet place to study. After the first year, things got easier and my brain got back to student mode.”

Adjustments made, Copland thrived, graduating from the NTEP/U of R Elementary Education Program with distinction in June 2017. But she wasn’t ready to stop learning: “My love for learning grew throughout the program; the more I learned about children and their development the more I was inspired to dig deeper and gain new knowledge. I had my own sense of raising children through a mother’s lens, but it was interesting to learn more about children from an educational perspective.”

Choosing a master’s program with the University of Regina made for a smooth transition: “I decided to take my Master’s at the U of R because I took U of R courses throughout the undergrad program. U of R was partnered with the Nunavut Arctic College at that time, and I kind of knew what to expect from the courses because of my experience at NTEP,” explains Copland.

With only her internship experience to qualify her for a Master’s of Education (M.Ed.) program, Copland decided to apply anyway and was accepted to the U of R program in Curriculum and Instruction: She says, “I knew I had the determination and work ethic to pull through another program after completing the NTEP program, even without the teaching experience that was required upon application. I remember telling myself, ‘I don’t have to believe everything I read, so I’m going to take a chance at this.’”

The difficulty would not prove to be academic; the decision to take the degree in Regina meant she would be leaving behind her children for extended periods of time. She says, “The hardest part of my journey was leaving my kids. It was a different story every single semester. First semester, I had two of my kids who were 5 and 12 years old and in my second semester, I had just my youngest. In my third semester, I left home without any kids to attend the spring semester.”

Each semester, leaving home was a struggle: “It was so hard to board that airplane, but I didn’t turn back and I constantly reminded myself that I am doing this for them. The first few weeks away were brutal, but as soon as I got into a routine, time went so fast. I went home in between semesters so that breather really helped me get pumped up and prepared for another semester.”

In Copland’s second year and final semester, she had the unexpected pleasure of studying alongside her daughter. Copland says, “My daughter, Michaela, decided to come to study at the U of R because she wanted to ‘take the road less traveled.’ A number of our young high school graduates go to Ottawa or Winnipeg, but she wanted to try something different. She was accepted to the Faculty of Arts, but now she is thinking about majoring in education.”

Copland says, “We both felt so lucky to study alongside each other. I think it’s rare for a mom and daughter from Nunavut to attend the same university at the same time. The best part of it all was the support I was able to give her. We are from a small community and there was a big change in scenery so being there for her when she was trying to adjust to all the change was something I’d want to do with all my children. I want them to know that there is a whole world for them to explore out there—‘it’s a small world after all!’”

When Copland first arrived, the only person she knew was Faculty of Education Instructor Julie Machnaik, whom Copland had met through Machnaik’s work as coordinator with the NTEP partnership program for several years. Copland says, “Julie’s nice warm welcome to Regina made me feel closer to home. I live in a close-knit community, and she made the adjustment so much easier to cope with. My friend helped me in more ways than one; she took me and my kids to our new home and made sure I was settled before she left us. She was also my ‘go-to’ person as both campus and city life was new to me. I am thankful she was part of this journey.”

Living on campus gave Copland the opportunity to meet new friends who also gave her support throughout her program, and helped her deal with the hardship of being away from her children. “I met amazing people throughout the program; it was a bonus to have the support from my circle of friends,” says Copland.

Copland graduated from the master’s program in June. She says, “It was an amazing feeling to walk across the stage even for a short moment. Time went way too fast so the convocation ceremony was a great way to wrap up my thoughts around being a long time student.”

Her education has fortified her vision for education: “Every child deserves to learn in a safe and respectful environment. I think each individual should be valued in the classroom as we all learn at our own pace and time. More importantly, giving them the opportunity to learn with respect to their culture and background is something I strongly support,” says Copland.

Reflecting back on what she has accomplished, Copland says, “I close my eyes and I see and feel the campus atmosphere—I never thought, 18 years ago, that I’d get back into books and study alongside my daughter. I was a young mother so I thought I had lost all my chances of getting back into something that I liked doing and dreamed of becoming. Turns out, there is no age limit; you just have to go after your dreams and never stop believing.”

Copland has returned to Nunavut and will start her teaching career in the fall, teaching Grade 3 students. She says, “I will start in my home and comfort zone, but who knows where I’ll end up in a few years time.”

By Shuana Niessen

NTEP 2018 Graduates | Taloyoak, Nunavut

Master of Ceremonies James Eetoolook. He shared his experiences growing up in the community, and between speakers, spoke of the history of Nunavut. For example, he recounted when the school was established, and talked about being punished for speaking his language. He reminded the people how late Inuit were granted the right to vote. I thought he did a splendid job. Proud day for him — his daughter graduated from the program.
The grads being introduced to those gathered for the ceremony (most of the people from the community): Yolande Apalu, Corrine Boisvert, Kristen Eetoolook, Lenny Panigayak, and Casie Totalik-Holwell.
Sarah Takolik lighting the Qulliq. James reminded everyone that the people would not have survived without the Qulliq which provides heat and light.
Steve Snowball was given the honor of speaking about each graduate. As an instructor, and a member of the community for two years, Steve clearly got to know each one in special ways and did a splendid job of celebrating each grad’s gifts and strengths. James provided translation services.
Gloria Uluqsi and Steve Snowball presenting three special awards from Nunavut Arctic College and other gifts and accolades.
Sheila Kolola, President of Nunavut Arctic College, and a proud NTEP graduate, too, conferring the NAC degree. Students received diplomas from NAC and the University of Regina.

NTEP graduation was held at the school.

Photos and captions are by Dr. Valerie Mulholland, Associated Dean of Student Services and Undergraduate Programs, who attended the ceremony held in Taloyoak, Nunavut on June 5, 2018.

Teacher Education Programs gather for Indigenous Knowledge Exchange

TEP gathering to discuss Indigenous Knowledge

On November 8 and 9, 2017, Teacher Education Programs’  faculty, directors, and program heads (SUNTEP, ITEP, NTEP, and YNTEP) gathered together for an Indigenous Knowledge Exchange. This was the first time the TEPs came together since 2008, when several TEPs gathered to discuss Indigenous ways of knowing.

Keith Adolph (TPC coordinator) and Dr. Val Mulholland (Associate Dean)
Wanneta Martin (Assistant to the Associate Dean) registering TEP guests.

Hosted by the University of Regina, Faculty of Education, the Indigenous Knowledge Exchange gathering “provided an opportunity for participants to advance and strengthen relationships between one another, engage in transformative Indigenous education, and collaborate and plan for the future,” says SUNTEP Regina coordinator, Janice R. Thompson. Thompson was involved in the organization and planning along with Associate Dean, Dr. Val Mulholland, Associate Dean’s Assistant, Wanneta Martin, and Acting Dean of Education, Dr. Andrea Sterzuk, along with others who assisted with this event.

The day was hosted by Janice R. Thompson and began with opening prayers by SUNTEP Regina’s, Erma Taylor and opening remarks by Acting Dean, Dr. Andrea Sterzuk.  Chairman of the GDI Board of Governors, Dr. Earl Cook, brought opening greetings on behalf of Gabriel Dumont Institute. Dr. Sherry Farrell-Racette, professor in the Department of Visual Arts, MAP, brought a keynote.

Over the course of two days, the group explored themes that emerged such as “similarities and differences between the TEP programs and establishing a safe space for us to examine our work,” says Thompson. Scheduled theme discussions included TEP’s philosophy and TRC Calls to Action, Indigenous pedagogy and research (land-based pedagogy), language development and preservation, and successes and challenges.

Thompson says, “This invaluable two-day experience continued to demonstrate our commitment to Indigenous teacher training in the academy, and we are humbled by this. We look forward to gathering in the near future, and not another ten year wait!”

Janice R. Thompson welcoming TEP members to Indigenous Knowledge Exchange
Dr. Earl Cook brings greetings as Chairman of the Board of Governors for Gabriel Dumont Institute
Dr. Sherry Farrell-Racette giving keynote address.

Photo credits: Shuana Niessen

Student gatherings

Wednesday, November 8 was a busy night for the Faculty of Education. Education Students’ Society organized a Bowling night for students, faculty, and staff. The event was well attended and pizza well enjoyed. Graduate students held a potluck and students attended from as far away as Nunavut (NTEP)!  TEP (Teacher Education Program) graduate students were here for a TEP Indigenous Knowledge Exchange.

Student Gatherings Fall 2017To view the photo album, place cursor over the photo and click on arrow.

Celebrating U of R Graduates in Nunavut

On June 14, some 2,400 kilometres northeast of Regina, President Timmons participated in a very special celebration in the tiny hamlet of Hall Beach, on the shores of Foxe Basin. The narrow strait is across from Baffin Island on the northeastern tip of the Melville Peninsula in the Qikiqtani region of Nunavut.

Nunavut Grad Picture
A time to celebrate. These education grads will now make a big difference in their respective communities in Canada’s far north. (Photo courtesy of Julie Machnaik)

The occasion was the graduation of five students from the Nunavut Teacher Education Program (NTEP), a partnership between the University of Regina’s Faculty of Education and Nunavut Arctic College (NAC) that began in 2007.

The program prepares Nunavummiut (people of Nunavut) to become teachers in Nunavut schools with an emphasis on training primary and elementary teachers. The program strives to include an increasingly greater amount of Inuit content in the curriculum and includes a variety of locally relevant topics, including core courses in Inuktitut, the Inuit language spoken in the central and eastern Canadian Arctic.

“We are proud to have partnered with Nunavut Arctic College for close to a decade on this important initiative,” said Timmons. “We are pleased to be able to offer additional support and resources so that Nunavummiut can find their way into Nunavut classrooms. This is very much in keeping with the University of Regina’s strategic priority on Indigenization in all of its forms.”

Tuesday’s graduation ceremony was followed by a traditional Inuit feast.

Most NTEP students complete their four years at the Nunatta Campus in Iqaluit and earn a University of Regina Bachelor of Education degree. Under the terms of the agreement, the University of Regina provides a range of services, including visiting instructors, professional development opportunities for students, and learning experiences through exchanges.

The Nunavut Teacher Education Program is only one of the many community-based partnerships between the Faculty of Education and partners across Saskatchewan and into other provinces. The partnerships date back some 30 years.

By Greg Campbell Posted: June 15, 2016 12:00 p.m. U of R Feature Stories

Congratulations to the U of R Nunavut Teacher Education Program Graduates

NTEP grads 2015
Iqaluit NTEP / U of R Graduates and dignitaries: front row, l-r :Sheba Pikuyak (Hall Beach); Louisa Meeko (Sanikiluaq); and Nadia Sammurtok (Rankin Inlet). Back row, l-r: Brian Manning – Director: Education Programs / Nunavut Arctic College: Peter Ma – President: Nunavut Arctic College; Elizabeth Ryan – Chairperson: Board of Governors / Nunavut Arctic College; James McNinch, Director of SIDRU / University of Regina; and Eric Corneau – Dean: Nunatta Campus / Nunavut Arctic College. Missing from the photo are Graduates Renata Lee (Iqaluit) and Jenny Ipirq (Iqaluit).

Congratulations to the following University of Regina Nunavut Teacher Education Program (NTEP) BEd graduates:

Nadia Sammurtok – Rankin Inlet
Louisa Meeko – Sanikiluaq
Sheba Pikuyak – Hall Beach
Jenny Ipirq – Iqaluit
Renata Lee – Iqaluit
RitaPorter  – Gjoa Haven
Rhonda Nimiqtaqtuq  – Gjoa Haven
Catherine Hiqiniq  – Gjoa Haven
Eleanor Cipriano  – Gjoa Haven
Abby Anavilok  – Gjoa Haven
Rebecca Hutchings – Cape Dorset
Saizula Putuguq – Cape Dorset
Mary Taukie – Cape Dorset
Jefferson Uttak – Cape Dorset

Special recognition went to Nadia Sammurtok, who was the recipient of both the  NTA Rebecca Idlout Memorial Award and the NTEP Practicum Award.  Dr. James McNinch, Director of SIDRU, Faculty of Education, was the U of R representative at the convocation ceremony, who gave the address to the Education graduates.