Category: Partnership News

Indigenous games enjoyed by medical students | A new Interprofessional Health Collaborative event

Lamarr Oksasikewiyin of Sweet Grass First Nation, instructs students in Indigenous games.

First-year medical students from the newly formed University of Saskatchewan (UofS) Regina campus College of Medicine participated in their first Indigenous Health Experience, facilitated by land-based learning teacher (Kakisiwew School on Ochapowace First Nation), Lamarr Oksasikewiyin, from Sweetgrass First Nation.

Julia Billingsley and Whitney Curtis, first-year medical students, Regina campus

First-year medical student, Julia Billingsley, says, “I think this was a really great opportunity to experience Indigenous games. It’s a great way to experience the culture and it’s great that the games are being brought back and that they are being taught to this generation. I think this should continue and this event should be an annual thing.”

Student Whitney Curtis agrees, “Today was so exciting! It was a great opportunity to get involved and gain a better understanding of Indigenous culture. Like Julia said, it’s great that we are working towards reconciliation and learning more, and that there is a cultural resurgence. I’m very excited to be a part of this.”

Eriq Marleau, first-year medical student, Regina campus

“This was a great experience,” says student Eriq Marleau. “It was fun to get out on a nice day and learn a bit about Indigenous culture, about how there are similarities; some games that they played, we grew up with as well. Like the top game, Lamarr noted that it is similar among a lot of cultures, and some of the other games too, like double ball and lacrosse. It was super fun to get out and play these games and have a great afternoon.”

“Traditional games are a safe way to learn about Indigenous culture and are the foundation of modern medicine,” says Dr. JoLee Sasakamoose, Chair of the Educational Psychology and Counselling program at the University of Regina and Adjunct Faculty in the U of S College of Medicine, Regina Campus.

Dr. Sasakamoose and Amanda Crowe, the Indigenous Coordinator at the U of S College of Medicine Regina Campus, organized the inaugural event, which took place at the First Nations University campus, Treaty Four territory, on September 21, 2022.

Amanda Crowe, Indigenous Coordinator for the U of S Regina campus, and Dr. JoLee Sasakamoose, Chair of the Educational Psychology and Counselling program at the U of R and Adjunct Faculty in the U of S College of Medicine, Regina Campus.

Crowe says, “We are shaping the next generation of health care practitioners at both universities. Volunteer counselling students from the U of R education psychology program made swag bags for the new med students to welcome them.”

The event is part of the first stage of relationship building to develop the Interprofessional Health Collaborative (IHC), a partnership between the University of Regina, the Saskatchewan Health Authority, and the University of Saskatchewan.

Sasakamoose says, “During the peak of the pandemic in 2020, the Universities of Saskatchewan and Regina, along with the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), collaborated on the development of a partnership model to co-develop a community-focused medical school at the U of S Regina Campus, including programs to assist and address community health care needs within the Treaty 4 territory. The Interprofessional Health Collaborative (IHC) was formed to implement a model to increase access to healthcare, support and ensure better patient engagement with treatment, and provide health advocacy, education, and promotion focused on the region’s healthcare needs.”

Crowe adds, “The IHC mission is regionally specific and intends to increase the recruitment of Indigenous students into STEM (K-12) and health profession careers to enhance and expand preprofessional health education opportunities and training in advanced health and wellness research.”

The IHC is responding to the TRC Calls to Action for health care (#18-24). Sasakamoose says, “Indigenous people in Canada have had to deal with disease, sickness, and starvation. History shows that we can’t count on the federal or provincial governments to provide enough support. As partners, we work together to teach students in a wide range of interprofessional programs how to better help under-served people while developing social responsibility. We provide health professionals, such as doctors, nurses, medical students, counsellors, educators and community-based peer health advocates, continuing education and training in culturally responsive, respectful ways. Utilizing traditional approaches such as land and cultural-based programming and community and relationship building, we respond directly to the TRC’s calls.”

The IHC will produce a final report informed by consultations with Indigenous people in the province, centred on the Treaty Four region. When released, the report will identify essential Indigenous health concerns and make suggestions for the region’s future Indigenous health and research agenda.

University of Regina and Canadian School Boards Association (CSBA) sign equity, diversity, and inclusion research agreement

The Canadian School Boards Association (CSBA) and University of Regina’s Faculty of Education are pleased to announce a new $93,450 research agreement, in which the Faculty of Education will conduct research and provide deliverables for Phase 2 of the CSBA’s anti-racism strategy.

“Systemic anti-racism is a fundamental priority for the CSBA and its member organizations,” states CSBA President Laurie French. “Review and revision of policies, including organizational structure and procedures, has enormous potential for permanent change to set direction and expectations for local school systems as a component of this work. We are pleased and impressed that improving equity, diversity, and inclusion is unanimously supported by the Board of Directors on behalf of their local school boards, and we are very grateful to be led and supported by the exceptional team at the University of Regina.”

The CSBA has completed Phase 1 of an anti-racism strategy which included self-assessments of the CSBA Board of Directors and a review of CSBA Policies. Phase 2 will include:

  • Developing a plan for implementing Phase 1 policy recommendations;
  • Developing equity, diversity and inclusion self-assessment documents for member associations and their respective school boards in communities across Canada;
  • Launching a national campaign to increase the diversity of locally elected school boards; and
  • Creating governance and trustee learning modules to increase awareness of the systemic racism in Canada that continues to disadvantage students and families who are Indigenous, Black or otherwise racialized.

“In response to the momentum around acknowledging and seeking to address systemic racism in Canadian society, the Faculty of Education — whose commitments are fundamentally grounded in the belief that schools can be incubators for truly just and pluralistic societies – is grateful to be able to partner with the Canadian School Boards Association,” says Dr. Jerome Cranston, Dean of the Faculty of Education and principal investigator for the research project.

The project will be supported by the newly formed Centre for Educational Research, Collaboration, & Development (CERCD), which was established, according to Dr. Andrea Sterzuk, Director of the CERCD, “to support educational researchers and research communities in conducting educational research and development projects that are meaningful to, and serve the needs of, diverse communities in local, provincial, national, and/or international contexts.”

The project is in alignment with the stated objectives of both the CSBA and the Faculty of Education. The CSBA states that it is “committed to promoting equal access opportunities for all students … by working to remove systemic barriers, address racism and adopt an intentional approach to equity, diversity, and inclusion in the work of provincial school board associations.” And the Faculty of Education “aspires to be a leader in innovative and anti-oppressive undergraduate and graduate research, scholarship, teaching, learning and service.” (Strategic Plan 2021 – 2026)

This project is being conducted from January 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023.

For an interview with Dr. Jerome Cranston, please contact him directly by email:

For an interview with CSBA, please contact


L’Université de Regina et l’Association canadienne des commissions/conseils scolaires (ACCCS) signent un accord de recherche sur l’équité, la diversité et l’inclusion

L’Association canadienne des commissions/conseils scolaires (ACCCS) et la Faculté d’éducation de l’Université de Regina sont heureux d’annoncer un nouvel accord de recherche de 93 450 $, selon lequel la Faculté d’éducation effectuera des travaux de recherche et fournira des résultats tangibles dans le cadre de la phase 2 de la stratégie de lutte contre le racisme de l’ACCCS.

« La lutte contre le racisme systémique est une priorité fondamentale pour l’ACCCS et ses organismes membres », d’affirmer Laurie French, présidente de l’ACCCS. « L’examen et la révision des politiques, y compris la structure et les procédures organisationnelles, offrent un énorme potentiel de changement permanent qui fixe une orientation et des attentes pour les systèmes scolaires locaux comme composante de ce travail. Nous sommes enchantés et impressionnés du fait que le conseil d’administration, au nom des commissions/conseils scolaires locaux, appuie à l’unanimité l’amélioration de l’équité, la diversité et l’inclusion, et sommes très reconnaissants de la direction et du soutien apportés par l’équipe exceptionnelle de l’Université de Regina. »

L’ACCCS a terminé la phase 1 d’une stratégie de lutte contre le racisme qui comportait des autoévaluations du conseil d’administration de l’Association ainsi qu’un examen de ses politiques. La phase 2 comprendra :

  • L’élaboration d’un plan de mise en œuvre des recommandations stratégiques de la phase 1;
  • L’élaboration de documents d’autoévaluation de l’équité, la diversité et l’inclusion à l’intention des associations membres et de leurs commissions/conseils scolaires respectifs dans les communautés partout au Canada;
  • Le lancement d’une campagne nationale visant à accroître la diversité des commissions/conseils scolaires élus à l’échelle locale; et
  • La création de modules d’apprentissage sur la gouvernance à l’intention des commissaires et des conseillers scolaires en vue d’accroître la sensibilisation au racisme systémique au Canada qui continue de désavantager les élèves et les familles autochtones, de race noire ou de minorités raciales.

« En réponse à l’élan autour de la reconnaissance du racisme systémique au sein de la société canadienne et du désir de l’éliminer, la Faculté d’éducation – dont les engagements sont fondamentalement ancrés dans la conviction que les écoles peuvent servir de pépinières de sociétés véritablement justes et pluralistes – est heureuse de pouvoir établir un partenariat avec l’Association canadienne des commissions/conseils scolaires », d’affirmer le Dr Jerome Cranston, doyen de la Faculté d’éducation et chercheur principal du projet de recherche.

Le projet sera appuyé par le nouveau Centre for Educational Research, Collaboration, & Development (CERCD), qui, selon la Dre Andrea Sterzuk, Directrice du CERCD, a été créé « pour soutenir les chercheurs en éducation et les communautés de recherche dans la réalisation de recherches en éducation et de projets de développement qui sont importants pour les communautés diversifiées et qui répondent à leurs besoins dans des contextes locaux, provinciaux, nationaux et/ou internationaux. »

Le projet est conforme aux objectifs énoncés de l’ACCCS et de la Faculté d’éducation. L’ACCCS souligne qu’elle s’est « engagée à promouvoir l’égalité des chances pour tous les élèves … en déployant des efforts pour lever les obstacles systémiques, éliminer le racisme et adopter une approche délibérée à l’équité, la diversité et l’inclusion dans le travail des associations provinciales de commissions/conseils scolaires. » Pour sa part, la Faculté d’éducation « vise à être un chef de file en matière de recherche, d’érudition, d’enseignement, d’apprentissage et de service novateurs et anti-oppression aux cycles premier et supérieurs. » (Plan stratégique 2021-2026 [traduction libre])

Le projet se déroule à partir du 1er janvier 2022 jusqu’au 30 juin 2023.

Pour une entrevue avec le Dr Jerome Cranston, prière de lui écrire directement par courriel :

Pour une entrevue avec l’ACCCS, prière d’écrire à


About the University of Regina
The University of Regina—with campuses located on Treaty 4 and Treaty 6 territories, the ancestral lands of the Cree, Saulteaux, Dakota, Lakota and Nakoda nations and the homeland of the Métis—is a comprehensive, mid-sized university that traces its roots back to the creation of Regina College in 1911. Today, more than 16,000 students study within the University’s 10 faculties, 25 academic departments/schools, 18 research centres and institutes, and three federated colleges (Campion College, First Nations University of Canada, and Luther College). The University of Regina has an established reputation for excellence and innovative programs that lead to undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral degrees.

About the Canadian School Boards Association
The Canadian School Boards Association (CSBA) represents members from member associations serving close to four million elementary and secondary school students throughout Canada. Through its support of the public school systems, the CSBA supports excellence in school board governance and is committed to providing tools, leadership, professional development, and communication opportunities to trustees and commissioners across Canada as well as advocating for them on shared, national issues.

New Northern Saskatchewan Indigenous Teacher Education Program formed to help meet northern teacher shortage

Photo (L-R): Associate Dean Pamela Osmond Johnson (UofR), Minister of Education Earl Cook (MNS), Chief Tammy Cook-Searson (LLRIB). President and Vice Chancellor Vianne Timmons (UofR), Director of Education Simon Bird (LLRIB), Dean Jerome Cranston (UofR) at the September 6, 2019 launch of the new NSITEP in Lac La Ronge, SK.

A new Northern Saskatchewan Indigenous Teacher Education Program (NSITEP) was launched on September 5, 2019, established in partnership between the Faculty of Education (University of Regina), Gabriel Dumont Institute (GDI), and the Lac La Ronge Indian Band (LLRIB). The four-year Bachelor of Education program with its first cohort of students who began in fall (2019) is accredited by the Faculty of Education, University of Regina. It intends to help meet the demand for more teachers, especially Indigenous teachers, in Northern Saskatchewan. Located on Far Reserve of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band in the Mikisew School, the program is well-positioned to meet the accessibility needs of students located in the North.

April Chiefcalf, one of two Instructors employed by NSITEP says, “A significant aspect of the program is its ability to serve both First Nations and Métis students in the area. An ongoing teacher shortage in Northern Saskatchewan exists and with the closure of NORTEP, it seems community-based programs that are a joint endeavour between Indigenous communities and universities are being created to fill that void. NSITEP will be unique because it will emphasize Indigenous languages, cultures and land-based education.”

Morris Cook, NSITEP Program Head and Instructor, says the program is “so beneficial not only to the community, but also for folks from the greater La Ronge area…When you put your hand on the pulse of the schools in the North, there is a shortage. It takes a long time to get folks into remote areas, but if they are local, they are more likely to stay. The hope is that the teachers from NSITEP will return to the community for the rest of their careers.”

For Dean Jerome Cranston of the Faculty of Education it is significant that the program was developed in partnership with the leadership of LLRIB, the Métis Nation of Saskatchewan (MNS), and GDI, and thereby designed specifically to meet the needs of the LLRIB and Métis communities to educate their own people to become teachers in their own communities. Cranston says, the Faculty’s involvement with this partnership, “demonstrates how the Faculty of Education and the University of Regina are committed to more fully realizing their relational obligation to First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. NSITEP recognizes the sovereignty of Indigenous peoples, places a premium on learning within community and is an attempt to better balance the typically asymmetrical relationships that have historically existed.”

With 20 students forming the first NSITEP cohort, and a lot of inquiries from potential students, Cook expects it will be easy to fill the 13 Métis/13 LLRIB student quota each new academic year. Cook is hopeful: “Its a great time for the program to be in place. I look forward to continuing the work that has been done to get this program off the ground, to building up the capacity and educating lots of local teachers.”

SSHRC Funding

July 2019 Funding announcements:

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)

Award Recipients for Insight Development Grants: 2019-20 Competition

Applicant: Gale Russell, University of Regina.
Title: Valued Kinds of Knowledge and Ways of Knowing in Mathematics Classrooms                                         Funding: $69,732.00
Applicant: Christine Massing, University of Regina
Collaborator: Donalee Wennberg, Regina Open Door Society
Title: Co-constructing Intercultural Practice with Newcomer Families and Early Childhood Educators
Funding: $41,045.00
Applicant: Joël Thibeault, University of Regina
Co-applicants: Isabelle Gauvin, Université du Québec à Montréal;
Roy Lyster, McGill University;
Andrea Sterzuk, University of Regina.
Title: L’enseignement des verbes de mouvement en immersion française : création et mise à l’essai d’une séquence qui repose sur la didactique intégrée du français et de l’anglais.                    Funding: $26,489.00

Award Recipients for Partnership Grants: 2019-20 Competition

Applicant: Carla Peck, University of Alberta; Alan Sears, University of New Brunswick, Catherine Duquette and David Lefrançois, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi
Co-applicant: Michael Cappello, University of Regina (among 30 co-applicants)
Title: Thinking Historically for Canada’s Future. Funding: $2,500,000.00 over 7 years

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

U of R doctoral candidate returns to China for EFL internship

Moving Towards Ethical Internationalization: Bridging Plural Knowledges in English as Foreign Language Curriculum and Instruction.

In 2014, as part of University of Regina/Chengdu University of Technology’s (CDUT) partnership, an ethical internationalization in higher education research and instructional program was conceptualized and initiated by Professor and Dean, Duan Cheng and Associate Professor, Zheng Huan (CDUT, College of Foreign Languages and Cultures), Dr. Fran Martin (University of Exeter, Graduate School of Education) and Professor Fatima Pirbhai-Illich (University of Regina, Faculty of Education).

Over the past five years, Drs. Martin and Pirbhai-Illich have engaged in academic work at CDUT that has focused specifically on learning and engaging in ethical internationalization practices in higher education in the College of Foreign Languages and Culture. Dr. Martin, Associate Professor Zheng Huan and Professor Pirbhai-Illich conducted research and in 2016, disseminated findings at a conference on Internationalising Higher Education at Simon Fraser University. They have also co-authored one journal article titled “The critical intercultural dimension of the processes of internationalization in higher education” which is under review.

Graduate Students Invited to University of Regina for Doctoral Program.

As part of the overall project, for the past three years, Dr. Pirbhai-Illich has invited one graduate student each year to apply for entry into the Faculty of Education’s doctoral program. Each doctoral student takes their required courses with faculty members and for their doctoral research project, engages in academic work with Dr. Pirbhai-Illich to understand issues around plural knowledges, curriculum and instruction in teaching English as a Foreign Language, and working towards ethical ways of doing education that honour and bridge the best of these knowledges for their particular context.

CDUT Sponsors Former Student to Return to China for EFL Internship,

Miss Feng Leyuan, doctoral candidate, University of Regina

In 2018, CDUT sponsored Dr. Pirbhai-Illich’s doctoral student, Fadi Tannouri from the English Language Institute at the University of Regina to visit, learn and teach Academic English in the Chinese context. This year, CDUT has sponsored one of its own former graduate students, Miss Feng Leyuan. Now entering her third year of the doctoral program in the Faculty of Education, University of Regina, Miss Feng Leyuan has returned for two months with Dr. Pirbhai-Illich as a preservice teacher to her alma mater to teach and engage in a 3-week English as Foreign Language internship program under the guidance of lecturers, Ms. Chen Fan, Ms. Luo Yuan, Mr. Zhou Yi and Dr. Pirbhai-Illich.

On June 19, Miss Feng Leyuan presented her first paper to faculty and graduate students at CDUT titled, “A self-study of my journey: Working towards becoming an ethical global educator of English as a Foreign Language.” Miss Feng Leyuan is the first of the three doctoral students to return to CDUT.