First Cohort of GDI Master of Education Graduates

First Cohort of GDI Master of Education Graduates

Sep 1, 2015 Reposted from Gabriel Dumont Institute News

By James Oloo

“Awesome! Wonderful experience … it was a great two years,” said Brock Skomorowski when asked about his experience as a student in the Master of Education program.

It is not often that a group of educators sitting in the shade in a beautiful acreage on a gorgeous summer afternoon sipping cold drinks as the seductive aroma of smoke rises from the BBQ grill are unanimous in their satisfaction with an experience. But that was the case on July 30, 2015 when 23 members of the inaugural GDI-University of Regina Master of Education in Prince Albert held a celebration to mark the successful completion of the program.

Michael Relland, the Master of Education program coordinator, congratulated the graduates and thanked GDI for bringing the program to Prince Albert. Cory McDougall, the Director of Finance, stated that graduation of the first Master of Education cohort was “a testament to how far GDI has come. In 1980, there were less than 10 Aboriginal teachers in Saskatchewan. Today, SUNTEP has graduated 1,158 Aboriginal teachers, and among today’s graduates are 14 Aboriginal students, including 13 who are Métis.”

Cory, whose brother was among the graduates, asserted that the 23 graduates will be able to get into education administration roles and help influence educational policies around Saskatchewan (Indeed one of the graduates has already been offered a Vice Principal position at a school in the Prince Albert Area). Cory congratulated the graduates and thanked Michael for his dedication to GDI and to the Métis people of Saskatchewan.

About two thirds (15) of the graduates were individually asked to sum up their experiences in the program. The responses included: awesome (26%), fantastic (20%), wonderful (13%), beyond my expectations (13%), very good (7%), good (7%), I liked it (7%), and I enjoyed it (7%). Fifteen is a representative sample, and it can be argued that the majority of the inaugural cohort of the program had positive things to say about their programs. Out of 25 students who enrolled in the program, 23 completed successfully – a completion rate of 92%.

But, what exactly did they like about the Master of Education program? One of the graduates said he liked the smaller classes and the cohort system in which the whole class start the program together and graduate together as a group. It meant “tight knit community of learners, making good friends, networking, plus I felt that the professors were able to dedicate more time and attention to us (students).”

Another graduate noted that, the “(classroom environment) provided an opportunity for a shared learning experience. For two years, we were all students and teachers at the same time. Everyone’s participation was encouraged, respected, and appreciated.”

One graduate liked the fact that because of the way the program is structured, she knew at the start of the program exactly when the studies will end. This enabled her “to make plans ahead of time regarding professional and personal aspects of (her) life.”

One of the professors who attended the graduation party, Dr. Carol Fulton, praised the students and said she enjoyed the classes she taught. She also commended GDI and Michael for ensuring that the program ran smoothly.

Michael brought graduation gifts worthy of the students’ hard work through the two year program. These included a Métis sash and a traditional Métis fire kit. Referring to the Métis traditions, Michael said he regarded the “graduates as fire starters.” Cory said that “one day the fires will all burn together.”

Brian Linn, one of the graduates, and his family hosted the graduation party at their acreage just outside Prince Albert.

The second cohort of 23 students commenced the Master of Education program in July. As we congratulate the graduating class, we would like to extend a warm welcome to the new students and wish them the best in their studies

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