The University of Lethbridge’s research excellence and commitment to the student experience continue to solidify its place as one of the country’s top universities as recognized by Maclean’s 2017 University Rankings.
For the fifth consecutive year, the U of L was ranked third in the Primarily Undergraduate category, a classification of 19 universities from across the country.
A new Aboriginal Health Program was listed as one of three stand out programs offered at U of L. The Aboriginal Health major in the Bachelor of Health Sciences program was launched in recognition of vibrant and growing Indigenous populations in Canada and worldwide. This exciting and unique program examines the factors that contribute to Aboriginal health, strength, and resilience in Canada. The program provides students with the practical skills and theoretical knowledge needed for work in the field of Aboriginal health.
This new program examines traditional and contemporary Aboriginal health concepts and includes practicum experiences in partnership with urban and rural Aboriginal communities. Major topics include traditional Aboriginal health concepts, creating healthy communities, preventing disease, creating and evaluating health programs, and conducting health research.
Graduates of this program will have the ability to navigate between differing models of health and care using culturally safe practices. Graduates will have the skills to seek out careers in health promotion and disease prevention, program and policy development and evaluation, community-based research, community outreach, cultural broker/health advocacy, and wellness counselling, among other areas.
The other stand-out programs listed are a five-year combined Education Degree and access to the Canadian Centre of Behavioural Neuroscience.
“It’s exciting to continue to make strides in areas that we have identified as key priorities for the University, namely research, teaching and student services,” says U of L President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Mike Mahon. “Our focus on providing a supportive student experience, coupled with the commitment of our faculty to be leaders in both research and the classroom creates a unique campus atmosphere that continues to garner national recognition.”
The U of L earned a tie for top spot in the Student Services category (percentage of a university’s budget spent on student services), moving up one spot from the previous year and continuing a trend that reflects the University’s commitment to its students.
“I think when you see our enrolment numbers at an all-time high, as they were this fall, it reflects the reputation our faculty and staff have helped create over the years, that this is a place where students are the number one priority,” says Mahon.
The rankings also saw the U of L rise three spots in the Student Satisfaction category, to eighth overall.
Reputationally, the University is rated fourth in the country. This category reflects the views on quality and innovation from hundreds of university faculty and administrators as well as high school guidance counsellors and business people surveyed across the country.
U of L’s commitment to its students is also evident in its cultural programming. One of the highlights of the U of L calendar year is Native Awareness Week held earlier this month to pay tribute to the long-held relationship between the University of Lethbridge and Indigenous peoples.
Among the many events that took place March 6 – 10, the U of L, in celebrating its 50th anniversary, unveiled its own ceremonial pipe, made by an elder from the Piikani First Nation and engraved with a pronghorn.
“The offer of prayer with a pipe is very significant and powerful for the Blackfoot people,” says Ryan Crosschild, a U of L program specialist. “It is a form of Blackfoot law making and therefore, when the University offers prayer for the pipe, it is for the university community so they can continue to be successful.”
“During our 50th anniversary year, the U of L is honoured to receive the ceremonial pipe,” says Dr. Mahon. “In the years ahead, the pipe will serve as a symbol of the special relationship that exists between First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples and the University.”
Native Awareness Week provides a reminder for the University community, Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples alike, to learn more about Indigenous culture and practices and reflect on the history, sacrifices, contributions and culture of FNMI peoples.
“This week reminds us that we have to also acknowledge the tough subjects and negativity that have come from years of colonization and to re-emphasize the importance of reconciliation,” says Crosschild. “Native Awareness Week is one of the ways to showcase culture and bring awareness to the issues identified by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and to start a dialogue to figure out the best way to move forward.”
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