As one of a growing number of northern colleges emerging as community leaders in northern scholarship, Northwest Community College (NWCC) is playing a leading role in the Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies (ACUNS). Dr. Jim McDonald, NWCC executive director of the House of Learning and Applied Research, is past president of ACUNS and has served in a number of other leadership capacities throughout the organizations 30-year history. Recently, McDonald was one of the featured speakers at the associations AGM that took place in Ottawa. His speech reflected on the challenges and changes that have occurred in northern studies, in particular the growing involvement of northern colleges and institutions and the increasingly important role of Aboriginal peoples in northern science. The other speakers were senior professors from Carleton University, Ottawa University, McGill University, and UBC. McDonald also spoke on a panel of past association presidents that presented to an audience of representatives from universities, colleges, and research institutions from across Canada, as well as high level government officials. McDonalds third presentation at the meeting introduced NWCC as a new association member. NWCC joined ACUNS last year in part due to its support of northern colleges as community leaders in northern scholarship. ACUNS carries out this mandate by enhancing opportunities for northerners, particularly indigenous northerners, to become leaders and promoters of excellence in education and research matters important to the North. During this presentation, the audience was keenly interested in the transformative journey that NWCC is taking in changing the culture of education to be more inclusive and culturally responsive towards Aboriginal learners. Other speakers at the event included Chief Joe Linklater from the Vuntut Gwichin First Nation in Yukon who spoke passionately on the topic: Northern education connections: from traditional knowledge to northern research.
May 16, 2017