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Northlands and U of S team up to offer more opportunities for northern students PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dean Bear   
Wednesday, 24 May 2017 10:52

Photo courtesy Northlands College and University of Saskatchewan

Northern students looking to take engineering courses through the University of Saskatchewan may not have to travel so far beginning this fall.

The U of S and Northlands College in La Ronge have signed a memorandum of understanding  (MOU) for the northern college to offer pre-engineering courses starting in September.

The Pre-Engineering and Science (PRES) program is offered by Northlands College in Buffalo Narrows, Creighton, Ile-a-la-Crosse and La Ronge. The 42-week program runs from September to April, and includes high school upgrading, 10 university courses and programming designed to help students successfully transition to the U of S.

"It can be quite challenging for people living in northern Saskatchewan to pursue an education in science or engineering, and since 2014 we’ve been in discussions with Northlands College to figure out how we can help," said Patti McDougall, vice-provost teaching and learning at the U of S. "Though the College of Engineering coordinated this project, I am proud to say that this new PRES program will provide residents of northern Saskatchewan the chance to locally begin science and engineering programming leading to a range of colleges at the U of S."

McDougall said in a news release that the PRES program emerged from the recognition that Indigenous people are underrepresented in science and engineering. The design of the program began with the idea that high school students in northern Saskatchewan need stable access to courses, like pre-calculus and calculus, and may need to be supported in these difficult courses. She said success in these areas can lead to admission into university-level programming in science, technology, engineering and math.

Alongside a supportive math environment, McDougall said other university-level courses will provide students with a foundation in chemistry and physics, which are requirements for post-secondary science and engineering programs.

The class credits obtained through the PRES program will transfer towards multiple diploma and degree-level program requirements at most colleges and universities, which will give students the option to take fewer classes in their first year, helping to ease the transition to college or university, according to Toby Greschner, president and CEO of Northlands College.

The partnership "really makes it a lot smoother for students from the north to begin their careers in the math science world and engineering world and be able to transfer to campuses down south to finish those degrees and also then to get those high end job that we're really working for students to achieve," Greschner said in an interview on Wednesday afternoon.

If a PRES program graduate chooses to attend the U of S, they will have the opportunity to take part in a free two-week university transition program in August, which will provide them with personal supports and program-specific information.

The first cohort of PRES program students starts this September at Northlands College. The college is accepting applications until June 1.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 May 2017 16:55
MNP audit reveals questionable spending on Clearwater River Dene First Nation PDF Print E-mail
Written by Manfred Joehnck   
Wednesday, 24 May 2017 10:40

Photo courtesy of MNP.ca

A forensic audit of the Clearwater River Dene First Nation near La Loche has uncovered questionable spending in the millions of dollars over a six-year period from 2009 to 2014.

The audit was conducted by MNP Chartered Accountants.

The focus of the report was the band’s former manager, Jonny Cheecham. He received about $900,000 in compensation during the six-year period.

The audit found that he also owned, or had influence over nine companies, which supplied $9 million in services to the band over the six-year period.

The MNP report concludes Cheecham breached the band’s code of ethics, was in a conflict of interest, used band finances for the sale of motor vehicles, double or triple billed some contracts, or billed for service that was never done.

The report has been turned over to the band and council. Chief Teddy Clark says he is studying it, and will likely be in a position to respond tomorrow.

The forensic audit has also been discussed with the RCMP, although there is no word on whether an investigation will be launched.

No charges have been laid, and none of the allegations have been proven in court.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 May 2017 10:50
Northern students to receive degrees PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dean Bear   
Tuesday, 23 May 2017 13:32

Northlands College. Photo courtesy saskatchewan.ca

It will be the largest graduating class in the history of Northlands College, as 19 students will receive degrees from the University of Saskatchewan and University of Regina during convocation exercises this evening in La Ronge.

Students from communities across the north were enrolled in programs, such as arts and science, nursing, business administration and social work.

It’s the first time that graduating university students will be together for their convocation, as the college offers the programs at campuses in Creighton, Buffalo Narrows and La Ronge.

Karla Hardcastle is the manager of university programming for Northlands College, and says the number of students graduating shows that the college’s programming is growing out of its infancy.

"Larger numbers of students are completing programs from year-to-year, and we are proud of our students who have persevered for the last three to five years to finish their university degrees," she added.

Hardcastle says that by providing programs for northern students, it means less travel to the main campuses in Saskatoon and Regina. In some cases, students with young families don’t have to uproot and move further south or be disconnected during the school year.

"It’s a point of pride for us that we have been able to offer so many different university programs to students in northern Saskatchewan and give them the option to learn where they live," she said. "So many students over the last 20 years that we have worked with, have said they could have never done this program because they couldn't move, or didn't want to move to go to university."

She says in some cases, some students started out taking classes down south and were able to finish at home. She says that being able to offer a variety of university programs means it doesn’t have to be a one size fits all approach to post-secondary schooling for students in northern Saskatchewan.

Hardcastle says that at the end of the day, the degrees come from the University of Regina and University of Saskatchewan, but they get to have a personal experience close to home, and that’s a partnership the college is very proud of.

The convocation exercises take place tonight at 6:00 pm at Eagle Point Resort.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 May 2017 13:48
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