New Research Explores Northern Becoming the College of Choice for Indigenous Peoples

Northern College News and Events

Monday, March 27, 2017

TIMMINS, ON: Northern College, in partnership with Northern Policy Institute (NPI), recently completed a research project on the challenges and opportunities for Northern College in becoming the college of choice for Indigenous peoples in Northeastern Ontario. The report entitled ‘Examining Ourselves: Becoming the college of choice for Indigenous people’ has been published.

The intent of the research was to examine the reasons why Indigenous learners are choosing colleges farther away from their communities than Northern College. This report is a starting point to identifying what Northern needs to do to become the college of choice for Indigenous peoples.

“With Indigenous perspectives as a strategic direction for the college, changing our institutional mosaic is an ongoing process and one Northern College is committed to complete,” said Dr. Audrey J. Penner, Vice President, Academic and Student Success of Northern College. “With the report now written, some of the challenges are identified and actions can be taken to better address each challenge to position Northern College as a college of choice for Indigenous peoples.”

Northern Policy Institute assisted with the project by providing expertise in research and supporting two interns throughout the process, Leah Cartan and Rachel Beals.

“This report was a great opportunity for coordinated efforts between NPI and Northern College to conduct balanced and objective research,” said Charles Cirtwill, President & CEO of Northern Policy Institute. “We look forward to seeing Northern take action on the recommendations laid out in the report, working alongside Indigenous communities in the process.”

Data for the study came from key informant interviews within a targeted population from the Indigenous Education Authorities in the Northern catchment area, a review of secondary data and youth focus group from the Lightning Trail Indigenous Youth Summer Retreat held annually at Northern College.

The report includes information on four key themes:

  • Access
  • Culture
  • Postsecondary Needs
  • Racism

The report is now available online at


About Northern Policy Institute (NPI):
Northern Policy Institute is Northern Ontario’s independent think tank. We perform research, collect and disseminate evidence, and identify policy opportunities to support the growth of sustainable Northern communities. Our operations are located in Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, and Sudbury. We seek to enhance Northern Ontario’s capacity to take the lead position on socio-economic policy that impacts Northern Ontario, Ontario, and Canada as a whole.

Media Contact:
Mélanie Watson
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705.235.3211 x2276