Momentum - "Gold Star" initiatives
Indigenous students at Mohawk benefit from an innovative new degree path and supports for online learning
An innovative new program at Mohawk College will allow Indigenous studies students to earn an Indigenous-focused diploma and university honours degree in four years.
Mohawk, together with Lambton College, McMaster University and Wilfrid Laurier University launched the 2+2 college-to-university pathway. It creates new opportunities for Indigenous studies college students to carry on their postsecondary education to earn a degree in Indigenous studies. “This is the gold star of pathways,” said Leah Hogan, Manager of Indigenous Education at Mohawk. “It will open many doors to our students.”
Mohawk’s Indigenous Student Services is also focused on reducing barriers to education for learners, including transportation, childcare, and limited access to technology and connectivity, for those living on Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. The latter issue became even more pressing with the shift to online learning. Mohawk’s Indigenous office worked with local communities to distribute loaner devices, including laptops, Wi-Fi sticks, and unlimited data hubs.
As well, students received a “virtual learning basket” of Mohawk swag, including a reusable cup, a USB flash drive, headphones and a gift card for office equipment. And Indigenous office staff were available for an hour a day, seven days a week, to connect with students throughout September. To overcome feelings of isolation and disconnection, Mohawk’s Indigenous office also rolled out a non-credit course that includes celebrations and the teachings of elders, along with a “wisdom deck,” a set of cards offering students words of encouragement from community leaders and elders.
Through City School, Mohawk also supports Homeward Bound at the Hamilton Regional Indian Centre in offering academic upgrading and skills preparation for Indigenous women as they embark on their college journey.