Today, UBC and Langara College signed the Aboriginal Transfer Partnership Agreement between the two institutions.
The partnership clarifies what is needed for aboriginal students to transfer from Langara to UBC. According to Kristen Harvey, Associate Director of Strategic Aboriginal Enrolment Services for UBC, this agreement “helps us meet our goals of creating pathways to UBC for aboriginal students.”
“It’s a way to encourage aboriginal students entering Langara to begin thinking very early on in their studies about whether they would like to work towards a degree at UBC,” said Linc Kesler, Director and Senior Advisor to the President on Aboriginal Affairs. “The way it does that is to define very clearly a way in which they can transfer … and then also provide some additional financial incentives.”
The partnership grew out of a pilot program that began in 2012, according to Harvey. Back then, only Arts participated in the pilot. Six UBC faculties have since joined the effort to create a pathway to UBC for aboriginal transfer students.
“This particular transfer partnership I think really speaks to those who chose to start their education somewhere else in a smaller institution,” said Acting President Martha Piper in a speech at the signing today. “Linc [Kesler] and I were speaking about the special relationship that I think Langara and UBC have experienced over time and I think this agreement … represents what those kind of relationships can yield.”
According to Kesler, discussions over the last 18 months have pushed the initiative further after the pilot’s success up until today when the agreement finally was signed.
“I think the reason people are quite committed to this program or willing to join it is that the … success [rate] of students who transfer [from] Langara … [to] UBC is very high,” said Kesler. “They have a success rate equivalent to students who’ve been at UBC for their entire career.”
Each faculty sets their own requirements for guaranteed admission to programs at UBC. The faculties who are involved at present are Arts, Science, Sauder, Applied Science and Land and Food Systems.
When asked whether all faculties would eventually participate in the partnership, Harvey said, “What we’re trying to do is create a framework that faculties can opt into if they wish. It’s not the only pathway to UBC and so some may chose … other strategies.”
According to Clayton Munro, Dean of Student Services at Langara, this is the first partnership of its kind at the college.
“We have a lot of students. From what I understand, more students than any other college [go] to UBC in terms of transferring. It certainly makes a lot of sense for our two institutions to work really closely together,” said Munro.
When asked what needs the partnership is aiming to fulfill that may not currently be met, Kesler spoke of the financial aid that is guaranteed for students who meet specific admission requirements as “always fulfilling a need no matter how much we arrange.”
Kesler also noted that a highly important part of this partnership is promoting accessible transfers to UBC early on in the careers of Langara aboriginal students.
“There are students who’re coming to other institutions such as Langara, which is one that many aboriginal students in the city [choose]… when they’re trying out post-secondary education,” said Kesler. “The problem is that if they’re not thinking about it, they can spend a couple of years at Langara and then begin to think about transferring and realize they have not taken the courses that would make transferring possible”