AU professor explores Indigenous post-secondary experiences
Indigenous Postgraduate Education: Intercultural Perspectives, a new book co-edited by Athabasca University associate professor, Dr. Debra Hoven, details the experiences of Indigenous students who are pursuing their doctorate.
Consisting of two sections, the first part of Hoven’s book discusses the methodology and theoretical perspectives, while the second elaborates on the voice of Indigenous students. With a vast international representation, personal journeys of inspiration and struggle were documented from Indigenous students. Hoven and her colleagues in Australia and Finland (Sámi) provide a deep understanding of the Indigenous postgraduate journey through a range of insightful chapters in unique ways, such as one chapter written as a dialogue between an Indigenous supervisor and her Indigenous doctoral student.
The book describes how the Indigenous postgraduate student’s experience often differs from that of other postgraduate students. Coming from close-knit communities, many Indigenous students feel the weight of geographic dislocation from their families and community networks. They also struggle with not being there to help with family and community obligations. The book also describes how some students felt a lack of institutional support and noticed the lack of Indigenous presence among faculty and administrative staff. Hoven noted, “there were fewer differences than similarities,” amongst the Indigenous students across the globe, and many students had “joy and hope when they did have Indigenous committee members because they provided them with direction.”
Helping to shed light on the areas where some guidelines and processes need to be rethought, the hope of Indigenous Postgraduate Education: Intercultural Perspectives, is to give non-Indigenous faculty, administration, and support centres some insight into the experience of an Indigenous student. Hoven says the book can help provide recommendations to enhance the Indigenous postgraduate journey. Having Indigenous faculty or Elders on committees and as external examiners are some ways in which an Indigenous postgraduate student’s journey can be enhanced, helping bridge a gap that may not have been previously identified.
Providing a platform for Indigenous postgraduate students’ experiences and journeys, Indigenous Postgraduate Education: Intercultural Perspectives, has given Indigenous students a voice while highlighting how the current pedagogies may need to be altered to help provide more support.
The book was launched March 11 at a seminar held by UArctic Thematic Network at the University of Lapland in Finland. A recording of the seminar is available to watch and learn more about the book. Copies of the book can be ordered by filling out the form and mailing it to Information Age Publishing.
You can learn more about Hoven’s work and Athabasca University’s Centre for Distance Education by visiting the department page.