Jane L. Blacksmith, Director of Post-Secondary Student Services
The mission of the Post-Secondary Student Services Program (PSSS) is to deliver the necessary support services for our students to succeed and acquire professional accreditation. Our vision is that all eligible James Bay Northern Québec Agreement (JBQNA) beneficiaries acquire the competencies needed for personal accomplishment, financial autonomy and collective well-being.
The PSSS department is currently concluding an organizational review and analysis to better align our role as a support function to our students. We will continue to implement important changes within the department to better support our student body for success in their educational and career goals.
In our efforts to improve the effectiveness of the CSB administrative support, many changes to student file processes and procedures have been implemented. An important development this year was the creation of a new administrative position to effectively maintain student file management. We believe this position will improve efficiency and communication with our students. The CSB will continue to look towards the future and take necessary steps to assist our students in their academic and professional endeavours.
PSSS Statistical Information
The following information illustrates certain information respecting student enrolment and success in the Post-Secondary and Adult Secondary Level Off—Community Programs. There continues to be significant growth in the Post-Secondary Student Support Program. Over the last six years we have seen an increase of approximately 200 students, which is shown in the chart below. From 2010-2011, there has been a 45% increase in student enrolments, as shown in the chart below.
During the 2015-2016 academic year, Post-Secondary Student Services provided assistance to 638 students. We sponsored 468 college students, 120 university students, and 50 students in vocational programs. There was a rise of 38 students representing an increase of 6%. Our student body also was far more successful this year, with a significant increase in our course completions. This positive growth highlights that JBQNA beneficiaries are increasingly enrolling and achieving success in post-secondary education at a younger age. Our students are following a more traditional educational route, which will ultimately improve the competitiveness of the Cree workforce.
Our Post-Secondary Students Across Canada
The map below demonstrates where our students are residing during their studies. Roughly 98% of our students are enrolled in either Quebec or Ontario. Our students have the option to study internationally, however, they have chosen to pursue their studies within Canada for the 2015-2016 academic year.
CSB PSSS 2015-2016 Enrolments Across Canada
Our Communities’ Post-Secondary Participation
Looking at the each community, we can see that there has been an overall increase in the student body by 6%. We are happy to see that Nemaska nearly doubled the number of student enrolments, and that all communities are continually participating in the Post-Secondary Student Services program. Details are in the chart below, which also illustrates a gender distribution for this past year.
Age Profiles of our Sponsored Students
This year, we had an increase in all our age profile groups except in the 35-39 age category, as shown in the table below. We are not surprised to see a slight decline in our student body in this age group, as some of these students have graduated from University, with Bachelor’s degrees, mainly in social work and psychology disciplines.
Enrolments and Course Completions Across Post-Secondary Institutions
The table below shows the student enrolments and success at each institutional level. We had a phenomenal year this year, with a significant increase in courses completed in all post-secondary program sectors. Course completions, which are pre-graduate certificate programs at the college and university level, have increased by 300%. Course graduates, which are students enrolled in diploma and bachelor level and above programs, have also increased by some 200%. Many of our students were in progress with their studies in 2014- 2015 and given the increase in volume of students, we are now seeing the results of our students’ efforts.
PS Trending Programs
The chart details the 20 most popular programs. College programs are attended by some 60% of our student body. This year we have many students enrolling in the G.A.S English for Academic Services program to improve English skills before entering into a career program.
Over 10% of our students were enrolled in a Bachelor’s program at university. Our students attended over 200 different programs.
A Year of Success
This past year saw a significant increase in the numbers of graduates and students completing various programs. The illustration below further highlights this remarkable year, as compared to the prior academic year.
The chart above displays the programs that were completed at the Bachelor’s level and above. We are so proud of all our students completing their programs this year. Our students have earned a wide range of diplomas and degrees, including one Master’s degree, eight Bachelor’s degrees, 29 diplomas, 42 certificates, and nine trade diploma/certificates this past year!
The academic and social support teams at PSSS have worked hard to stay connected with students by implementing strategies to improve retention and student success.
We continue to receive student feedback through the annual Student Survey, which we value as an integral and valuable tool for PSSS. Information and results yielded from the survey help the PSSS department improve student services. We also continue to maintain the Student Support Program (SSP) in joint partnership with Shepell-fgi to offer a 24/7/365 Helpline. Students currently sponsored have access to professional assistance to help them navigate life challenges that may disrupt or jeopardize their progress and success.
Post-Secondary Student Services, through its membership in the Planning Committee of the Roundtable on Capacity Building, continued to work with local community planning committees to deliver The Roundtable on Capacity to all the Cree communities, including the MoCreebec Council of the Cree Nation in Moose Factory, Ontario. The Roundtable on Capacity Building, along with local planning committees, showcased the history leading up to the signing of agreements impacting each of the Cree communities and provided an opportunity to the Cree Nation to share their vision for the future. The intent is to educate, inspire youth and adults about the importance of acquiring professional accreditations and skills for the many opportunities before us.
The Post-Secondary Student Services department continues to enhance and upgrade its technological tools in order to meet the needs of our students. New tools such as web-based technology will help improve communication and information-sharing with our student body. We anticipate implementing many additional important initiatives in the coming months, such as an improved web-based portal for our students. This portal will be user friendly and allow our students to better access necessary CSB PSSS information, including access to their individual file. This new technological approach will make our department more student-centered and will improve accessibility. It is our belief that we are empowering students with the tools to better focus on their studies. We believe that by using novel technological tools, we will be in a better position to respond to our student needs, which will enable us to provide a stronger support system.
We would like to acknowledge the support and guidance by the Council of Commissioners, the Senior Management, and the continuous support of the Director General of the Cree School Board. I would also like to extend a special acknowledgement to the PSSS team for their continued hard work and collaboration through many important changes to better serve our students.
Last but not least, to our students who strive for academic excellence and who participate in student life activities and contests, these efforts and personal gains do not go unnoticed. We admire you and we are very proud of each one of you. To those graduating and joining the work force, and for graduates progressing in their studies, on behalf of the Council of Commissioners, the Senior Management and PSSS team, we offer you our heartfelt congratulations on your perseverance and dedication to achieve your goals. Congratulations to each of you.