UR Days in Prince Albert shows University of Regina as education option

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald Students at Carlton took part in the Student Expo as part of UR Days in Prince Albert on Thursday.

The University of Regina hopes to draw more students from outside the provincial capital, and that’s a big reason why UR Days stopped by Prince Albert on Thursday.

Prince Albert was the final stop for UR Days, with events planned throughout the day, that included stops at two Prince Albert high schools.

Jeff Keshen the President of the U of R said the purpose of the tour was to spread knowledge of the programs and opportunities the university has to offer.

“We are a university that is really well known in our immediate catchment area,” Keshen said. “We aspire to attract students from across the province…. We have not been in the Prince Albert area as much in the past and we really want to raise awareness.”

Keshen said they’re proud of the University of Regina, and what to give prospective students a taste of what it’s like to be on campus.

“We want to show students that if they choose the University of Regina or they consider the University of Regina, they are going to come to a place where we genuinely care about their journey and their success,” he said. “We like students and we want to show them that.”

Another aspect of this was connecting with Indigenous and Metis students. Lori Campbell the Associate Vice President Indigenous Engagements, was with Keshen on the tour. She said this would be a great opportunity to raise awareness.

“Obviously, there are a lot of First Nation and Metis students in this area and we want to let them know about the opportunities that are at the University of Regina,” she said.

Campbell, a former basketball player with the University of Regina, said the athletics program was another important aspect they wanted to highlight.

Keshen said it’s common for universities to draw students from nearby high schools, but they wanted to expand their reach to the rest of the province.

“It is also to make students aware of how we are, in some respects, different than other universities both in Saskatchewan and elsewhere,” he explained. “(It’s about) what our niche areas are, what our strengths are, (and) the culture of our university. The size might be somewhat more appropriate for some.”

Keshen explained that the University of Saskatchewan has about 23,000 students compared to about 16,000 at the University of Regina

“The look and feel of the University of Regina is different,” he said. “You have buildings which are joined so you are seeing a lot more people commonly that you will bump into in Regina. Your undergraduate programming will be different. Your professors will be somewhat different.”

The day featured a Student Expo at Carlton Comprehensive High School in the morning and Wesmor in the afternoon. Keshen said the fair shows just how committed the university is to attracting students from across the province.

Both Keshen and Campbell said the First Nations University of Canada would be important to attracting students from Prince Albert. The FNUC main campus is in Regina, with a satellite campus in Prince Albert.

“Usually, with an Indigenous student pathway, they tend to really want to stay closer to home and maybe have some smaller successes in post-secondary before venturing out,” Campbell explained. “It is usually a few more steps before coming into a full on degree program or moving further away from home.”

Along with FNUC, the University has an Indigenous Students Centre and a relationship with elders and knowledge keepers. Campbell said they have an Indigenous community support system there, and will work hard to build a community for Indigenous and Metis students on campus.

The evening included a Speaker Series with presentations by Keshen and Dr. Raven Sinclair, Professor with the University’s Faculty of Social Work.

Campbell explained that Sinclair is a leading scholar known internationally for her work with the Sixties Scoop.

“She has done amazing work in our faculty of social work. She’ll be speaking a little bit, is a great role model, and really has an experience that is familiar to many Indigenous students and people, and also to non-Indigenous students who won’t know that their family adopted an Indigenous person.”

Students could also enter to win one of two $2,000 free tuition prizes during the evening Speaker Series.

In the evening, there was also a President’s Reception and Education Expo in the Lobby of the EA Rawlinson Centre for the Arts. Keshen emphasised that the University of Regina is a great choice.

“Prince Albert is an area from which we have attracted some students and we really want to show them … the character of our university, and for them then to have a better sense of what’s further south so that they can make informed choices,” he explained. “For some of them we think that we would be a great fit.”