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SIFC Receives National Accreditation

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      MAY 1994      v23 n04 p05  
In a unanimous vote, the members of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada have accepted the SIFC to full membership.

The vote, which was held at the AUCC's national meeting in Ottawa on March 9,1994, is "a major breakthrough," according to SIFC President Dr. Eber Hampton.

"It is a recognition of the College as a university level educational institution, sitting as equals with other universities in Canada," he says.

The AUCC is a not-for profit, non-government association that was established in 1911. Its membership is made up of Anglophone and Francophone universities from every province in Canada, and its activities include government relations, research, information services and international co-operation. The SIFC first applied for membership in the AUCC in January 1984, and was granted "Provisional" membership in that year. In order to qualify for full membership, the SIFC had to achieve the conditions for long-term stability.

Over the next 10 years, representatives of the AUCC visited the College to meet with graduates, faculty, students and senior management, to monitor the progress of the SIFC in achieving those goals.

The SIFC's provisional membership was twice extended and then in 1993, the Chair of he AUCC's Visiting Committees reported that the SIFC had a commitment for on-going funding from the federal department of indian and northern Affairs; SIFC's Board of Governors had approved an Academic Freedom Statement and that on-going negotiations were addressing the need for an updated Personnel Policy at the College.

On these grounds, it was recommended that the SIFC be admitted to full, ordinary membership.

According to Dr. Claude Lajeunesse, President of the AUCC, "It means that (the SIFC) is seen as being on the same level as the other 87 (AUCC member) institutions."

"It is recognized as providing a quality education with the appropriate library services, respect for academic freedom and financing that ensures stability for the institution."

The vote makes the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College the first Indian post secondary institution in Canada to be given membership to the AUCC and , as Dr. Hampton points out, the admission of the College to full membership in the AUCC "allows SIFC to be part of the decision making in Canada regarding university level education.

"It is an example of Indian people and Indian institutions taking our rightful and equal place with other Canadian institutions."

According to Dr. Lajeunesse, 'The SIFC is seen as a new and important part of the diversification of the university system.

"The SIFC will bring a perspective, to the discussions around the table and in committees, that was not there a few years ago," he says.

According to Dr. Hampton, the granting of full membership also benefits the College because it opens the doors to many of the granting agencies that provide research dollars, and which only give grants to educational institutions that are AUCC members. In the past, all SIFC grant applications were sponsored by the university of Regina.

However, Hampton points out that the SIFC does not intend to forego its relationship with the University of Regina, which he says is a good example of how First Nations government can works with Canadian institution.

University of Regina President Dr. Donald Wells, who was in Ottawa for the announcement , said that he looks forward to continuing the close relationship between the two institution, including providing space on the University of Regina campus for the new SIFC building. According to Hampton, "The SIFC owes its existence to the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, to the Indian governments and also to the National Chief and the Assembly of First Nations.

"SIFC is an example of what can be accomplished through Indian self -government," he says.