First-ever university semester on-islands is over

  • Apr. 9, 2010 7:00 a.m.

The first Haida Gwaii-based natural resource themed university semester is over after 12 weeks of classes. Haida Gwaii Higher Education Society executive director Laurel Currie says the nine students did their final presentations Friday afternoon at the Haida Heritage Centre. The presentations, which wrap up their semester-long seminar Case Studies on Haida Gwaii course taught by Hilary Thorpe and their Rainforest Ecology module course taught by Andy McKinnon, began Friday morning and extend throughout the afternoon. The students and other invited guests will attend an evening graduation ceremony and dinner that night as well. The Minister of Advanced Education Moira Stilwell will be on the islands to speak at the event, along with Chief Gaahlaay-Lonnie Young, Chief Iljuuwass-Reynold Russ and other public figures. Ms Currie said anecdotal feedback from the students has been very positive. Because the courses are accredited through the University of British Columbia, they have also followed that institution’s confidential evaluation process. This process is based on the instructors and courses and she said the university will provide a summary in the future. Meanwhile some students who just returned from a Gwaii Trust-funded weekend trip to Gwaii Haanas as part of their program where they visited Sedgewick Bay, Lyell Island and other sites important to resource management, told her that this had been the best experience of their lives. Ms Currie said this was the first semester of many and that they’ve already received applicants for next year. They will run 14 weeks from January to April and offer the same courses as this year: Politics of Forest Management, First Nations and Forests, Econmics of Forest Dependent Communities, Rainforest Ecology and a directed study course. In the future, they will also be looking at a fall semester too. Students came from all over the country, but two local students attended as well. More information on the semester can be found at www.haidagwaiisemester.com.