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Date: November 25, 2008

Le,Nonet Project Influencing Aboriginal Post-Secondary Retention

The University of Victoria’s LE,NONET project—a groundbreaking pilot project to measure ways of improving the retention and success of Aboriginal students in post-secondary education—is having a positive impact according to an interim study released today by UVic and the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation. The results will assist universities across the country.

The LE,NONET Interim Evaluation Report shows the project has created a welcoming institutional climate, provided better financial aid, created links with surrounding First Nations communities and contributed to the students’ decision to return to school the following year.

“The university is very grateful to the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation for its assistance in helping the University of Victoria be a national leader in supporting Aboriginal post-secondary students,” says UVic President David Turpin. “For over three years the LE,NONET project has given UVic Aboriginal students a place to connect, learn more about themselves and explore their potential within the university and their communities. These preliminary results indicate that the project is playing an important role in ensuring that Aboriginal students have access to and can share in the benefits of post-secondary education.”

“My involvement with the LE,NONET Project has greatly added to my overall experience at UVic,” says Kendra Underwood, a 4th year history student from Victoria, BC. “The LE,NONET Project has opened up so many doors for me, both culturally and professionally. It has assisted me to work in my home WSANEC community (Tsawout Nation), and helped me to view my time at the university not just academically, but holistically as well.”

“The foundation is proud to collaborate with the University of Victoria on LE,NONET, a project that assesses ways to improve educational outcomes for Aboriginal peoples,” says Norman Riddell, the foundation’s executive director and CEO. “UVic’s support for the project puts it at the forefront of national issues of access to post-secondary education. The foundation hopes that groundbreaking research of this kind may eventually lead the project to be replicated in other institutions to similar effect.”

The executive summary of the LE,NONET Interim Evaluation Report is available at www.millenniumscholarships.ca/en/research/AllPublications.asp. The complete interim report will be available in December 2008. LE,NONET (le-non-git) is a Sencoten (sen-chaw-then) word meaning “success after enduring hardships.” For more information about LE,NONET visit http://web.uvic.ca/lenonet/.

A photo of Kendra Underwood is available upon request.
Members of the media are invited to attend a ceremony at 9 a.m. on Nov. 25 in the Maltwood Gallery to announce the results of the interim evaluation report. Speakers include David Turpin (UVic president), Norman Riddell (Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation executive director and chief executive officer) and Chris Lalonde (LE,NONET co-principal investigator) and students from the LE,NONET project. Elder Butch Dick will open with a welcome song. Contacting the students once the ceremony is over (around 9:45 a.m.) will be difficult as they will be in classes during the day.

Media contacts:
Jaime Frederick (Communications Advisor, Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation) at
514-284-7240 or jfrederick@bm-ms.org
Yvonne Rondeau (Project Manager, LE,NONET Project) at 250-472-5981 or yvonner@uvic.ca
Kendra Underwood (Student, history/LE,NONET) at 250-661-3465 or kendraun@uvic.ca
Maria Lironi (UVic Communications) at 250-721-6139 or lironim@uvic.ca

Photos page:
Le,Nonet Project Influencing Aboriginal Post-Secondary Retention Images

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