Course Description

This module describes a unique model of partnerships between the University of Victoria and First Nations communities. It describes the value of bringing community Elders and other community resource people alongside mainstream teaching and learning in post-secondary training in order to ensure bicultural, community-relevant, community-involving processes and outcomes. First Nations community partners engage with a curriculum team from the mainstream institution to develop and deliver community-based, culturally sensitive course work leading to a diploma in Child and Youth Care. It will be of interest to all involved in the post-secondary sector.  

A distinguishing feature of all seven partnerships was a conscious focus on the strengths of First Nations communities. This contrasts with the focus on deficits that has shaped the historical relationships between native and non-native Canadians and that shapes most contemporary social program initiatives.  Aspects of cultural healing reported by evaluation participants included both personal and community development.


Jessica Ball, PHD and Alan Pence, PHD

First Nations Partnership Program

Alan Pence, Ph.D.Professor, School of Youth and Child Care, University of VictoriaUNESCO Chair for Early Childhood Education, Care and Development, University of Victoria Dr Pence founded the First Nations Partnership Programs (FNPP) in 1989/90 while working in partnership with the Meadow Lake Tribal Council (MLTC), Saskatchewan. That collaboration resulted in the development of a 'generative approach' to Indigenous education that ensured local voices were incorporated into the educational program. The pilot programs with the MLTC were externally evaluated, with the lead evaluator noting the importance of broader community development impacts achieved through the program (Jette, 1993). The FNPP entered into partnership arrangements with a total of ten Tribal Organizations over an 18 year period (1989-2007). Dr. Pence was joined by Dr. Jessica Ball in 1994, and when Dr. Pence became engaged with tertiary education in Africa in 1999/2000 (see www.ecdvu.org), Dr. Ball continued as FNPP Director through 2007.Jessica Ball, M.P.H., Ph.D.Professor, School of Youth and Child Care, University of VictoriaJessica brings to this work over a dozen years of working internationally and cross-culturally in innovative projects that incorporate indigenous knowledge and involve community members as full partners in designing, delivering, and evaluating culturally responsive programs of training and human service delivery. Jessica led the program evaluation research project. Jessica led a study evaluating the first 7 partnership programs (1998-2000) and a follow-up study of community capacity building (2003-2004).

Course curriculum

  • 1

    First Nations Partnership Programs

    • First Nations Partnership Programs in Child and Youth Care

    • Evaluation Study

    • Lessons Learned: Five “Secrets” of Success

    • Generative Curriculum Model

    • Reflection

    • Rediscovering Their Cultural Heritage

    • Students Live And Study In Familiar Community Surroundings

    • Students Become Role Models In The Community

    • The Benefits Of The Program Ripple Across the Wider Community

    • Graduates

    • Children and Families

    • Mainstream Training Institutions

    • References

  • 2

    About The Authors

    • Alan Pence, Ph.D.

    • Jessica Ball, M.P.H., Ph.D.

  • 3

    Module Completion

    • Module Summary

  • 4

    Questions for Future Exploration Through Partnerships

    • Questions