June 2, 2021Print | PDF
Jessica Hurtubise moved from Ottawa to Yellowknife two years ago to join the North Slave Métis Alliance (NSMA), an organization that represents the rights of Métis people living in the Great Slave Lake area of the Northwest Territories. Since her previous education and research experience was primarily in marine biology, she has faced a steep learning curve.
Through conversation with colleagues at the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT), Hurtubise was delighted to discover the Laurier Summer Institute of Research Methods (LSIRM). The COVID-19 pandemic caused the two-week professional-development academy to move online for the first time in 2020, opening up its unique suite of workshops to any student, researcher and professional with an internet connection.
In order to welcome more northern participants, Laurier’s Office of Research Services and the Centre for Community Research, Learning and Action offered discounted registration rates to N.W.T. community members. Laurier has a longstanding research partnership with GNWT.
“We really appreciated the opportunity Laurier offered to our staff and community partners for professional development, especially in the time of COVID-19 restrictions,” says Bruce Hanna, advisor of regional science programs at GNWT. Nine people from the N.W.T. participated.
“There are so few post-secondary opportunities for learning up here,” says Hurtubise, a regulatory analyst at NSMA. “We have a lot of pretty new staff in our office, and the course subjects offered by LSIRM matched up really well with our knowledge gaps.”
Hurtubise registered for four courses, each of which was between half a day and two days in length over the course of two weeks in July. Indigenous Methodologies, a workshop about integrating Indigenous research theories into mainstream scholarship, was a highlight.
“It really helped bridge my Western science background with the Indigenous context that I now work in,” says Hurtubise. In her role at NSMA, she represents local Métis in consultations with government and industry stakeholders over water licenses and land-use permits. With such weighty responsibility, the concept of “unlearning” resonated deeply for her.
“As a non-Indigenous person representing Indigenous people, I need to recognize things that I learned incorrectly,” says Hurtubise. “In Indigenous Methodologies, I was paired with an Indigenous student, and it was interesting to hear where the academic and traditional worlds come together for her. She offered good critiques on my work and suggestions on how to braid Indigenous knowledge more holistically into what I do.”
Hurtubise loved the practical nature of LSIRM’s workshops, enabling her to immediately apply her new knowledge.
Discounts available for 2021
Registration is now open for the 2021 Laurier Summer Institute of Research Methods, which will take place online from July 12 to 23. Laurier is pleased to once again offer a discount for our research partners in the Northwest Territories. The first 20 N.W.T. community members to register will receive $50 off of their registration fee. There are several other discount opportunities available, including for Laurier students. Early bird rates are available until June 12.
Registration is now open for the 2021 Laurier Summer Institute of Research Methods, which will take place online from July 12 to 23.
Laurier is pleased to once again offer a discount for our research partners in the Northwest Territories. The first 20 N.W.T. community members to register will receive $50 off of their registration fee.
There are several other discount opportunities available, including for Laurier students. Early bird rates are available until June 12.
“I found the content to be really useful for my work, and I have found myself referring back to what I learned.” - Anna Coles
“The Questionnaire Design, Sampling and Recruitment course was so applicable to my work, as I often have to sit down with members for informal interviews,” she says. “I had only ever collected data from animals, so I had been struggling to create good questions. But in this workshop, I was able to share my questions from last year’s field session with the instructors and get tangible feedback.”
This interactive, hands-on approach was intentional, says Sharmalene Mendis-Millard, lead organizer of the 2020 LSIRM.
“We strongly encouraged instructors to not just lecture, but to have discussions and lead activities so participants leave with tools to apply,” she says. Though challenging in a virtual environment, Mendis-Millard had “overwhelmingly positive” feedback from participants.
“The course I attended worked surprisingly well on Zoom, as our instructor made neat use of breakout rooms for one-on-one help,” says Anna Coles, environmental monitoring specialist at GNWT. “I found the content to be really useful for my work, covering the analytical tools I want to use for my own water quality analysis. I have found myself referring back to what I learned.”
Mendis-Millard was thrilled that the pivot to online course offerings made LSIRM available to people who could not attend in-person workshops in Waterloo, like Hurtubise and Coles. More than 118 participants registered in 2020 from as far away as Colorado and England, and she says that it will continue to be offered fully online from now onward.
“We have always drawn people from out of town because of the manageable cost and time commitment, but this was a way for Laurier to reach out and expand our community impact,” says Mendis-Millard. “LSIRM is for anyone and everyone.”
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