Brock student develops new Aboriginal Women’s Certificate program

Jennifer Brant

Jennifer Brant has established an Aboriginal Women’s Certificate Program.

It’s always a tribute when research has a practical application.

Jennifer Brant, program developer with Brock’s Tecumseh Centre for Aboriginal Research and Education, has enjoyed such success. She has developed an Aboriginal Women’s Certificate Program, which evolved directly from her Masters of Education research. The program received Senate approval this week.

Brant started at Brock in 2002 as an undergraduate Sociology student. An Aboriginal single mom of two young boys, she was the first in her family to attend university. She will defend her MEd thesis April 20 and attend June convocation.

She has been accepted into the joint PhD program in Educational Studies and Brock will be her home university.

The focus of her MEd research was Aboriginal women in education. More specifically, the research reveals the barriers Aboriginal women face in university through an analysis of their educational narratives.

“Through my research I have used their narratives to envision Aboriginal women’s educational access and success within universities,” said Brant.

Brant’s proposed certificate program includes four new courses:

  • ABST 1P22, Technology in Aboriginal Communities and Schools
  • ABST 1F94 The Traditional Aboriginal Families, Communities and Schools
  • ABST 2P17 Reclaiming Aboriginal Women’s Literary Traditions and Educational Aspirations
  • ABST 2F14, Decolonizing Aboriginal Women’s Identities through Education

“These courses are designed as immediate responses to the educational needs and interests of local Aboriginal women,” said Brant. “By bridging the cultural and linguistic gaps, these courses connect culture, language and identity with the overarching goal of developing strong cultural identities.”

Overall, the program is designed to encourage self-empowerment, identity development and strong academic skills under the guidance of cultural tradition, Aboriginal spirituality and language enrichment.

More importantly, the program presents culture, language and identity as integral to the success of Aboriginal women in education.

“We look forward to these new courses being offered this September,” Brant said.

Brant, a recipient of Brock’s 2010 Aboriginal Achievement Award and a 2009-2010 National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation Scholarship, is ecstatic her research has been translated into action in a meaningful way.

“I am very happy that this vision for an Aboriginal Women’s Certificate Program has come this far,” she said. “This work has been a very meaningful and personal journey for me and I have been honoured to share my research and this vision with the Aboriginal and Brock communities.”

As with any large undertaking, Brant acknowledged and thanked her supervisor Dr. Michael Manley-Casimir. She also acknowledged the young women who participated in the research and inspired her to advocate for educational change.

“The vision for this Aboriginal Women’s Certificate Program would not be possible without their valuable contributions,” she said.

In an earlier interview with The Brock News, Brant said she hopes to become a professor and empower other young Aboriginal women in education. It appears she’s on the right track.

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