New program creates fresh opportunities

While many wish to pursue a university degree, not everyone is able to dedicate four or five years to post-secondary education. In order to fulfill the diverse needs of its students, the University of Lethbridge is offering a brand new 10-course Management Certificate in First Nations Governance (FNG).

"The certificate program is ideal for anyone with an interest in First Nations governance and management training but who has limited time," says U of L alumna Rhonda Crow (Mgt Cert '97, BMgt '99), coordinator of the FNG program. "We also hope to attract students who may have years of on-the-job training, but need formal academic training to enhance their skills, open up new job opportunities or advance their careers to a managerial level."

U of L alumna Rhonda Crow (Mgt Cert '97, BMgt '99), is coordinator of the FNG program.

Students in the certificate program take courses in management, Native American Studies (NAS), writing and First Nations governance. Those who successfully complete the certificate program have the option of transferring their courses to a bachelor of management in FNG.

Crow says there is a growing demand for First Nations managers and is confident that the FNG program will help prepare up-and-coming community leaders.

"In addition to the skills a management degree offers, FNG graduates have the added component of First Nations content that will help those working with First Nations people and communities," says Crow.

The degree prepares graduates for careers in leadership, government, business, band administration and self-government. Crow accepted the position as coordinator of the FNG program last year.

"We are very pleased Rhonda is here. She is a wonderful role model and support for students in the program and is a significant addition to the office," says Andrea Amelinckx, director of the FNG program.

Crow is responsible for program marketing, student recruitment, retention and support.

"As an alumna, I relate well to the students. I work with those who are having difficulty in their courses, offering tutoring or directing them to others who can provide appropriate assistance," explains Crow. "I try to help students succeed in any way I can."

Karen McCarthy (Mgt '08) was the program's first graduate.

"The program was very good, focusing on current issues in First Nations communities, particularly self-government and self-reliance," says McCarthy. "It opened the doors for me to further my education even more."

Since its launch in 2003 through a partnership of the Faculty of Management and the Department of Native American Studies, the FNG program continues to grow, with more graduates anticipated by the end of this year.