Arctic Yearbook 2014
Though the above comments express positive factors of success, there is a need to continue to
modify policies and practices of post-secondary institutions to include the actual needs and
experiences of northern and Aboriginal students. The experiences of the students interviewed
reflects that the individual as well as collective returns of education are intricately interconnected.
While individual or traditional indictors of success such as good grades or degree completion are
important, so are the successes as reflected through and with family and community. A significant
learning from this study is that the development of place-based learning across the north has the
potential to begin to not only improve post-secondary graduation rates, but also to nurture more
confident and skilled northern community members and leaders, cultivating the value of the social
impact of post-secondary education and investing in personal and community transformation.
As discussed earlier in this section, there are vast differences in the way that post-secondary
institutions and their funders view “retention” and student success as compared to northern
students themselves. Barnhardt (2002) asks “can institutions change”? (351). Is it possible to
measure student success in terms of the development of healthy students and the impact on family
and community? These questions need to be continually reexamined as we move into the future.
Appreciative questions helped facilitate students to vocalize and conceptualize their successes and