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Yukon University:

Northern Canadian Institution Garners Global Enrollment Boost

By Deepika Singh, MSM staff writer

At a glance

The Yukon University story is 50 years in the making. Since the mid-70’s, the Northern First Nations, industry leaders, and locals have been requesting for a university to represent the North and Indigenous communities in Canada. In May 2020, the institution became the first college in the North to be granted a university title. Teaching here is now focused on issues of sustainable resources and environmental conservation.

“It requires us to honor and support reconciliation with First Nations. I don’t know of any university that has that, but we have it,” said Tom Ullyett, Chair of the Board of Governors, Yukon University.
north of 60

North of 60

Yukon is located in Whitehorse, British Columbia, an area referred to as “North of 60” because it lies above the 60°N latitude. It is framed by three gorgeous mountain ranges on either side and enjoys such wondrous natural beauty everywhere. International students from across 20 different countries including India, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, and Germany study and find a second home here.
"We received so many queries from international students that we had to close applications, with the exception of a few programs which had additional capacity. We need to build additional classrooms and student housing to accommodate a growth in students and we’re working on securing funding to do so,” Jacqueline Bedard, Executive Director, told The PIE.

Support for International Exposure and Growth

Several years ago, the idea of studying in Yukon was virtually unknown to international students, even in major markets like India. It was unheard of for foreigners to move to Northern Canada.

As a partner, MSM readily faced the challenge brought by these deeply ingrained perceptions. Many of its partner schools did not enjoy big recruitment budgets or the capacity to establish themselves in a cut-throat environment, so working with Yukon University made sense if it wanted to help level the playing field for the smaller institutions.
At a roundtable discussion hosted by the Canadian High Commission, a representative from a Toronto college said in jest, referring to the old “Yukon College” nameplate randomly assigned to MSM at the event: “Who would go to Yukon to study?”

Now, however, nearly 200 Indian students study at the institution that MSM boldly brought to the competitive marketplace.

The solution was to set up an in-country team to help fortify market awareness and recruitment. On an annual basis, MSM delivers a 109% average increase in international students to Yukon University.
“All the comments and criticism we faced in our initial effort to recruit Indian students into the bigger vision for Yukon University is now nothing. We are proud of the dedicated team that worked against the odds to achieve incremental success for this partner institution,” said Suneetha Qureshi, MSM Vice President for Global.

Heading Into the Future

The now-official Yukon University offers a wealth of degree programs on its 13 campuses, including Bachelor of Arts in Indigenous Governance, Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Science in Northern Environmental and Conservation Science in partnership with the University of Alberta, and Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Social Work in partnership with the University of Regina.

Trades programming, academic upgrading, certificates, diplomas, degrees, and applied research make the institution an exciting place for curious international learners to expand their knowledge.

As the MSM and Yukon partnership journey continues, more students continue to show interest in the institution. Despite the slowdown caused by COVID-19, the support from Yukon faculty and the government has proven instrumental in setting the standards for holistic education and support offered in British Columbia.

Education Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee said in a statement: “Yukon University is Canada’s first university in the North, for the North and by the North. It is designed to meet the education needs of Yukoners. This is an exciting time for our territory as we work together to create new post-secondary education, social and economic opportunities for Yukon.”

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