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A Labrador first

Anchor undergraduate program set to begin fall 2024

By Courtenay Griffin

Memorial University’s newest campus is celebrating another milestone.

The Labrador Campus will offer its first undergraduate degree program, the Bachelor of Arctic and Subarctic Interdisciplinary Studies (BASIS) Program, with the first cohort of students being accepted for fall 2024.

Offered through the School of Arctic and Subarctic Studies, this will be the campus’s anchor undergraduate program, and the “basis” for undergraduate student learning through classroom-based, land-based and experiential learning opportunities.

Dr. Ashlee Cunsolo, a white woman in her early 40s, smiles at the camera against an out of focus background.
Dr. Ashlee Cunsolo
Photo: Submitted

“Launching this program is an exciting moment for Labrador and for Memorial University,” said Dr. Ashlee Cunsolo, vice-provost of Labrador Campus and dean of the School of Arctic and Subarctic Studies. “It’s a key component of our growth and development as a campus, and we are so excited to welcome undergraduate students to come and learn in this unique program, celebrating the lands, waters, peoples and cultures of Labrador and the North.”

Students will have the opportunity to experience living and studying in the North in an interdisciplinary environment, focusing on topics of importance and interest to the North and an emphasis on developing learners’ skills and capacities in northern leadership.

“Offering this made-in-Labrador program in the Big Land brings us a big step closer to meeting the educational needs, priorities and dreams of Labrador and the North, and meeting our commitments to creating and providing leading-edge education by and for the North,” added Dr. Cunsolo.

Supportive and intuitive

The program format will follow a unique learning structure.

Instead of semester-based courses, students will immerse themselves in two six-week interdisciplinary modules each semester, with a one-week break in between.

This accelerated, yet supportive and intuitive, learning structure means that most students will finish their program in three years to three and a half years, depending on the stream they choose.

Dr. Sylvia Moore smiles against a blurred outdoor background.
Dr. Sylvia Moore
Photo: Submitted

“BASIS is going to be an exciting program,” said Dr. Sylvia Moore, an associate professor in the School of Arctic and Subarctic Studies who was involved in the program’s development and will be teaching this fall. “Students will now have the choice of a Labrador program that draws on local knowledges and is committed to the well-being of people and place.”

Collaborative development

The program’s development involved developing a vision for undergraduate education to be offered in Labrador that is northern-based, northern-focused and Indigenous-led, which is foundational to the Labrador Campus.

Dr. Moore notes the collaborative process required listening, sharing ideas and ongoing dialogue as the modules took shape and the courses were developed.

“Within Memorial, this program will be an example of how post-secondary education can bring together Indigenous and place-based knowledges and land-based learning, with academic rigour and cutting-edge learning theories,” she said.

In addition to 12 required modules, students will have the opportunity to select and pursue self-directed learning options from other Northern institutions, units throughout Memorial University and professional development opportunities, depending on their aspirations and interests.

“The impact of the program will be through its graduates and the positive effect they will have on the region’s social, cultural and economic dimensions of family and community life.” — Dr. Sylvia Moore

The BASIS Program aims to make a strong contribution to understanding and addressing the most pressing needs and priorities of the North and to train a network of students and learners who will contribute to northern social, cultural and economic growth, and development and prosperity.

“The impact of the program will be through its graduates and the positive effect they will have on the region’s social, cultural and economic dimensions of family and community life,” said Dr. Moore.

Prospective students interested in the program should apply by July 16, 2024.

For all information about the program and how to apply, please visit the program web page. 

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