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Arctic and subarctic futures

Labrador Campus launches suite of graduate programs

By Jennifer Batten

The Labrador Campus officially launched its Arctic and Subarctic Futures Graduate Program last week.

Fourteen new students were welcomed to Memorial’s newest campus with a day of celebration, orientation and elder leadership, followed by a two-day intensive class to kick off the inaugural program.

The new, made-in-Labrador program launched with students from throughout Labrador and Nunavut who are pursuing PhDs, master’s and graduate diploma options.

“It is time to recognize our ways have abundant skillsets, knowledge and beliefs to offer, so we can strive to save our ways.” — Lizzie Aliqatuqtuq

The program begins in the spring semester (each May), to allow for an exploration of academic, cultural and personal learning across all seasons in Labrador.

“The launch of this program was a dream come true for our team and for so many others who have long advocated for graduate-level learning opportunities in Labrador, designed for northern and Indigenous contexts and reflective of the needs, priorities and cultures of Labrador and the North,” said Dr. Ashlee Cunsolo, vice-provost, Labrador Campus, and dean, School of Arctic and Subarctic Studies. “This is a significant milestone for the campus and for the future of northern-led research and education. I am deeply humbled and heartened that these students chose our program.”

Lizzie Aliqatuqtuq, chair of the Inuit Language and Culture Program at Nunavut Arctic College and one of the new students at Labrador Campus, says the program gives students the space to learn and connect to culture and language in an academic setting.

“It is time to recognize our ways have abundant skillsets, knowledge and beliefs to offer, so we can strive to save our ways,” said Ms. Aliqatuqtuq. “Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ principles) is a very important part of my life.”

Indigenous-led, northern-focused

Each of the pathways of the Arctic and Subarctic Futures Graduate Program has different requirements and courses.

A group of women sit on chairs in a circle outside.
The students gathered in a circle as part of the start of their course work.
Photo: Submitted

While specific areas of study vary, there are six core courses designed to build on and complement one another, creating interconnected and interdisciplinary learning opportunities while setting the foundations for strong Indigenous-led and northern-focused research.

The program also emphasizes land-based learning, connecting students with the lands and waters of Labrador and the North to enhance their learning.

“I was grateful to be the instructor for the first in-person intensive course of the inaugural graduate cohort,” said Dr. Sylvia Moore, associate professor in the School of Arctic and Subarctic Studies. “It was especially meaningful to witness the students engaged in learning from all aspects of the place we know as Labrador.”

This program marks another historic moment for the growth and development of the Labrador Campus and contributes to the campus’s commitments and responsibilities to providing educational opportunities that both serve and reflect the North.

“A program that aligned with my core values of being on the land, learning and preserving culture for future generations was exactly what I wanted to be a part of.” — Chelsea Flowers

Student Chelsea Flowers grew up in Cartwright. She says coastal, northern life is all she’s known.

“A program that aligned with my core values of being on the land, learning and preserving culture for future generations was exactly what I wanted to be a part of,” Ms. Flowers said. “This program gives me an opportunity to express what I feel is important, while also taking in so much knowledge from the professors, guest speakers and other students. It’s certainly not a traditional way of learning, but it is ever so rewarding and authentic. I truly look forward to where this program and learning journey will take me.”

More information on the graduate program is available on the Labrador Campus website.

Photo caption for students outside: From left are Jodie Lane, Julie Dicker, Ola Andersen, Roxanne Nochasak, Colleen Pottle, Chelsea Flowers, Natalie Jacque, Doris Dicker, Tracey Doherty, Jody Lyall, Lizzie Aliqatuqtuq and Mackenzie Hutchings. Missing: Becky Mearns


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