Connecting Social Support to the Academic Persistence and Health of Indigenous Post-Secondary Students
Kristoff, Tania Marie 1972-
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This case study examined how social support affected the academic persistence and health of Indigenous post-secondary students attending an Indigenous-affiliated institution. This research study aimed to provide a holistic understanding of Indigenous students’ experiences that will inform educators and administrators about the lived realities of Indigenous post-secondary students and facilitate policy and program development to support the academic persistence and health of Indigenous post-secondary students in undergraduate programs. The Family Education model by HeavyRunner and DeCelles (2002) provided conceptual support for the collection, analysis and interpretation of the data. An intrinsic qualitative case study approach was used. Data were gathered through four focus group interviews and three face-to-face interviews with Indigenous students and staff and faculty members from the case institution. The findings suggest that although Indigenous students are a diverse group, they experience many similar personal, familial, social and campus-related challenges. Indigenous students receive social support from their peers, families, communities, and from the staff and faculty members at First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv), Northern campus. Staff and faculty members deliver social support through their authentic relationships with Indigenous students by displaying genuine interest, building trust, creating a supportive environment, and establishing connections with Indigenous students. Social support improves Indigenous students' academic persistence by providing motivation, building resilience and shaping Indigenous students' identities while enhancing their holistic health. The conclusions from the study suggest that FNUniv, Northern campus, as an Indigenous-affiliated institution, is helping Indigenous students obtain a post-secondary education. The Northern campus is creating a culturally responsive environment and building a web of support for Indigenous students. The findings indicate that culturally responsive social support delivered with an Indigenous-affiliated institution is needed for Indigenous students to persist academically, flourish as individuals, and contribute to the broader Indigenous community.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
CommitteeOkoko, Janet; Squires, Vicki; Tunison, Scott; Ogenchuk, Marcella
Copyright DateJune 2020
Cultural social support