The Aboriginal Resource Centre (ARC) received the Outstanding Student Support Program Award from the NASPA Indigenous Peoples Knowledge Community for use of best practices for transforming higher education.

ARC provides a culturally supportive environment that promotes academic excellence and the intellectual, spiritual, emotional and physical development of aboriginal students. Over the past 11 years, ARC has offered cultural programs, educational campaigns, recruitment activities and community-building initiatives.

Since 2009, many more students have used ARC, and aboriginal student retention rates have increased to 97 per cent from 86 per cent (after first year), and to 89 per cent from 69 per cent (after second year).

Among the centre’s innovative programs, an aboriginal-specific “counselling bridge” focuses on the holistic development and support of aboriginal students by integrating aboriginal worldviews with culturally respectful, western-based therapeutic approaches. Aboriginal student advising and counselling at the ARC increased from 182 students in 2009-10 to 925 in 2012-13.

Another new ARC initiative is the aboriginal affairs certificate, launched in fall 2012. The certificate is based on a social justice framework.