Back in the classroom
- Nicole Garn | June 24, 2022
The Indigenous Communication Arts (INCA) Summer Institute is back and better than ever.
The institute has returned to the classroom after being offered online in 2020. Due to the program’s two-year turnover, INCA Summer Institute students have not been in the classroom since 2018.
While remote learning offers a unique opportunity to reach students and teachers anywhere in Canada, students are excited to be back in the classroom.
“I’m looking forward to meeting all of the instructors in person and seeing everyone and being able to really be hands-on,” said Mercedes Redman, who previously took the program back in 2020. She felt that she missed out on the engaging aspects of the program while remote.
Being back in person is not the only new thing for INCA students. They also get to enjoy new facilities on campus.
Through support from the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv), INCA now has a newsroom, two radio studios, a classroom space, a computer lab, and an administrative office.
“I was actually nervous for the first time. It was so different after so long,” said Shannon Avison, assistant professor and program coordinator in the INCA program. Although she was nervous, she was excited to share the new facilities with the students. “It’s so nice to come back to this great support from the university,” said Avison.
INCA has also expanded its program offerings. It took advantage of distance learning during the pandemic and began offering an Indigenous Journalism and Communications one-year certificate. “I would really like to keep a remote component,” said Avison. “We are the First Nations University of Canada; we need to be offering programming across the country.”
The program is also in the process of considering a four-year Bachelor of Indigenous Communication Arts.
The Summer Institute used to be offered at the Journalism School at the University of Regina, but this was “not home,” said Avison. Now that the INCA program has its own facilities, there is room to flourish at FNUniv.
Students take classes like Indigenous fine arts, Cree language, Indigenous studies, as well as INCA classes.
“It’s a program non-Indigenous students who want to go into journalism and (who) want to answer the (TRC) Call 86 — that’s the answer, come here,” said Avison.
Students value this type of education.
“(INCA) seems like a one-of-a-kind program, with it being so Indigenous-focused,” said Redman.
Students also appreciate how the program creates a second family. Current INCA student Amber Bear said the INCA family Avison has created is the best thing to come out of her university experience.
INCA alumni, Mary Powder said, “(INCA) made me realize how blessed I am that I work with my language. The institute was the best experience I enjoyed with newfound friends.”
The INCA Summer Institute is a six-week crash course in journalism at the FNUniv. Students are immersed in print, radio, podcasting, television, photojournalism, and more.
Teachers and special guests include many INCA alumni like Betty Ann Adam, Kerry Benjoe, and Nelson Bird.
The Institute also offers an internship opportunity for students to receive more hands-on learning and professional work experience.
The Summer Institute is offered every second year from May to June.
For more information about the program, head to www.incasummer.ca or contact Shannon Avison at 306-536-8069 or firstname.lastname@example.org.