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FAQ for Students
1. What is the purpose of the research practicum?
The purpose of the research practicum is to give you the opportunity to work on a research project in a community setting that addresses the needs of the community. A major aspect of the practicum is negotiating with the organization to finalize a workable design for the project.
2. Do I get to choose my own practicum placement?
First Nations and Indigenous Studies will arrange a meeting on campus with Aboriginal organizations that have expressed interest in working with a practicum student. At this meeting you will have an opportunity to hear about the practicum projects and host organizations. Following the meeting you will submit a resume and cover letter to the organizations in which you have greatest interest. The host organization will contact you if they would like to interview or meet with you. Once you have been matched with a host organization you will begin to work on a project proposal.
3. If I am offered a practicum placement, is it possible to turn it down?
It is extremely important for you to work well with your host organization. If you are offered a placement that you don’t think is a good match for you, we recommend thanking the organization for their offer and respectfully declining.
4. Is it possible to work with an Aboriginal organization outside of the Lower Mainland?
In very rare circumstances students complete a research practicum outside the Lower Mainland. All petitions for such opportunities must be accommodated by the information listed below, which will be reviewed thoroughly by First Nations and Indigenous Studies (FNIS). When reviewing requests, FNIS will take your full application, the likelihood of success, and the capacity and resources of FNIS into consideration before making a decision.
*Note: Students should not assume that their request will be approved–This is an exceptional situation, not standard practicum procedure.
5. I am currently working with an Aboriginal organization, is it possible to complete my practicum with this organization?
If a project does not overlap with your work and meets the requirements of the practicum it may be possible for you to complete your practicum at the organization that you are currently working with, but there is the potential for conflict of interest. Please come and talk to us to discuss this possibility further.
6. Who designs the practicum projects?
First Nations and Indigenous Studies has a few requirements the projects must meet such as a research component, final product, and presentation at the Longhouse, but the guiding principle of the practicum is that projects are based on the ideas of the host organizations and are designed to meet their needs. It is also crucial that your needs, interests, and skills as a student are addressed to create a final design that works for everyone.
7. How many hours do I have to spend at my practicum placement each week?
You will work approximately 8 hours a week on your practicum project, beginning in mid-October and concluding at the end of February with an additional hour or so a week required for meetings with the FNIS 400 class. Hours can be flexible depending on the nature of the project and the needs of your organization, but this should be negotiated during the early stages of the research project design.
8. How much supervision will I receive from my host organization?
The amount of supervision that you will receive will vary considerably depending on the nature of your project. If, for instance, you are organizing an organization’s archive, you may receive fairly little supervision beyond identifying the materials and what is hoped for as an outcome, though of course the organization may have more information or direction they want to share with you. If your practicum project consists of assisting in the preparation of documentation for an application for funding, your host organization might want to provide more direction on what needs to be done and whether the work you are doing will work the way they would like it to. If you are playing a specific role in an existing research project, the amount of supervision you receive is likely to be far more extensive.
9. What are the course assignments?
A percentage of your grade will be based on the completion of several assignments including the preparation of a resume, organizational profile, ethics review, literature review, and weekly write-ups. The majority of your practicum will be spent completing the work assigned to you for your host organization. You will also be expected to write a final research paper, as well as deliver presentations on your research to the Musqueam First Nation and to the broader community at the First Nations House of Learning on campus.
10. Are the practicum placements paid positions?
The practicum positions are not paid positions. Students complete the practicum as part of a senior-level course requirement, FNIS 400–Research Practicum.
11. How is the practicum portion of the course evaluated?
At the beginning of the project we will assist you and your host organization in formalizing the mode of evaluation most suitable to the work being done. In the past, host organizations have written a letter evaluating the practicum and FNIS faculty and staff have assigned a grade to the practicum portion of the course based on this letter.
12. How much guidance and support can I expect from my practicum professor?
Lots! Professors work very closely with their practicum students to provide guidance and support. Your professor will be available and flexible for meeting one-on-one and providing ample support and advice with your project and any challenges you may face during the course of the year.
13. Can I continue working for my organization after the practicum?
This possibility needs to be discussed with your supervisor. Many students have gone on to paid positions with the organization they partnered with once their practicum was completed.