For Students

The FNIS practicum is a unique opportunity for students to develop research projects in partnership with Indigenous communities and organizations. Each year FNIS invites more than 100 Indigenous organizations to identify research needs that our students might address. Using the training they have received as FNIS majors, students meet with organizations and work to negotiate, design, and implement a project that responds to the organization’s needs. 

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FAQ for Students

The FNIS research practicum gives students the opportunity to put their FNIS training to work with and for Indigenous communities. With their instructors and community partners, students learn how to design, develop, and disseminate community-based research while creating research solutions that support the needs of Indigenous organizations. 

First Nations and Indigenous Studies will arrange a meeting on campus with various Indigenous 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 from host organizations. Following the meeting you will submit a resume and cover letter to the organizations in which you have greatest interest. The organization will contact you if they would like to interview or meet with you. After the interview, students are asked to submit feedback on the interviews, including top choices of organizations.  Once you have been matched with an organization you will begin to work on a project proposal.

You are welcome to suggest potential organizations for us to consider.  If the organization is a good match and space permits, we will invite the organization to the initial practicum partners meeting.  Please let us know before August 1 PRIOR to the start of the course if you have organizations to suggest.

Due potential conflict of interest, it is not possible to have a practicum placement with an organization that you are currently employed by.

First Nations and Indigenous Studies has a few requirements that all projects must meet, such as a research component, final product, and presentation. However, the guiding principle of the practicum is that projects are based on the ideas of the host organizations and are designed with those organizations to meet their needs. Practicum instructors work with students and their organizations to ensure that students’ skills and interests are engaged in ways that meet everyone’s needs.

In addition to class time, you will work approximately 8 hours a week on your practicum project, beginning in mid-October and concluding at the mid-March. 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.

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 a projected outcome. If your project is preparing documentation for a funding application, your host organization will likely provide more direction and oversight. If you have been brought in to contribute to an existing research project, the amount of supervision you receive is likely to be far more extensive.

In all cases, part of your job as a student researcher is to establish a check-in schedule with your organization. We will also support you with help from our end, and we will check in with you routinely to ensure that the project is coming together smoothly. We also ask you to complete weekly written progress reports. These reports keep you and your organization connected.

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 deliver presentations on your research to the broader community.

The practicum positions are not paid positions. Students complete the practicum as part of a senior-level course requirement, FNIS 400-Research Practicum.

Host organizations are invited to write a letter of evaluation at the end of your practicum placement.  The practicum instructors will assign a grade based on the letter of evaluation, research project process, research project deliverables, and presentations.

Lots! Practicum Instructors and TAs work very closely with students to provide guidance and support at all stages of the project. Working in a dynamic teaching environment, you’ll have ample opportunity to learn from the instructional team, your peers, and subject experts. We build one-on-one support into our weekly meetings and we are available to meet outside of class to problem-solve, write documentation, and plan research. Community-based research takes a community. While you are the research lead, your work is supported by a community of teachers, librarians, ethics administrators, and your peers. 

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.