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Integrated Studies

UFV BIS and NVIT degree completion partnership

Since 2012, UFV and NVIT have worked together to provide a degree pathway for graduates of NVIT’s Chemical Addictions Worker Advanced Diploma (CHAD) program. NVIT is a British Columbia public post-secondary institution governed by the Indigenous community and serving primarily Indigenous students.

Since renamed the Indigenous Holistic Wellness and Addictions, or IHWA, NVIT’s advanced diploma program is a 3-year credential that is designed to train those working as, or intending to work as, counsellors in the field of addictions. The IHWA/ CHAD program builds from Indigenous-specific contexts, is cohort-based, and organized around the learning and scheduling needs of its students. Many IHWA/ CHAD graduates transfer to UFV to complete the Bachelor of Integrated Studies. Still others will continue to complete master’s programs in Education, Social Work, and other fields.

The Bachelor of Integrated Studies, when paired with the IHWA/ CHAD Advanced Diploma program, is accredited by the Indigenous Certificate Board of Canada, or ICBOC. The BIS is the only degree-level program in Canada to receive this designation.

Completing the BIS Degree: the 4th Year Cohort

Most graduates from IHWA/CHAD who attend UFV do so as part of a customized, 4th year cohort schedule structured on the NVIT delivery model of once course per month. The 4th year cohort program is usually offered every 2-3 years.

The 4th year cohort program delivers a set schedule of courses designed to further develop writing and communication skills, Indigenous leadership, and integrative learning. The locations for the cohort programs have included UFV’s Abbotsford campus, NVIT’s campuses in Merritt and Burnaby, Nuxalk College in Bella Coola, and most recently, fully online.

The cohort program is run dependent upon a combination of student demand and available funding. In order to ensure sufficient space and resources, participation in the cohort is by invitation from NVIT. If you are currently completing the IHWA or CHAD program at NVIT and would like to continue to UFV, please speak with your NVIT program coordinator about your interest in the next cohort.

Completing the BIS: Individual Completion

IHWA/ CHAD graduates can also complete their BIS degree on their own (i.e., outside of the 4th year cohort program). If you have graduated from other NVIT programs and would like to transfer to UFV, speak with an Integrated Studies academic advisor in order to determine how to best complete the remaining credits required for the Bachelor of Integrated Studies degree.

Students who self-identify as Indigenous are also encouraged to book an appointment with the UFV Indigenous Student Centre (ISC) to discuss admissions, scholarship and bursary opportunities, and funding questions. The ISC provides connections with Elders, peer support, and a safe space to share concerns and questions you may have about your program.

History of the UFV-NVIT Degree Completion Partnership

In the decade-long history of the agreement between the two institutions, UFV has run four 4th year cohort programs, the first in 2013 (at NVIT Burnaby) and the most recent in 2021.

Faculty members from UFV and NVIT have taught courses in Indigenous Peoples Knowledge, Communications, and English. Some faculty (Marcella LaFever, Michelle LaFlamme) have taught in all four cohorts. One faculty instructor in the fourth cohort—Jessica Stepp of NVIT, was a graduate of the very first cohort!

Read more about the partnership here:

The 2021 Cohort

The most recent cohort of students in the 4th year program began their coursework in April 2021. The last regularly scheduled course wrapped up in December. The eight courses offered were (in order) CMNS 125 (M. LaFever), IPK 344 (K. Wallis), IPK 404 (M. Rhodes and J. Stepp), IPK 386 (R. Timbrell), IPK 302 (R. Timbrell), CMNS 351 (M. LaFever), ENGL 368h (M. LaFlamme), and IPK 332 (V. Billy-Minnabarriet).

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, this cohort was the first offered entirely online. Because of this, graduates of NVIT’s CHAD program from northern Ontario were invited to join BC students.

Design and delivery of the 4th year cohort programs is guided by a joint UFV-NVIT Steering Committee, which is in turn overseen by the Vice-Provost's office. The steering committee convenes once every 4-6 weeks over the duration of the cohort program.

The 2021-22 Steering Committee membership includes:

  • Elder Darlene Willier
  • Shirley Hardman, the Senior Advisor on Indigenous Affairs
  • Vice-Provosts-Academic Peter Geller/ Tracy Ryder-Glass
  • Dr. Verna Billy-Minnabarriet, Vice President Academics and Strategic Partnerships (ret.) at NVIT
  • IHWA/CHAD Education Program Coordinator and Instructor Jessica Stepp
  • Dr. Michelle Rhodes, Director of Integrated and General Studies, Transfer and Partnerships and coordinator of 2021-22 cohort
  • Dr. John Chenoweth, Assistant Vice President-Academic & Community Education at NVIT
  • Dr. Linda Pardy, Associate Dean, Students for the UFV College of Arts
  • Carol Dickson, Coordinator, Indigenous Initiatives
  • Ana Adamik, Executive Assistant to the VP-Academic (meeting organization and minuting)

Are you currently employed with McDonald’s?

Receive credits toward one of four credentials, including the General Studies diploma & the Bachelor of Integrated Studies through a new UFV-McDonald's partnership.

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