Executive Change Within Indigenous, Government and Community Affairs

Jennifer Rattray, The University of Winnipeg’s first Associate Vice-President Indigenous, Government and Community Affairs, has accepted a position as Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) Community Engagement and Corporate Services in the Department of Family Services with the Province of Manitoba.

Wab Kinew, UWinnipeg’s Director of Indigenous Inclusion, and well-known journalist and a graduate of UWinnipeg’s Collegiate, will assume the duties of the Associate Vice-President for Indigenous, Government and Community Affairs, with respect to Indigenous affairs and Indigenous community relations on an interim basis, effective July 8, 2014.  Kinew was hired as the University’s first Director of Indigenous Inclusion in the fall of 2012.  In that role, he has developed and overseen the delivery of a number of new initiatives at The Wii Chiiwaaknak Learning Centre, including an entrepreneurship and business training program for Aboriginal youth and the ‘Let’s Speak Ojibwe To Our Kids’ classes for parents and children to learn together with Elders speaking Anishinaabemowin (the Ojibwe language), among others. Wab has been regularly featured in local and national media, representing the University and speaking to issues of concern to Canada’s First Nations peoples.  Wab has also been active on campus delivering lectures and working on projects aimed at encouraging greater understanding and partnership between Canada’s Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal populations.

In addition to his current responsibilities as Senior Executive Officer and Advisor to the President, Jeremy Read, will assume the AVP portfolio’s government affairs function and manage relations with other external community groups on an interim basis effective July 4, 2014.

Rattray, a proud member of Peepeekisis First Nation with roots in northern Manitoba, spent almost ten years at UWinnipeg and was instrumental in developing key initiatives on behalf of Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, President and Vice-Chancellor, including: UWinnipeg’s first Indigenous Advisory Circle, chaired by Dr. Phil Fontaine; the University’s Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre on Ellice Avenue, which serves approximately 1700 inner-city residents every month and focuses on free literacy, numeracy, and science education; and a menu of Community Learning programs aimed at breaking down the barriers and promoting access to post-secondary education for First Nations, Metis, inner-city and newcomer students, and students from low-income backgrounds.  In her time at the University, Jennifer helped to develop and managed the innovative Opportunity Fund, which has provided fast-track bursaries to more than 1500 students. In 2012, Rattray worked with the Manitoba Government and the four child authorities in the province to establish a Tuition Waiver program for youth raised in the child welfare system, making UWinnipeg the first post-secondary institution in Canada to institute a program of this kind.  Other post-secondary institutions in Manitoba and other colleges and universities across Canada are now establishing similar tuition waiver programs.

“Jennifer is a leader in connecting the University to the community, government and particularly Aboriginal peoples and brought incredible skill and commitment to the task. I wish her well in her new challenges,” said Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, President and Vice-Chancellor, UWinnipeg.

In her government relations role, Rattray wrote and was involved in negotiating the funding proposal that achieved more than $18 million dollars for the Richardson College for the Environment and Science Complex from the federal government’s Knowledge Infrastructure Fund, the largest federal investment in the university’s history, and also played a key role in the funding proposals and consultations that led to the creation of the Portage Commons and Spence Street Promenade, among other projects.

“I have had the honour of working with Dr. Axworthy for almost a decade,” said Rattray.  “He is an inspiring and visionary leader. I have learned so much from him and from the incredible people at this University and in the Indigenous and inner-city communities, and I have been fortunate to build enduring friendships.  I have also had the privilege of working with government and been impressed with the dedicated politicians and public servants striving to make a difference. I look forward to this new opportunity to make a contribution at the provincial level and I leave UWinnipeg knowing that the institution has a bright future ahead of it under the leadership of Dr. Annette Trimbee as its new President.”

The UWinnipeg community wishes Jennifer every success in her new position with the Province of Manitoba.

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Diane Poulin, Senior Communications Specialist, The University of Winnipeg
P: 204.988.7135, E: d.poulin@uwinnipeg.ca

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