Senior Academic Management Team

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Senior Academic Management Team

The Senior Academic Management Team collaborates to ensure delivery of FNUniv’s academic plan in accordance with the budget, and through effective academic administration to achieve student outcomes.

Vice-President, Academic (Interim)

Dr. Carrie Lavallie

Dr. Carrie Lavallie joined First Nations University in 2003 as a faculty member with the Nursing Education Program of Saskatchewan. They are a graduate of Saskatchewan Polytechnic and Athabasca University, and hold a PhD in Education from the University of Regina. Carrie is a third-generation born, white Settler with Scandinavian and German Ancestral ties. As a Registered Psychiatric Nurse, they have over 30 years of experience, working in various non-profit organizations, private practices, the University, and with First Nation communities. They were Acting Director of Health Sciences/Campus Manager at Northern Campus and are currently the program coordinator for Indigenous Health. Their area of research explores the role of spirituality in relapse prevention; other areas of interest are mental health, addictions, counselling, and spirituality. Dr. LaVallie is excited to support the university in this capacity for the interim.

Associate Dean, Academic 

Fidji Gendron, PhD., B.Sc.

Dr. Fidji Gendron is a Professor of Biology and she is interested in the traditional uses of native plants. She works in partnership with Elders and has developed booklets on plant medicines. These teaching tools help promote native plants recognition and highlight their importance in the Indigenous culture. She is also involved in a group that examines the bio-active chemical components in native plants.

Another area of interest is how to braid Indigenous and Western Science in her Biology courses. She organizes hands-on activities in her labs under the guidance of an Elder who shares protocol and stories with students.

Associate Dean, Community, Research & Graduate Programs (Interim)

Dr. Tara Turner

I’m an Associate Professor in Indigenous Social Work (INSW) at the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) at the Saskatoon campus. A citizen of the Metis-Nation Saskatchewan (MN-S), I’m from a small community in the mountains of British Columbia. Moving to Saskatchewan in 1999, I completed my PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Saskatchewan in 2010. My PhD dissertation, Re-searching Metis Identity: My Metis Family Story, was completed along with my family, exploring Metis stories, identity, child welfare, trauma and healing, separation, reunion, and Metis research methods. My research has helped me understand my Metis culture for myself, my family, and my work. Before becoming a faculty member at FNUniv in 2013, I was the Director of Health at the MN-S. I am grateful to be a mother to three boys. I enjoy learning and sharing Indigenous knowledges and methods, and I have a particular connection with the ceremony of circles.

Program Coordinators

Indigenous Business & Public Administration – Jason Bird

Indigenous Communication & Fine Arts – Audrey Dreaver

Indigenous Education – Dr. Angelina Weenie

Indigenous Education – Graduate Program – Dr. Kathleen O’Reilly    

Indigenous Health – Dr. Carrie LaVallie

Indigenous Languages – Andrea Custer

Indigenous Literatures in English – Dr. Jesse Archibald-Barber

Indigenous Studies  – Dr. Shane Keepness

Indigenous Knowledge & Science – Dr. Fidji Gendron

Indigenous Social Work – Undergraduate Program – Marlene McNab

Indigenous Social Work – Graduate Program Coordinator – Susannah Walker

Academic Administrator

Sheila Acoose

Sheila Acoose has been part of the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) since 1998 with the Department of Indigenous Studies and later worked with Science, Business, Indigenous Languages, English and Indigenous Education.

Sheila graduated with a Diploma of Associate in Administration – May 2006.

Registrar & Director, Student Success Services (Interim)

Lianda Tanner

Lianda Tanner is the Registrar and Interim Director of Student Success Services at the First Nations University of Canada. She is very proud to acknowledge her Cree and Saulteaux heritage from Cowessess First Nation located along the beautiful Qu’Appelle Valley with Crooked Lake and the Qu’Appelle River. Lianda achieved her Bachelor of Administration degree in Management from the University of Regina, in federation with the First Nations University of Canada and is now pursuing a Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration and Leadership at Royal Roads University.  Lianda’s career journey has kept her working with the First Nations University of Canada in the area of Student Success Services and Registrar since entering the workforce upon completing an Office Administration program.  Lianda finds her career at the First Nation University of Canada very fulfilling because she is working in an environment where First Nations and non-First Nations people are learning and experiencing First Nations culture and traditions through learning pedagogies and ceremonies.

Director, Indigenous Continuing Education Centre (ICEC)

Reila Bird

Reila Bird has added the Director of Indigenous Continuing Education Centre (ICEC) to her profile.

Reila is a member of George Gordon First Nation and was raised in Regina. She is a graduate of the Indian Teachers Education Program from the University of Saskatchewan and completed her Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Regina.

Throughout her career, Reila has had numerous opportunities to grow and learn in education from urban and rural perspectives. She was a K-12 classroom teacher for the Regina Public School Division and Prairie Valley School Division. She also held the position of First Nations and Métis Education Coordinator with Prairie Valley School Division and a Sessional Instructor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina. She is a council member of the Saskatchewan Provincial Education Council that provides oversight to the provincial education plan’s development, implementation, and governance from a strategic perspective. Reila is also Co-Secretary to the National Indigenous Accreditation Board of Directors.

Given Reila’s work experience in the education sector, she has profound knowledge and experience in K-12 education, strategic planning, program development, and establishing educational partnerships. Reila believes that education is a shared responsibility, and together, everyone can positively influence student achievement and student success.

Reila served as Senior Strategic Analyst for the past two years and as a Sessional Instructor at the First Nations University of Canada.

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