In the North, For the North: Post-Secondary Education in the Provincial North


  • William R. Morrison University of Northern British Columbia


Abstract: For generations, promoters of northern political and economic development have emphasized the importance of post-secondary education.  These northern advocates have lamented the absence or narrow scope of post-secondary institutions in the North.  Canada is the only Circumpolar Nation without an Arctic university, and there is ample evidence that the region and the country are much the poorer for the lack of northern research, education and training capacity.  It is not that Canadian institutions have ignored the region.  Northern tier community colleges have played key and innovative roles in responding to regional needs.  Southern universities have, through a variety of undergraduate, graduate and professional outreach programs, provided some degree options in the North.  The University of the Arctic represents an innovative circumpolar effort to address northern needs across the Circumpolar North.  Focusing on the University of Northern British Columbia, which opened in 1994, this paper demonstrates how responsive, regionally-aware post-secondary institutions can have transformative effects on their host communities and regions, and deals with some of the controversies surrounding the opening of the university.

Author Biography

William R. Morrison, University of Northern British Columbia

Professor Emeritus, Department of History




Political and Economic Change in Canada's Provincial Norths